Friday, July 29, 2016

Review of "The English Spy" by Daniel Silva

Israeli spy/art restorer Gabriel Allon is about to become the father of twins and the head of the Israeli spy agency when a British princess and her entourage are blown up. The perpetrator is Quinn, the expert bomb-maker Gabriel deems ultimately responsible for the death of his first wife and child. So Gabriel goes back into the field with the goal of finding and killing Quinn.

Gabriel teams up with Keller, an AWOL British soldier and skilled assassin - soon to be an agent of MI6 - and they're off on a multi-country adventure. Before long Gabriel and Keller are lured to the site of a major bombing and Gabriel is 'killed' (wink wink) which might just lower the guard of the bad guys.

The story has a variety of interesting characters including a beautiful Russian agent who bedded the British Prime Minister - and was later sprung out of Russia by Gabriel; angry revenge-seeking Russians; a cell of the Irish Republican Army (IRA); a double-dealing Iranian; a British mole; and so on. There's an interesting rivalry between the heads of MI5 and MI6, who have to work together but willingly sabotage each other when things go awry.

During the course of the story the reader gets a seemingly authentic and fascinating peek into spycraft, running agents, exposing double agents, prying information out of people (Jack Bauer style) and more. This kind of thing is always fun to experience vicariously (well maybe not the torture).

This is a well-crafted, fast-paced story that kept my attention from the first page to the last. Highly recommended to fans of espionage thrillers.

Rating: 4 stars

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