Daniel Silva’s current release, “Portrait of a Spy,” is the 11th book in a highly successful series based on Israeli spy Gabriel Allon who is now living as internationally known art restorer Giovanni Rossi with his beautiful Italian wife, Chiara, in the small village of Gunwalloe Cove in Cornwall.
Allon’s peace is disrupted when bombs go off in Paris and Copenhagen and the world’s intelligence communities are put on high alert.
Allon and Chiara are lured to London by the possibility of restoring a portrait by Titan. While on a stroll through Covent Garden, Allon spots a suicide bomber, but fails to stop the man from blowing himself up.
Allon finds himself drawn back into the battle against al-Qaeda.
After the recent death of Osama bin Laden, American-born cleric Rashid al-Husseini (who the author admits is based on Anwar al-Awlaki) has created a new terrorist cell and has big designs to take down Western infidels.
An international team is assembled to stop al-Husseini before more lives are lost.
Allon and his skilled group of operatives decide to recruit Nadia al-Bakari, billionaire businesswoman, who seems to be the perfect cover to use to get to al-Husseini. There is a catch, however. Nadia is the daughter of a man Allon killed years earlier.
Silva’s political points of view are crystal clear. He’s not a fan of the current administration, nor does he care for the turf battles going on between American intelligence agencies. There is no place for negotiations with the Muslim world. The Israelis are, in Silva’s mind, the only country with operatives who can (1) collect intelligence, (2) analyze it and (3) act effectively and efficiently on it.
While most of the comments for “Portrait of a Spy” are positive, some reviewers at amazon.com seem to be tiring of Silva’s rehashing.
Ronaldk204 writes: I wouldn't argue that no one does this kind of thing better then Daniel Silva. But, enough already! He has done essentially the same story so many times that the bad guys are becoming cartoon characters. The whole thing has gotten so boring that I'm starting to root for the bad guys. I would predict that his next book won't automatically jump to the top of the bestseller list. He has achieved saturation.
Richard Clark says: I have read all of his books and was looking forward to this one but what a disappointment. The best way to describe it is – same ole – same ole.
And a couple of readers pointed out that the author has resorted to “cut and paste” at times.
Rsasdr says: I've noticed this a lot with Daniel Silva's more recent books, especially if I read his books back-to-back. He frequently copies, word-for-word, the exact same descriptions of people and organizations from previous books. Plus, he uses the exact same plot in almost every book. Most authors follow a certain formula, but Daniel Silva literally writes the same book again and again.
Maurice Roberts writes: I have enjoyed every Daniel Silva book I have read to date. Unfortunately, I was not able to get past the sample this time, because there is a passage nearly exactly copied from "The English Assassin" which I happen to have read recently.
In the sample, around location 334 (Kindle Ed.), while describing art dealer Julian Isherwood, he writes (or pastes),"Among the incestuous, backbiting villagers of St. James, Isherwood Fine Arts was considered rather good theater...." Mr. Silva continues to exactly copy this description from "The English Assassin" word for word until he finishes with "he liked to possess art more than to sell it," with the exception of a short line halfway through the passage about "a whiff of conspiracy."
You can see the passages in both samples. In "Assassin" it's around location 116. I truly hope that this is an error in the Kindle files, however I suspect that Mr. Silva might actually literally be writing the same books over again, as other reviewers have noted.
I’ll give Silva another chance or two. He writes with intelligence and passion and I miss Robert Ludlum.
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