‘The English Girl’ is the 13th novel in Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon series and for the first time I got the sense that Gabriel was doing what he needed to do rather than passionately righting a wrong. He seems to be older and tireder and just wants to be with his wife, or prepare himself for his new role as chief of Israeli Intelligence.
Madeline Hart is a junior but rising British politician. Then she is kidnapped while holidaying in Corsica with friends. She has no family money and no real importance – except that she is the mistress of the British Prime Minister. In order to save his reputation, the Prime Minister decides to deal with the situation privately. He speaks to his MI5 friend Grahame Seymour who in turn engages the services of art restorer and sometimes Israeli spy – Gabriel Allon.
Gabriel starts to investigate in Corsica which is the home of Don Anton Orsati and the assassin Jonathon Keller (see ‘The English Assassin’). With their help he tracks the first steps of Madeline’s journey and works with Keller throughout the story.
The case becomes very involved (more than just the threat of compromising a randy politician), and leads back to Gabriel’s long term enemies – the power-hungry and corrupt Russians. The Russians are rebuilding their empire through the control of gas and oil reserves, and things don’t seem to have changed much since the Soviet days. The KGB has only been renamed and there are still plenty of under-cover spies in Western countries.
Gabriel and his team (the usual crew plus Keller) manage to get to the bottom of what is going on, spoil a few Russian plans and save a politician who probably doesn’t deserve to be saved. All with slightly less drama and violence than we’ve seen in the earlier novels in the series.
Maybe it’s just that Gabriel didn’t have to survive a severe beating that has made this novel feel less action packed. The plot, however, was extremely realistic and at least as good as the other novels in the series.
Book Published 2013