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The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva
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The Kill Artist (2000)

by Daniel Silva

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The story begins with the assassination of an Israeli ambassador in Paris, pulled off by Tariq, a master Palestinian assassin. Rumors of Tariq's plans to disrupt the ongoing peace talks reach Ari Shamron, head of the Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency. He decides to seeks out the services of Gabriel Allon, ex-assassin and art restorer who worked for him in the past. Although reluctant to become involved, Allon has a personal grudge to settle with Tariq, the man responsible for the car bombing that killed Allon's toddler son and maimed his wife (physically and mentally). He agrees to once again work for Shamron to find and murder Tariq. He has the assistance of a beautiful French model and occasional Israeli operative, Jacqueline Delacroix. Allon uses Delacroix to infiltrate Tariq's inner circle so that he can discover his whereabouts. What Gabriel doesn't know is that Tariq is trying to find and kill Allon.

Gabriel has tremendous regrets about things that happened in the past and he can't stop blaming himself for what happened to his wife and son. I am both intrigued and fascinated with this character. I've read each of the series (currently 14) but felt compelled after the last one to go back and meet Gabriel again for the first time. I prefer to read book in order but I don't think it's necessary in this case. The book takes place at a time when Allon has already given up his work as a spy. We learn about Allon's past and his initiation into the world of spying through flashbacks.

The author takes the reader through some tense but drawn out situations and while the action may stall in some places, the plot moves along quite well and as far as I am concerned, it was a real page turner. ( )
  Olivermagnus | Jan 17, 2016 |
Fun international spy thriller. Will probably read more in the series. Makes me want to explore all of the places mentioned. ( )
  saholc | Oct 27, 2015 |
I read about the super talented international spy and assassin, who is also a world famous art restorer, and then I read about the French supermodel who is also secretly an Israeli international spy, and who desperately wants to sleep with the other international spy, and then I decided I'd had enough of Daniel Silva's adolescent fantasies. ( )
  benfulton | Sep 29, 2015 |
A good spy thriller with well drawn characters, especially the main character who is fascinating. I was impressed that Silva managed to create such a complex first plot and, though there's plenty of bloodshed, there's much less gratuitious violence than I feared there would be. I've already ordered the second in the series from the library, so on we go. ( )
  whymaggiemay | Sep 19, 2015 |
The hero is Gabriel Allon, who was a Mossad agent until his wife and child were killed by an assassin. He retired and had become an art restorer, until the opportunity to avenge his family's deaths arose. Now, he goes back into the assassin game.

For this series, Silva has created a backstory where Gabriel can travel throughout Europe. His writing style is very engaging, and he drags you into the story. Silva includes details about the art and art restoration, but the crime elements keep the novels fast-paced. Silva also does a great job of tying the books or crimes to factual happenings. I highly recommend this series for any crime lover.
  ktoonen | Jun 20, 2015 |
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Epigraph
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Send men that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I give to the children of Israel; of every tribe of their fathers shall you send a man, every one a prince among them"
Numbers 12:1-2
By way of deception, thou shalt do war.

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For Jamie, who made this one possible, and everything else, for that matter
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The restorer raised his magnifying visor and switched off the bank of fluorescent lights.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0451209338, Mass Market Paperback)

Product Description
Former Israeli intelligence operative Gabriel Allon is drawn back into the game to take on a cunning terrorist on one last killing spree, a Palestinian zealot who played a dark part in Gabriel's past. And what begins as a manhunt turns into a globe-spanning duel fueled by both political intrigue and deep personal passions...

Amazon Exclusive Essay: Daniel Silva on Gabriel Allon and the "Accidental Series"

Writers tend to be solitary creatures. We toil alone for months on end, then, once a year, we emerge from our dens to publish a book. It can be a daunting experience, especially for someone like me, who is not gregarious and outgoing by nature. But there is one aspect of promotion I truly love: meeting my readers and answering their questions. During each stop on my book tour, I reserve the bulk of my time for a lively conversation with the audience. I learn much from these encounters-indeed, some of the comments are so insightful they take my breath away. There is one question I am asked each night without fail, and it remains my favorite: "How in the world did you ever think of Gabriel Allon?" The answer is complicated. In one sense, he was the result of a long, character-construction process. In another, he was a bolt from the blue. I'll try to explain.

In 1999, after publishing The Marching Season, the second book in the Michael Osbourne series, I decided it was time for a change. We were nearing the end of the Clinton administration, and the president was about to embark on a last-ditch effort to bring peace to the Middle East. I had the broad outlines of a story in mind: a retired Israeli assassin is summoned from retirement to track down a Palestinian terrorist bent on destroying the Oslo peace process. I thought long and hard before giving the Israeli a name. I wanted it to be biblical, like my own, and to be heavy with symbolism. I finally decided to name him after the archangel Gabriel. As for his family name, I chose something short and simple: Allon, which means "oak tree" in Hebrew. I liked the image it conveyed. Gabriel Allon: God's angel of vengeance, solid as an oak.

Gabriel's professional résumé-the operations he had carried out-came quickly. But what about his other side? What did he like to do in his spare time? What was his cover? I knew I wanted something distinct. Something memorable. Something that would, in many respects, be the dominant attribute of his character. I spent many frustrating days mulling over and rejecting possibilities. Then, while walking along one of Georgetown's famous redbrick sidewalks, my wife, Jamie, reminded me that we had a dinner date that evening at the home of David Bull, a man regarded as one of the finest art restorers in the world. I stopped dead in my tracks and raised my hands toward the heavens. Gabriel Allon was complete. He was going to be an art restorer, and a very good one at that.

Over my objections, the book was entitled The Kill Artist and it would go on to become a New York Times bestseller. It was not, however, supposed to be the first book in a long-running series. But once again, fate intervened. In 2000, after moving to G.P. Putnam & Sons, my new publishers asked me what I was working on. When I mumbled something about having whittled it down to two or three options, they offered their first piece of advice. They really didn't care what it was about, they just wanted one thing: Gabriel Allon.

I then spent the next several minutes listing all the reasons why Gabriel, now regarded as one of the most compelling and successful continuing characters in the mystery-thriller genre, should never appear in a second book. I had conceived him as a "one off" character, meaning he would be featured in one story and then ride into the sunset. I also thought he was too melancholy and withdrawn to build a series around, and, at nearly fifty years of age, perhaps a bit too old as well. My biggest concern, however, had to do with his nationality and religion. I thought there was far too much opposition to Israel in the world-and far too much raw anti-Semitism-for an Israeli continuing character ever to be successful in the long term.

My new publishers thought otherwise, and told me so. Because Gabriel lived in Europe and could pass as German or Italian, they believed he came across as more "international" than Israeli. But what they really liked was Gabriel's other job: art restoration. They found the two opposing sides of his character-destroyer and healer-fascinating. What's more, they believed he would stand alone on the literary landscape. There were lots of CIA officers running around saving the world, they argued, but no former Israeli assassins who spent their spare time restoring Bellini altarpieces.

The more they talked, the more I could see their point. I told them I had an idea for a story involving Nazi art looting during the Second World War and the scandalous activities of Swiss banks. "Write it with Gabriel Allon," they said, "and we promise it will be your biggest-selling book yet." Eventually, the book would be called The English Assassin, and, just as Putnam predicted, it sold twice as many copies as its predecessor. Oddly enough, when it came time to write the next book, I still wasn't convinced it should be another Gabriel novel. Though it seems difficult to imagine now, I actually conceived the plot of The Confessor without him in mind. Fortunately, my editor, Neil Nyren, saved me from myself. The book landed at #5 on the New York Times bestseller list and received some of the warmest reviews of my career. After that, a series was truly born.

I am often asked whether it is necessary to read the novels in sequence. The answer is no, but it probably doesn't hurt, either. For the record, the order of publication is The Kill Artist, The English Assassin, The Confessor, A Death in Vienna, Prince of Fire, The Messenger, The Secret Servant, and Moscow Rules, my first #1 New York Times bestseller. The Defector pits Gabriel in a final, dramatic confrontation with the Russian oligarch and arms dealer Ivan Kharkov, and I have been told it far surpasses anything that has come before it in the series. And to think that, if I'd had my way, only one Gabriel Allon book would have been written. I remain convinced, however, that had I set out in the beginning to create him as a continuing character, I would surely have failed. I have always believed in the power of serendipity. Art, like life, rarely goes according to plan. Gabriel Allon is proof of that.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:40 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Ari Shamron, the head of Israeli intelligence, calls on former intelligence operative Gabriel Allon to thwart a Palestinian plot to destroy the Middle East peace negotiations, a conspiracy linked to a Palestinian zealot with ties to Gabriel's past.

» see all 3 descriptions

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