Once again, Daniel Silva kept me on the edge of my seat with The English Assassin. Gabriel Allon leads a double life of art restorer and spy / intelligence officer / badass. He’s always getting caught up in righting the world’s wrongs. And, at fifty years old, he carries a lot of baggage. That’s a feeling I can relate to, although my baggage is certainly more benign.
I’m determined to write reviews of this series without spoilers, but it’s not easy. Gabriel goes to Zurich to meet with a Swiss banker who’s contacted the Israeli government. But to outward appearances, he’s going to see a man about a restoration job. Of course it’s never that simple, and he ends up being accused of the man’s murder. That’s all in the blurb, and you can imagine why Allon would want to be involved in bringing the true murderer to justice.
Silva takes us into the story through multiple perspectives, including Swiss bankers, the victim’s estranged daughter, and the titular assassin. He weaves everything together expertly, tying every loose end, just as Gabriel would want to do on a case. Along the way, I learned new things about the Swiss, the art world, and mid-twentieth century history. But Silva never puts the history or politics first. He always gives the characters the stage, while providing a detailed backdrop for them to work within.
This time I read the book rather than listened to audio. The writing is focused and intense, lending itself easily to either format. Parts of this book are brutally violent, while others are a lesson in history and culture. Silva effortlessly blends the two diverse aspects, which makes for fascinating reading. Despite other bibliophage plans, I’m now debating about whether or not to read the next book immediately. This series is well worth the time!