The Defector CD-ROM – MP3 Audio, 1 February 2010
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- Publisher : ISIS Audio Books (1 February 2010)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1445000504
- ISBN-13 : 978-1445000503
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Although `The Defector' is a self-contained thriller it's effectively a sequel to Moscow Rules with the same good guys and the same bad guys. Basically it's Gabriel Allon against the Russian gun-running thug (turned oligarch) Ivan Kharkov. And this time, Kharkov's wife plus her children, the defector himself and Chiara Zolli - Allon's beautiful Italian-born wife - are all heavily involved.
To me the book is a less than effective sequel to `Moscow Rules'; the storyline is weak in places whilst the level of violence - even accepting that Ivan Kharkov and his cohorts are extremely unpleasant and extremely vicious - frequently veers towards the gratuitous. The political element brings into play the highest levels of the American, British and Russian authorities but, unfortunately, is less than credible.
Fortunately the final section, involving a high degree of last-minute co-operation between Israeli intelligence and an elite group of Russian Alpha forces, helped restore my slightly dented faith in Daniel Silva.
And, before you start on `The Defector', it's a good idea to read `Moscow Rules'.
I had recently read a later Allon based book, 'The English Spy' which was a much better story and fully merited five stars.
In the previous book Kharkov's plans were foiled by Israeli superspy Gabriel Allon, and his wife and children were 'liberated' to a new life in the US. Hot for vengeance Kharkov has Grigori Bulganov kidnapped, the defector who helped Allon defeat him; Bulganov is plucked off the streets of what Silva calls "the Russian city sometimes referred to as London" (it seems to be more than just our football clubs that are in thrall to the Russian zillionaires!). Then, in a more daring raid, Allon's wife Chiara is abducted from their villa in Umbria. 'The Office' (the name Silva uses for Mossad) sanctions a rescue; as usual the CIA and MI5 are roped in.
His political and propaganda agenda notwithstanding, Silva writes rattling good thrillers. This is up there with his best, galloping from Tel Aviv and London to Washington and Moscow and places in between. There's a nail-chewing climax in a snowbound Russian dacha, followed by a chilling 'epilogue' designed to hammer home the message that the Israeli secret service is not only the world's smartest but also the most ruthless. "Utterly smart and totally ruthless" just about describes the kind of writer Daniel Silva is.
[Reviewer is the author of SHAIKH-DOWN]
I've read all the Gabriel Allon books and can only hope there are quite a few more to come without losing the continued enjoyment of the books. I see there is another new one due out this summer (2010) The Rembrandt Affair ...sounds very promising!
His being an accomplished artist and restorer is a bonus as I am a painter - I'd love to see more of Julian Isherwood and the art dealers in that familiar part of London ..just adds a little extra for art lovers and those involved with art in general.
The Defector, and the previous linked book: Moscow Rules, is just as brilliant - if not better - than all the others.
I've been fortunate to read all the books in the correct order - initially more by luck than anything else. A full list of Silva's books in chronological order can be found on his website.
There's only one of his books that I haven't yet read: The Marching Season, but I have it and will indeed read it. Another book not of the Allon series is The Unlikely Spy, and I found it totally different to all Mr Silva's other books, yet thoroughly enjoyable. Alfred Vicary, the main character, is delightful.