Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Reading The Black Widow by Daniel Silva

Daniel Silva's latest book featuring Gabriel Allon, art restorer and Israeli spy, is at the top of the bestseller list. When I first became aware of this latest in the Gabriel Allon series, I quickly put it on reserve at my local library. Sixteen people were ahead of me but there were multiple copies so I didn't have to wait too long before my turn.

I lean toward historical fiction, family sagas, and a mystery now and then for my pleasure reading. Now and then, I like to read a suspense thriller. Silva's newest book is exactly that. Filled with suspense and a thriller. It's lengthy, just over 500 pages but I read it in 3 days. I am normally a fast reader but this book kept me turning pages at an even more rapid pace than usual. I found myself sitting down to read whenever I had a spare moment and all evening.

As mentioned, this is the latest in a full series of books featuring Gabriel Allon, the man who escapes death time and again in his pursuit of Israel's enemies in the Middle East. You could still read this book on its own as the author provides enough background material sprinkled throughout that you can learn the history of this protagonist without losing anything in the story itself.

The subject of the book is ISIS and its aim at neutralizing Europe, America and Israel through many horrific attacks. We've seen much of that this summer in actual happenings. The author was still finishing the book when the Brussels and Paris attacks took place earlier this year. His story is fiction but parallels actual world events so well that it may send shivers up and down your spine.

Just prior to becoming the chief of Israeli spies, Gabriel delves into one more mission. He convinces a young Jewish doctor in France to help infiltrate ISIS. Natalie is reluctant at first but finally agrees to help. She is given intense training before she becomes an ISIS recruit and travels to the Middle East where she is given training to be a suicide bomber and finds herself ministering to a severely wounded leader called Saladin, although his real identity is unknown.

The story moves back and forth from Israel to European cities to American cities and the Middle East. The author weaves the story like a silken spider web, strand by strand until the reader is caught within emerging only when the last page is read and the book closed. I doubt it will be easily forgotten once that happens.

The reader easily relates to the characters to the point that you find yourself either cheering or trembling in fear as the story moves along.

One of the professional reviewers said, “Silva builds suspense like a symphony conductor.... A winner on all fronts.” (Booklist, starred review)

If you are waiting for a copy of this book, try some of the other books in the Gabriel Allon series first. You can find a list of the titles in the order in which they were published, beginning in 2000, at this website

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