Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Gabriel Allon Series by Daniel Silva

I have a thirty minute commute to and from work, so I’ve been enjoying the opportunity to listen to audiobooks for some time.  Lately, I’ve gotten hooked on Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon series (which is up to 16 books)!  I didn’t read them in order in the beginning, and was able to enjoy the books without all the back story; but I recently started at the beginning with The Kill Artist, and have made it up to number 7, The Secret Servant.

Gabriel Allon is an old masters art restorer and former art student who was recruited by the Israeli intelligence service (they never name the service) at a young age to exact vengeance on the terrorist group Black September after the massacre of the Israeli Munich Olympics team in 1972.  Historically, then Prime Minister Golda Meir authorized the operation, named “Wrath of God,”  and 11 members of Black September were assassinated in retaliation.  The fictional novels open over 25 years after that event, and though Gabriel has retired from the service to focus on his art restoration, he is unwillingly drawn back in to further operations in each novel.  He is haunted by the memory of a car bomb, meant for him, that killed his young son and horrifically damaged his wife physically and mentally.

These books are narrated by several different people (Tony Goldwyn being one), and each narrator does an excellent job with the various accents of the characters.  They are a bit brutal at times, but the suspense of the storylines has made me stay in my car in my driveway or at the parking lot at work longer than I should, just to finish the chapter!  Each book takes place in a variety of locations besides Tel Aviv, such as Switzerland, Rome, Venice, Austria, Moscow and Corsica, to name a few.  Each book also tells a bit more of the history of Gabriel and his fellow agents, and introduces historically accurate information, which the author notes at the end of the books.

I’ve really enjoyed these audiobooks and being immersed in the lives of these characters who feel so much commitment to their country that they are willing to risk their lives for the safety of their people. Being familiar with the history of Israel is helpful, but I’ve found it easy to enjoy the novels without knowing all the details.  Wikipedia is helpful while reading these!!

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