Julian Isherwood’s art shop in London has taken a bit of a slide lately, so the offer of an all-expense-paid getaway to Lake Como seems simply irresistible. The only catch is that he needs to take a look at an art collection that an expat Englishman wishes to liquidate. Sounds simple enough. Well, it would have been if Julian had gotten there before the Englishman was murdered. Now the Italian police have picked up Julian, so it falls to Gabriel Allon to free his friend. How? Find a missing painting by the old master Caravaggio that was stolen over 40 years ago.
Until that moment when Julian needed his help, Gabriel had been at peace in Venice, restoring an altarpiece by Veronese and anxiously awaiting the birth of his twins. He truly hates the idea of leaving Chiara, and would love nothing more than to meet his deadline for the church while fussing over his pregnant wife. But he cannot desert his friend, so he embarks on yet another daring mission, something he does very well.
"In each new tale, Daniel Silva’s readers get to know the Israeli spy a little better. Here, he is softer around the edges, more human than ever. It almost becomes difficult to see him as a skilled assassin."
While at first this task seemed to have nothing at all to do with the Office, the cryptic name given to the Israel intelligence service for which Gabriel works, he discovers that the enormity of the operation will require more manpower than he had originally thought, mostly due to the fact that their target is far larger than he had anticipated: the despotic ruler of a Mideast country embroiled in turmoil.
Pivotal to their success is a young woman whose family was murdered in a horrific massacre years before in her country, the same country Gabriel’s target rules. It is a delicate operation, dependent upon many things going right. Naturally, the stakes are very high (life and death), as are the rewards (billions, yes billions, of dollars). Of course, nothing ever goes exactly according to plan, and Gabriel finds himself having to make some very tough decisions. Ultimately, he says there was never any doubt which way to go. He has no regrets.
THE HEIST spans the beautiful countries of Italy, France and Switzerland, with the occasional side trip to Israel. Following THE ENGLISH GIRL, this is the 14th Gabriel Allon thriller, every one tackling a subject exceptionally relevant in today’s news. In each new tale, Daniel Silva’s readers get to know the Israeli spy a little better. Here, he is softer around the edges, more human than ever. It almost becomes difficult to see him as a skilled assassin. Maybe it’s his impending fatherhood. Maybe it’s his growing maturity. Maybe his art restoration cover is feeling more like the career choice he should have made. Of course, that’s not to be. Gabriel has another path set out for himself: he will soon be the head of the Office, and will return to Israel to live full time with Chiara.
Naturally, Silva won’t give a hint of what is in store for his hero next, but one can easily guess that it will be even more spectacular than what he has done before. It always is.
Reviewed by Kate Ayers on July 18, 2014