This is a well-plotted Silva thriller, in which the bad guys this time is the corrupt new Russia under a beast of a president who remains nameless but is clearly meant to be Putin. Oh, and the pathetic world of dirty British politics (and morals) is on full display here too, a target which I found I enjoyed rather more than Silva’s tedious black-hatting of the Arabs in most of his novels.
Beautiful young English girl Madeline Hart is kidnapped during a vacation in colorful Corsica at a moment when she is rising to the top of her political career. Despite intensive searches, not a clue is found and after months, her disappearance begins to fade from the media. And that’s when a ransom note arrives for the British Prime Minister, giving him 7 days to pay a ransom for her or else. Turns out Madeline has been in a clandestine love affair with the married PM, and retired Israeli spy and master assassin Gabriel Allon is called upon by an old friend and British spymaster to do his magic and find and get her back. Allon ends up in an unusual alliance with the assassin who spared his and his wife’s lives in a previous Silva novel, and the two back each other up in unraveling the story of who is behind the kidnapping. Of course, Allon’s Mossad team is fully deployed as well, always a welcome addition to the plot. And finally, Silva adds just a touch of mysticism to ratchet up the tension.
There’s a lot of psychological manipulation on all sides going on, which gives lots of added nuance to Silva’s always masterful political thrillers, and a couple of major plot twists which had me gasping in disbelief. For fear of giving away too much, I’ll just say that Allon appears more vulnerable in this novel than in others I’ve read, which makes him an even more appealing protagonist. Silva’s politics are getting more interesting as well, and with Allon “back in the saddle” by the end, I think we can all safely anticipate more good reading to come. Hi ho Silva! (sorry about that! Couldn’t resist!)