The Other Woman | Book Review


When Daniel Silva publishes a new Gabriel Allon novel, I read it as quickly as I can. I get up early to read it, catch a few pages during breaks throughout the day, and stay up late until it’s finished. Some people binge-watch their favorite shows on Netflix. I binge-read spy books.

And so it was with The Other Woman, the latest installment in Silva’s long-running series. In it, Gabriel Allon, chief of Israel’s Mossad, discovers there’s a mole near the top of a Western intelligence agency. Discovering who the mole is and what agency has been compromised before any more damage can be done is the engine that drives the plot forward.

As with all murder and suspense books, my chief criterion of a well-told tale is whether it keeps me turning pages. If a suspense book especially doesn’t grab my attention and force me to keep reading because I absolutely must know what happens next, then it’s not a very good suspense book. By that criterion, The Other Womanis a success.

The book also kept my attention because the plot hinges on Cold War history. I can’t go into detail without spoiling things, so I’ll just say that James Jesus Angleton’s description of counterintelligence as “a wilderness of mirrors” is an apt description of The Other Woman’s plot. Angleton was obsessed that Russia had a mole in the CIA, an obsession grounded in the all-to-real treachery of Kim Philby and the other members of the infamous Cambridge Five, but his obsession also tore relations between Western intelligence agencies apart. That kind of obsession is in play here too.

One of the downsides of page-turners is that you often only see the plot’s weaknesses in hindsight. That was the case here too. In the moment, I thought the Cold War-related plot (again, no details because…spoilers!) worked well. But on reflection, I started to think it was highly implausible. Once you’ve read the book, you’ll know what I’m talking about, and you can draw your own conclusions.

Even with this caveat, The Other Womanis an entertaining read, a trip down Cold War Memory Lane, and a reminder that in the real world, the New Boss of Russia is the same as the Old Boss, and neither is the good guy.

Book Reviewed
Daniel Silva, The Other Woman (New York: HarperCollins, 2018).

P.S. If you found my review helpful, please vote “Yes” on my Amazon.com review page.

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House of Spies | Book Review


House of Spies is set four months after the events depicted in The Black Widow. Washington DC is recovering from the worst terror attack on it since 9/11. The terrorist known as Saladin is still on the loose, however, and the intelligence services of the U.S., Britain, France, and Israel are frantically searching for him to prevent his next atrocity.

When Britain uncovers a loose thread in a criminal organization allied with Saladin, its chief of intelligence asks Gabriel Allon to pull it. The unraveling takes Gabriel and his team around the world in a non-stop, nail-biting quest to take out the terrorist. House of Spies is a page-turner whose fictional plot is scarily real.

A book like House of Spies can be read as a stand-alone novel, of course, but the bigger pay-off comes when you read it as part of the entire series. Indeed, the novel makes much more sense when you read it after its immediate predecessor, The Black Widow. I’m a huge fan of Daniel Silva, and I highly recommend this novel. It’s a measure of how good it is that I read the entire thing in two days.

 

Book Reviewed:
Daniel Silva, House of Spies (New York: Harper, 2017).

P.S. If you found my review helpful, please vote “Yes” on my Amazon.com review page.

Review of ‘The English Spy’ by Daniel Silva


The-English-SpyDaniel Silva, The English Spy (New York: Harper, 2015). Hardcover | Kindle

When the glamorous ex-wife of the heir to the British throne is murdered, Israeli intelligence reveals to British intelligence that the murderer was Irish terrorist-for-hire Eamon Quinn. Then it offers to put legendary Mossad agent Gabriel Allon on the case, and Allon brings on Christopher Keller—ex-SSA officer turned assassin-for-hire—for good measure. Turns out, Allon and Keller have a personal beef with Quinn, and when it’s personal, things get messy. Daniel Silva’s newest installment in the long-running Gabriel Allon series is fast-paced and full of plot twists. If international spy thrillers are your thing, this one’s well worth reading.

P.S. If you found my review helpful, please vote “Yes” on my Amazon.com review page.

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