Since I’m on a roll with Daniel Silva, I thought I’d read his latest bestseller now.The Fallen Angel continues the story of the reluctant Israeli intelligence operative Gabriel Allon. He is older, still working as an art restorer, and still one of the most respected and feared agents in the world.
This novel begins as Allon is restoring a Caravaggio for the Vatican. He is living in Rome with his young wife Chiara, also an intelligence agent for Israel’s super secret “Office”. Work on the Caravaggio is proceeding normally, until Allon is asked to report to the Sistine Chapel. The request comes from Monsignor Luigi Donati, private secretary to the Pope. Donati asks Allon’s help in solving the mystery of the death of Claudia Andreatti, a curator in the antiquities division of the Vatican Museums. Andreatti’s body lies broken on the floor of the chapel, clearly the result of a fall from a great height. Suicide, accident, or murder?
While Allon begins to delve into the mystery, he realizes that other forces are at work. Andreatti was investigating the provenance of the Vatican Museum’s vast collection. Perhaps she ran afoul of one of the many criminals involved in the illegal trade in antiquities. When Allon and Chiara discover another death that is likely related to Andreatti’s the Italian police get involved. The carabinieri have an art squad which investigates looting and illegal trade in art. The chief of the squad, General Cesare Ferrari is smart, savvy, and powerful. He suspects that Allon has something to do with the second death, but is really not sure.
Eventually Allon learns that the trade in illegal antiquities is also a conduit for Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed international terrorist organization. So once again an Israeli intelligence operation begins, with Allon at the helm.
The Fallen Angel reintroduces characters from Gabriel Allon’s past, and we meet some new and interesting ones. The book is fast paced, contemporary and interesting. It is a must read for the spy novel enthusiast.
Published in hardcover-Harper-2012
Softcover edition scheduled for release February 2013-Harper Paperbacks