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The Messenger

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The Messenger

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The Messenger
By Daniel Silva
Putnam Adult (2006)
ISBN: 0399153357

This book is also available in Large Print

Reviewed by Anna Dogole - September 19, 2006

Gabriel Allon, Israeli super-spy and famed art restorer is back on the job, again, after another abortive attempt at going into retirement. Al-Qaeda backed terrorists have their eye on the Pope. To get at the Pope, they launch an audacious attack on the Vatican. Allon, friend to both the Pope and his private secretary, Monsignor Luigi Donati soon finds himself on the trail of the terrorists who, if not stopped in time, could wreck havoc around the world.

The Messenger is a fast paced thriller that is well plotted, full of extraordinarily well wrought characters, and plenty of twists and turns to keep you turning the pages without pause. Written by Daniel Silva, the story is full of really nasty bad guys with a plethora of adherents willing to turn themselves into human bombs. Shortly after the attack on the Vatican, Allon returns to Israel to accept a post as chief os Special Ops. However, the attack on the Vatican becomes unabashedly personal for Allon when one of his closest friends is attacked by members of the same terrorist organization. Turning down his new posting, Allon sets out to find the culprits responsible for the attacks, not only to prevent future attacks but also to bring them to justice - and to exact revenge!

As events unfold Allon soon finds himself on the trail of the Ahmed Bin Shafiq, a terrorist mastermind who is backed by Abdul Aziz "Zizi" al-Bakari, a Saudi billionaire who is connected to the Saudi royal family. To catch Shafiq, Allon teams up with Sarah Bancroft a CIA operative and art curator. Together, they infiltrate Zizi's network. In true Silva fashion, things do not go according to plan. This is a thrilling story and Silva keeps you wondering just how he'll get Allon out alive, let alone achieve his goals.

If you are familiar with Silva previous books featuring Gabriel Allon, you'll find that this book contains many of the same characters and interwoven into the story is a continuing story line about Allon's personal life - including his relationship with his wife, who suffered a severe mental breakdown after their son was killed in a terrorist bombing, and his on and off again romance with Chiara Zolli. If you are not familiar with Allon's ever developing back story - don't worry. Silva has included more than sufficient details into the story to bring newcomers up to date with the series.

The Messenger is a richly detailed page-turner full of action and intrigue. The story moves along at a rapid pace and it is peppered with false leads and red herrings. Most important, Allon is a character that the reader can form a strong empathic bond with, and you really want him to succeed. The book ends a bit abruptly for my liking, but I'm sure that there is another Allon book in the works that will help to satiate the reader's need to know more about this complex and enigmatic character.

The Messenger is the sixth book in the Gabriel Allon series. Here is a list of all the books in this series:
  1. The Kill Artist

  2. The English Assassin

  3. The Confessor

  4. A Death in Vienna

  5. Prince of Fire

  6. The Messenger

  7. The Secret Servant

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