Review: Portrait of a Spy

Editorial Review - - Kate Ayers

In the spy world, if you have a tough job, you turn to Gabriel Allon, agent of the Israeli secret service known familiarly as the Office. In the art world, you turn to Giovanni Rossi for a tough job. He restores old masters and occasionally paints a few of his own. He needs the solace of the canvas to balance the violence that inhabits his other world, because, you see, Giovanni Rossi is only one ... Read full review

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User Review  - jimgysin - LibraryThing

This is the 11th Gabriel Allon novel from Silva, and it is very good. At the same time, when you've done ten previous titles in a series, then it's easy for things to start to seem repetitive and ... Read full review

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User Review  - Olivermagnus - LibraryThing

Former Israeli assassin Gabriel Allon is once again attempting retirement and normal life in rural England. The gifted painter and his beautiful young wife, also on the Mossad's payroll, return to ... Read full review

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User Review  - johnwbeha - LibraryThing

I've always really enjoyed the Gabriel Allon series some I started with "Death In Vienna" in Vienna. So I was somewhat surprised when I opened up this one to find that I had missed two, but I have now ... Read full review

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User Review  - utbw42 - LibraryThing

Another masterful effort in the world of Gabriel Allon by Mr. Silva as Allon is once again drawn into the Israeli spy net when he witnesses a terror attack in London, and is then asked to shut down ... Read full review

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User Review  - flashflood42 - LibraryThing

Someone eles's review that I liked: Gabriel Allon has "retired" to Cornwall to spend leisurely days with his wife Chiara. He awaits his next restoration project and is delighted to learn that Julian ... Read full review

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User Review  - buffalogr - LibraryThing

While this is another Gabriel Allon novel, it seemed to illustrate a few real issues/peeves of the author: treatment (bad) of women in the islamic world, dedication of the radical jihad adherents ... Read full review

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User Review  - krushkelsey - LibraryThing

this was a great book. i love the whole spy/art restorer angle. i've read the rest in this series as well and can't wait for the next. if you like the spy game with not going to overboard this is a ... Read full review

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Portrait of a Spy
Daniel Silva
Review & Interview by John Hood
Silva's last-minute editing is historic (Miami Herald Interview), December 24, 2011
Aside from the former Seal Team members who happened to have had books ready to rack when the United States whacked Osama Bin Laden, there was perhaps no one better poised to exploit the development than Daniel Silva.
Silva writes thrillers. And to be able to align fiction so closely with fact was more than a little fortuitous.
But Silva's Portrait of a Spy (Harper $26.99) is much more than a mere up-to-the-minute thriller. It's also a bona fide thrill ride. Then again, what else would you expect from a guy whose books always hit the bestseller lists?
The 11th in Silva's series featuring super spy Gabriel Allon, Portrait paints a picture of a terror-wracked world we often read about in the news. That it does so with a thrust that trumps even the boldest developments is testament to Silva's talents. It's also testament to the talents of the learned and lethal Allon, who's the closest thing we've got to a Renaissance secret agent. Surrounded and supported by many of the series' usual subjects, Portrait finds our man with a deadly mission that hopefully will never come to pass in real life. If it does, let's hope the world has an operative as adept and as successful as Silva's great creation. Otherwise we may all be in for some unpleasant surprises.
The Herald talked to Silva, who appears Tuesday at Books & Books in Coral Gables, by phone in his DC home and asked him to bring us up-to-date on his terror-filled fiction.
Q. For the few not yet acquainted, who's Gabriel Allon and why is he so continually compelling?
Gabriel Allon is a sometime spy and assassin for the Israeli Secret Service. He happens to have an amazing cover job -- he truly is one of the world's finest art restorers. And I think why he's compelling is because he's had one foot rooted in intelligence and intrigue and one foot rooted in the art world, which is also a place of intrigue. And I blend the two in each book. I think he is an endlessly fascinating character -- moody, brilliant, humorous. And he fights on the side of the angels. He's definitely someone people are willing to root for, and as I've learned over the last couple years, he has a large and growing fan base.
Q. How much alter ego is he?
Very little. I think a writer cannot help but leave little bits and pieces of his or herself in any character that he creates. That said, I'm not a secret agent and an assassin; I don't want to be a secret agent and an assassin. But I guess I am in awe of the unique set of skills and talents he possesses.
Q. Your inner super hero perhaps?
(Laughs) I'm a pretty buttoned-down nerd, to be honest with you. But if I had an inner super hero I'd want it to be like Gabriel.
Q. Does he have a real life counterpart?
You know, I was inspired by and drew from a lot of different characters in creating not only Gabriel but the characters around him. But to the best of my knowledge the Mossad never had a person who worked as an art restorer as his cover and carried out secret assignments and assassinations. The one thing I've learned about researching Israeli intelligence and spending time around [those] who work for Israeli intelligence is there really are a lot of artistically talented and gifted people in their service. I think they recruit a different kind of person than American intelligence does. We like our intelligence officers to follow orders and walk a straight line, and they're looking for a different kind of person. It's uncanny the number of guys that I've met and studied who really are talented artists.
Q. Like the CIA's recruiting from Yale's Skull and Bones?
That kind of went out awhile ago. Really, the War on Terror ended that permanently. We had to recruit a lot of different people in a hurry. Today's typical intelligence officer, particularly

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User Review  - rosies - LibraryThing

a good spy novel; I'm now interested in the whole series Read full review

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