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The Secret Servant (Gabriel Allon Series #7)

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When last we encountered Gabriel Allon, the master art restorer and sometime officer of Israeli intelligence, he had just prevailed in his blood-soaked duel with Saudi terrorist financier Zizi al-Bakari. Now Gabriel is summoned once more by his masters to undertake what appears to be a routine assignment: travel to Amsterdam to purge the archives of a murdered Dutch terrorism analyst who also happened to be an asset of Israeli intelligence. But once in Amsterdam, Gabriel soon discovers a conspiracy of terror ...
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The Secret Servant (Gabriel Allon Series #7)

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Overview

When last we encountered Gabriel Allon, the master art restorer and sometime officer of Israeli intelligence, he had just prevailed in his blood-soaked duel with Saudi terrorist financier Zizi al-Bakari. Now Gabriel is summoned once more by his masters to undertake what appears to be a routine assignment: travel to Amsterdam to purge the archives of a murdered Dutch terrorism analyst who also happened to be an asset of Israeli intelligence. But once in Amsterdam, Gabriel soon discovers a conspiracy of terror festering in the city’s Islamic underground, a plot that is about to explode on the other side of the English Channel, in the middle of London.

The target of this plot is Elizabeth Halton, the daughter of the American ambassador to the Court of St. James’s, who is to be brutally kidnapped. Gabriel arrives seconds too late to save her. And by revealing his face to the plot’s masterminds, his fate is sealed as well. Drawn once more into the service of American intelligence, Gabriel hurls himself into a desperate search for the missing woman as the clock ticks steadily toward the hour of her execution. It will take him from Amsterdam to Germany to the very end of Denmark. It will thrust him into an unlikely alliance with a man who has lost everything because of his devotion to Islam. It will cause him to question the morality of the tactics of his trade. And it might very well cost him his life.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Amsterdam murder of Ephraim Rosner didn't set off international headlines, but it did send panic through high-clearance homeland security units. The terrorism analyst was killed just 24 hours before he was scheduled to meet with Israeli intelligence. Dutch police are certain that the assassin was a lone, deranged Muslim extremist, but Gabriel Allon's bosses fear a far more dangerous plot. They dispatch this art restorer/part-time spy to the Netherlands to ferret out the real cause of Rosner's slaying. What he learns there is soon eclipsed by fast-breaking developments that threaten what remains of world peace. Tension, twists, and breakneck thrills.
Publishers Weekly

Bestseller Silva's superlative seventh novel to feature Gabriel Allon, "the legendary but wayward son of Israeli Intelligence," puts Silva squarely atop the spy thriller heap. When Solomon Rosner, a professor in Amsterdam who's also a secret Israeli asset, is assassinated for his strident reports and articles detailing the dangers of militant Islam within the Netherlands, Gabriel gets the job to clean out the professor's files. In Amsterdam, the Israeli agent and his old partner, Eli Lavon, unearth a plot that leads to the kidnapping by Islamic extremists of the daughter of the U.S. ambassador in London. While most intelligence agencies consider Gabriel persona non grata because of his unorthodox methods and the trail of bodies he leaves in his wake, he once again proves invaluable as he and his stalwart team hunt down some of Israel's-and the world's-most violent enemies. While you don't have to have read the earlier books in the series (The Messenger, etc.), knowing the history of the returning characters adds depth and color to the overall story. (July)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal
Silva stalwart Gabriel Allon is back, investigating the murder of terrorism analyst Ephraim Rosner by a Muslim immigrant in Amsterdam. The plot thickens with the kidnapping of the U.S. ambassador's daughter in London. With a three-week tour. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423306580
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 7/24/2007
  • Series: Gabriel Allon Series , #7
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Abridged, 5 CDs, 6 hours
  • Product dimensions: 6.62 (w) x 7.01 (h) x 1.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel Silva is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Moscow Rules and 10 other international bestselling spy novels. Best known for his Gabriel Allon series, his books are translated into more than 25 languages. Silva lives in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington DC with his wife, NBC Today National Correspondent Jamie Gangel and their twins Lily and Nicholas.
Photo of the author: John Earle, photographer

Biography

Daniel Silva was attending graduate school in San Francisco when United Press International offered him a temporary job covering the 1984 Democratic National Convention. Later that year, the wire service offered him full-time employment; he quit grad school and went to work for UPI -- first in San Francisco, then in Washington, D.C., and finally as a Middle East Correspondent posted in Cairo. While covering the Iran-Iraq War in 1987, he met NBC correspondent Jamie Gangel. They married, and Silva returned to Washington to take a job with CNN.

Silva was still at CNN when, with the encouragement of his wife, he began work on his first novel, a WWII espionage thriller. Published in 1997, The Unlikely Spy became a surprise bestseller and garnered critical acclaim. ("Evocative... memorable..." said The Washington Post; "Briskly suspenseful," raved The New York Times). On the heels of this somewhat unexpected success, Silva quit his job to concentrate on writing.

Other books followed, all earning respectable reviews; but it was Silva's fourth novel that proved to be his big breakthrough. Featuring a world-famous art restorer and sometime Israeli agent named Gabriel Allon, The Kill Artist (2000) fired public imagination and soared to the top of the bestseller charts. Gabriel Allon has gone on to star in several sequels, and his creator has become one of our foremost novelists of espionage intrigue, earning comparisons to such genre superstars as John Le Carré. Frederick Forsythe, and Robert Ludlum. Silva's books have been translated into more than 25 languages and have been published around the world.

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Read an Excerpt


1

Amsterdam

It was Professor Solomon Rosner who sounded the first alarm, though his name would never be linked to the affair except in the secure rooms of a drab office building in downtown Tel Aviv. Gabriel Allon, the legendary but wayward son of Israeli intelligence, would later observe that Rosner was the first asset in the annals of Office history to have proven more useful to them dead than alive. Those who overheard the remark found it uncharacteristically callous but in keeping with the bleak mood that by then had settled over them all.

The backdrop for Rosner’s demise was not Israel, where violent death occurs all too frequently, but the normally tranquil quarter of Amsterdam known as the Old Side. The date was the first Friday in December, and the weather was more suited to early spring than the last days of autumn. It was a day to engage in what the Dutch so fondly refer to as gezelligheid, the pursuit of small pleasures: an aimless stroll through the flower stalls of the Bloemenmarkt, a lager or two in a good bar in the Rembrandtplein, or, for those so inclined, a bit of fine cannabis in the brown coffeehouses of the Haarlemmerstraat. Leave the fretting and the fighting to the hated Americans, stately old Amsterdam murmured that golden late-autumn afternoon. Today we give thanks for having been born blameless and Dutch.

Solomon Rosner did not share the sentiments of his countrymen, but then he seldom did. Though he earned a living as a professor of sociology at the University of Amsterdam, it was Rosner’s Center for European Security Studies that occupied the lion’s share of his time. His legion of detractors saw evidence of deception in the name, for Rosner served not only as the center’s director but was its only scholar in residence. Despite those obvious shortcomings, the center had managed to produce a steady stream of authoritative reports and articles detailing the threat posed to the Netherlands by the rise of militant Islam within its borders. Rosner’s last book, The Islamic Conquest of the West, had argued that Holland was now under a sustained and systematic assault by jihadist Islam. The goal of this assault, he maintained, was to colonize the Netherlands and turn it into a majority Muslim state, where, in the not-too-distant future, Islamic law, or sharia, would reign supreme. The terrorists and the colonizers were two sides of the same coin, he warned, and unless the government took immediate and drastic action, everything the freethinking Dutch held dear would soon be swept away.

The Dutch literary press had been predictably appalled. Hysteria, said one reviewer. Racist claptrap, said another. More than one took pains to note that the views expressed in the book were all the more odious given the fact that Rosner’s grandparents had been rounded up with a hundred thousand other Dutch Jews and sent off to the gas chambers at Auschwitz. All agreed that what the situation required was not hateful rhetoric like Rosner’s but tolerance and dialogue. Rosner stood steadfast in the face of the withering criticism, adopting what one commentator described as the posture of a man with his finger wedged firmly in the dike. Tolerance and dialogue by all means, Rosner responded, but not capitulation. “We Dutch need to put down our Heinekens and hash pipes and wake up,” he snapped during an interview on Dutch television. “Otherwise, we’re going to lose our country.”

The book and surrounding controversy had made Rosner the most vilified and, in some quarters, celebrated man in the country. It had also placed him squarely in the sights of Holland’s homegrown Islamic extremists. Jihadist websites, which Rosner monitored more closely than even the Dutch police, burned with sacred rage over the book, and more than one forecast his imminent execution. An imam in the neighborhood known as the Oud West instructed his flock that “Rosner the Jew must be dealt with harshly” and pleaded for a martyr to step forward and do the job. The feckless Dutch interior minister responded by proposing that Rosner go into hiding, an idea Rosner vigorously refused. He then supplied the minister with a list of ten radicals he regarded as potential assassins. The minister accepted the list without question, for he knew that Rosner’s sources inside Holland’s extremist fringe were in most cases far better than those of the Dutch security services.

At noon on that Friday in December, Rosner was hunched over his computer in the second-floor office of his canal house at Groenburgwal 2A. The house, like Rosner himself, was stubby and wide, and tilted forward at a precarious angle, which some of the neighbors saw as fitting, given the political views of its occupant. If it had one serious drawback it was its location, for it stood not fifty yards from the bell tower of the Zuiderkirk church. The bells tolled mercilessly each day, beginning at the stroke of noon and ending forty-five minutes later. Rosner, sensitive to interruptions and unwanted noise, had been waging a personal jihad against them for years. Classical music, white-noise machines, soundproof headphones—all had proven useless in the face of the onslaught. Sometimes he wondered why they were rung at all. The old church had long ago been turned into a government housing office, a fact that Rosner, a man of considerable faith, saw as a fitting symbol of the Dutch morass. Confronted by an enemy of infinite religious zeal, the secular Dutch had turned their churches into bureaus of the welfare state. A church without faithful, thought Rosner, in a city without God.

At ten minutes past twelve he heard a faint knock and looked up to find Sophie Vanderhaus leaning against the doorjamb with a batch of files clutched to her breast. A former student of Rosner’s, she had come to work for him after completing a graduate degree on the impact of the Holocaust on postwar Dutch society. She was part secretary and research assistant, part nursemaid and surrogate daughter. She kept his office in order and typed the final drafts of all his reports and articles. She was the minder of his impossible schedule and tended to his appalling personal finances. She even saw to his laundry and made certain he remembered to eat. Earlier that morning she had informed him that she was planning to spend a week in Saint-Maarten over the New Year. Rosner, upon hearing the news, had fallen into a profound depression.

“You have an interview with De Telegraaf in an hour,” she said. “Maybe you should have something to eat and focus your thoughts.”

“Are you suggesting my thoughts lack focus, Sophie?”

“I’m suggesting nothing of the sort. It’s just that you’ve been working on that article since five-thirty this morning. You need something more than coffee in your stomach.”

“It’s not that dreadful reporter who called me a Nazi last year?”

“Do you really think I’d let her near you again?” She entered the office and started straightening his desk. “After the interview with De Telegraaf, you go to the NOS studios for an appearance on Radio One. It’s a call-in program, so it’s sure to be lively. Do try not to make any more enemies, Professor Rosner. It’s getting harder and harder to keep track of them all.”

“I’ll try to behave myself, but I’m afraid my forbearance is now gone forever.”

She peered into his coffee cup and pulled a sour face. “Why do you insist on putting out your cigarettes in your coffee?”

“My ashtray was full.”

“Try emptying it from time to time.” She poured the contents of the ashtray into his rubbish bin and removed the plastic liner. “And don’t forget you have the forum this evening at the university.”

Rosner frowned. He was not looking forward to the forum. One of the other panelists was the leader of the European Muslim Association, a group that campaigned openly for the imposition of sharia in Europe and the destruction of the State of Israel. It promised to be a deeply unpleasant evening.

“I’m afraid I’m coming down with a sudden case of leprosy,” he said.

“They’ll insist that you come anyway. You’re the star of the show.”

He stood and stretched his back. “I think I’ll go to Café de Doelen for a coffee and something to eat. Why don’t you have the reporter from De Telegraaf meet me there?”

“Do you really think that’s wise, Professor?”

It was common knowledge in Amsterdam that the famous café on the Staalstraat was his favorite haunt. And Rosner was hardly inconspicuous. Indeed, with his shock of white hair and rumpled tweed wardrobe, he was one of the most recognizable figures in Holland. The geniuses in the Dutch police had once suggested he utilize some crude disguise while in public, an idea Rosner had likened to putting a hat and a false mustache on a hippopotamus and calling it a Dutchman.

“I haven’t been to the Doelen in months.”

“That doesn’t mean it’s any safer.”

“I can’t live my life as a prisoner forever, Sophie.” He gestured toward the window. “Especially on a day like today. Wait until the last possible minute before you tell the reporter from De Telegraaf where I am. That will give me a jump on the jihadists.”

“That isn’t funny, Professor.” She could see there was no talking him out of it. She handed him his mobile phone. “At least take this so you can call me in an emergency.”

Rosner slipped the phone into his pocket and headed downstairs. In the entry hall he pulled on his coat and trademark silk scarf and stepped outside. To his left rose the spire of the Zuiderkirk; to his right, fifty yards along a narrow canal lined with small craft, stood a wooden double drawbridge. The Groenburgwal was a quiet street for the Old Side: no bars or cafés, only a single small hotel that never seemed to have more than a handful of guests. Directly opposite Rosner’s house was the street’s only eyesore, a modern tenement block with a lavender-and-lime pastel exterior. A trio of housepainters dressed in smudged white coveralls was squatting outside the building in a patch of sunlight.

Rosner glanced at the three faces, committing each to memory, before setting off in the direction of the drawbridge. When a sudden gust of wind stirred the bare tree limbs along the embankment, he paused for a moment to bind his scarf more tightly around his neck and watch a plump Vermeer cloud drift slowly overhead. It was then that he noticed one of the painters walking parallel to him along the opposite side of the canal. Short dark hair, a high flat forehead, a heavy brow over small eyes: Rosner, connoisseur of immigrant faces, judged him to be a Moroccan from the Rif Mountains. They arrived at the drawbridge simultaneously. Rosner paused again, this time to light a cigarette he did not want, and watched with relief as the man turned to the left. When he disappeared round the next corner, Rosner headed in the opposite direction toward the Doelen.

He took his time making his way down the Staalstraat, now dawdling in the window of his favorite pastry shop to gaze at that day’s offerings, now sidestepping to avoid being run down by a pretty girl on a bicycle, now pausing to accept a few words of encouragement from a ruddy-faced admirer. He was about to step through the entrance of the café when he felt a tug at his coat sleeve. In the few remaining seconds he had left to live, he would be tormented by the absurd thought that he might have prevented his own murder had he resisted the impulse to turn around. But he did turn around, because that is what one does on a glorious December afternoon in Amsterdam when one is summoned in the street by a stranger.

He saw the gun only in the abstract. In the narrow street the shots reverberated like cannon fire. He collapsed onto the cobblestones and watched helplessly as his killer drew a long knife from the inside of his coveralls. The slaughter was ritual, just as the imams had decreed it should be. No one intervened—hardly surprising, thought Rosner, for intervention would have been intolerant—and no one thought to comfort him as he lay dying. Only the bells spoke to him. A church without faithful, they seemed to be saying, in a city without God.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 95 )
Rating Distribution

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(55)

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(25)

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(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 96 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 26, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Buy it from Amazon

    I ordered this book and received an email that it was delayed because out of print giving me the choice to cancel or keep order. I selected to keep order. Did not hear again. After a month I inquired by email. Was told that because book was out of print, they cancelled my order, the same day I inquired, but also said I could re-order because they had new supply. My order showed still open. I asked them why they cancelled. The responded by telling me book was already shipped so I could not cancel. They never responded, never sent the book, never apologized or explained. I will not renew my membership and no longer buy from B&N. All my books are now purchased through Amazon and if Barnes & Noble is having financial issues, I can understand why. Their email customer service sucks.

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Chal­lenges the Reader

    The Secret Ser­vant by Daniel Silva brings back Israeli spy Gabriel Allon in this sev­enth install­ment. This time we find Allon as a weary, tired agent ready to hang up his hol­ster and, unwill­ingly, accept his fate in management.

    Mas­ter art restorer and Israeli agent Gabriel Allon is on his way to Ams­ter­dam to look through the archives of an Israeli asset that has been mur­dered. A rou­tine assign­ment per­haps, but Allon soon dis­cov­ers that the Islamic under­ground plots to com­mits acts of ter­ror in England.

    Eliz­a­beth Hal­ton, daugh­ter to the ambas­sador to the Court of St. James, is kid­napped. In order to save her Allon has to con­front his con­scious and make unlikely allies along the way

    I found The Secret Ser­vant by Daniel Silva to be a more cur­rent, at least in atmos­phere, of the Gabriel Allon series. As usual with the rest of the series, the book is dif­fi­cult to put down, a fast paced adven­ture and thriller which brings back famil­iar characters.

    The char­ac­ters age with the books, which I like. None are super­heroes, but peo­ple with issues and prob­lems who only jus­tify their acts to them­selves by hold­ing a high moral ground. How­ever, this high moral ground must be bro­ken from time to time which leaves them feel­ing con­fused and filled with regrets.

    The book is filled with many char­ac­ters, bum­bling politi­cians, Islamic extrem­ists, non-extremists Islamic peo­ple and other hot but­ton issues from cur­rent day world. How­ever, what I espe­cially liked about this book is that Mr. Silva con­stantly chal­lenges the reader to rethink pre­con­ceived notions and eth­i­cal issues within the con­text of the story.

    Mr. Silva chose an omni­scient nar­ra­tor for this book, and it is a wise choice due to the many per­sonal strug­gles the char­ac­ters go through. Much like another favorite spy of mine, James Bond, the author chose to blur the dif­fer­ences between the acts of the vil­lains and the heroes (I am talk­ing, of course, about the Bond books, not the movies of the tongue-in-cheek super­hu­man spy). The vil­lains jus­tify killing for their reli­gions, the heroes – for their coun­try. The vil­lains resort to tor­ture, in the name of their G-d, the heroes resort to those same tac­tics for their cause, jus­ti­fy­ing it to themselves

    The Islamiza­tion of Europe is also cov­ered some very inter­est­ing sec­tions. I have read a few arti­cles about the sub­ject in the past sev­eral years. I think Mr. Silva, while with some obvi­ous opin­ions, did a fair job in pre­sent­ing the sub­ject from var­i­ous points of view. The fall of Mubarak and how his régime of Egypt­ian oppres­sion bred hate is also weaved into the story.

    While the Gabriel Allon books become for­mu­laic at this point, they are still very enjoy­able and well paced. The woven cur­rent events and weak­nesses within the main char­ac­ters add another dimen­sion to this novel which I fou

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 29, 2011

    highly recomended

    havent had a chance to read it yet but if its anything like daniels other books i have read it will be well worth the read. enjoy

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Blockbuster summer flick in a book!

    One of the best Daniel Silva's book in the Gabriel Allon series. It reads like a thrill-a-minute ride and does not let up to the last page. Gabriel is as usual the unrelenting, globe trotting, torn hero who kicks butt like no one else. Thoroughly enjoyable read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2014

    As hoped for...WONDERFUL!

    Kudos to Mr. Silva...It is amazing that an author can consistently meet hopes and expectations. The bar was set high and met once again!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2013

    An understated thriller!

    Gabiel Allon travels again to save us all!

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  • Posted September 28, 2011

    Excellent Easy Read

    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all of Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon Series.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 12, 2009

    A real page turner

    Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon series is a keeper. Daniel Silva not only spins a compelling page turn thriller but his main character, Gabriel Allon, is human in his doubts, concerns and questions of purpose of life.

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  • Posted October 26, 2009

    Second to none when it comes to characters and action.

    Allon is a complicated person, as is his manager. The action will get your blood flowing.

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  • Posted October 20, 2009

    Love Daniel Silva!

    I have not been disappointed by Silva's novel. He continues to give us a great thriller that kept my attention the entire time, but also touches on current issues that are very much in the limelight these days.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2009

    Great Series of Books

    I love this series with Gabriel Allons' character

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2009

    Fitting title

    I love how the author weaves the stories and how they connect from one book to the next. Even if you skip a book, they still make the story whole.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2009

    Great Reading.....

    I enjoy Daniel Silva's books. His writing style is smooth and his books are easy to get into and read. I found this book to be excellent. I am a new reader of Daniel Silva and am starting to go back and read his earlier books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2007

    Too little Allon

    While an author must present some back story I think the amount of information presented on the history and organization of terrorist organizations was excessive. I thought it totally bogged down the first half of this book. I usually fire through Silva's book in one to two days-this one took me a week. The combination of spycraft and art really drew me to the Allon stories initially. This book only touches on art in a cursory manner and the use if spycraft is not much better. I think that author is fast approaching the point that he will need to start writing non-fiction to get his personal points regarding the Middle East situation across. The last part of the book was good but you have to wade through the heavy beginning

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2007

    Best Silva YET!!!

    All of Silva's books are great, but this one is the best. It is timely, scary, and straight from the headlines. You read it in one sitting, because you cant put it down! Bravo and thank you! And congratulations on the movie deal! A fan from Texas!

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

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    This is the thinking person¿s thriller

    Gabriel Allon, one of Israel¿s most dangerous and brilliant operatives, is sent to Amsterdam on what is supposed to be a quick in and out mission. Dutch citizen Solomon has sent Israel good Intel for years and has made many enemies because of his his speaking out against Islamic fundamentalism. Now that he was killed Allon is supposed to look for his files and wipe away any connection between the dead man and Israel.----------------- He meets one of Solomon¿s informants, who tells Allon that Solomon was going to tell his handler that a terrorist cell was slipped into England and there would be an attack someplace in the country. Finding verification, he warns London but it is too late, the American ambassador¿s daughter is kidnapped and bombs are exploded at a stop on the underground, at Piccadilly Circle, and other crowed places. The Sword of Allah is behind the kidnappings and al Qaeda is behind the bombings. The terrorists want to destabilize Mubarik¿s regime where the martyrs were recruited so that a fundamentalist government could come into power. The Sword of Allah says it will exchange the hostage for the prisoner Sheik Abdullah dying from cancer in an American jail. Allon is the only one who has the ruthless qualities necessary to rescue the hostage but he has to evade capture and death from his many enemies.------------------- As action thrillers go, THE SECRET SERVANT is one of the best to come along in the last year. Daniel Silva starts off at the speed of light and the plot only defies physics by accelerating. What sets this book apart is it has depth because the author shows by the actions of the characters why the Muslim fundamentalists feel like they do (similar to Congressman Ron Paul at the Republican debates), how governments cope with constantly being in a state of red alert and how the terrorists mold the minds of the youth generation after generation in hopes of reestablishing a Caliphate in the Mideast. Mr. Silva also shows why there is so much Muslim unrest in Europe. This is the thinking person¿s thriller.------------- Harriet Klausner

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