The Fallen Angel (Gabriel Allon Series #12)by Daniel Silva
Gabriel Allonart restorer, spy, and assassinreturns in a spellbinding new thriller from the #1 New York Times-bestselling master of intrigue and suspense
When last we encountered Gabriel Allon in Portrait of a Spy, he was pitted in a blood-soaked duel with a deadly network of jihadist terrorists. Now, exposed and war-weary, he has/i>/i>
Gabriel Allonart restorer, spy, and assassinreturns in a spellbinding new thriller from the #1 New York Times-bestselling master of intrigue and suspense
When last we encountered Gabriel Allon in Portrait of a Spy, he was pitted in a blood-soaked duel with a deadly network of jihadist terrorists. Now, exposed and war-weary, he has returned to his beloved Rome to restore a Caravaggio masterpiece for the Vatican.
But while working early one morning in the conservation laboratory, Gabriel is summoned to Saint Peter's Basilica by his friend and occasional ally Monsignor Luigi Donati, the all-powerful private secretary to his Holiness Pope Paul VII. The body of a beautiful woman lies smashed and broken beneath Michelangelo's magnificent dome. The Vatican police rule the death a suicidal fall, though Gabriel, with his restorer's eye and flawless memory, suspects otherwise. So, it seems, does the monsignor. Concerned about a potential scandal, Donati fears a public inquiry will inflict more wounds on an already-damaged Church; he calls upon Gabriel to use his matchless talents and experience to quietly pursue the truthwith one important caveat.
"Rule number one at the Vatican," Donati said. "Don't ask too many questions."
Gabriel soon discovers that the dead woman had uncovered a dangerous secreta secret that threatens powers beyond the Vatican. To solve the mystery, Gabriel joins forces with a master art thief to penetrate a criminal smuggling network that is looting timeless treasures of antiquity and selling them to the highest bidder. But there is more to this network than just greed. An old enemy is plotting revenge, an unthinkable act of sabotage that will plunge the world into a conflict of apocalyptic proportions. Once again Gabriel must return to the ranks of his old intelligence serviceand place himself, and those he holds dear, on the razor's edge of danger.
An intoxicating blend of art and intrigue, The Fallen Angel moves swiftly from the private chambers of the Vatican, to a glamorous art gallery in St Moritz, to the hidden alleyways of Istanbuland finally, to a pulse-pounding climax in the ancient city of Jerusalem, the world's most sacred and contested parcel of land. Each setting is rendered with the care of an Old Master, as are the spies, lovers, priests, and thieves who inhabit its pages. It is a story of faith and of the destructive power of secrets. And it is an all-too-timely reminder that those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it.
“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.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Daniel Silva is the award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Unlikely Spy, The Mark of the Assassin, The Marching Season, The Kill Artist, The English Assassin, The Confessor, A Death in Vienna, Prince of Fire, The Messenger, The Secret Servant, Moscow Rules, The Defector, The Rembrandt Affair, and Portrait of a Spy. His books are published in more than thirty countries and are bestsellers around the world. He serves on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council and is married to NBC News Today National Correspondent Jamie Gangel. They live in Washington, D.C., with their two children, Lily and Nicholas.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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In Gabriel Allon's world, a world of art restoration and beauty, lies an undertone of the spy he once was for the Mossad, where life is precious. While working in the Vatican, a young female Curate falls from near the top of the Basilica. Only in Gabriel's world would a Catholic priest ask him to "look around, but don't ask too many questions". I believe they have the wrong person! Gabriel is not noted for being lowkey; wherever he is bodies seem to just drop out of the sky. Part of the puzzle is what the curator was working on, and who it was for. It could be related to a terrorist group, or the Mob. Or even worse, Hezbollah, which would cheerfully wipe Israel off the face of the earth. Our favorite characters from Silva's previous books are present to assist Gabriel, Air Sharom, Uzi Navot, and the new leader of the Mossad Eli Lavon. OF all Daniel Silva's 15 novels, this is by far the best, and while it builds on his other novels, this masterpiece stands alone.
I won't go over the plot line, etc. since you can get all of that from the product detail and other reviews. But as someone who has read all of Daniel's novels, I would rate this one up there right at the top (The Defector is still my all-time favorite, but this one is very, very, very close). What I especially liked about this installment of the Gabriel Allon series was that the characters seemed more alive and vivid then perhaps any of the previous books. As always, the reader feels like they are really in the locations of the action, which includes a couple of my favorite places: Rome and Jerusalem. And as is also always the case with a Silva novel, the story is based on current events that Daniel has researched extensively. Also, I should add that, unlike some thrill writers, Daniel actually uses the English language very well - clear, yet elegent. All-around, this book is as close to perfect as one could hope for!!
Oh WOW! "The Fallen Angel" is another spine-tingling, spell-binding installment in the Gabriel Allon series. I thoroughly enjoy Mr. Silva's work because the stories are absolutely gripping, but his research is so thorough that I always come away feeling that I know more about art and the politics of the Middle East than I did going in, and this book is another strong example of that research. The descriptions of the religious sites in Jerusalem and St. Peter's Basilica are captivating. The plot speeds along, but Mr. Silva never tips his hand as to what the climax of the story will be, which kept me reading for about 8 hours straight. I am only sad that I can't read it again for the first time, and would recommend it to anyone who likes a thriller! If you take it to the beach, put on your sunscreen before you start reading, because you WILL forget once you become engrossed in the story.
Just finished reading 'Fallen Angel'. I thought Daniel Silva's last Allon book could not be topped, but I was wrong. He made it very easy to visualize Allon as he goes from one place to another. I enjoy the history he gave - even when he took literary license. His discriptions of the paintings, streets, and all the surroundings that Allon encountered. I have read many authors that write esponize and dectetive books. Daniel Silve is way above all of them. Thank you for your intellect, research and writings.
With The Fallen Angel Daniel Silva has another spy thriller masterpiece on his hands. Not only is the writing exceptional but the story line and character development are fantastic. I started reading this genre of books by starting at the beginning with Daniel's books and none of them disappoint. The only problem is that after 3 days of reading I now have to wait another year for the next installment of the Gabriel Allon series. Thank you for another amazing book.
Reading a Daniel Silva novel featuring the character Gabriel Allon is like meeting up with old friends. As an Israeli spy and Art Restorer, Allon's adventures take on a familiar tone with this one starting with the restoration of a Carevaggio painting in the Vatican. When a curator from the Antiquities Division falls to her death in the Basilica, Gabriel is called on to investigate the suspicious death. Like the chiaroscuro of the Carevaggio, Gabriel's team uncovers the layers of a plot that takes the action from Rome to Vienna, Denmark and home to Jerusalem and the uncovering of a link between the Vatican and a terrorist plot that would ignite a third Intifada. Silva's series may follow a familiar formula but along the way the quick pace of the action and the real life reality of the World stage makes his novels totally engrossing and deeply satisfying. Through Gabriel's character Silva makes it clear that for the spy there is no easy retirement as long as the world still need his skills to keep us safe. This is a wonderful addition to the series and a must read for long time fans.
Could not put it down!
I'm pausing from reading The Fallen Angel just long enough to add my 5 star rating. I would give it 25 stars if I could!!! As are all Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon books, The Fallen Angel is riveting!!! The pace is fast, the characters unforgetable and the events so realistic it's scary. I recommend buying/reading the entire series...you will want to go back and read them again.
Starting this story was, for me, like 'going home again'. The characters that I hold so dear - Gabriel first and foremost - are back in action, and there's plenty of that. I think one of the things that I most love about Daniel Silva's storytelling is that he puts me "RIGHT THERE" - right in Venice, right in Jerusalem, right in the Vatican, right in London or Paris or Switzerland - it's in the details that he provides, without going overboard on them. He offers some of the histories, some of the formative events, while interlacing actual current events, weaving them into tales that cannot be put down, cannot be 'not read'. Whereas in many action stories, I might skip paragraphs or even chapters of 'stuff' like "why this person is what and how he is" - to get to the meat of the story, in Daniel Silva's stories the 'meat' is front and center - it IS Gabriel and his art work and his whole 'family' of characters and I read EVERY WORD. It's ALWAYS "all about THEM". This story also interwove Italy and the Vatican mysteries and actions; and while I realise that this book IS fiction, there is SO MUCH research and knowledge in the pages that I (a disabled person who does not travel), AM THERE. This series of Silva's is my VERY FAVOURITE of all the action/spy/thriller series that I voraciously consume; Gabriel is my brother, Chiara a sister, Ari Shamron a favourite uncle - I hurt when they hurt, and I hurt when I read of the life that Israelis must really live, surrounded by the merciless jihadists and Hezbollah. I could never go there in person - but I can BE THERE, thanks to Daniel Silva and Gabriel and company. If you are looking for an incredible action story, weaving art restoration through the Vatican through the Islamic terrorist societies, while maintaining the heart and soul of Gabriel and his group, then this book is for you. It is SO realistic it's uncanny at times. My one caveat would be that if this is to be your first Gabriel book, buy ALL of them and read them in order - it will blow you away, especially with "The Fallen Angel" as your "dessert"!
With Silva's Fallen Angel you don't only get an International Adventure but as a bonus you get both an education in art and middle east affairs Welcome Home Gabriel Congratulations Daniel
I could not get into this book....read about 75 pages and quit.
Daniel Silva brings his characters to life in novels relevant to what is happening in our world I do have to say this is his most captivating novel in the world of Gabriel Allon yet! A must read! Barb H. Algonquin, Il
I have thoroughly enjoyed the Allon series and am pleased that they keep getting better and better. Can't wait for thr)e next one! Silva is one of my all time favorite authors, beautiful descriptions that make you feel you are actually there witnessing events occur. The entire series is a "must-read".
The description of the subject is not needed here. We are again in the most wonderful Italian Renaissance Art History world and the never ending situation between the Israelis and their forever enemies. Daniel Silva is as always describing the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Gabriel Allon and his friends are our problem solvers as usual. May God bless them and bring peace to the world. Thank you Daniel for bringing again my 2 favorite subjects into your story. My love for Italian Renaissance Art History and my love for Israel.
Another Silva Masterpiece As with all the other installments of the Gabriel Allon series, this was a hugely entertaining, fast paced and all too plausible read. The meshing of history with current world events was exquisitely rendered. The characters feel like family by this point. While Fallen Angel can be read as a stand-alone thriller, it is so much more satisfying to have read the preceding installments due to the blink-of-an-eye allusions to previous books in the series scattered throughout this story. One of the many reasons that I enjoy Daniel Silva's books is that they demonstrate how events from decades, centuries or even millennia in our past still have a profound effect on the current geopolitical state of affairs. Unlike many other thriller or historical fiction writers, the plots and "twists" he weaves are very credible. As I read Fallen Angel, I got the strong sense of a world weary Gabriel and wondered how he'd have the strength to pull this caper off. I held out as long as I could before buying and then diving into Fallen Angel, because I knew how disappointed I'd be at the prospect of having finished it. Maybe a re-read? I always look forward to the next Gabriel Allon installment, am completely amazed at the quality of writing and believability of the plot while immersed in the book, then look forward to the next one. Write quickly, Daniel. Write quickly.
Good book in the series. Enjoy the series.
Highly recommend this book. It is fantastic. I could hardly put ir down. It's worth your time
I love Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon series, and Fallen Angel is the best installment by far. I especially appreciate the many layers of Gabriel, and every book the writer reveals a little more. Ari, Uzi, Eli, Chiara, they are like comfortable old friends I get to know better. Gabriel is a restorer of many things, not just art master pieces, yet he remains broken himself. Thank you, Daniel Silva, for bringing to life such wonderful characters, I cannot wait for the next book.
I highly recommend this book
Anything written by Daniel Silva is exciting and beyond a great value in a reading experience. His characters are human and make you want to be friends with them. His stories are fast-paced and exciting. And even tho Gabriel Allon is a spy, Daniel Silva writes in such a way that anyone can easily follow along and understand what's going on and why. Gabriel is one of the most famous characters ever written about and we never want his story to end. The stories are so well written that you have finished the book before you know it. And to say that Daniel Silva is one of the greatest writers of our time, is probably a very big understatement. His writing is fluid and flawless and easy to read. You never have to read a sentence twice. If you haven't already read a Daniel Silva story, you are truly missing out on a great reading experience.
Could not put it dwn!
I consider myself a life long connoisseur of this genre and this is a masterwork!