Get Blog Posts Via Email

View RSS Feed


Book Author: Daniel Silva

THE HEIST by Daniel Silva: Book Review

Gabriel Allon is a man with two very different but equally intriguing professions.  On one hand he is a master art restorer, bringing paintings back to their original brilliance through careful cleaning and repainting.  On the other he is a spy in the Israeli intelligence service and next in line to become its head.

The novel opens with a historical fact.  In October of 1969, the revered and priceless Caravaggio painting, Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence, was stolen from a church in Palermo, Italy.  Rumor has it that the Mafia was behind the theft, although that was never proven.  The masterpiece remains missing to this day.

Gabriel is restoring another Italian work, Virgin and Child in Glory with Saints, in a church in Verona when he is ordered to meet with the chief officer of the carabinieri, the Italian national military force which polices both military and citizen populations.  General Ferrari explains that he has called Gabriel because a friend of Gabriel’s, art gallery owner Julian Isherwood, has discovered the body of an Englishman in a Venetian mansion.  The murdered man, both tortured and hanged, was a man with a shady background.  In the general’s words, he had “a reputation for acquiring paintings that were not actually for sale.”

Reminding Gabriel that the carabinieri were holding Julian for questioning since he had found the body, the general tells Gabriel he is willing to let Julian return to England on the condition that Gabriel finds out who killed Jack Bradshaw and finds what the murderer was looking for.   And so a deal is struck.

Under this pressure, Gabriel leaves his pregnant wife Chiara and his restoration work on Virgin and Child in Glory with Saints to solve the crimes of murder and art theft.  Chiara too is an Israeli agent, but Gabriel refuses to let her accompany him on his search.  His first wife and their son were killed years ago by a car bomb, and Gabriel is determined to leave Chiara and their unborn twins in Venice under the protection of her family and the Italian police.

Silva’s novel takes the reader on a voyage through numerous countries–Italy, France, England, Holland, Switzerland, and Israel.  Gabriel enlists the help of art thieves, spies, mercenaries, and bankers, all in an effort to find the Caravaggio and Jack Bradshaw’s killer. 

The novel is so current that it might have been written today.  Corruption, double-dealing, murder–they are in the headlines every day, and the joining of political ambition and dirty money in The Heist is a dangerous combination.  Gabriel Allon is resourceful, talented, and compassionate–the latter not always a trait that one would expect to find in a spy.  But Gabriel is a three-dimensional man, a fact that makes Daniel Silva’s series worth reading.

You can read more about Daniel Silva at this web site.   

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her web site.