Portrait of a Spy

Gabriel Allon

Fiction - Thriller - Terrorist
512 Pages
Reviewed on 03/06/2012
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

He has been called his generation’s finest writer of international intrigue and one of the greatest American spy novelists ever. Compelling, passionate, haunting, brilliant: these are the words that have been used to describe the work of award-winning #1 New York Times bestselling author Daniel Silva.

Silva burst onto the scene in 1997 with his electrifying bestselling debut, The Unlikely Spy, a novel of love and deception set around the Allied invasion of France in World War II. His second and third novels, The Mark of the Assassin and The Marching Season, were also instant New York Times bestsellers and starred two of Silva’s most memorable characters: CIA officer Michael Osbourne and international hit man Jean-Paul Delaroche. But it was Silva’s fourth novel, The Kill Artist, which would alter the course of his career. The novel featured a character described as one of the most memorable and compelling in contemporary fiction, the art restorer and sometime Israeli secret agent Gabriel Allon, and though Silva did not realize it at the time, Gabriel’s adventures had only just begun. Gabriel Allon appears in Silva’s next nine novels, each one more successful than the last: The English Assassin, The Confessor, A Death in Vienna, and Prince of Fire, The Messenger, The Secret Servant, Moscow Rules, The Defector, The Rembrandt Affair, Portrait of a Spy, and The Fallen Angel (July 17, 2012).

Silva knew from a very early age that he wanted to become a writer, but his first profession would be journalism. Born in Michigan, raised and educated in California, he was pursuing a master’s degree in international relations when he received a temporary job offer from United Press International to help cover the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco. Later that year Silva abandoned his studies and joined UPI fulltime, working first in San Francisco, then on the foreign desk in Washington, and finally as Middle East correspondent in Cairo and the Persian Gulf. In 1987, while covering the Iran-Iraq war, he met NBC Today National Correspondent Jamie Gangel and they were married later that year. Silva returned to Washington and went to work for CNN and became Executive Producer of its talk show unit including shows like Crossfire, Capital Gang and Reliable Sources.

In 1995 he confessed to Jamie that his true ambition was to be a novelist. With her support and encouragement he secretly began work on the manuscript that would eventually become the instant bestseller The Unlikely Spy. He left CNN in 1997 after the book’s successful publication and began writing full time. Since then all of Silva’s books have been New York Times and international bestsellers. His books have been translated in to more than 30 languages and are published around the world. He is currently at work on a new novel and warmly thanks all those friends and loyal readers who have helped to make his books such an amazing success.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Alice DiNizo for Readers' Favorite

There are books that will linger in the reader's mind forever and "Portrait of a Spy" is one of them! Gabriel Allon is both a master spy for Israeli intelligence and a restorer of art masterpieces, but now he is retired from his work at King Saul Boulevard in Israel. Gabriel and his wife, Chiara, also an Israeli spy par non, now live a quiet life in Gunwalloe Cove, Cornwall, until an explosion occurred in Paris, and then another in Copenhagen, killing far too many innocent bystanders including children boarding a school bus. Gabriel nearly succeeds in killing the gunman in a third attack in London and is drawn back into the fray by his friend, Adrian Carter of the CIA. Gabriel and his group of Israeli intelligence operatives are set to go after Yemeni silver-tongued cleric Rashid al-Husseini but they know that money is needed to shore up his branch of Jihad operatives. Gabriel works to bring in beautiful Arabic heiress, Nadia al-Bakari, whose father Gabriel himself assisted in assassinating. Nadia is against the treatment of Arabic women and uses her billions to bring relief, but she is convinced to pose as supporting Islamic terrorists. What she is willing to do is highly dangerous and Nadia may lose her life. What happens? Read and find out but have a box of tissues nearby to catch those tears that will fall.

Daniel Silva has created characters and a storyline in "Portrait of a Spy" that are brilliant and multidimensional with the twists and turns that a thriller should contain. Gabriel, Chiara, Navot, Mikail, Sarah, Shamron, Dina, Isherwood, and Adrian Carter, to name some, are literary figures that will live in the reader's mind long after the story is concluded. Nadia al-Bakari is an unforgettable literary character. "Portrait of a Spy" is a phenomenal work, exquisitely written, formatted, and plotted; never to be forgotten as the reader goes on to read other stories.