“For Gabriel Allon --- a child of Holocaust survivors, a
gifted artist and restorer, an assassin and spy --- life had been
anything but normal.”
How could life possibly be normal, when he possesses the skills
of 20 men and the courage to use them? He started young and, from
the outset, has fought for what he believes in, winning battles
against crushing odds. And he has lost much of what he loved.
Now, months after Gabriel’s daring feats in MOSCOW RULES,
in which he rescued the world from a terrifying future, he and his
team deserve a well-earned respite. So Gabriel retreats to the
rented villa in Umbria, picking up the paint brush once again to
continue his art restoration, and taking time to enjoy his wife,
Chiara, an Italian woman of striking beauty. She is also a deadly
agent for the same Israeli organization Gabriel works for, referred
to as simply the Office. Their last harrowing assignment has them
both thinking of retirement. Maybe they could settle in, start a
family and try to capture a life that at least borders on
Amid such pleasant dreams comes news that Russian defector
Grigori Bulganov has vanished from his safe house in London.
Grigori saved Gabriel’s life as they fled Russia together.
There has been speculation that he returned to his homeland, but
Gabriel cannot believe Grigori would go back --- at least not
voluntarily. That means that he has been snatched or coerced
The Office gives Gabriel strict orders to stay out of it, but
Gabriel owes Grigori. Big time. If not for Grigori, Gabriel might
never have been reunited with Chiara, and the world might be a very
different place. As always, Gabriel plays by his own rules,
following an intuition so keen it could be said he has a sixth
sense. He starts with a simple plan, one that should yield maximum
benefit for minimum risk.
Grigori’s disappearance starts to look like a form of
revenge. He should have kept a low profile, but his craving for
attention got the better of him. And he got attention, only not the
kind of attention he wanted. Gabriel’s information points him
toward Ivan Kharkov, a more than formidable foe. The big problem is
that Kharkov is in Russia, and Russia is forbidden ground for
Gabriel. Of course, that never stopped him before, nor will it now.
It’s all a matter of time. But time is running out.
“Always the waiting…Waiting for a plane or a train.
Waiting for a source. Waiting for the sun to rise after a night of
killing. And waiting for Ivan Kharkov…”
There is no question that Gabriel will go after him. But will he
succeed? Kharkov is not your average bad guy. This fellow is rich,
cunning, well connected, spiteful, malicious, plain nasty, and
downright mean. And it’s no surprise that he doesn’t
take well to being crossed. The tiniest slight sends him into a
dangerous, sometimes fatal, rage. Gabriel may have to retire
after this, if he survives. It’s touch and go. Last
assignment? Daniel Silva’s fans hope not.
THE DEFECTOR blends the worst of Russia’s past with the
best of her future. Put your hopes on the women. And sidestep the
politicians. Loyal citizens, particularly those with extraordinary
abilities and tenacity, will get things done. Especially if
they’re anything like Gabriel Allon. But beware; this may be
his toughest case yet. It certainly is his most thrilling.
Reviewed by Kate Ayers on December 29, 2010