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A Death in Vienna

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A Death in Vienna

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A Death in Vienna
By Daniel Silva
Penguin Books (2005)
ISBN: 0141019085

This title is also available in Large Print

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness

A Death in Vienna is the third book in Daniel Silva's trilogy dealing with some of the unsettled issues surrounding the Holocaust. It is also his fourth book to feature the tarnished art restorer, and Israeli spy, Gabriel Allon. The first book in this trilogy, The English Assassin dealt with the assistance provided to the Nazi's by the Swiss banking institutions, in their efforts to conceal the monies and art works that the Nazis stole from the Jews during World War II. The second book, The Confessor concentrated on the role that Pope Pius XII and the Catholic Church played in the Holocaust. In A Death in Vienna, Silva tackles the contentious issue of Nazi war criminals and the ongoing efforts to bring them to justice.

This book opens with the bombing of the "Wartime Claims and Inquires" offices in Vienna, where Allon's friend, Eli Lavon works. Lavon is seriously injured in the blast, and Allon is sent to find the perpetrators of the crime. While the Austrian police chalk the event up to Moslem extremist, Allon is tripped off that it might have actually been the work of Nazi criminals hoping to prevent Lavon from discovering their whereabouts. Allon is not convinced of the connection, but as he investigates the crime he uncovers the horrific truth, a truth that is tied to the upcoming elections in Austria - and his mother's own past. The haunting evidence that he uncovers has the possibility of awakening old wounds that are still festering - but at what cost?

Although a fiction novel, this book touches upon several, contentious, but nonetheless, factual occurrences. For example, the United States' complicity, after World War II, in protecting Nazi war criminals in order to use them in the fight against the Communist. Silva also touches upon the pro-Nazi sentiments still prevalent in Austria. At its heart, however, A Death in Vienna is a fast-paced, thriller that pits Allon against the forces of evil that are willing to go to any extreme to keep Allon from uncovering the truth.

A chilling story, A Death in Vienna will keep you glued to the book until the very end. A Death in Vienna is serves as an excellent conclusion to this thematically linked trilogy. Hopefully, it does not mean the end of Allon. A skilled spy and assassin, Allon has a knack for getting to the truth of a matter with finesse. He is also a troubled man, with a tragic past, which tends to make him a hard shelled character. He is definitely not your lovable James Bond type of spy. However, it is his very roughness that makes the reader sympathize with him, and hope that his relationship with Chiara will help to ease his wounds. If nothing else, Chiara, the beautiful Venetian Rabbi's daughter, does manage to save Allon's life on more than one occasion. Combined, Allon and Chiara make a delightful, and deadly team, and I look forward to seeing them work together in future books.


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