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Book Review: The Fallen Angel

This book review is a special provided to BlackFive readers by Elise Cooper.  To see all of our book reviews, click on the Books category on the right sidebar or here:

SilvaDaniel Silva’s latest book, The Fallen Angel, is one of his best.  In a gripping story he takes off the gloves and writes a cautionary tale about Israel’s continuing struggle to survive.  With his main character, Israeli Mossad agent, Gabriel Allon, he is able to weave a story involving all of Allon’s professions:  art restorer, assassin, spy, and family man. 

As the story unfolds, the book begins with Allon working for the Vatican to restore a
Caravaggio masterpiece.  After a beautiful woman falls to her death in St. Peter’s Basilica he is asked by his dear friend, the Pope’s private secretary, Luigi Donati, to investigate.  Silva noted, “Donati is one of my favorite characters in the series.  I loved this relationship of Donati and Allon so much.  In the book, The Confessor, it started, continued a bit in the book that followed, The Death in Vienna, and in the book, The Messenger, I had Gabriel working closely to try to prevent an attack on the Vatican. This relationship came about organically, naturally.”

When the reader thinks that this book will follow in the path of the books mentioned above, the plot takes a fork in the road and becomes a defense of Israel.  He told, “The spine of the novel and why I chose to write about this theme is to remind us that there were great civilizations that came before.  They created these beautiful objects and at that time everyone thought whether it was the Greek Empire, the Roman Empire, or the Egyptian Empire, that they would last forever. A warning that the Jewish hold on this little slice of land is very tenacious.”

The Vatican is not the only setting Silva has Allon return to in this novel.  He is able to describe in detail many places allowing the reader to close their eyes and picture the area as if they were there.  Woven within these descriptive settings is his commentary about certain countries.  After detailing Vienna’s attempt to destroy the Austrian Jews he writes in the book, “The Austrians, it seemed, felt compelled to slaughter their Jews from time to time.”  He is no kinder with Switzerland when he writes, “… Switzerland is not a real country.  It’s a business, and it’s run like a business.”  When asked to explain this, he directly commented, “Austria has a terrible history when it comes to the treatment of Jews who live there, that is a historical fact.  Regarding Switzerland, I involved this country throughout the series.  Gabriel has had many operations and run-ins with this ‘business country.’”

As with the recurring quote, “Blood never sleeps,” The Fallen Angel, is a book that explains there is always going to be a price to pay, that vengeance will eventually come.  This novel blends art, intrigue, and history within its plot ranging from a murder at the Vatican, to an explosion in St. Moritz, a kidnapped Iranian diplomat in Germany, a dramatic counterterrorism operation in Vienna, to a shocking climax in Jerusalem.  After reading The Fallen Angel it becomes evident why Daniel Silva is a number one best-selling author who writes captivating and insightful books.