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Book Review: The English Girl by Daniel Silva

The following is a special provided to BlackFive readers by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category on the far right sidebar.

81eM7-+bsuL._SL1500_Daniel Silva, through his descriptive narrative, allows the reader to form a picture surrounding the plot, characters, and settings of his new novel, The English Girl.  It blends these together with historical content and the result is a very suspenseful and intriguing thriller. Also included in every Silva book is the restoration of an art portrait that is somehow related to the plot. The main character, Gabriel Allon, attempts to restore the portrait, his other profession when he is not an Israeli operative.

It is no wonder that Amazon has chosen this novel as the book of the month for July.  The plot takes off from the very beginning when Madeline Hart, a rising star in the British government is kidnapped while on vacation in Corsica.  The kidnappers want a huge ransom from Prime Minister Jonathan Lancaster because he is secretly having an affair with Madeline.  Fearful of a scandal that will destroy his career Lancaster chooses to handle the matter privately and bypass the British authorities.  Enter the deputy director of MI5, Graham Seymour, who realizes there is only one person that can be entrusted with this covert operation, Gabriel Allon.  With the clock ticking, Allon travels to Corsica, England, Israel, and Russia to pursue clues that will lead him to rescuing Madeline.  He told blackfive.net that an inspiration for the book was the Russian sleeper mole case that took place in the US a couple of years ago.

As with all his novels Silva has the return of Allon and his supporting cast.  Through his characters’ eyes the author reminds readers of the historical content. He has Gabriel’s mother as a Holocaust survivor; Gabriel swearing revenge after watching Israeli athletes murdered at the Munich Olympics; and Graham Seymour inheriting his father’s passion for espionage but not his hatred of Israel which stems from the King David Hotel bombing in Jerusalem in 1946.

Silva told blackfive.net, “Gabriel Allon became what he is because of the attack at the Munich Olympics.  Gabriel Allon and his colleagues are unapologetically Israeli and defenders of their country.  They are true to life in that respect.  Whatever happens in the series Allon will always be at the center of the action.”

As in many of his books, Russia seems to be the antagonists.  A quote in the book from Gabriel, “I’m going to prove to the civilized world once and for all that the current crowd sitting in the Kremlin isn’t much better than the one that came before them.” Silva noted, “I agree completely with what Gabriel said in that situation.  Russia is not our true buddy.  I wanted to talk about Russia and its quest to be a global energy player.  I wanted to talk about the human rights situation there.”

Silva described The English Girl as “great fun to write. It was the purest entertaining, summer page turner, thriller-mystery that I have written in a very long time.” Actually, it is more that that, The English Girl is compelling, informative, and funny, with a very riveting story that readers will be unable to put down.

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