four-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
25-Nov-Dec-2006
By: 
Daniel Silva
user_rating: 
0

A-The MessengerIsraeli secret agent Gabriel Allon would rather just restore fine art, but he can’t seem to retire from espionage. In Prince of Fire (2005), Allon returned to work when a Palestinian bombed the Israeli embassy in Rome. This time, Allon suspects that Saudi terrorists are targeting the Vatican. When they damage St. Peter’s Basilica, murder innocent bystanders, and almost kill the Pope, Allon, sanctioned by the U.S. and Israel, becomes enmeshed in a deadly game. He must hunt down an al-Qaeda mastermind and the Saudi billionaire who finances terrorism, penetrate the organization, assassinate its leaders, and save a beautiful American art expert from certain death.
Putnam. 352 pages. $25.95. ISBN: 0399153357

Baltimore Sun 4 of 5 Stars
"Being a spy is already a glamorous enough occupation in the fictional realm, but Gabriel Allon … has extra cachet because of his cover as one of the world’s leading art restoration experts. … How it’s resolved is what makes The Messenger so entertaining, much in part to Allon’s ingenuity and Silva’s ability to spin a spider web of a plot." Sarah Weinman

Denver Post 4 of 5 Stars
"Daniel Silva reaches the pinnacle of world-class spy thriller writing with his most recent novel. … The characters have nuance and depth, which affects their actions and makes them more human even as they tackle an inhuman goal." Leslie Doran

Orlando Sentinel 4 of 5 Stars
"For Silva fans, getting there is always half the fun. … [He] drives home his thesis that Saudi money keeps global terrorism afloat while moving the action from the Mideast to Europe and Washington and the Caribbean." Ann Hellmuth

Philadelphia Inquirer 4 of 5 Stars
"One of the things that is most remarkable about Silva’s books is that, after reading them, you’ve probably learned something, and maybe even had your eyes opened a little wider, but you’re never quite sure what Silva himself believes. … But by allowing his intelligent, insightful characters to argue it out, it’s hard for us not to be moved in one direction or another." David J. Montgomery

USA Today 4 of 5 Stars
"Readers who are looking for serious novels that reflect the growing threat of global terrorism need look no further . … The Messenger’s blood-spattered, true-to-life backdrop pumps up this thrill ride of a story, but its underlying messages about fundamentalism, revenge, oil dependency and cultural differences are what will keep you awake at night." Robin Cook

Washington Post 3.5 of 5 Stars
"It is written in broad strokes, with villains more loathsome, terrorist attacks more spectacular, and a plot more melodramatic than he’s given us in the past. … It’s a good read, but I kept finding annoying flaws in the telling." Patrick Anderson

Critical Summary

The five previous spy thrillers featuring Gabriel Allon addressed topics including the Munich Olympics massacre, Yasir Arafat, and the Vatican. The Messenger, about global terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism, resounded just as loudly with critics. Fortunately, Daniel Silva has also written an ingenious, thrilling, and entertaining book with complex characters and settings, from London and Jerusalem to Rome, that serve the plot well. While one critic cited Silva’s bias toward Israel, the majority felt that the author created characters with different perspectives and left readers to form their own opinions. In the end, they agreed that "Gabriel Allon remains one of the most intriguing heroes of any thriller series" (Philadelphia Inquirer).

Start of the Series

The Kill Artist (2000): Art restorer and former Mossad agent Gabriel Allon comes out of retirement to help foil a Palestinian plot to assassinate Yasir Arafat—and destroy peace negotiations.