Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Book Look Review "The Defector"

“The Defector” Daniel Silva’s Latest Novel

Another best seller has arrived at the library. Apparently lots of other people were waiting for this just 6 week old newborn-at-the-end-of-July novel since it is always checked out. But I will not be deterred and I just strolled across to the books on CD and took “The Defector” right home with me.

Silva has created, in the eight proceeding books of the series, a fascinating main character symbolically named Gabriel Allon. He is Gabriel for the archangel-seen as an angel of vengeance; and Allon which means oak tree in Hebrew. Gabriel is a ruthless assassin for the Israelis and one of the world’s finest art restorers. He is a complicated agent of destruction combined with a restorer of beauty. In this latest novel he is called away from his honeymoon in Italy where he is restoring a seventeenth-century altar piece for the Vatican to rescue a Russian defector. Grigori Bulganov saved Gabriel’s life in the past and Gabriel promised him that he wouldn’t end up in an unmarked grave. Grigori has disappeared suddenly from London and may have been kidnapped by Russians. There is a real possibility that he will end up in an unmarked grave if Gabriel doesn’t rescue him.

The series began with “The Kill Artist” and “The Defector” has continued the best selling Silva formula. Lots of international intrigue combined with personal danger. In the first book, Gabriel’s family is in danger. In this book, his new wife is kidnapped. The super villain is a worthy opponent who will be defeated by the superior spy team of more worthy Israelis. Right is might being the motto here. Lots of action, lots of money and lots of tension – all plot and not too much character development to get in the way. Hopefully that isn’t too many spoilers but you shouldn’t be surprised by the similarities to other Gabriel Allon books. The combination of the threat against Israel and those he loves is the motivation that drives this assassin which makes the incentive repetition necessary and the plot development inevitable.

As in the other books with Gabriel as the lead operative, his planning and spy craft keep the reader’s attention as the action unfolds. If you enjoy a spy thriller once in a while you should get on the library reserve list for “The Defector”. It isn’t necessary to read the other books first but you may find them entertaining as well – especially the first two. I enjoyed listening to the book on CD. The accents and voices were masterful which kept the characters in tune for the listener. It turned out to be a good way to “read” a new, popular best seller. There is a warning for language and lots of violence - fast forward through it.

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