Sunday, September 04, 2011

The Rembrandt Affair

I am a thriller junkie, schooled by the old Robert Ludlum school which by any standard is the best in the genre. So, any writer aspiring to be in his league has some huge shoes to fill in my book.

But Daniel Silva had me the moment I first laid my eyes on his novel The Unlikely Spy while browsing the book exchange section of a local library a couple of years ago.

Then I read the first book of the Gabriel Allon series, The Kill Artist, and I was hooked. Since then I have read all of his books and never looked back.

Daniel Silva is one great thriller writer in the league of an Alan Furst or a John Le Carre with a twist. Unlike some of his contemporaries, Silva is a fan of the Mossad, Israel's secret intelligence service, and Gabriel Allon its legendary assassin, is his man.

Gabriel Allon is the sensitive artist and the ruthless assassin whose exploits in and out of the spy game makes him the ideal renaissance man of the espionage world; when he is not tracking and killing the enemies of Israel, he is somewhere restoring old paintings back to their old glory.

In The Rembrandt Affair, Gabriel Allon is once again drawn back into the fire, not by his mentor Ari Shamron, as is usually the case in the past, but by his dear old friend, London art dealer Julian Isherwood.

Isherwood is in a big predicament when an art- restorer he commissioned, who was once Gabriel's classmate and rival when they were both studying under a renowned art teacher, was murdered, and the Rembrandt painting he was working on went missing.

Gabriel Allon simply cannot refuse an old friend in dire straits and went on a quest to find the missing painting that in so doing opened a can of worms while tracing its provenance and made him face the inherent dangers that come with it.

Daniel Silva once again proved his mastery of the genre as he deftly maneuvered Gabriel Allon into the realms of the evil that men do: from the Nazi's systematic art thefts in WWII to a "hidden child" in Amsterdam to the Gnomes that inhabit the Swiss banks and to the man who would stop at nothing and commit murders to prevent his dirty past from ever coming out.

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