The Secret Servant (Gabriel Allon Series #7)

The Secret Servant (Gabriel Allon Series #7)

by Daniel Silva

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The Secret Servant (Gabriel Allon Series #7) by Daniel Silva

A terrorist plot in London leads Israeli spy Gabriel Allon on a desperate search for a kidnapped woman in this thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Daniel Silva.

While in Amsterdam, Israeli intelligence officer and master art restorer Gabriel Allon discovers a plot that is about to explode in the middle of London. The daughter of the American ambassador is to be brutally kidnapped. But Gabriel arrives too late to save her. And when he reveals his face to the plot’s masterminds, his fate is sealed as well. 

Drawn once more into the service of American intelligence, Gabriel desperately searches for the missing woman as the clock ticks steadily toward the hour of her execution. The search 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…

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451224507
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/24/2008
Series: Gabriel Allon Series , #7
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 58,290
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Daniel Silva is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Unlikely Spy, The Mark of the Assassin, The Marching Season, and the Gabriel Allon series, including 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, Portrait of a Spy, The Fallen Angel, The English Girl, The Heist, The English Spy, The Black Widow, and House of Spies. His books are published in more than thirty countries and are bestsellers around the world.

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Read an Excerpt



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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The Secret Servant (Gabriel Allon Series #7) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 106 reviews.
Man_Of_La_Book_Dot_Com More than 1 year ago
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
mare-nyc More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Plot was fast moving and kept my interest. Too much use of the 4 letter f..K word - was not needed as support to the story.
Jerry_QuickBooks More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can't put it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my favorites from Mr Silva. I started this on vacation and quickly moved through it, anxious to follow the action.
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Well written and suspenseful. Moves along quickly.
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miss_dobie More than 1 year ago
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.
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