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Prince of Fire

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Prince of Fire

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Prince of Fire
By Daniel Silva
Large Print Edition
Signet (2006)
ISBN: 0451215737

This title is also available in Large Print

Reviewed by Anna Dogole

After a horrific suicide bombing at the Israeli Embassy in Rome, the famed art restorer, Gabriel Allon, is called out of retirement and is reenlisted in the Israeli Secret Service. For years Allon had served the Israelis as a free lance spy and assassin, but he thought he'd put that part of his life behind him. During the investigation of the bombing, it became apparent that his enemies had discovered his whereabouts and had been tracking his movements, as well as those of his fiancee, Chiara Zolli, the daughter of the Chief Rabbi of Venice. With his professional dossier exposed, it is no longer safe for him to continue life 'in the open' and he is recalled to Israel and set to work tracking down the terrorists who had mastermind the Rome bombing.

His return to the world of espionage is heart-wrenching for Allon. Art restoration was his passion and he was one of the best restorers in the world. Returning to the secret service would mean that this aspect of his life was most likely dead forever. In addition, he had been planning on marrying Zolli, once he divorced his wife. Like leaving his work as a restorer, leaving his wife is harder than most would expect. His wife had been severely burned and disfigured in a car bombing that also claimed the life of their son. The murder of her son caused her to have a mental breakdown, and for the last thirteen years she has been living in a psychiatric hospital. Although she doesn't recognize Allon, or even seem aware of her surroundings, Allon feels it only right to tell her that he has fallen in love with another and that he wants to divorce her so he can remarry. This is one task, however, that he might not be able to accomplish. Allon still loves Leah, and he is still plagued by guilt over the bombing.

The main focus of this story is Allon and his team's efforts to track down Khaled al-Khalifa, a terrorist who has made it his life's work to seek revenge for ancient wrongs. Khaled has been living for years under the guise of Paul Martineau and working as an archaeologist. Periodically, he takes time off from his excavations to carry out deadly acts of vengeance to commemorate what he sees as past wrongs. As Allon hunts Khaled, Khaled is also hunting Allon, and at times it is hard to tell just who is the mouse and who is the cat in this deadly hunt.

Prince of Fire is Daniel Silva's fifth novel featuring Gabriel Allon, and it follows A Death in Vienna. Within the pages of this book, Silva offers the reader a well-plotted and suspenseful spy thriller that has an unexpected and hair-raising ending. The characters are well defined, Allon is fantastic as the tortured hero, and the story is believable. Intertwined with the main story line, Silva also examines the reasons behind the long-standing animosities between the Israelis and the Palestinians. He also looks at the role that Yasir Arafat has had in keeping these long standing angers smoldering - for his own political objectives. Prince of Fire is another fine addition to the Gabriel Allon series, and I highly recommend it. It is a riveting spy thriller, and while I recommend that your read the Allon books in order, this book can be read independently of the other books in the series.

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