Wednesday, July 1, 2015
THE ENGLISH SPY by Daniel Silva
Outside of being the most totally engrossing, entertaining book I’ve read in many a calendar turn what more can I say about Daniel Silva who has been called a master of the modern espionage novel, and an author who delivers “consistent excellence and cool brilliance”? For this reader he also has the ability to transport us throughout the world, describing each locale as knowingly as if it were his own backyard. And the characters he creates do more than leap from the page - they own it whether they come to us via a glance, a clenched fist or a whiff of Turkish tobacco.
Not to worry if you have not read the previous novels starring Gabriel Allon, an empathetic, fascinating protagonist, a gifted art restorer and formidable operative, Silva subtly inserts his background into the story and before you’re aware of it you know Allon quite well. Of course, if The English Spy is your first Allon adventure you’ll want to rush out and read the earlier ones.
With this tale Silva grabbed me early on. A not to be forgotten member of the British Royal Family celebrated for her beauty and charitable works who was spurned by her former husband is introduced while boarding a luxury yacht soon to leave Saint Barthelemy for a Caribbean cruise. The world is shocked when a bomb explodes aboard ship and a Princess dies.
British intelligence knows there is but one person who can track down her killer and that man is Gabriel Allon. His quary is Eamon Quinn, a former Real IRA master bomb maker who is now a mercenary selling his services to the highest bidder. However, we soon discover that the assassination of the Princess was what is known as “collateral damage,” her death merely a ruse to bring Allon and his partner, Christopher Keller, out into the open. Quinn has been hired by the Russians to kill Allon, and thus the thrilling adventure begins.
You won’t want to miss The English Spy - it has no peer. I’d lend you my book, but I may just want to read it again.
- Gail Cooke