5 stars (out of 5)
When it comes to books, not much thrills me as much as learning Daniel Silva has produced another featuring art restoration expert and Israeli super-spy Gabriel Allon. No surprise, then when I couldn't wait to get my Kindle stylus tapping on the latest adventure. That said, I always open them with a sense of hesitation; I'm always fearful (make that scared to death) that something awful will happen to him and/or his beautiful wife Chiara.
So, as each chapter begins and Gabriel's always complex, always dangerous adventures unfold, I take a deep breath in anticipation of reading something I hope I never have to read. That is, I think, a complement to Silva, who has managed to tap into my emotions like few authors have done and, simply put, make me care enormously about all of his characters.
This one begins as a young British woman with links to the Prime Minister disappears on the island of Corsica and, in part to avoid a scandal that threatens to topple the English government, Gabriel is called upon to handle negotiations with what is assumed to be a kidnapping. Of course, nothing in the world of espionage is ever as it seems, and just when you think a situation has been resolved, a new and even more potentially dangerous twist appears on the horizon. Along the way are Silva's wonderful insights into his characters -- not many authors do a better job, IMHO -- as well as interesting and informative looks into the history of the countries in which the action takes place (most notably Israel, a country that has long fascinated me).
Much more than that I can't say without revealing too much of the plot, although I will add that the ending brings into question exactly what Gabriel's role will be in future books. But I enjoyed this one from beginning to end and think it's one of Silva's best - were it possible, in fact, I'd have given this one 6 stars.
The English Girl: A Novel (Gabriel Allon) by Daniel Silva (HarperCollins Publishers July 2013); 490 pp.