The English Spy by Daniel Silva

/ posted in: Reading The English Spy by Daniel SilvaThe English Spy by Daniel Silva
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
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four-stars

After trying to avoid it for many years, Israeli spy Gabriel Allon is going to have to give up his cover life in Europe.  He is going to be returning to Israel to take over The Office and run Israeli spy operations.

The most famous woman in the world is murdered by an IRA bomber with ties to several of the people who Allon has fought over the years.  He is going to need the services of English-born assassin Christopher Keller to finish this last job before retiring from the field.


There have been a few times in the last two or three of the Gabriel Allon books where I have had to stop reading to do some math.  Let’s see, the character was recruited to hunt down the people who killed Israeli athletes in Munich in 1972.  Let’s say he was super young, like 20 years old, at the time.  That would make him how old now?  63.

I’d have these moments because as much as I love this series, it was getting a bit physically improbable that a man of his age could keep beating up younger opponents.  If you are going to have time pass in a thriller series eventually it will catch up to you.

That’s one of the reasons that I really liked this book.  In this book Gabriel Allon is getting ready to move (reluctantly) from a field agent to the head of his service.  He goes on a mission because it involves the safety of people who have helped him in the past.  He teams up with an English-born assassin who works out of Corsica named Christopher Keller.  He is one of my favorite supporting characters from previous stories.  In this book, Gabriel does more of the thinking and directing of the action and lets the younger people do most of the physical stuff.  I think it is a great way to handle the transitions in the life of the character.

I really want to have a quibble with that tired old spy novel trope of the aging super spy having a younger woman in his life.  In this series he is married to a woman in her thirties.  Because this isn’t James Bond, she doesn’t die a horrible death at least.  She’s about to give birth to twins because that’s a responsible decision when your husband is grandfather aged, has lots of people trying to kill him, and has a tendency to run off for months at a time.  I sigh heavily every time this part of the story comes up.  I’d love to see a book where a hypermasculine spy guy is romantically interested in a woman of his own generation.  The only thing that is holding me back from a full on rant is the fact that this is pretty much of the life story of my childhood best friend.  She married a guy about 30 years older than her and then gave birth to twins.  I have no proof that her husband is a super spy because his cover is really solid.

In any series with 15 books, new readers might wonder if they have to go back and start at the beginning.  Each book can stand alone if it has to but I think you gain a lot if you read them in order.  This book has enough detail about characters to introduce you to them or to jog your memory if it has been a while since you read the past books.  Part of the fun of this one is remembering the characters from past books.

Have you read any of this series?  What other spy novel tropes do you find annoying?

four-stars

About Daniel Silva

“Daniel Silva began his writing career as a journalist for United Press International (UPI), traveling in the Middle East and covering the Iran-Iraq war, terrorism and political conflicts. From UPI he moved to CNN, where he eventually became executive producer of its Washington-based public policy programming. In 1994 he began work on his first novel, The Unlikely Spy, a surprise best seller that won critical acclaim. He turned to writing full time in 1997 and all of his books have been New York Times/national best sellers, translated into 25 languages and published across Europe and the world. ” from Goodreads