Silva (The Fallen Angel, 2012, etc.) drops Israeli superspy Gabriel Allon into a fractious encounter with the KGB’s ugly remnants.
Ambivalent and angst-filled agent Allon prefers painting, along with his passion for restoring the artwork of the masters. His wife, Chiara, a former agent, has been busy with the exhibit of the 22 pillars of Solomon’s Temple, a treasure discovered during another Allon adventure. But duty calls. The irascible Ari Shamron, former head of the "Office," Israel’s secret spy agency, wants Allon to aid the Brits. The British prime minister’s lover, Madeline Hart, has been kidnapped while vacationing in Corsica. Allon, working with Graham Seymour, MI5 deputy director, soon drops into a rabbit hole of double-dealing and sleeper agents, greed and revenge. The action moves from Corsica to France, England, Moscow and St. Petersburg. Allon reconciles with an assassin who once targeted him, Christopher Keller, a former British SAS agent, gone underground after a nasty friendly fire accident. Keller kills for Don Orsati, a Corsican olive oil king dabbling in murder for hire. With Orsati’s help, Allon and Keller trace Hart to Marseilles’ gritty underworld. Later, at Pas-De-Calais during a ransom transfer, the car delivering Hart explodes. The prime minister believes it’s over, but Allon wants vengeance, having promised Hart her rescue at an early proof-of-life meeting. Allon soon learns that Volgatek Oil & Gas, staffed by former KGB agents, kidnapped Hart in a scheme to tap British North Sea oil reserves. The Office’s old gang joins the fray, as well as exiled Viktor Orlov, extorted of the assets subsumed into Volgatek as the price of his freedom. Silva’s plot and action don’t strain believability, and his accomplished character sketches of players new and old are captivating. Nevertheless, Silva seems intent on reassuring readers he knows whereof he speaks by lacing the narrative with historical factoids and geographical minutia each time Allon sets foot in a new locale.
Literate, top-notch action laced with geopolitical commentary.