Friday, December 9, 2011

Book Review: Portrait of a Spy by Daniel Silva

Title: Portrait of a Spy
Author: Daniel Silva
Enjoyment Rating: 7/10
Referral: I found this one cheap on Audible
Source: Audible for iPhone
Books I've read this year: 152

Daniel Silva's Portrait of a Spy kept popping up in my recommended list all summer. Eventually, I saw it on a discount page at Audible and bought it. The good news is that it's an interesting read, and fans of Silva will probably like it a lot. When Gabriel Allon, the art restorer/spy, walks into Covent Garden at the same moment as a suicide bomber, he gives up his quiet retirement on the Cornwall coast to bring down one of the major terrorist organizations in the Middle East. The book was interesting, quick paced, had good characterization, wasn't too terribly detailed that I got hopelessly lost if my mind wandered for a moment, and included some really nice insights into world diplomacy in the modern era. The main downside for me, and this is 100% my own fault, is that I bought the book thinking that it was a stand-alone novel. For the first two or three chapters, it was possible for me to persist in my thinking that Allon was a new character, but as soon as he assembled his team of Israeli spies in Washington DC (it's complicated, but not too complicated), it became evident that this was a series piece using the same cast of characters over and over again. That said, it wasn't impossible for me to jump in to the series, but it did make me feel like there were significant gaps when the characters alluded to things that took place in the first ten novels (yes, this is number 11). If I had read Silva's previous novels, I think that I would have enjoyed this one more, but all in all, it was an enjoyable companion while it lasted.

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