“Osama bin Laden flew airplanes into buildings in New
York and Washington….And everything changed.”
On September 11, 2001, the way we viewed the world changed.
Terrorists took our innocence, rocked our blind trust and sullied
our naiveté. But they didn’t kill our optimism.
Predictably, we struck back the only way we knew how. Maybe we
didn’t understand the repercussions of our actions.
But a rogue ally, the infamous spy Gabriel Allon, understood. An
Israeli agent employing a cover as an Italian art restorer, Allon
has studied more than the techniques of the classical masters. He
has studied how the mind of the radical Islamic jihadist works. And
he knows what drives their actions. The Israeli foreign
intelligence service Allon works for, known cryptically as The
Office, has taught him well --- well enough that he is in line for
the top position. While it would be a great honor (not to mention a
lot safer), it is a position he doesn’t want. Allon is a man
of action. And a man of action is just the sort of person called
for in this latest crisis.
Professor Rosner, Office sympathizer, has gotten himself killed in
Amsterdam. Outspoken and free with his opinions, his death came as
no surprise to many of his supporters. Shocking or not, this
tragedy left the Office with some problems, notably a large number
of files. These files contain sensitive information, including the
identity of a man who, in the past, has forewarned them of
impending terrorist attacks. Is he a mole or possibly a double
agent? Even with his allegiances in doubt, the man is critical to
Allon. Information he provides leads Allon to suspect a terrorist
plot in London. Unfortunately, he figures out the target too
A young woman has been abducted. She has ties to people in high
places, and her safe return could mean more than just payment of an
obscene amount of money that could fund more attacks. Allon soon is
dealing with the British government, embroiled in proverbial red
tape. Not one to play by anybody’s rules but his own, he
finds a more direct approach to ending the crisis.
Allon lost a child and his first wife to terrorists. The idea that
another human being would have to experience the pain he endured
launches him headlong into the hunt for the kidnapped American. He
employs extraordinary measures and risks great personal loss and
injury to help a woman he has never met. But for him, there is no
question that he will undertake the task.
The clock begins ticking and the phone calls start coming. As do
the demands. A prisoner exchange or the woman dies. The
kidnappers’ choreography is faultless. Their plan has been a
long time in the making, and now they execute that plan with
impeccable accomplishment, never a misstep. Gabriel, with his
unorthodox thinking, remains maddeningly a step behind. But he is
getting closer. One can only hope he will be on time.
THE SECRET SERVANT not only contains valuable insights into radical
Islamic belief and what has shaped the modern jihadists, but it is
also a sobering novel that will make the reader question government
methods of dealing with terrorists. What can we do to effectively
fight the war on terror? Daniel Silva has some of the answers, and
he will make you rethink everything you thought you knew about
Islam. High praise for this blockbuster novel.
Reviewed by Kate Ayers on January 23, 2011