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Friday, September 16, 2011

Portrait of a Spy (Gabriel Allon #11)(audiobook) by Daniel Silva

A smart spy thriller

Read by Simon Vance
Duration: 12 hours, 15 minutes

Daniel Silva's Portrait of a Spy features Israeli master spy Gabriel Allon, now semi-retired and living and working in rural England as a restorer of paintings. Europe is suffering a wave a suicide bombings. While in London on business he spots a suicide bomber on his way to blow himself up in a London open-air area of markets and restaurants. He steps in with his weapon but is stopped by UK agents that think that he is the threat and the bomber detonates himself.

Allon is told to walk away but he is haunted by his failure. When he is approached with the chance to infiltrate the financial network of the same terror network he leaps at the chance. This is a joint CIA/Israeli operation and the muddled politics of our current administration (make grand overtures, continue the rendition program, bomb some dictators, not others) are mirrored in this fictional administration. Silva has brought the "Arab spring" in as well so the book has a real current events feel to it.

The plan they develop is just simple enough and just crazy enough to have some sort of chance. Silva does a great job of giving the "feel" of the cities and countrysides that the book travels through - London, Paris, rural France D.C., Dubai, the Empty Quarter. He takes the time to flesh out plenty of supporting characters. But, sometimes the story drags as a result.

Reader Simon Vance does a great job with every character except for Gabriel Allon, who sounds more like a sleepy Alec Guinness than a confident, professional spymaster. I kept imagining him in Jedi robes, rather than carrying a pistol and tracking terrorists.

I rate this audiobook 4 stars out of 5.

This audiobook can be found on Amazon.com here: Portrait of a Spy by Daniel Silva.

Reviewed on September 16, 2011.

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