This latest intelligence thriller featuring Israeli spy, Gabriel Allon, took me from a stolen painting, to the camps of the Holocaust, to the world of high finance, through the realm of high tech gadgets, and to a satisfying, if somewhat predictable retirement of Mr. Allon. It's like my all-time favorite TV show "Alias" with lots of action, politics, spying, computer-ese, and kick-butt characters to love.
The plot is fairly complicated, but I'll try to sum up. A little known Rembrandt is stolen from one of Allon's friends, Isherman, who own a gallery. He will face ruin if it's not found, and Allon, being a world-renowned art restorer in addition to a dangerous spy, could not turn down the challenge to find it for his friend. What he uncovers in looking into the history of owners of the painting is that it was also "stolen" by a Nazi criminal from a Jewish family so that one of its two daughters would not be sent to the camps. Hearing the surviving woman's war story is too much for Allon, and he makes it his mission to find the painting. In so doing, he uncovers a list of old Jewish bank accounts that were also stolen by the Nazi and used to start up a multi-national financial conglomerate run by Martin Landesman. Landesman hides his unscrupulous tendencies by giving vast amounts of money to charities, and so is seen as a "saint." Allon eventually finds a connection from this Saint Martin to enriched uranium plants throughout the Middle East, and it becomes imperative for the security of others like America and Britain to somehow find proof and eradicate the nuclear threat. Impossible, you say? Well, you don't know Gabriel Allon.
Gabriel Allon. What a wonderfull name to trip off your tongue. Gabriel. An angel indeed. Thank you Daniel Silva for creating such an exciting and divine character. And while the storylines in the Allon books are getting a bit repetitive, I really just don't care. Check it out yourself, and let me know if you think Gabriel is an angel.