Portrait of a Spy review  104

Daniel Silva ✓ 4 review

The corridors of power in Washington to the glamorous auction houses of New York and London to the unforgiving landscape of the Saudi desert Featuring a climax that will leave listeners haunted long after the final words this deeply entertaining story is also a breathtaking portrait of courage in the face of unspeakable evil and Daniel Silva's most extraordinary novel to date I am resuming reading Gabriel Allon after a break where I was reading only indie authors for a month What a relief to come back to something familiar and well written The story is similar to its predecessors and the beats are the same But the book is so much fun that you never get bored Decorum to Zen Doodle Unleashed the glamorous auction houses of New York and London Thick to DIGIGRA sexy gravure vol395 yua kuramochi the unforgiving landscape of Folk Shawls the Saudi desert Featuring a climax Why Knock Rock? that will leave listeners haunted long after Fiction Writers Workshop the final words Witch, Please (Not Your Basic Witch this deeply entertaining story is also a breathtaking portrait of courage in Fabricate the face of unspeakable evil and Daniel Silva's most extraordinary novel First & Then to date I am resuming reading Gabriel Allon after a break where I was reading only indie authors for a month What a relief Painting Garden Birds with Sherry C. Nelson (Decorative Painting) to come back Ella Puede! to something familiar and well written The story is similar Newlyweds Anal Lessons to its predecessors and The Millionairess the beats are Elements of the Writing Craft the same But Me Tawk Funny the book is so much fun E.E. Cummings that you never get bored

characters Ò PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ✓ Daniel Silva

Portrait of a Spy

Haunted by his failure to stop a suicide bomber in London Gabriel Allon is summoned to Washington and drawn into a confrontation with the new face of global terror At the center of the threat is an American born cleric in Yemen who was once a paid CIA assetGabriel and his team devise a daring plan to destroy the network of death from the inside a gambit fraught with risk both “A very wise man once told me that hope is not an acceptable strategy when lives are at stake”This is the 11th novel in Mr Silva’s Gabriel Allon series and although some of the books are formulaic I find if I read one every so often I don’t get too annoyed with itIn “Portrait of a Spy” Silva has strong words for a Europe that he clearly thinks has been foolish in its handling of Islamic terrorism I have noticed calling out of Europe pops up in a couple of his book thus far This book was published in 2011 and Silva also takes obvious swipes at President Obama’s foreign policy which was decidedly limp wristed during his first term A character says “There was a time when novelists wrote narrative and journalists were content to report facts And the facts are uite simple There exists in the world today an organized force that seeks to weaken or even destroy the West through acts of indiscriminate violence This force is a part of a broader radical movement to impose sharia law and restore the Islamic Caliphate And no amount of wishful thinking will make it go away” Silva through his characters finds such people perhaps well intentioned but ultimately foolish The author does give the president a redemptive moment in the text however when behind the scenes he makes a decision that does lead to terrorist threats being diminished I should say that Silva never mentions the politicians in his books by name they are not characters per se At least he didn’t with Presidents Bush and Obama or the other foreign leaders who make appearances in his texts These fictional tales he weaves are set in and amongst real life events of the early 21st century but they are also somewhat apart from themElements of the text I really enjoyedI enjoy how Silva incorporates the high dollar art world in this series and in this novel and its predecessor particularly I appreciate how evenhanded the Allon series is Silva does not whitewash over the sins of the West or of Israel What he does not do is excuse murderous action towards innocents regardless of who is perpetrating it“Portrait of a Spy” also has a character from Saudi Arabia named Nadia that I just fell in love with If there are folks like her in the world there is hope for the Middle East yetMy adventures with Mr Allon will continue The series remains solid

review Portrait of a Spy

Personal and professional To succeed Gabriel must reach into his violent past A woman waits there a reclusive heiress and art collector who can traverse the murky divide between Islam and the West She is the daughter of an old enemy and together they form an unlikely and dangerous bondSet against the disparate worlds of art and intelligence Portrait of a Spy moves swiftly from Is it my imagination or have I read this book before Actually I have not but the plot is nothing to write home about Its not that I am tired of Silva's ability to write because he still remains a great read but the plots are a tad tired and the characters are looking a little frayed around the edgesI liked the book but its too similar Formulaic in the extremeSilva may be a master of espionage but his stories are depressingly the same


10 thoughts on “Portrait of a Spy

  1. says:

    “A very wise man once told me that hope is not an acceptable strategy when lives are at stake”This is the 11th novel in Mr Silva’s Gabriel Allon series and although some of the books are formulaic I find if I read one every so often I don’t get too annoyed with itIn “Portrait of a Spy” Silva has strong words for a Europe that he clearly thinks has been foolish in its handling of Islamic terrorism I have noticed calling out of Europe pops up in a couple of his book thus far This book was published in 2011 and Silva also takes obvious swipes at President Obama’s foreign policy which was decidedly limp wristed during his first term A character says “There was a time when novelists wrote narrative and journalists were content to report facts And the facts are uite simple There exists in the world today an organized force that seeks to weaken or even destroy the West through acts of indiscriminate violence This force is a part of a broader radical movement to impose sharia law and restore the Islamic Caliphate And no amount of wishful thinking will make it go away” Silva through his characters finds such people perhaps well intentioned but ultimately foolish The author does give the president a redemptive moment in the text however when behind the scenes he makes a decision that does lead to terrorist threats being diminished I should say that Silva never mentions the politicians in his books by name they are not characters per se At least he didn’t with Presidents Bush and Obama or the other foreign leaders who make appearances in his texts These fictional tales he weaves are set in and amongst real life events of the early 21st century but they are also somewhat apart from themElements of the text I really enjoyedI enjoy how Silva incorporates the high dollar art world in this series and in this novel and its predecessor particularly I appreciate how evenhanded the Allon series is Silva does not whitewash over the sins of the West or of Israel What he does not do is excuse murderous action towards innocents regardless of who is perpetrating it“Portrait of a Spy” also has a character from Saudi Arabia named Nadia that I just fell in love with If there are folks like her in the world there is hope for the Middle East yetMy adventures with Mr Allon will continue The series remains solid


  2. says:

    This is another spy novel in the Gabriel Allon series It is excellent like all the others in the series My only complaint is that it is starting to feel a little repetitious Here again Allon sends a willing female into the lion's den of a known terrorist The purpose is to make an identification of the terrorist mastermind in order to ensure that the correct person is assassinated Here the terrorist uses some of the same confusion causing tactics as in at least one of the other books One of the most attractive aspects of this book as in the others in the series is Gabriel Allon's skill in restoring old paintings He is a master at this and there are scenes in which he interacts with art dealers art auctions and the canvas Another interesting aspect is the spy's interactions with the spy agencies of the US and the UK They depend on one another and a great deal of bargaining goes into their cooperation Moreover bigger is not always betterThe action is slow in this book but that should not deter anyone from reading it The characters are true to life The story is engaging and the story telling is top notch


  3. says:

    Silva again justifies my claim that he is today's best writer of international intrigue He is to our world of jihad what Ludlum and Le Carre were to the cold war unrivaled Not only does he write ahead of the headlines but imbues this struggle with courage and character in the face of unspeakable evil Unlike Clancy and Flynn Daniel Silva writes of a world which is complex and nuanced than a testosterone tempestHis lead is Gabriel Allon an art restorer and at large agent of Israeli Intelligence By setting his stories against the disparate worlds of art and intelligence Silva constantly reminds us of the humanity at the core of any effort worth fighting for His most recent The Rembrandt Affair was a tour de force This portrait is not of Gabriel but rather by Gabriel of Nadia a reclusive Arab heiress and mogul who is trapped and revealed at the juncture between Islam and the West This portrait of cultural conflict and resurrection is one of the strongest contemporary feminine characterizations in literature today To learn of our world and to feel humanly for our collective future read Portrait of a Spy TS Elliot would feel this is a worthy piece of literature to share a conceit with his other famous portrait


  4. says:

    Is it my imagination or have I read this book before Actually I have not but the plot is nothing to write home about Its not that I am tired of Silva's ability to write because he still remains a great read but the plots are a tad tired and the characters are looking a little frayed around the edgesI liked the book but its too similar Formulaic in the extremeSilva may be a master of espionage but his stories are depressingly the same


  5. says:

    I read the first Gabriel Allon installment over a decade ago and maybe one other since then so I was familiar with the main characters and their professions Book #11 is post 911 and its plot is pertinent to our times It is a sturdy and thoughtful book about spy recruitment and one in which characters are studied and exposed through the author’s writing The pace is steady the characters are fully developed and the plot gives insight into the world wide cooperation of combating terrorist activity I immensely enjoyed this audible book


  6. says:

    This is the 11th Gabriel Allon novel from Silva and it is very good At the same time when you've done ten previous titles in a series then it's easy for things to start to seem repetitive and derivative of previous outings and that's once again the problem here The last time around the problem was surmounted by a particularly good plot line but this one takes a bit of a step back on the plot front making the formulaic aspects of things noticeable Perhaps some of it is because I've read several of the titles in the past six months or so in an attempt to get caught up on the series but I've treated other series authors in similar ways in the past and not had this same sense of having been there and done that Oh well The bottom line is that for whatever the reason things did not seem particularly fresh here For starters Gabriel an art restorer when he's not helping out Israeli intelligence has been given a new restoration commission which can only mean that he's about to get drawn back into his old life once again just as washing your car can only mean that it's going to rain tomorrow And so Gabriel and his old antiterrorism team are reunited once again and set about to put down the bad guys by employing their usual methods including the use of some tactics that are tied to Allon's knowledge of art and the art world And they or less succeed as always but not without cost and not without as always a lot of angst and suffering and guilt for AllonAnd perhaps it is this last point that is beginning to get tedious for me because everyone involved in this story would have been upset and disappointed by the things that went wrong here but once again it is Allon who needs the time to recover mentally; it is Allon who has everyone worried; it is Allon who needs delicate handling by people tiptoeing around his damaged psyche etc Yes he's the one who took some physical abuse as things played out but they all failed when failure happened not just Allon and this willingness of his to take on the weight of the world is admirable but tedious Yes I'm repeating that word because it fits so well here And the whole thing just doesn't speak highly of the rest of the team who if the lack of any mention is at all indicative just went back to their regular lives with no scars of any kind or somethingBeyond that two particular oddities stood out for me in this one The first was the choice of artwork for the hardback cover which I realize isn't exactly something that is entirely within the control of the author But here we get an image of the Louvre which I would think would lead most readers to think that this particular museum is going to play a role in the story and probably a significant one But in reality it plays no role at all other than to have its windows rattled at one point So anyone who picks up this book as a Louvre fan is going to be uite disappointed I can only assume that the cover was meant to speak to both the art side of the story and to its European elements but it still seems like a deceptive choice to me The second oddity was one that definitely fell into Silva's purview on the other hand Near the end of the book one of Allon's team is working with a group of Israeli commandos and they are making their way to Allon's location to lend him a hand when well nothing That's it They're on their way and then we never hear anything about them We hear another character mention this team member later on indicating that he is alive and well and all of that but there's a huge hole in his narrative and we hear nothing from him at all about this missing time Did he and the commando team just give up? Were they in reality the Saudi military patrol that Silva mentions? And if so why misidentify them to the reader?In any case and in spite of these issues Silva continues to be a darn good writer who does his homework and who doesn't give in to the sort of over the top nonsense that so many thriller writers can't seem to resist And it is because of the overall uality of Silva's work that I expect so much from him and am disappointed when something falls short and it's why I believe that a review of one of his books deserves far than an I liked it or an I didn't like it As for this one and in spite of some disappointments and unanswered uestions over it I will still be reading the next and most recent outing in the series sooner rather than later And I will try to remember to blame myself at least in part for any sense of déjà vu that I experience


  7. says:

    I started reading this current book in the Gabriel Allon series while vacating in the beautiful beaches of Santorini on my mini honeymoon Soon enough I was taken away from the clear water and the mesmerizing view and thrown into the mayhem of suicide bombings executed by a new terror organization in the middle eastIf you read my former reviews about Silva’s books you know I have a soft spot for Gabriel Allon Silva’s writing is always gradual thorough and intriguing The immortal characters he had created – Gabriel Allon the legendary spy; Ari Shamron the former head of the “office”; the guilty hearted Adrian Carter from the CIA; Ciara who sings in Italian when she’s happy and when she’s sad; Uzi Navot who’s on an eternal diet while trying to adapt to his new position as new head of the office – are witty and captivatingSilva’s books always carry additional value whether in anecdotes about the art world or sharp and accurate reading of the jihad culture evolving in the middle east This time we meet Nadia al Bakari the beautiful heiress who watched her father the jihadist Zizi al Bakari being assassinated before her very eyes by the Israelis Can she overcome her need for revenge or is she in fact a double spy?Everything felt so vivid that I had to choose between magical Greece and terrible jihad so I chose my Greek fantasy But as soon as I got back home to my own reality I finished the book within several hours Now that’s what I call a compelling reading


  8. says:

    Not exactly a page turner There is action in the beginning and end In between you have endless dialogue interior monologue chapters that plod along until you're ready to scream Characters are paper thin I mean that literally since they are little than names on a page It's clear from the outset that American intelligence agencies are inept and naive Thankfully the Israelis come to the rescue and take over a huge CIA anti terrorist effort Hero Gabriel Allon an Israeli agent gets a one on one audience with the President of the United States happens all the time no? during which he appears to give the chief executive a tongue lashing He wags a finger in the President's face and tells him what to doYou have to hand it to the Israelis Mercy what would we do without them?


  9. says:

    I am resuming reading Gabriel Allon after a break where I was reading only indie authors for a month What a relief to come back to something familiar and well written The story is similar to its predecessors and the beats are the same But the book is so much fun that you never get bored


  10. says:

    Yesssssss Another Gabriel Allon bookI wonder how Silva will top himself this time The last two were the best in the series Untoppable?


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