Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Rembrandt Affair

The Rembrandt Affair (Gabriel Allon)
by Daniel Silva
July, 2010
Putnan Adult

Silva is back with an excellent Gabriel Allon thriller. The Israeli agent/art restorer is again (how many times now?) lured from retirement to track down a lost Rembrandt painting with a history that is soaked in blood. The action takes place primarily in Europe with a short Nazi hunting trip to Argentina. No plot spoilers here but I think the Gabriel Allon books work because of a couple of things. Allon’s motivations are always pure – hunting down past murderers and current threats to the state of Israel, a group of supporting characters that are familiar and well developed (even though Sharom is a ringer for Ariel Sharon), and a plot that is always awash in history and current events. This story brings to light the matter of art stolen by the Nazis and how the issue of ownership of this art continues even today. The parts of the novel that involve the Dutch Holocaust survivor whose parents owned this Rembrandt are really well done and moving. The reader is left understanding the value of art both emotional and financial.

The bad guys in this novel are European capitalists who trade with and support Iran in its development of nuclear weapons. This section of the story has a ripped from the headlines feel to it. I can imagine the series of events happening today when we look back and try to decipher how Iran developed nuclear weapons. As is usual in a Silva novel there is no gratuitous violence, all the action advances the plot line. I found the ending of this story to be very satisfying.

To me Daniel Silva is the true heir to John LeCarre; nobody else writes spy stories with the emotional depth, plot twists, realism, suspense and philosophical thought as well as Silva.


Greg Zimmerman said...

I've never read Silva, but I've always been intrigued by this series. And your enthusiastic review makes me even more eager to read him. One question: Do you have to read the Gabriel Allon series in order, or can you pick up the novels at random and get what's going on? What would you recommend as a Silva fan?

Kathy said...

Greg, Silva's books are stand alone stories, I think you could read them independently and still enjoy.

Julie said...

This sounds like a wonderful book! Definitely going on my "to buy" list!

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries