oh look, my annual book review and continuing the Daniel Silva tradition. Sadly it’s the second year in a row where the book release did not include listening to Silva speak in person as the book tour remained virtual. I’d hoped to be able to join one of the online events, but my schedule never aligned. Boo. I was impressed with my will power, making it four whole days from release to purchase. I finished the book two weeks ago, but it took me a while to get this post together.
Here there be
Overall, I really liked this book. It was a return to the strong female characters that I think Silva writes very well. It was great to see Sarah Bancroft, Natalie Mizrahi brieftly, and of course to meet Isabel Brenner. I found the plot to be an interesting one, and was glad to see the family side of Gabriel as he spent some time with Chiara and the kids.
I thought the financial layers of this were a fascinating introduction to money laundering, and it was blend that made you wonder how close this was to reality of how these things worked. I thought it interesting how Silva wove in the COVID pandemic, both with Courchevel being locked down as well as how Allon’s team had to work differently to incorporate social distancing and how he spent so much time away from Shamron to protect the older man. I wonder how some of these books will read in the future when we’re past the immediacy of COVID.
I also enjoyed the looks back to The Defector and Moscow Rules, as much I hated those books and almost walked away from Daniel Silva at the time. I think that’s also a big piece of what I like about the series-they’re standalone books, but they’re all intricately connected and each read is like a meeting with old friends, or enemies.
I also enjoyed how Silva mentioned what languages the characters were speaking to one another – it’s always something I’ve thought about. We knew Gabriel had his mother’s Berliner accent when speaking German, but it was good to hear that Arkady had an East Berlin accent, for example. This is also the first time I remember Silva speaking albeit indirectly about Allon’s age. 60s simultaneously seems old and young,
What I didn’t love? I really feel Silva is setting this up toward the end, and I’ll never be ready to say goodbye to Allon. We know Allon has less than a year left in his term as Chief, and he’s not going to serve another term. Yes, he also said he wasn’t going to serve as Chief, but this feels different and dare I say final? I don’t think Silva will kill Allon, they’re too intertwined, but maybe he will send him happily into retirement? Similarly, I still wonder if he’s setting Christopher Keller up for his own series. I like Keller, but not sure I’d like him enough as a leading man. Would I ever quit Silva? I don’t think so. It’s too much of a summer tradition.
And then Shamron. Although there was only the one scene, it was poignant. Shamron is Allon’s father in all ways that matter, would Gabriel really leave Israel for Italy and leave Shamron behind? On the other hand, does Chiara want to move home especially since she was working in Italy when she and Gabriel met?
Is it next July yet for the answers to all of these questions?
Such a shame you’ve missed the proper experience of the launch twice now. Maybe next year! Do you think the inclusion of the pandemic will date the book or did it work as they’re contemporary?