|The Secret Servant
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"In Amsterdam, a terrorism analyst named Ephraim Rosner lies dead, brutally murdered by a Muslim immigrant. The Amsterdam police believe the killer is a deranged extremist, but others know better. Just twenty-four hours before, Rosner had requested an urgent meeting with Israeli intelligence. Now it is Gabriel Allon's job to find out what Rosner knew, and when he does, it confirms his worst fears: a major terrorist operation is in the works. But not even Allon could have predicted what it is. In London, a young woman vanishes. She is the daughter of the American ambassador--and goddaughter of the president of the United States--and the kidnappers' demands are at once horrifically clear and clearly impossible to meet. With time running out, Allon has no choice but to plunge into a desperate search, both for the woman and for those responsible, but the truth, when he finds it, is not what he expects. In fact, it is one that will shake him--and many others--to the core. Intense and provocative, filled with breathtaking double and triple turns of plot, The Secret Servant is not only a fast-paced international thriller but an exploration of some of the most daunting questions of our time."
- Glad I Bought It!!!!
Audio - Review of Secret Servant
Plot - Quick, flowing, until the very end, the bit about the wedding could have been left out or confined to a quick five or ten minute, at the most a short chapter. It was nice to know they finally did get married but the details, I found to be unnecessary.
The story was not only timely but also very realistic; the course of events could have easily been written in any newspaper. But we the reader or listener, get to hear or read all those little details that couldn't be released to the public. There's something tantalizing about knowing the details that the author stated that were not released in any official document. Pretend that only you and the characters are privy (along with the thousands of other people who read the book) to the book's `For Your Eyes Only' information.
Characters - I will definitely read or listen to more books in the series. I loved the characters. I found the fact that the main character not only serves in an intelligence role but is able to maintain a separate and normal existence as an art restorer as a relief to all those other one dimensional James Bond types. Gabriel Allon, the main character is perfect for the simple reason he isn't. He has to do what he has to do. He is not without feelings but he knows when and where those feeling are appropriate. He's not some young stud that runs around bedding women without a second thought; he has an ex-wife with major problems, though I wasn't sure of details. But still it's wasn't dismal, sad but it didn't drown in self-pity. I plan to go back and read the rest of the books in the series after I read Moscow Rules. He's a man who's lost a child, a grown son, so you know he's not some young whippersnapper. He's intelligent, well organized, a man that you want to know, at least as an art restorer.
The majority of the rest of the characters were well rounded, enjoyable and at times, scary. I wanted to know more about the characters and not just the good guys. It would be nice to learn what happened to them after the book ended which to me indicated an emotional investment that I developed for the characters. The use of characters were perfect, some had small but crucial roles.
Settings - Wonderfully described, detailed without being boring or slowing the story down.
Narrator - Excellent, I enjoyed the narrator's work a great deal, while the voices of the females character were not perfect, they within a tolerant range. It's not easy for a man to do a female voice without it sounding awful or laughable. Don't get me wrong it's no better for a female doing a male voice. It is truly an art when a narrator can nail the voice of a character of the opposite sex.
Bottom line, a fantastic book with great characters and a terrific story.
- Its No Secret, Silva's On it
Sometimes reading the author is worth a lot more than what the book actually sells for. And in this case, I'd rather read something a little less than great by Silva than some of the top names in fiction. And please don't misunderstand, Silva is one of the top names! But Silva knows how to hit the nail on the head, and he sometimes adds fuel to the fire to get it real interesting. I like that!
Enjoy this one, as Gabriel Allon allows his work to take him to Amsterdam after a little discovery of his own. And when you thought that finding an U.S. ambassador's daughter was an assignment, just wait until he has some work to do in Denmark! And you simply thought that Copenhagen was good chewing tobacco! In the process, you'll find out that there just might be more to The Sphinx than you thought. But expect this to have some themes concerning post 9/11, with a possible Sword of Allah to interweave from time to time.
Silva is a natural master at his craft, and that's certainly no secret. But this one just isn't great like the other ones were. But that doesn't take anything away from the story. Does a little bit of Daniel Silva's agenda blend in with all this? Oh yeah, but that's ok. I say in the end it makes for a better story all in all. And it gets me more than ready for an adventure such as "Moscow Rules," because I know how good Silva really is. That's certainly no secret, because Silva has always been on it!
- Amazing as always
Excellent plot, full of action! Daniel Silva never seizes to amaze us with his great novels. Gabriel Allon stands in my book as the Israeli James Bond. Really great book for everyone who would enjoy a very good spy-action story!...more info
- very enjoyable read
From page one I enjoyed this book. It was one of the best I've read in a long time. I'm a Silva fan. Details, events and enjoyable characters make this one a must for action and spy enthusiasts. And, Mr. Silva always includes just the right amount of romance to keep us enticed. Can't wait for his next one. ...more info
- A good Silva Novel
Read it in only a few days. Very good. Characters remain fun to read. Not the best of the series, but close....more info
- The Sound Is No Secret
The premise is intriguing; a terrorist plot perpetrated at locations around London causes death, destruction and a diversion to the kidnapping of the daughter of the ambassador from the United States.
Through a mysterious link used by a murdered author - who had maneuvered within the shadows of terrorism and intelligence - Israeli spy Gabriel Allon finds himself on the trail of the perpetrators and the mysterious mastermind who goes by the codename of the "Sphinx."
Author Daniel Silva does a masterful job in linking stories culled from the front pages of newspapers and magazines - along with little-known historical facts - to lend an air of credibility the pursuit through Europe, but ultimately falls short with the use of typical scenarios found in less than thrilling thrillers.
Allon has unbelievable recuperative powers - though he is viciously pistol-whipped, assaulted by several thugs and near a massive explosion - which makes him more super hero than human agent. The dialogue between Allon and the terrorists seems best in a cartoon-styled plot, as the tough guy banter sounds like boasting juveniles on a school playground. And there are story lines that come to an abrupt halt, which lead to many more puzzling questions than answers.
Silva has built a franchise with the exploits of Allon. But this novel builds up to a large thud...and it isn't just the noise of the bad guys getting their comeuppance in the end.
- Gabriel Allon wages war on Islamic extremists in taut, violent novel
Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon series is now into its seventh entry, and the series continues to get better and better. Allon, an Israeli assassin who helped Israel counterattack after the debacle in Munich in 1972, is a hero for the ages - supremely gifted, doggedly patriotic, and sick to death of the chaos that destroyed his first family and threatens his second.
In the past, Silva has used Allon to expose Europe's dark past and its current amnesia about how various governments tolerated and accomodated the Nazis. With "The Secret Servant," Silva changes his focus and uses Allon as the vehicle to pen a scathing indictment of Islamic extremists. Evil terrorists get the plot going with the murder of an Israeli academic in Amerstam and up the ante with a murderous kidnapping in the heart of London.
And they got a dream target - the daughter of the wealthy U.S. ambassador to England who just happens to be the god-daughter of the President. Given a short timeline and catastrophic consequences, Allon moves heaven and earth to track down the terrorists.
This novel proves that Silva is among the best in the business at crafting thrillers. Not only is "The Secret Servant" a page-turner in the classic sense, Silva also manages to have the novel be about something. Silva's novels are always deeper than the other thrillers out there - as much as I love Lee Child's Jack Reacher novels, they are really not about anything more than Reacher unleashing havoc in an exhilirating book. Silva's Gabriel Allon series has at its core the persecution of Israel and the Jews, and while Silva leaves little doubt where he stands on the complex questions of the Middle East, his books are no less thrilling merely because they are about something.
Contrary to the suggestion in the Amazon.com review, I strongly recommend reading these novels in order - the back stories are critical....more info
- The wolf is through the front door
The plot of THE SECRET SERVANT is simple enough. The daughter of the American ambassador to the Court of St. James, Elizabeth Halton, is kidnapped by Islamic jihadists during a morning jog in Hyde Park. Not only is Elizabeth the daughter of Robert Halton, friend to the U.S. President, but the latter is her godfather. Gabriel Allon, the veteran and insubordinate Israeli super spy, works with (or not) the U.S., British, and Danish secret services to get her back before she's executed.
THE SECRET SERVANT is a solid, absorbing read. But since it demonstrates no special cleverness or plot twists and the hero is, in my opinion, relatively uncharismatic compared to others perched on the bookshelves in hosts of other thrillers, e.g. Jack Reacher and Dan "Spider" Shepherd, I would give only 3 stars. (This is, after all, written to be entertainment.) However, I'm awarding four since author Daniel Silva effectively makes the point, both in the fictional narrative and in an Author's Note, as to the degree which radical Islam has embedded itself in British and other European societies. In the name of political and religious tolerance, the governments concerned have let the wolf in through the front door and the coming decades aren't going to be pretty.
In a recent issue of a national WEEKly news magazine, the hand-wringing reviewer of THE SECRET SERVANT took Allon to task for the violent methods his character employed to extract information from a wounded and helpless terrorist. And you know what? Gabriel's approach didn't bother me one bit because I'm not keen on the choice Osama bin Laden and his ilk would give us, i.e. convert to Islam or be beheaded. Can't we just all get along? No, I think not. Tribalism is alive and well. ...more info
- Silva is a master storyteller who is able to develop characters..
Yes, this is my favorite part about Silva...his ability to develop a character. Yes, Allon has been in many of his other novels but still SIlva is able to create a believable character whose decisions are based upon his crude and talented life. Allon is a character who suffers and is unsure about many things but at the same time triumphs and forges ahead like many humans. He is not perfect, we are not perfect.
At the same time I do believe that he should've developed the Sphinx more, like in his previous books The Mark of the Assassin and The Marching Season. In those books Silva develops the villain with upmost patience and clever narration.
I like Silva because his language is simple and his narration is so fluent that I easily create a clear image in my mind about the reading. Its clear and concise reading. I also enjoy all his settings...all over Europe and traveling between either the States, Egypt and Israel.
The Secret Servant is a quick read. if you have really enjoyed this novel you should check out The Unlikely Spy which is one of my favorites.
Looking forward to reading another of his books....
- The Secret Servant
Received the book quickly and in excellent condition. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to read it as yet....more info
Daniel Silva keeps outdoing himself. It seems every new book is better than the last. In The Secret Servant. Israeli intelligence works to thwart an extremist Muslim plot to overthrow the United States.
This is more of an aside than a review of this exceptionally good thriller. You may have heard the expression, Be careful what you wish for. Extremist Muslims plot to overthrow the United States; if you ask me, they are out of their minds. Nature abhors a vacuum; humanity abhors a power vacuum. In the highly unlikely event that anybody did manage to overthrow the United States, China would be the world's superpower. Speaking as an inveterate Sinophile, I have to say that if the Arabs displeased the Chinese enough to bring Chinese brawn and methods to deal with them, any surviving Muslim extremists would carry photos of George Dubya Bush in their wallets, to gaze at fondly and kiss in loving remembrance. Riling Uncle Sam is not the same as riling Dragon Hua.
Be that as it may, the extremists probably do not really want the overthrow of the US or Israel, because, as Silva points out, the US and Israel provide wonderful scapegoats and whipping boys. If the US and Israel disappeared tomorrow, fundamentalists might have to face themselves and deal with their own shortcomings; far easier to blow yourself up with explosives!
The book has a fast pace, tight construction, excellent writing, and even humor in there among the terror. Silva has produced a great thriller - again!
- Must read for understanding modern terrorism.
This book will scare you. You will never vote for a blue-blooded liberal again after reading this book. It tells the truth about the bad guys in the middle-east in an entertaining, spine-tingling story. Silva really seems to understand the issue we face with Islamic radicalism.
You MUST read this book....more info
- A solid hero who takes no prisoners
Gabriel Allon is an Israeli version of Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp. Both heroes are motivated by patriotism and have little use for laws or people that get in the way of their protecting their respective nations. In reading "The Secret Servant", I was reminded again that I truly wish people like Gabriel Allon and Mitch Rapp actually existed: we could all sleep better if they did. Perhaps it is the fact that we are dealing with a savage, implacable enemy to whom innocent civilians are victims that bring forth novelists like Silva to create the heroes we so sorely lack in real life. One gets tired, frankly, of hearing the chorus of those who would surrender their freedom - and ours - in a flash.
In any event, Daniel Silva has put together a taut thriller the offers few surprises along the way, but a lot of emotional gratification.
Solomon Rosner, mild mannered, is murdered by an Islamic radical. Rosner has been keeping tabs on the Islamic radicals and Israeli intelligence dispatches Gabriel Allon and a colleague to sort through his papers. Allon, who has another identity as an art restorer, quickly becomes aware of another Islamic radical plot taking shape. By sharp deduction, he realizes that the terrorist act is intended to take place in Britain.
In Britain, Allon is only moments too late to stop the kidnapping of the daughter of the American Ambassador to the UK. In the few moments he has at the scene, Allon kills several of the terrorists without hesitation. This is Allon's character. He does not stop to check with a lawyer. He does not pull out a copy of the Geneva Conventions. He takes whatever action is necessary, said action almost invariably inflicting anything from extreme psychological pressure to death on its subjects.
Allon is an unwelcome guest in most of Europe owing to his earlier exploits (which I now feel compelled to read of in the five earlier Allon novels). The aging boss of this branch of Israeli intelligence ("The Office") wants Allon to succeed him. Allon has very mixed emotions about his career as an assassin - and his girlfriend wants to get married now, not later. Silva paints Allon as a fairly deep person without turning him into fodder for a psychotherapist. But Allon is not the rootless drifter as, say, Jack Reacher, who will be familiar to thriller fans. And he is not the now totally wussified John Rain created by Barry Eisner. Allon, along with Rapp, are true action heroes.
Allon tracks the terrorists through Europe, playing their game just as adroitly as they do, but they still hold the edge, the captive they are threatening to murder if a terrorist held in a US prison is not set free. The hostage is the daughter of the best friend to the President and the man who financed his campaign, so the President becomes involved as well.
What Silva does best here is to paint the picture of a Europe that is increasingly subject to the demands of radical Islam. If you don't want to spend the time reading books like Melanie Phillips' Londonistanor Walter Laquer's The Last Days of Europe: Epitaph for an Old Continent, Silva provides a crash course in how Europe is being decimated from within.
The terrorists are ruthless in their quest.
Gabriel Allon is more rutheless. The "kumbaya" crowd will not find Allon to their liking.
Silva does a grand job of building suspense as the clock winds down to the zero hour when the terrorists have promised to murder their captive if their demands are unmet. There are a number of plot twists that force both Allon and the terrorists to abruptly improvise - and they're all plausible - and violent.
The conclusion is satisfyingly violent and again, those who think that terrorism can be stopped at a conference table, will not find Gabriel Allon to be an appealing character.
As someone who fervently hopes that that Islamic radicalism will be stopped before it murders more, I found Allon appealing, the plot well done and Silva to be a master of the thriller. Again, it is too bad that there are not Gabriel Allons in the real world, but it is satisfying that we have them in fiction.
- Daniel Silva
An excellent mystery/thriller/spy novel and I look forward to reading the other books written by this author....more info
- Already Obsolete
This well-written book with its compelling story held my attention throughout. The fast-paced story is exciting and Silva does a good job of capturing the "street feel" of the locales in which the various scenes are set.
The characterizations, however, are one-dimensional. The bad guys are completely bad, totally without nuance. The good guys are noble defenders of freedom and democracy - that's "freedom" and "democracy" in the George W. Bush style.
In the end, I found Gabriel Allon to be a quite despicable character. He looks forward to killing the bad guys and does so with efficiency. He expresses mild unease at the need to torture, but then goes ahead and tortures with relish. Silva could have made his character more appealing and sympathetic had he endowed him with some doubts and misgivings, some sleepless nights about the things he has to do.
As I read this after the recent US election, this novel seemed strangely obsolete. Like one of the many excellent Soviet-era spy thrillers where the fundamental conflict no longer exists. At the end of 2008 it is clear that western governments, led by the United States, have done the world much more harm than all the terrorists who have operated since the concept of terrorism was developed in the 1960s. So presenting agents of these governments in heroic fashion creates a dissonance that a fine story cannot overcome. The idea that all Muslims are terrorists for example. Silva's characters spout the standard lines about the few spoiling it for the many, but the only Muslims we meet in the book are either current or former terrorists.
A good book for 2004. Obsolete today....more info
- No paperback purchase here.
having recently discovered silva, i've read two books so far and enjoyed them. i went to my neighborhood bookstore and found that all the paperback editions had been changed to these long type format books, which are ridiculous, a waste of paper (what idiots thought this up?) but, of course, with a whopping $2 dollars added on to the price (oh, yeah. that's why!). there is NO WAY i am going to pay $9.99 for a paperback book, especially when trade paper has gotten so excessive in cost in the last few years. too bad for the publisher and the author, but not me. they don't get my money, since i just read something else, my own books, the library, or a used book shop purchase. it's amazing how industries destroy themselves. additionally, one would think that once an author gets this kind of market power through big sales, he and his agent would be concerned with this kind of craven industry practice. guess not. ...more info
- hero a little too much of a good thing
G. Allon, the hero of the book, is too much of a good thing, and, so, is difficult to accept. The book is well written and a good way to spend some time....more info
- Well done by Silva. Again.
What's not to like about Daniel Silva? His main character, Gabriel Allon, is a character that readers really like. He's a guy who struggles with his role, his place in life, his past, and his future. But he's a professional. He's not one-dimensional - he has a personal life, and opinions of his own.
The Secret Servant continues his story. A fast-paced run through London, this all too real story of terrorist cells in western Europe will keep you turning pages late into the night. The book is (as usual) well researched, leading to a high level of realism.
If you haven't tried Daniel Silva, but you're a fan of intelligent thrillers, this is a joyride with the top down.
- Fast-paced novel
This is a very entertaining book with very clear-cut characters. I liked the insight the author revealed about the mind of the jihadist. I am reminded about a book that Tom Clancy wrote about terrorists crashing a plane into the White House. It seemed a bit extreme -- at the time. Now it does not. Similarly, the damage that the terrorists wish to inflict upon the Americans and Europeans does not sound extreme at all. (Just read the recent news.) It really is a page-turner and the reader will enjoy it to the very last page!...more info
- The Secret Servant by Daniel Silva
The Secret Servant (Gabriel Allon) I ordered this item from a new seller. I often try to use a new seller to allow them to build up a record. Unfortunately, the book was never received and upon contacting the seller, she went over and above the line of duty to make things right. She sent me a new copy of this book and sent it by priority mail. I appreciate the way this was handled and would use this seller again. Hope this helps other potential buyers, don't be afraid to give the new sellers a chance. Bob ...more info
- Not so Secret
Although Daniel Silva can write and his hero Gabriel Allon is well portraided, "The Secret Servant" is no where near as good a book as his other "Allons"....more info
- Silva: Back on his Game
Silva's series featuring Gabriel Allon took a major hit last time out, and there was some concern that the character and series was ready to be retired. Hold off on that thought.
The Secret Servant is a riveting spy thriller from opening to end, and features some of Silva's best writing and action sequences. Silva keeps the plot twisting and turning throughout the book, and manages to refrain from being overly preachy, which was one of his downfalls in the past.
This an exemplary thriller, and one that deserves to be read. ...more info
The Secret Servant is an exceptional international spy thriller from the master. This one involves a hostage situation and may be the best yet, topping even The Messengers. If you have not read the Allon series and you are looking for top notch international espionage, look no further. Cant wait to read Moscow Rules....more info
- My favorite so far.
I don't think I've missed any precedent Silva novels, and I think this was the most compelling for some reason. I don't buy that a young female surgeon is going to give up her career to accompany old Dad to Britain, even if he is to become the US ambassador. But the rest of it fit together smoothly, to me, and the implications seemed darned realistic.
Don't miss this based on anyone else's review. ...more info
This is the best Gabriel Allon tale to date. Writing is tight and keeps the reader hooked from page one. I loved it!...more info
- Extremely entertaining warning - Not Politically Correct
Silva tells the truth about the bad guys in the middle-east in an entertaining way. He has a knack for bringing characters to life, that makes the story disturbingly real. Mr. Silva seems to understand the issue we face with Islamic radicalism.
This is the seven Silva book that I have enjoyed and all have been four or five stars. I like the fact that each book can stand alone and that a reader does not have to read the Gabriel Allon books in the order published.
Author of al-Qaeda Strikes Again...more info
- Tense thriller with very topical themes
Kudos to Mr. Silva for writing yet another exciting thriller. The amount of research that went into its production in not only the various cultures presented, but the locals around Europe is very impressive. The plot, although done many times before, was "edge of the chair" for most of the book. The fact that he was able to weave the story around events that are very much in the news today was all the more compelling.
My only reason for not going with five stars is that many of the characters (with one notable exception) were a bit too typical for a work of this genre. Although this is not necessarily bad, there is perhaps room for more depth here.
A very entertaining read, and I should think a prime candidate for the big screen.
Great job!...more info