‘The Secret Servant’ is the 7th Gabriel Allon book written by Daniel Silva. The story begins in Amsterdam with the murder of Ephraim Rosner. He was an outspoken terrorism analyst, so his murder was no real surprise. But, he had an informer who passed him information about terrorist plots and now the Israelis are worried that the informer will be exposed. Gabriel Allon – expert art restorer and occasional spy and assassin is sent to ‘clean up’ Rosner’s files.
The informer quickly identifies Gabriel’s real purpose and approaches him with urgent information. There is an imminent terrorist attack. What started as a simple clean-up job for Gabriel, suddenly turns into a race against time to stop an act of terrorism.
Gabriel takes his information to London, but because of bureaucratic red tape, he is not able to stop the first part of the terrorist’s plans. Members of an extreme Egyptian Islamist group known as the ‘Sword of God’ kidnap the daughter of the American Ambassador to London. Gabriel Allon assembles his usual group of colleagues to try and retrieve the ambassador’s daughter and avert further action by the terrorists.
This results in a mad chase around Europe and attempts to negotiate with the terrorists who have no intention of being diverted from their original aims.
While the book is a bit of a superhero action book, with Gabriel Allon outsmarting Islamic terrorists and outdoing US and European spy agencies, there is another perspective presented. The Egyptian terrorists have emerged from beneath the repressive regime of Hosni Mubarak. They are people who have watched their families tortured and killed for decades by a leader who was supported by the West. They will go to any lengths to topple Mubarak.
I wish I had read this book a few years earlier when it was first written. The book was published in 2007 while the Egyptians finally managed to overthrow Mubarak in 2011. But, how many of the Egyptian people are really better off under the new regime.
The next Gabriel Allon book on my list is ‘Moscow Rules’ and I’m also keenly awaiting this year’s release of ‘The English Girl’.
Book Published 2007