The Fall­en Angel

Daniel Sil­va
  • Review
By – September 5, 2012

Daniel Sil­va has done it again in this excit­ing twelfth nov­el fea­tur­ing spy­mas­ter and expert art restor­er Gabriel Allon. In The Fall­en Angel, our hero’s con­cerns are both cur­rent and his­toric. He ref­er­ences the Munich Olympics mas­sacres, con­fronts the Islam­ic fun­da­men­tal­ist ter­ror net­work, the under­ground trade in loot­ed antiq­ui­ties, mon­ey laun­der­ing, steganog­ra­phy (con­cealed writ­ing), restora­tion of great mas­ter­pieces, the idea of Taqiyya (dis­play­ing one inten­tion while har­bor­ing anoth­er), the Pope’s evolv­ing rela­tion­ship with Israel and the Holo­caust, and Tem­ple denial. We are sup­plied with maps of Vat­i­can City and the Old City of Jerusalem and vis­it Rome, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Paris, St. Moritz, Vien­na, and Berlin. We admire fine art while learn­ing details about ancient pot­tery, sculp­ture, and clas­si­cal paint­ings.

Allon has a close rela­tion­ship with the Pope, hav­ing saved his life in a pre­vi­ous episode. A mur­der in the Vat­i­can is explained as sui­cide to the press. The Pope’s pri­vate sec­re­tary has a ques­tion­able past that must be kept secret to avoid a Vat­i­can scan­dal. The Pope requests Allon as his per­son­al body­guard on a momen­tous mis­sion to Jerusalem. Jerusalem Syn­drome and apoc­a­lyp­tic ideas con­verge on land holy to three faiths. While the Pope leads his entourage to the four­teen Sta­tions of the Cross, a plot to destroy the Tem­ple Mount is dis­cov­ered by Israeli intel­li­gence. Allon’s expert team must avert a cat­a­clysmic dis­as­ter. This loy­al read­er could not help but race breath­less­ly through the tale to reach its sat­is­fy­ing end.

The writ­ing and research in this book, as in the entire series, are impec­ca­ble. This furi­ous­ly fast read clev­er­ly dis­guis­es the huge amount of his­tor­i­cal knowl­edge to be gained by fans of Sil­va. Allon’s heart­break­ing back sto­ry and ten­der scenes with his wife pro­vide moments of human­i­ty to our sharp­shoot­ing idol. An author’s note reveals the truths that are with­in the fic­tion­al story.

Addi­tion­al Titles by Daniel Silva

Miri­am Brad­man Abra­hams, mom, grand­mom, avid read­er, some­time writer, born in Havana, raised in Brook­lyn, resid­ing in Long Beach on Long Island. Long­time for­mer One Region One Book chair and JBC liai­son for Nas­sau Hadas­sah, cur­rent­ly pre­sent­ing Inci­dent at San Miguel with author AJ Sidran­sky who wrote the his­tor­i­cal fic­tion based on her Cuban Jew­ish refugee family’s expe­ri­ences dur­ing the rev­o­lu­tion. Flu­ent in Span­ish and Hebrew, cer­ti­fied hatha yoga instructor.

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