The Secret Servant (Gabriel Allon)
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A terrorist plot in London leads Israeli spy Gabriel Allon on a desperate search for a kidnapped woman, in a race against time that will compromise Allon¡¯s own conscience¡ªand life...

Customer Reviews:

  • Awesome action!
    My first Silva and I read the thing in 3 days. Gripping. Tough. Not for the faint of heart. But awesome none the less. Off to read Kill Artist now....more info
  • Hardliner
    The latest crisply efficient entry from the increasingly infuriating Daniel Silva that spins another tale of the Mossad's moral superiority. The action's good here and the book's more enjoyable than recent entries in the series. Israel takes on the thankless burden of battling evildoers on behalf of the clueless West with their delusions of multiculturalism (really just an extension of their innate anti-Semitism.) Their covert actions are "works of art" while other intelligence agencies are incompetent or worse, hampered by ridiculous qualms about torture and rendition.

    Amid the action there's the inclusion of what Gore Vidal dubbed "the mirror scene", when our main character stands in front of his reflection and remarks on his appearance or reflects on his conscience. It's a brief scene here. Our hero is Gabriel Allon who has few regrets, as he never takes out innocent people - a laughable assertion from any secret service's covert assassin. (Although to be fair, when he threatens to have a young mother and her child raped and tortured, he's only bluffing.) Elsewhere, Allon debates Mid East history and politics in large chunks of verbiage that wouldn't be out of place on the National Review website. It's hard not to sense the author intruding in on things here. When Allon offers a shrill critique of the movie Munich, which he proudly hasn't seen -- it's the author who looks foolish.

    Like the last book in the series the plot hinges on the fate of one white American woman in the hands of swarthy Middle Easterners. (In both cases these women secretly pine for the strong, silent and dreamy Allon. He's seriously affianced, however, and we get some pretty tedious wedding planning in the course of the book.) Indeed, while villains in the story kill maybe hundreds of innocent people everyone here - including the American President - is singularly preoccupied with the fate of this woman.

    I've read all the Allon books; I don't think there's ever been a sympathetic Arab character in any of them. There's one candidate here, an Egyptian academic who's seen the light after having the jihad tortured out of him by other Egyptians.

    The villains are also so dead set against modernity they've apparently never even seen Goldfinger, and blow two perfectly good chances to kill Allon so they can share their plans with him. ...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
  • 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.

    Recommended Reading.

    Author of al-Qaeda Strikes Again...more info
  • thrilling
    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!
    ...more info
  • Gabriel Allon the Great...........
    Daniel Silva has created an excellent addition to the Gabriel Allon series that is perhaps the best yet. Get ready for fast paced, edgy, current, and sometimes nail biting entertainment as Gabriel is assigned his latest case. He is dispatched to Holland to investigate the death of an Israeli "asset." From there Gabriel is once again embroiled in a situation that goes from troubling to terrifying within days. One of the things about this series that make it so good is that it is so disturbingly real. You know that you could pick up the newspaper any day and read about a similar incident taking place somewhere in the world. Readers who have followed the series, can especially enjoy the recurring well done secondary characters that appear in this novel. It's the whole package though that makes this series so entertaining; a brave, mysterious, sexy spy and all the contacts that he has come to work with and care for and finally the current day events that make us believe it is all true. ...more info
  • Gabriel cover blown, marriage to Chiara, and Head of Israeli Special Ops
    The story starts with Solomon Rosner working as professor of sociology at the University of Amsterdam, the Rosner Center for European Security Studies. Rosner was acting as both director and solo scholar and published a book called "The Islamic Conquest of the West". In the book, the Islamic plan was colonization of the Netherlands into a majority Muslim state. Rosner urge government to take immediate and drastic action to preserve Dutch society. The press media all agreed that the situation required tolerance and dialogue and not hateful rhetoric like Rosner's. Rosner responds that response was needed not capitulation. The Jihads became enraged over the book, stating, "Rosner the Jew must be dealt with harshly." Enroute to meeting, Rosner was shot by an assassin and beheaded as Iman ritual required and no one intervened.

    Rosner was Ari Shamron's agent and his death was personal. Ari told Gabriel that Uzi would not be assigned to the job and that he would. Ari wants Gabriel to take the head of Israeli intelligence operations: "Does Shamron have a successor in mind?" "He wants the Office to be run by someone other than a soldier." Gabriel tells Uzi, "I'm an assassin, Uzi, and they don't make assassins the director". Navot chastises Gabriel, "Is this your plan? To leave the fighting to others? ... Fortress Israel is cracking under the strain of this war with out end...Its in our DNA because of the Holocaust...They delude themselves into thing that the Jewish National home is not in Palestine but in America." "You are not an art restorer. You are a secret servant of the State of Israel, and you have no right to leave the fighting to others."

    Shamron tells Gabriel that Argentia is a hot bed for Hezbollah activity and that Amsterdam is becoming a Muslim city. "The young me were unemployed and angry, and they were being fed a stead diet of hate by their imams, most of whom were imported and funded by our friends in Saudi Arabia." "We also want to know whether any of our more determined enemies were using Amsterdam as a base of operations for major attacks against Israeli targets in Europe." Shamron tells Gabriel, "Rosner was my creation." "There was no shortage of people in Amsterdam who wanted Solomon dead. They finally found their man in Muhammad Hamza." Video connected Hamza to Rosner death as he voiced that "he killed his Jew". Gabriel wants to know is assignment, "We want the names of all those golden sources, but we also want to make sure there's nothing that might link him to us." "If it ever came out that he was our paid mouthpiece, the Jewish community in Holland might find itself at risk."

    "British governments both Labour and Tory had thrown open their doors to the world's most harden holy warriors. Cast out by countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordon, and Syria, they had come to London, where they were free to publish, preach, organize, conspire, and raise money." "The primary incubator of violent ideology." "British security and intelligence services, confronted by a gathering storm, had responded by choosing a path of accommodation rather than resistance." The failure of the policy of appeasement had been held up for the world to see when three explosives tore up the London in 2005 and fifty-two people killed. 16,000 terrorist residing in Britain and 3,000 trained in al-Qaeda camps.

    Gabriel and Lavon break into Egyptian native, Samir al-Masri's apartment and Gabriel sees pictures of Samir, "in Trafalgar Square and Samir with a member of the Queen's life Guard outside Buckingham palace; Samir ridin the Millennium Wheel and Samir outside the Houses of Parliament." "The last photograph, Samir posingwith four friends inform the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square caused Gabriel's heart to skip a beat." Gabriel later tells British intelligence, "I think an al-Qaeda cell from Amsterdam might have entered Britain in the last forty eight hours with the intention of carrying out an attack." Graham Seymour was not convinced: no surveillance, no emails, and no voice mails; and Gabriel points out the pictures prove the group was on a surveillance mission four months prior. Graham does believe the group fits the profile of a major attack. Gabriel tells Seymour, "The action cell members train and prepare in a place where we can't monitor them, then come ashore at the last minute, so we have no time to find them and disrupt their plans. Obviously, it would take complex planning and a skilled mastermind to pull it off." Gabriel wants Seymour to raise the overall threat level. Seymour does not respond, saying, "We don't like to move the needle on the threat meter each time we get nervous."

    Gabriel discovers an important clue from Samir's yellow legal pad, the location of the attack. From a pencil rub Gabriel sees a pattern of criss-crossing lines and recognizes the layout to be Hyde park. Seymour tells Gabriel, "You want me to sound the alarm at Gosvenor Square because of some lines on a legal pad?" "I'm not going to do that. There's not enough evidence to support making a call like that."

    The current American Ambassador to Court of St. James was Robert Carlyle Halton. Elizabeth Halton, Robert's daughter had become the terrorist target. Gabriel is unable to stop the abduction of Elizabeth Halton, but manages to kill a few terrorist and seriously injure another. The Sword of Allah group takes order from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Samir is part of the Sword of Allah group. The plot to kidnap Elizabeth Halton originated in Egypt under the direction of Zawahiri. Adrian Carter meets with Gabriel as they watch the terrorist hostage exchange video. Sheikh Tayyib wants to exchange Elizabeth for his brother Sheikh Addullah Abdul-Razzaq. Carter tells Gabriel, "Why is it that we've spent upward of fifty billion dollars propping up that regime, but you found out about the Sword connection before we did?" The central answer is that Israeli intelligence is better. Carter is against the exchange, "If Sheikh Abdullah Abdul Razzaq is allowed to return to Egypt, the Mubarak government will find itself in a very precarious state. For all its problems, Eqypt is still the most important country in the Arab world. If Egypt goes Islamic it will have a disastrous ripple effect across the region - disastrous for my country and yours." The terrorist want the fall of the Mubarak regime and replace it with an Islamic republic and use Egypt as a base of operation to wage a war against Israeli and the west. All under the umbrella of Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama right hand man.

    Gabriel knows he must find the Spinx, Yusef Ramadan and he will find Elizabeth.
    ...more info
  • Silva's Best Yet
    Once again, a seemingly benign case leads Gabriel Allon, Israeli spy, into a complex plot. This time Islamic extremists capture the American ambassador to England's daughter. Allon is requested to assist in the recover operation. This novel is Silva's best yet. A real page turner. I won't spoil the plot but I am already looking forward to Silva's next. I am afraid he will somehow change the character since it is time for Allon to move up the ranks within his organization to director. Enjoy...more info
    This was the first book by Daniel Silva that I have read. I liked it so much that I ordered all of the rest of his books as soon as I finished it. My wife is now reading it and she can not lay it down....more info
  • Another Great Gabriel Allon book by Daniel Silva
    "The Secret Servant" is another great book in the Gabriel Allon series by Daniel Silva. The story is fiction but it certainly makes one think about the world today. Silva does not write "politically correct" fiction - he has the courage to tell it as it is and I thank him for that.

    I like how Silva weaves characters from previous stories into this book. The only thing wrong is that I have finished reading "The Secret Servant" and now have to patiently wait until Mr. Silva writes and publishes the next book in this interesting series.

    This book is an excellent read. Thank you, Daniel Silva! ...more info