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by Daniel Silva
Harper, July 2023
416 pages
ISBN: 0062834878

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

THE COLLECTOR is Daniel Silva's 27th novel featuring Gabriel Allon, art restorer, spymaster, assassin, and newly retired head of Israeli intelligence. In his current life, Allon is ensconced in a luxurious Venetian apartment overlooking the Grand Canal and restoring old masters, a position where he nominally works for his wife Chiara.

But this tranquil existence cannot last long. He soon becomes involved in the hunt to find a stolen painting—The Concert by Vermeer. The South African shipping magnate Lukas van Damme, from whose secret room the painting was taken, was found dead. It was assumed that whoever stole the painting committed the murder. However, this assumption along with much else turns out to be false and misleading. What begins as an investigation into a theft and killing soon turns into a frantic international search to stop a possible nuclear catastrophe.

Gabriel Allon is always at his most charismatic and dangerous when he works with the Israeli intelligence service—where they still call him "boss"—and this case requires him to reconnect with his old team. A high-level Russian informer has just revealed to his American handlers that Russia has a terrifying document that lays out plans that could lead to Armageddon.

Gabriel and his team must coerce a Danish oil executive, Magnus Larsen, code name the Collector, to work for him. He wants Magnus to use his high-level Russian connections—including Putin himself-- to procure the document.

Suspense grows exponentially. Allon was able to discover the identity of the person who stole the Vermeer—Ingrid Johansen, a beautiful Danish computer hacker, who is the best in the world at stealing jewels and diamonds. Now he must persuade her to work with Magnus to find the document. Allon knowingly puts Ingrid and Magnus in great danger, but there is no other choice. Will they find the document? Will they escape? Will they make it to the Finnish border if they do?

If you are new to the Gabriel Allon series, you will have missed much of Allon's fascinating background, his tragic personal history as well as the terrorist attack that destroyed his first family. But this is not a problem. Author Daniel Silva is a master at filling in details from the past in such a way that they do not intrude on the narrative and also do not bore the reader who knows this already.

In Silva's Author's Note, he is careful to explain many examples in the novel that are factual and others that are fiction. For instance, he explains that you will never find the apartment where Gabriel lives, but you can eat at a couple of the Venetian restaurants which Allon favors. As always, the story is filled with timely details, reflecting current world events. THE COLLECTOR is a welcome addition to the Gabriel Allon series.

§ Anne Corey is a writer, poet, teacher and botanical artist in New York's Hudson Valley.

Reviewed by Anne Corey, July 2023

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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