Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fallen Angel

by Daniel Silva, narrator George Guidall, Harper Audio, 10 hrs, 25 minutes, July 2012

 No one writes international spy thrillers better than Silva, this one doesn't disappoint

This international spy thriller opens with the death of a Vatican art curator Claudia Andreotti.  While her death is officially classified as a suicide the pope’s private secretary Luigi Donati knows that it is not.  Conveniently working at the Vatican restoring a painting is Gabriel Allon, retired Mossad operative.  Donati cajoles Allon out of retirement (surprise, surprise) and Allon and his wife Chiara investigate her death.
Allon’s investigation leads him into the intrigues of Vatican politics, the underground world of antiquity theft, organized crime and money laundering and the methods of funding international terrorist networks. Silva provides enlightening detail about all of these subjects throughout the story.   The thriller moves rapidly from St. Moritz, to Scandinavia, to Berlin, to Rome, and to the Mideast.   As you’d expect in a Gabriel Allon story there is no shortage of threats.  Whenever Allon shows up the body count starts to rise although the violence is not graphically described.  All of the favorite characters from earlier novels make an appearance – Allon’s mentor Avi Sharom, the head of Mossad Eli Lavon and Uzi Navot.  The denouement of this story is particularly good.  It is set in Jerusalem at the Temple Mount and has a page turning intensity to it.

I’ve always enjoyed Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon books.  I think they have a ripped from the headlines intensity and while the premises of these stories might seem farfetched I think the hatreds in the Mideast make these stories all too possible.  Silva is a good writer and doesn’t pander to the reading public; you need to come with some level of understanding of current affairs to keep up.  No one writes international spy thrillers better than Silva, this one doesn't disappoint.  Allon is a likeable familiar character; tormented and unable to find peace in his life but reassuring in his devotion to justice.

I’ve read the previous 15 Gabriel Allon novels but I listened to this one.  I had a problem believing the soft spoken George Guidall as the narrator.  I guess that I had a vision of this character in my head that his voice just did not support. If you are new to the series I suspect this might not bother you.   So for me I’d give five stars for the story but a lot less for the audio rendition.

I listened to a copy of this story that was provided by Harper Audio


Harvee said...

Sounds like a book to read rather than listen to. I am often disappointed by readers too but have found some that fit the book well.

John Bald said...

I've never read Daniel Silva before but your enthusiasm is infectious. I'll give him a try. Thanks, I so enjoy this blog.

Zibilee said...

I had the chance to read one of Silva's books at one time, but passed it up. This might be a series worth investigating though, as you had such a fine time with it, and I will consider that this one is better in print than in audio. Nice review today!

Faith Hope and Cherrytea said...

i'm another who really enjoys audio depending upon the narrator!
thx for sharing your insights & posting at Cym's

James Piper said...

Thanks for the thoughts.

Would you consider him better than John le Carré?

James Piper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James Piper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.