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The English Assassin
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Product Description

The English Assassin brings back Gabriel Allon, the appealingly melancholy art restorer with a double life as an Israeli secret agent, first introduced in 2000's The Kill Artist. Gabriel is sent to Zurich under a pseudonym to restore a Raphael belonging to a prominent Swiss banker and art collector, Augustus Rolfe, but upon arriving he finds Rolfe lying in a pool of blood. When Gabriel tries to leave Zurich, the Swiss police capture him immediately--and moreover, they know his real identity. He's released through some diplomatic string-pulling, but he soon discovers that Rolfe had requested a meeting with Israeli intelligence, for reasons unknown, just before his death.

Rolfe's daughter, Anna, is a world-class violinist attempting to rebuild her career after an accident that nearly destroyed one of her hands. But her physical scars are nothing compared to those on her psyche, left by her mother's suicide when Anna was a teenager. Temperamental and mistrustful, she nevertheless believes Gabriel's story, and reveals that Rolfe owned a secret collection of priceless French Impressionist paintings, apparently stolen by his murderers.

As Gabriel begins to put together the pieces of the puzzle, he faces two adversaries: a powerful group of men who would do anything to bury the past forever, and a hired killer who's planning a spectacular murder. Like The Kill Artist, The English Assassin balances fascinating characters, authentic-sounding historical detail, and plenty of glamorous international intrigue on the edge of a knife-keen plot. --Barrie Trinkle

An Israeli spy by trade and art restorer by preference, Gabriel Allon arrives in Zurich to restore the work of an Old Master for a millionaire banker and finds himself standing in blood and framed for the man's murder.

Customer Reviews:

  • Nice follow-up
    I started in on the English Assassin right after I finished The Kill Artist (the 1st Gabriel Allon book). I enjoyed Kill Artist more, but this is still a good book in its own right. I have no idea as to the historical accuracy of the events that are mentioned here, but it was very interesting reading nonetheless with a solid ending. Can't wait to go out and pick up the Confessor....more info
  • Allon's Alter Ego
    This is one of my favorite Silva thrillers, primarily because of the subterfuge, chase, revelation, and respect between Silva's hero Gabriel Allon and the antagonist of this book, the English Assassin, who seems to serve as Allon's alter ego. The Englishman is a former British-government trained special ops soldier, now turned mercenary. The back-and-forth in scene and plot when Allon's and the Englishman's paths crisscross as they pursue their mutual targets reminded me of the chivalric rivalries between knights of disparate standards. You still get the same dependable, richly drawn Allon, but you have an added bonus of the Englishman's character, who draws on the reader's empathy as well.
    As always, we are witness to fabulous settings and Allon's deep cultural angst leading to integrity and heroism. Don't pass this one by.
    A Genie in the House of Saud: Zubis Rises...more info
  • Top Rate Thriller
    Daniel Silva weaves a taught tale of suspense and international intrigue with this one. The story moves between England, Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain; there's even a brief mention of Tibet, though nobody is really there and the mention of it is more of an insiders joke to the characters. Silva's chief talent is describing the sites, sounds, and smells of the European landscape and its people. He also has a very readable way of incorporating history into his plotline. A lot of writers (e.g. Clancy) tend to use description as a means of filling pages. Silva takes his descriptives to heights that fill the reader with a flavor of the place. I haven't been to the places in the Silva's novel in twenty years, but after three days with The English Assassin, I felt I had been given a healthy dose of Europe again. I won't bore you with a synopis (you can get that from other reviewers), suffice it to say it's about stolent art, Nazis, Bankers, and deadly secrets, personal, political, and national. The hero is an Israeli hit man with a heart; his antagonist is as complicated a character as he is. Ths book was loaned to me by a friend's mother, and I can't wait to share it with others. If spy novels are your thing, you'll like this....more info
  • Comparisons with Harlan Coben would be more fair.
    Daniel Silva's "The English Assassin" is a pleasant enough read, but comparing him to David Cornwall (Le Carre) or Graham Greene is ......overwrought. Greene had theological subtly and Divine and Eternal punishment behind his thrillers, while Le Carre confronts the deepest questions of the cold war, its animating ideologies, and the underlying betrayal to those loyal to those ideologies by fallible human actors. Silva's weltanschauung is a neo-Con fantasy world of an invincible and pre-justified Israeli Secret Service, Zionist finality, and the shadow of Eli Weisel's ever present memory so painfully spelled out in "Night." But if there is a theological question anywhere in Silva's works deeper than a knish, I haven't found it.

    Which is not to say that this is not a ripping good yarn, with powerful imagery, exotic locations, brilliant and believable character construction, and a whole lot of fun. But the Swiss "bad guys" who were collaborators with Nat-zees got a little FuManChu for my taste. The Calvinist Gnomes of Zurich are far too passive aggressive in their patient stone fortresses to be much of a foil for an action team. And this is an action thriller. Aged bankers hiding in their basements in the mountains sounds more like storming an old folks home than an international shoot-'em-up.

    Other reviews have outlined the plot, but basically art restorer/assassin Gabriel Allon is lured into a plot of redemption and revenge by a reclusive Swiss banker, who turns up murdered and his prizes looted. His dazzling daughter, a brilliant musician, is the key to uncovering the puzzle that was her father's riddle house. Meanwhile, a dark conspiracy is racing to thwart Allon's detective work and will stop at nothing to keep their secrets safe, including murder! To keep their hands clean they hire a mysterious English Assassin straight out of "Day of the Jackal."

    Comparisons with Harlan Coben would be more fair....more info
  • Where's the spark?
    Funny how a book can be so well-constructed yet lack the emotional spark to truly involve a reader. Case in point: The English Assassin. The subject matter is compelling, the spycraft believable, the action and pacing fine, the descriptions of Switzerland and the Swiss sharply drawn. But two key relationships--between Gabriel and Anna and Gabriel and the title character--are glancing at best. The way Anna lets Gabriel into her life after being so aloof for so long is unbelievable, and there's precious little interaction to indicate the depth of their eventual relationship. I kept waiting for the pheromones to fly, but that just didn't happen.

    Worse, I thought, was the lack of confrontation between Gabriel and the English assassin. Frankly, I felt cheated here. While not looking for a big shootout, I at least expected the two to match wits more directly, some moves and countermoves. My other impression: Gabriel was fortunate that he never had to face the other man, because based on shows of respective skills he was the inferior player....more info
  • Allon's Alter Ego
    KF Zuzulo is the author of A Genie in the House of Saud: Zubis Rises

    This is one of my favorite Silva thrillers, primarily because of the subterfuge, chase, revelation, and respect between Silva's hero Gabriel Allon and the antagonist of this book, the English Assassin, who seems to serve as Allon's alter ego. The Englishman is a former British-government trained special ops soldier, now turned mercenary. The back-and-forth in scene and plot when Allon's and the Englishman's paths crisscross as they pursue their mutual targets reminded me of the chivalric rivalries between knights of disparate standards. You still get the same dependable, richly drawn Allon, but you have an added bonus of the Englishman's character, who draws on the reader's empathy as well.
    As always, we are witness to fabulous settings and Allon's deep cultural angst leading to integrity and heroism. Don't pass this one by....more info
  • An entertaining read
    The English Assassin by Daniel Silva is an entertaining read. The main character in this book is Gabriel Allon, a Jewish agent, who sets out to find an art collection stolen by the Nazis from the Jews during World War II.

    The stolen art is now in the hands of certain group of Swiss individuals, who played a part in financially supporting the Nazis during the war. However, there are protective interests in Switzerland who wish to keep under wraps any and all information that may expose Switzerlands banking industry's dubious involvement with the Nazis during the war. When Gabriel is invited by an aging, repentant Swiss banker in the ruse of restoring some art, he finds him dead in his home. There begins a fairly interesting read on Gabriels efforts to determine who the bankers killers are and to locate, and restore to the rightful owners, art that was stolen from the dead bankers home.

    As part of the story are the dead bankers musically gifted daughter who has knowledge about her father's art collection, and an English assassin hired by the bad guys to thwart Gabriels efforts. The assassin almost has a bit part in the story. All in all the story moves on fairly easily, and kept my interest to the very end. Daniel Silva is one author who will remain in my list of writers whos books I will keep an eye out for when browsing the clearance shelves at my favourite Half-Price book stores....more info
  • Daniel Silve doesn't miss.
    Protagonist, Gabriel Allon is an art restorer/Israeli secret agent in this thought provoking, intricately plotted, fast paced thriller.

    At the heart of the novel is the Swiss collaboration with the Nazis in the theft of priceless art during WWII.

    It is a tale filled with multi-dimensional complex characters---you feel you know everyone of the large cast of supporting characters.

    It is a story of secrets and betrayals that lures you in and hooks you in the prologue. The bona fide sounding historical detail and alluring foreign intrigue add to this crisply written and polished suspenseful story.

    Daniel Silva is a master of this genre. All five of his books have hooked me early and never let me go. An exquisite author.

    I read it in two sessions.

    If you have yet to discover Daniel Silva, now is not too soon....more info

  • Caution: may keep you up late
    Silva's great talent is in making fiction look authentic. In this book, Israeli foreign intelligence uncovers a conspiracy led by a Swiss banker to preserve his collection of art obtained from the Nazis during World War II. This is based on well-documented attempts by Switzerland to keep the assets of the Jewish families murdered by the Nazis.

    Against this credible background the fictional characters come across as real human beings. I am particularly grateful for the absence of an obligatory love affair. Instead, Gabriel and Anna keep a delicate distance just short of intimacy. There is some melodrama involved, particularly at the end when a hard-core hit man turns on a dime and commits an act of justice. Silva's characters may sound a little pretentious. They all declare themselves "famished" rather than hungry, and like to open a statement with a pompous "I am afraid..." But those are minor quibbles. The authenticity of the entire story prevails. The book caused me mild sleep deprivation, because I had a hard time putting it down before going to bed....more info
  • Back again; More to come
    I have an interesting observation. (Well. Perhaps only in my mind.) Nevertheless . . .

    You know you wouldn't put Oprah in the category of Simmon & Schuster or Harcourt or the rest. But she does get us to read. Maya Angelou wrote 10 years ago that she didn't like all of the books she put on her "Oprah" chart but at least someone is pushing us to read. Again.

    And Mr. Silva, who puts together a fascinating character and plot, makes us Americans (for a large part) who believe the problems in Europe started when This Band of Brothers landed on Omaha and Utah in June of 1944, consider that there were other things going on in Europe that possibly have never been successfully explained. Like what was the role of the Catholic Church in all of this? How about the Austrian Guards? What about the Swiss? What about the Palestinians? Did they have a role?

    And his foil is the troubled and haunted Gabriel Allon, art restorer, assassin. To Gabriel falls the duty first bestowed by Golda Mier to whom has been assigned perhaps unfairly the quote after the murder of the Israeli Olympians about the murderers, "find them; kill them."

    So the point I am getting at is that most of these Gabriel Allon books are the same. The books are very, very plot driven. The book will open with Gabriel restoring or about to restore a priceless marvel from the 16th century, he will receive a message, he will be haunted by the death of his child, the insanity of his wife, and off he goes.

    But if you think I don't find each and everyone of these tales rewarding, you misunderstand me. They are very well written, seamless, haunting, scary, and in their own way, timeless. We should remember. We should question. Hitler and Stalin killed at least 50 million people. That's not an idle statistic. That's an understatement. Daniel Silva does us a service. He makes us remember. And maybe ask questions. He is a gifted writer. And Allon is a formidable, troubled hero. 5 stars. Larry Scantlebury...more info
  • great
    I really enjoyed this book. Very gripping. The best thriller since Craig Furrnas' THE SHAPE. I couldn't put it down....more info
  • Silva casts a few stones....
    Indeed, as the liner jacket notes and other reviewers have readily stated, Daniel
    Silva and "The English Assassin" are "in the style of Robert Ludlum." Whether that's
    hailed as a compliment or not, of course, remains to be seen.

    First, indeed, "The English
    Assassin" is "shades of Ludlum." It is fast paced (faster than much of Ludlum's last
    novels), involves an international James Bond-like special governmental agent (this time,
    an Israeli agent ... art restorer), and is all awash in a grander than life consipiracy
    (did anyone mention Robert Ludlum!!!) in which, like the definition of a grand epic hero,
    the whole world depends upon his--and his alone--actions to rid us of such Evil. (In this
    case, it's the Swiss cover-up, involvement, and dishonesty, with their complicity with the
    Nazis during World War II.).

    Ludlum it is, and Ludlum it is not. For one, the plot line is
    greatly reminiscent of Ludlum; for two, however, Silva is Ludlum without the long (and
    now boring) sermons on left-wing conspiracies to take over the civilized world. Silva
    also is not the pedantic Ludlum (one doesn't need a dictionary with Silva).
    That said (and cleared), "The English Assassin" (if one gets past all this Ludlum
    stuff) is actually worth the read. It is exciting and Silva gives us a decent "arts and
    humanities" lesson as the central character, one late-40ish Gideon Allon who is enlisted by the
    Israeli government to mount a very clandestine inquiry into uncovering much about the
    Swiss involvement with their nasty Nazy neighbors. Untold numbers of valuable paintings,
    from Old Masters to "moderns" were "confiscated" and then deposited in Swiss banks in
    exchange, sometimes, for currency to help the Nazis; in other situations, the paintings--not
    to mention other treasures and money--were simply deposited in numbered accounts in
    which they reside today, unclaimed, beneath the streets of Zurich!
    Allon is sent to "restore" an Old Master (a Raphael)and, voila, he finds the owner,
    wealthy and powerful banker Augustus Rolfe, brutally murdered. Before Allon can get out of Switzerland, he
    is arrested as a suspect and from there on, the plot really thickens and the pace quickens. The game is
    afoot! Allon becomes involved (yes) with Rolfe's daughter, who just happens to be
    incredibly beautiful young woman and, of course, the world's greatest living violinist (and, yes, she and Gideon "fiddle around" a bit!).
    Besides giving us a very interesting lesson in the fine arts (although I am not sure
    about "rolling up" the canvases of Old Masters to smuggle them out!), Silva gives us a very
    interesting geography lesson, as Allon zooms back and forth across Europe--from London
    to Portugal to Austria and back. This, too, is worthwhile, especially if one has been so
    fortunate to have been in those places!
    "Penzler's Pick" notes that "Daniel Silva, author of several previous thrillers,
    delivers a classic novel of multiple secrets and myriad betrayals." I am not sure how many
    "classic novels" this Penzler has read, but "classic" is NOT a descriptive to be assigned to
    "The English Assassin." Discerning readers of this genre will be a bit disappointed, if they
    expect such. ......more info

  • Not That Thrilling
    I expect at least a few edge-of-the-seat moments from this type of book, but there were none. It isn't particularly well-written, there's no engagement with the characters, and the plot just drags....more info
  • Gabriel Allon clashes with Swiss corruption, secrecy, and history
    Daniel Silva may not write the most complex thrillers around, but his novels are energetic, dark, and well-researched, and always compelling.

    "The English Assassin" is the second novel to feature gifted art restorer and Israeli spy Gabriel Allon. Far from a "Jewish James Bond," Allon is an older, rougher, more reluctant agent. Still bearing the horrifying scars of watching his wife and son blown up in retaliation of one of Allon's most notorious "jobs," Allon nevertheless finds the strength to venture back "into the game" when asked by controller, Ari Shamron.

    In "The Kill Artist," Allon faced off against a lethal assassin whose aim was to destroy for all time any chance of peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. In "The English Assassin," Allon once again faces off against one of the world's most lethal professional killers, but one who is seemingly motivated only by money rather than a cause.

    He's also an assassin with a common past with Allon -- Allon is facing off against a man he once trained.

    Silva uses "The English Assassin" to blow up the noble veneer of Swiss "neutrality" in World War II. Instead of steadfastly refusing to take sides, as the Swiss would have everyone believe, Allon discoveres that the Swiss actively promoted Hitler's interests, provided him with weapons and, most notoriously, hard currency in exchange for the famous works of art stolen by the Nazis from Europe's Jews. What starts as a seemingly innocuous meeting between Allon and a Swiss banker ends up as an exploration of Swiss culture, with all its guilt, secrecy, and self-righteousness.

    Suffice it to say that if you are a huge fan of Switzerland, you're probably not going to like "The English Assassin." Swiss bankers come off as more ruthless than even hired killers, and that's saying something. Fortunately, Silva backs up his thesis with a heck of a lot of research, so "The English Assassin" does not come across as an impassioned rant. This novel sparks an interest in learning more about the Swiss and their role in World War II, to say the least.

    Taut, lean (380-odd pages, but uses a large typeface that puts fewer words on the page than other novels I've read), and always compelling, "The English Assassin" is an engrossing read that ensures that I will read the rest of the Allon novels as soon as possible. Indeed, I wish Silva had found a way to make the story even more complex so he could have spent more time exploring this fascinating topic. Check it out. ...more info
  • The Ending was a Big Disappointment
    Good beginning and was somewhat interesting until the last 70 pages, then it went downhill and stayed there all the way thru the last page. If you like an ending where you can close the book and smile, then this is not the book for you. This was one of his earlier books written in 2002 and I guess he had not yet developed his ability to put it all together as he did in The Messenger written in 2006. It seemed like he was pressed for time and just decided to end it. Certainly not one of his best thrillers, just a mundane spy story....more info
  • Swiss Travelog
    A diabolical billionaire hires an English Assasin to help hide some WWII secrets about Swiss-Nazi collaboration. Gabriel Allon returns as a talented art restorer and crack agent from Isreal. A European cat and mouse game ensues with much of the action in the peaks and valleys of the Swiss Alps.

    Daniel Silva's fourth novel is a vivid travelog of the Swiss culture and countryside. If only a fraction of the plot's focus on Swiss complicity to Nazi attrocities is true, the 'neutral' Swiss facade will collapse. Silva tries to give his two deadly characters some guilt and angst. They suffer through several killings, but the reader eventually finds it hard to root for either of these manics. Perhaps we prefer cool and cold killers. Or maybe the author is too determined to preach to us on the 'real' Swiss crimes, when all we wanted was a thrilling yarn. It's a decent beach book, but - next time - we expect a little more from the Mr. Silva....more info

  • A Better Than Average Action Novel
    My first Silva book, The English Assasin was recommended by a friend. The concept of an Israeli hit man doubling as an art restorer was intriguing, and the book lived up to my expectations. The story moved quickly, there was plenty of action and at least a little to be learned about Swiss banking and its role in WWII. It was also believable and generally well written. Based on this experience, I am sure I will tackle another Silva offering in the not far distant future....more info