The Fallen Angel (Gabriel Allon Series #12)by Daniel Silva
Art restorer, assassin, spy—Gabriel Allon returns in The Fallen Angel, another blockbuster espionage thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Daniel Silva. The acclaimed author of Portrait of a Spy, Silva (“a world class practitioner of spy fiction” —Washington Post) is an undisputed master of/em>/em>/em>/em>… See more details below
Art restorer, assassin, spy—Gabriel Allon returns in The Fallen Angel, another blockbuster espionage thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Daniel Silva. The acclaimed author of Portrait of a Spy, Silva (“a world class practitioner of spy fiction” —Washington Post) is an undisputed master of the genre who has brought “new life to the international thriller” (Newsday).
A breathtaking adventure that races around the globe, The Fallen Angel begins in Rome, where Allon is called upon to investigate a murder at the Vatican, one with disastrous repercussions that could plunge the world into a conflict of apocalyptic proportions. If you haven’t yet been drawn into Daniel Silva’s thrilling universe of intrigue, danger, and exceptional spycraft, start here—and see why the Philadelphia Inqurer declares that, “The enigmatic Gabriel Allon remains one of the most intriguing heroes of any thriller series.”
“It’s become almost obligatory for lovers of high level thrillers to read each new Daniel Silva novel as soon as it appears. With his by now trademark character, Gabriel Allon...Silva just about guarantees a couple of days of terrific entertainment.”
Read an Excerpt
The Fallen Angel
By Daniel Silva
HarperCollins PublishersCopyright © 2013 Daniel Silva
All rights reserved.
It was NiccolÃ? Moretti, caretaker of St. Peter's
Basilica, who made the discovery that started it
all. The time was 6:24 a.m., but owing to a wholly
innocent error of transcription, the Vatican's first
official statement incorrectly reported it as 6:42.
It was one of numerous missteps, large and small,
that would lead many to conclude the Holy See had
something to hide, which was indeed the case. The
Roman Catholic Church, said a noteworthy dissi-
dent, was but one scandal away from oblivion. The
last thing His Holiness needed now was a dead body
in the sacred heart of Christendom.
A scandal was the last thing NiccolÃ? Moretti had
been expecting to find that morning when he ar-
rived at the Vatican one hour earlier than his usual
time. Dressed in dark trousers and a knee-length
gray coat, he was scarcely visible as he hurried across
the darkened piazza toward the steps of the Basilica.
Glancing to his right, he saw lights burning in the
third-floor windows of the Apostolic Palace. His
Holiness Pope Paul VII was already awake. Moretti
4 DANIEL S I LVA
wondered whether the Holy Father had slept at all.
The Vatican was swirling with rumors he was suffer-
ing from a crippling bout of insomnia, that he spent
most nights writing in his private study or walk-
ing alone in the gardens. The caretaker had seen it
before. Eventually, they all lost the ability to sleep.
Moretti heard voices behind him and, turning,
saw a pair of Curial priests materialize from the
gloom. They were engaged in animated conversa-
tion and paid him no heed as they marched toward
the Bronze Doors and melted once more into
the shadows. The children of Rome called them
bagarozzi—black beetles. Moretti had used the word
once as a child and had been scolded by none other
than Pope Pius XII. He'd never said it since. When
one is chastised by the Vicar of Christ, he thought
now, one rarely repeats the same offense.
He hiked up the steps of the Basilica and slipped
into the portico. Five doors led into the nave. All
were sealed except for the one at the far left, the
Door of Death. In the opening stood Father Jacobo,
an emaciated-looking Mexican cleric with strawlike
gray hair. He stepped aside so Moretti could enter,
then closed the door and lowered the heavy bar. “I'll
come back at seven to let in your men,” the priest
said. “Be careful up there, NiccolÃ?. You're not as
young as you used to be.”
The priest withdrew. Moretti dipped his fingers
in holy water and made the sign of the cross before
setting out up the center of the vast nave. Where
others might have paused to gaze in awe, Moretti
forged on with the familiarity of a man entering his
own home. As chief of the sampietrini, the official
T H E FA L L E N A N G E L 5
caretakers of the Basilica, he had been coming to
St. Peter's six mornings a week for the past twenty-
seven years. It was because of Moretti and his men
that the Basilica glowed with heaven's light while
the other great churches of Europe seemed forever
shrouded in darkness. Moretti considered himself
not only a servant of the papacy but a partner in
the enterprise. The popes were entrusted with the
care of one billion Roman Catholic souls, but it was
NiccolÃ? Moretti who looked after the mighty Ba-
silica that symbolized their earthly power. He knew
every square inch of the building, from the peak of
Michelangelo's dome to the depths of the crypt—all
forty-four altars, twenty-seven chapels, eight hun-
dred columns, four hundred statues, and three hun-
dred windows. He knew where it was cracked and
where it leaked. He knew when it was feeling well
and when it was in pain. The Basilica, when it spoke,
whispered into the ear of NiccolÃ? Moretti.
St. Peter's had a way of shrinking mere mor-
tals, and Moretti, as he made his way toward the
Papal Altar in the gray coat of his uniform, looked
remarkably like a thimble come to life. He genu-
flected before the Confessio and then tilted his face
skyward. Soaring nearly one hundred feet above
him was the baldacchino, four twisting columns
of bronze and gold crowned by a majestic canopy.
On that morning, it was partially concealed by an
aluminum scaffolding. Bernini's masterpiece, with
its ornate figures and sprigs of olive and bay, was a
magnet for dust and smoke. Every year, in the week
preceding the beginning of Lent, Moretti and his
men gave it a thorough cleaning. The Vatican was
6 DANIEL S I LVA
a place of timeless ritual, and there was ritual, too,
in the cleaning of the baldacchino. Laid down by
Moretti himself, it stated that once the scaffolding
was in place, he was always the first to scale it. The
view from the summit was one that only a handful
of people had ever seen—and NiccolÃ? Moretti, as
chief of the sampietrini, demanded the privilege of
beholding it first.
Moretti climbed to the pinnacle of the front
column, then, after attaching his safety line, inched
his way on all fours up the slope of the canopy. At the
very apex of the baldacchino was a globe supported
by four ribs and crowned by a cross. Here was the
most sacred spot in the Roman Catholic Church,
the vertical axis running from the exact center of
the dome straight down into the Tomb of St. Peter.
It represented the very idea on which the enterprise
rested. You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my
church. As the first crepuscular rays of light illumi-
nated the interior of the Basilica, Moretti, faithful
servant of the popes, could almost feel the finger of
God tapping him on the shoulder.
As usual, time slipped from his grasp.
Excerpted from The Fallen Angel by Daniel Silva. Copyright © 2013 Daniel Silva. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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