Book Review: “House of Spies”

In his new thriller, House of Spies, New York Times bestselling author Daniel Silva once again recruits Gabriel Allon, art restorer, master spy and assassin, to prevent acts of terror by those who hate the West and Israel.

Silva’s 20th novel features the indomitable Gabriel grappling with his nemesis Saladin, the Islamic State’s most celebrated and notorious terrorist and survivor from Silva’s previous acclaimed bestseller, The Black Widow. Saladin, whose resourcefulness knows no bounds, repeatedly eludes Gabriel and his minions while pursuing the nuclear material needed to build a dirty bomb. We can barely keep up with Gabriel and company as they pursue Saladin through the streets of London’s metropolitan West End, then along the opulent shores of St. Tropez in the south of France, and finally across the blistering desert sands of Morocco.

But Gabriel and Saladin are not the only familiar faces in this newly published heart-pounding book. Early on, we discover that Gabriel has finally succeeded his irascible mentor, Ari Shomron, as the head of The Office (Mossad). Other favorites, like Chiara, Gabriel’s incredibly beautiful and intelligent wife, and Uzi Navot, his friend and one-time competitor, make cameo appearances. Nonetheless, it is the newly minted face of Saladin, Gabriel’s ruthless archenemy, who wreaks havoc and commands Gabriel’s undivided attention. One wonders if Saladin, the perpetual survivor, will continue to frustrate his chief adversary’s attempts to unmask and dispatch him in legendary Gabriel-like fashion. As is his custom, Silva keeps us dangling from a thread of suspense until the denouement in the final chapters.

In “House of Spies,” Silva retains the artistry and skill of graphic description that we relish, as he frames the struggles of Gabriel and Saladin on a canvas of murder, massacre and mayhem. In telling his story, Silva leaves us with the impression that we are reading fact secreted behind a facade of fiction. It is a tribute to his extraordinary writing skills that this work reads as though it were extracted from the pages of an on-site historian. If Silva follows his usual schedule of adventures, we will have to wait patiently until the summer of 2018 for his next novel. For fans of Daniel Silva and Gabriel Allon, a year is a long time between books, but well worth the wait.



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