Gabriel Allon has one year of peace and quiet before he is slated to take over Israel’s intelligence service. He plans to spend it in Italy restoring a painting and spending time with his pregnant wife. But then his friend, English art gallery owner Julian Isherwood, finds a murdered man at a house in Lake Como and needs Gabriel’s help.
This is the 14th book in the Gabriel Allon series and one that probably could stand alone as long as you understood the idea of the series. Allon is a trained art restorer who was recruited by Israeli intelligence after the Munich Olympics killings. He has become a legendary figure and has been pressured into eventually leading the service.
The murdered man that his friend finds is a dealer in stolen artwork and a former spy. Investigating his death leads the Italian art police to link him to the Caravaggio Nativity, one of the most famous stolen paintings of all time.
The police want Gabriel to use his knowledge of the art world and his abilities as a spy to help find the painting. To do so he’ll need to tap into his network of spies and criminals around Europe to follow the money – wherever it leads.
I love this series and this book was a really good addition. The events in it are up to the minute and I like the character growth that is happening as a spy ages and needs to rely more on his brain than on brawn.