The Fallen Angel
The body of a female is found in St. Peter’s Basilica. At first glance, it is assumed to be a suicide. That theory doesn’t hold water for long, though. The scene looks suspicious, and the woman, who worked in antiquities, had displayed no sign of impending thoughts of suicide. But with the scandals rocking the Roman Catholic Church these days, Pope Paul VII needs someone to quietly investigate and deflect attention from the specter of a murderer in their midst. His right-hand man, Monsignor Donati, takes care of it.
“Not surprisingly, the monsignor chose as his inquisitor a man much like himself. A fallen angel in black. A sinner in the city of saints.”
"More than ever, Daniel Silva is at the top of his game with THE FALLEN ANGEL. The series has proven to be an extraordinarily intelligent look into the world of terrorism, with an almost frightening sense of pairing to the real-world happenings around us."
Gabriel Allon has been in retirement since his last assignment. He worked for the secret Israeli agency known only as The Office. He and his wife, Chiara, have been enjoying some well-earned peace. Lately, Gabriel has been spending his days restoring an age-ravaged Caravaggio at the conservation lab of the Vatican. So when he arrives at the basilica the morning of the grisly discovery, he is approached by Donati and quickly taken aside for a hushed conference. His immediate response: Find someone else. If only that were possible. No time passes before Gabriel’s old professionalism takes over, and he begins a discreet inquiry into the woman’s movements in the days leading up to her death.
What began as an effort to ferret out the truth behind tragic circumstances and implement a sort of media whitewash soon blossoms into a full-scale terrorist hunt, with some interesting ties to stolen antiquities. Each clue Gabriel follows reveals signs of a more ingenious and devastating plot. With impending dread, he realizes that the worldwide repercussions will be huge if he doesn’t stop them.
The timing centers on Good Friday. This year, Pope Paul VII wants to deliver a special message from the old city of Jerusalem. Gabriel would like nothing more than to dissuade His Holiness from these plans, but the pope remains steadfast. His message must get through. The ancient holy lands need to return to their beginnings, and bitter enemies have to put aside their differences and learn to live together. That all sounds commendable, but Gabriel has his doubts about the outcome. Vowing to do his best, he soon finds himself back in Israel, assembling a formidable group of well-trained spies. Even the retired director, Ari Shamron, stands by to offer his valued opinion.
Gabriel keeps Chiara away from the action, but pulls in Uzi Navot and his team of the best agents in Israel, maybe in any country. Time is short, and there's a parade of decoys and false clues aimed at throwing Gabriel off the scent. He is up against some of the most brilliant criminals in his career, ones who are quite rich and have a seemingly bottomless hatred for Israel and all things Jewish. He will need to use all his training, intuition and life experiences to come out of this alive. Then, if he does, can he finally say those three little words: “Find someone else”?
More than ever, Daniel Silva is at the top of his game with THE FALLEN ANGEL. The series has proven to be an extraordinarily intelligent look into the world of terrorism, with an almost frightening sense of pairing to the real-world happenings around us. If you aren’t yet a fan of Gabriel Allon, you will be after reading this latest installment. Silva has an uncanny way of scaring his readers half to death. Just try sleeping once you’ve finished this book.
Reviewed by Kate Ayers on July 19, 2012