In the spy world, if you have a tough job, you turn to Gabriel Allon, agent of the Israeli secret service known familiarly as the Office. In the art world, you turn to Giovanni Rossi for a tough job. He restores old masters and occasionally paints a few of his own. He needs the solace of the canvas to balance the violence that inhabits his other world, because, you see, Giovanni Rossi is only one of many aliases Gabriel Allon goes by.
"Terrorists have attacked Paris and Copenhagen, and the world has been nervously waiting to hear where the next bomb will strike."
Now, Gabriel and his wife, Chiara, are enjoying a well-earned retirement at their leased cottage in the Cornish village of Gunwalloe. Gabriel cherishes his morning walks along the ocean cliffs, with time later to spend with Chiara, as he awaits the arrival of his next restoration project. It's been a while since the Rembrandt last year. But when the couple makes a fateful trip to a London art gallery, their peace is suddenly shattered. Terrorists have attacked Paris and Copenhagen, and the world has been nervously waiting to hear where the next bomb will strike. Gabriel knows, and he tries to stop it. Unfortunately, he is the one who is stopped, and now visions of the carnage that day obsess his haunted memories.
So when the chance comes along to seriously cripple this terrorist group in its infancy, Gabriel cannot say no. But just how does one go about such a massive undertaking? Haven't our leaders been trying for years? And haven't we found that the al-Qaedas of our time play by their own rules and continue to adapt to each new effort to stop them? So what could Gabriel possibly do to destroy them? His plan is nothing short of genius. There's just one catch, and it's a doozy: He needs the help of Nadia al Bakari, the woman whose father he killed before her very eyes. He also needs a little help from the art world.
The request for action comes from none other than the Americans in the form of Gabriel's old contact, Adrian Carter, director of the National Clandestine Service branch of the CIA. Why would a superpower like the U.S. need the help of one Israeli agent? Deniability, maybe, or an inability to act quickly enough. It could be tha