Daniel Silva, through
his descriptive narrative, allows the reader to form a picture
surrounding the plot, characters, and settings of his new
novel, The English Girl. It blends these together
with historical content and the result is a very suspenseful
and intriguing thriller. Also included in every Silva book
is the restoration of an art portrait that is somehow related
to the plot. The main character, Gabriel Allon, attempts to
restore the portrait; this is his other profession when he
is not an Israeli operative.
It is no wonder that Amazon has chosen this novel as the book
of the month for July. The plot takes off from the very beginning
when Madeline Hart, a rising star in the British government,
is kidnapped while on vacation in Corsica. The kidnappers
want a huge ransom from Prime Minister Jonathan Lancaster
because he is secretly having an affair with Madeline. Fearful
of a scandal that will destroy his career Lancaster chooses
to handle the matter privately and bypass the British authorities.
Enter the deputy director of MI5, Graham Seymour, who realizes
there is only one person that can be entrusted with this covert
operation, Gabriel Allon. With the clock ticking, Allon travels
to Corsica, England, Israel, and Russia to pursue clues that
will lead him to rescuing Madeline.
As with all his novels, Silva has the return of Allon and
his supporting cast. Through his characters’ eyes the
author reminds readers of the historical content. He has Gabriel’s
mother as a Holocaust survivor; Gabriel swearing revenge after
watching Israeli athletes murdered at the Munich Olympics;
and Graham Seymour inheriting his father’s passion for
espionage but not his hatred of Israel, which stems from the
King David Hotel bombing in Jerusalem in 1946.
Silva noted, “Gabriel Allon became what he is because
of the attack at the Munich Olympics. Gabriel Allon and his
colleagues are unapologetically Israeli and defenders of their
country. They are true to life in that respect. Whatever happens
in the series Allon will always be at the center of the action.”
As in many of his books, Russia seems to be the antagonist.
A quote in the book from Gabriel, “I’m going to
prove to the civilized world once and for all that the current
crowd sitting in the Kremlin isn’t much better than
the one that came before them.” Silva noted, “I
agree completely with what Gabriel said in that situation.
Russia is not our true buddy. I wanted to talk about Russia
and its quest to be a global energy player. I wanted to talk
about the human rights situation there. I based it on the
Russian sleeper mole case that took place in the US a couple
of years ago.”
Silva described The English Girl as “great
fun to write. It was the purest entertaining, summer page
turner, thriller-mystery that I have written in a very long
time.” Actually, it is more than that, The English Girl
is compelling, informative, and funny, with a very riveting
story that readers will be unable to put down.