Portrait of a Spy by Gabriel Allon – Book

Daniel silva Portrait of a spy You Tube

Europe is in an economic recession and it is flooded with refugees who cannot speak the language of their new nations and who have difficulty finding work that will pay enough to support their families, or even a single person. In this post 9/11 world refugees inhabit areas around Europe’s cities and some mosques are centers of religious radicalism where young men are recruited to terrorize the West. Portrait of a Spy(Gabriel Allon Series, Book 11) by Daniel Silva deals with an environment we recognize from our very recent past, a set of circumstances that could easily flare up again in the future.

Gabriel Allon, now a retired Israeli spy, leaves his cottage in Cornwall to visit Isherwood Studios in London, run by Julian Isherwood, friend of Gabriel and of Israel. Gabriel is a talented art restorer who often restores damaged paintings, sometimes for Isherwood. Gabriel’s wife Chiara is with him. As they are walking near Covent Garden Gabriel spots a suicide bomber. Bombs have been used in the past few days in Paris and in Copenhagen, and a bomb is about to detonate in Central London.

No one else identifies this man as a terrorist but Gabriel’s experiences set off warning signals. He even knows what time the bomber will trigger the detonator because it is timed to when a plane hit a target on 9/11. Gabriel is almost on time to stop the killing. Gabriel has his gun out to shoot the bomber when two London policemen arrest him. The bomber detonates. Gabriel’s guilt calls him back to duty as a spy. He even has a fair idea of who is running this group of terrorists. When he is vouched for by Graham Seymour, head of MI5 he joins forces with Adrian Carter of the CIA in Washington, DC and a cohort he has hunted down bad actors with on the world stage many times. Chiara is on board and eventually his team joins him in the new high tech national security center in DC.

The man Gabriel is seeking has been out of view for years and is believed dead. But Gabriel does not believe it. Word is that the terrorist group is running out of money which means these guys will go to ground for a while. Gabriel visits a young and wealthy Arab business woman he met when she was a young girl in the South of France (Book #6, The Messenger). Nadia al-Bakari was with her father (a wealthy funder of terrorists) when Gabriel killed him. She is also a philanthropist, helping especially Arab women. Nadia forgives Gabriel and agrees to buy a recently restored painting to create pool of invisible money that will go to tempt the terrorist and his group into the open.

As usual with Gabriel Allon spy thrillers the plan unfolds in great detail before we get to the actual op and the usually violent end game. Terrorists and other bad actors who stay hidden are well-guarded and very paranoid. They are hard to kill. Gabriel does not usually get off without injury. We always wonder what will happen to him this time. He also does not like to put others in danger, although he will do what he must to take out someone whose intent is to harm many. How do things turn out for Nadia?

It is Silva’s contention that Saudi Wahhabism has led to a good deal of the terrorism unleashed on Europe and America. He also feels that America’s supposed Allies, the Saudi’s, are responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the intended attack on Washington that shocked America and the world. And yet we remain tied to Saudi Arabia, probably for oil more than loyalty. A fiction author, such as Daniel Silva, writing a spy thriller like Portrait of a Spy, is freer than others to speak candidly about his world view and these spy thrillers always connect to events in the real world. This one upped my heart rate.

Equally bizarre, as I am writing this it is 9/11, seventeen years later, and they are reading the names of those killed in the attack on the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center on my TV news. A most strange coincidence.

You can find me a goodreads.com as Nancy Brisson.

 

September 2018 Book List

book-club-recomendations

September 2018 Book List

It’s September already and I haven’t finished my summer reading yet, so I still have quite a pile of books spilling over into fall. You won’t find many starred selections to add to my pile on this list yet. But I am guessing I will be choosing more titles from this list in the future. There are many things that divide our attention these days and reading, a time-consuming pastime, may seem hard to fit into your schedule, but a single book, ostensibly about only one topic, brings to mind so much more than perhaps the author even intended. For depth, for language, for character, for ideas, for world view, no other media offers as much as a great book. Find time if you can in this busy season to read some books that appeal to you.

Amazon

Literature and Fiction

Washington Black: A Novel by Esi Odegyan

A Key to Treehouse Living by Elliot Reed

Lake Success: A Novel by Gay Shteyngart

We That Are Young: A Novel by Preti Taneja

Transcription: A Novel by Kate Atkinson *

Waiting for Eden by Elliot Ackerman

French Exit: A Novel by Patrick deWitt

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock: A Novel by Imogn Hermes Gowar

The Tattooist of Auschwitz: A Novel by Heather Morris

Mysteries and Thrillers

Cross Her Heart: A Novel by Sarah Pinborough

The Wildlands: A Novel by Abby Geni

Rylan Does to Detroit by Peter Leonard

When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica

Trust Me by Hank Phillippi Ryan

The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Wild Fire: A Shetland Island Mystery by Ann Cleeves

Lethal White (A Cormoran Strike Novel) by Robert Gilbraith

The Piranhas: The Boy Bosses of Naples: A Novel by Roberto Saviano Antony Shugaar

Depth of Winter (A Longmire Mystery) by Craig Johnson

Miss Kopp Just Won’t Quit (A Kopp Sisters Novel) by Amy Stewart

The Forbidden Place by Susanne Jansson

The Man Who Came Uptown by George Pelicanos

Nonfiction

Hello World: Being Human in the Age of Algorithms by Hannah Fry

Heart: A History by Sandeep Jauhar

How Do We Look: The Body, the Divine, and the Question of Civilization by Mary Beard

Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward

How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler by Ryan North

The Personality Brokers: The Strange History of Myers-Briggs and the Birth of Personality Testing by Merve Emre

Leadership in Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Avis Lang

The Dinosaur Artist: Obsession, Betrayal, and the Quest for Earth’s Ultimate Trophy by Paige Williams

Burning Down the Haus: Punk Rock, Revolution, and the Fall of the Berlin Wall by Tim Mohr

Football for a Buck: The Crazy Rise and Crazier Demise of the USFL by Jeff Perlman

These Truths: A History of the United States by Jill Lepore

Daeman Voices: On Stories and Storytelling by Philip Pullman

21 Lessons for the 21stCentury by Yuval Noah Harari

Biographies and Memoirs

My Own Devices: True Stories from the Road on Music, Science and Senseless Love by Dessa

On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope by De Ray Mckesson

Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth by Sarah Smarsh

The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War by Ben Macintyre

The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel that Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman

Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World by Tom Wright and Bradley Hope

Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs

The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King

The Last Palace: Europe’s Turbulent Century in Five Lives and One Legendary House by Norman Eisen

In Pieces by Sally Field

A Song for the River by Philip Connors

The Browns of California: The Family Dynasty that Transformed a State and Shaped a Nation by Miriam Pawel

The Escape Artists: A Band of Daredevil Pilots and the Greatest Prison Break of the Great War by Neal Bascomb

New York Times Book Review

Aug. 2

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (F)

Clock Dance by Anne Tyler (F) *

Metamorphics by Zachery Mason (F)

Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo (F)

The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley (F)

Nonfiction

The Trials of Nina McCall by Scott W Stern

Dopesick by Beth Macy

Amity and Prosperity by Eliza Griswold

The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela by Nelson Mandela *

Light of the Stars by Adam Frank

City of Devils by Paul French

Rome: A History of Seven Sackings by Matthew Kneale

What the Eyes Don’t See by Mona Hanna-Attisha

The Poisoned City by Anna Clark

Conceivability by Elizabeth Katkin

An Excellent Choice by Emma Brockes

Kissinger the Negotiator by James K Sekenius, R. Nicholas Burns, and Robert H Mrookin

A Girl Stands at the Door by Rachel Devlin

In Search of Mary Shelby by Fiona Sampson

Aug. 12

Fiction

Hit and Misses by Simon Rich

A Terrible Country by Keith Gessen

The Middle Man by Olen Steinhauer

Playthings by Alex Pheby

The Shortlist

Sugar Money by Jane Harris

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon

The Butcher’s Daughter by Victoria Glendinning

The Removes by Tatjana Soli

Nonfiction

Crashed by Adam Tooze

Aroused by Randi Hutter Epstein

Empress by Ruby Lai

No One Tells You This by Glynnis MacNicol

Killing It by Camas Davis

Carbon Ideologies by William T Vollmann

Famous Father Girl by Jamie Bernstein

No Ashes in the Fire by Darnell L Moore

Conservatism: An Invitation to the Great Tradition by Roger Scruton

Into the Hands of Soldiers by David D Kirkpatrick

August 19

Nonfiction

The Tangled Tree by David Quammen

Into the Hands of the Soldiers by David D Kirkpatrick

The Third Bank of the River by Chris Feliciano Arnold

My Year of Dirt and Water by Tracy Franz

Borrowed Time by James Freeman and Vern McKinley

After the Educations Wars by Andrea Gabor

Rising by Elizabeth Rush

The Equations of Life by Charles S Cockell

Devil’s Mile by Alice Sparberg Alexiou

Fiction

Never Anyone But You by Rupert Thomson

The Family Tabor by Cherise Wola

A Long Island Story by Rick Gekoski

Crime Fiction

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Isolation Mountain by Stephen O’Connor

The Breakers by Marcia Muller

Don’t Eat Me by Colin Cotterill

August 26

Nonfiction

Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas

The Husband Hunters by Anne de Courcy

I Will Be Complete by Glen David Gold (Memoir)

Mr. Lear: A Life of Art and Nonsense by Jenny Uglow

Jello Girls by Allie Rowbottom

Ninety-nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown

Small Animals by Kim Brooks

The Fighters by CJ Chivers

Fly Girls by Keith O’Brien

Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor by Yossi Klein Halevi

Fiction

The Traitor’s Niche by Ismael Kadare

Tin Man by Sarah Winman

If You See Me Don’t Say Hi by Neel Patel

A Shout in the Ruins by Kevin Powers

The Shortlist

Love by Hanne Orstavik, trans. by Martin Aitken

Wait, Blink: A Novel by Gunnhild Oyehaug, trans by Kari Dickson

Mirror, Shoulder, Signal by Dorthe Nors

Sept. 2

Nonfiction

The Splintering of the American Mind by William Egginton

The Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Hait

Arthur Ashe: A Life by Raymond Arsenault

Bitwise by David Auerbach

Identity by Francis Fukuyama

The Lies that Bind by Kwame Anthony Appiah

Dead Girls by Alice Bolen

Against Memoir by Michelle Tea

Dickinson’s Nerves, Frost’s Woods by William Logan

Fiction

Red, White, Blue by Lea Carpenter

Safe Houses by Dan Fesperman

The Garden Party by Grace Dane Mazur *

This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga

Read Me by Leo Benedictus

The Shortlist

A Walk Through Paris by Eric Hazan, trans. by David Fernbach

My Twenty-Five Years in Provence: Reflections on Then and Now by Peter Mayle

A Bite-Sized History of France: Gastronomical Tales of Revolution, War, and Enlightenment by Stéphane Hénaut and Jeni Mitchell

(Not Quite) Mastering the Art of French Living by Mark Greenside

Crime Novels

Gravesend by William Boyle

Depth of Winter by Walt Longmire

In Her Bones by Kate Moretti

Sunrise Highway by Peter Blauner

Publisher’s Weekly Tip Sheet

August 6

The Spy of Venice by Benet Brandreth (F)

Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin (F) (Graphic Novel)

So Much Left Over by Louis de Bernieres (F)

Nameless Serenade: Nocturne for Commisario Ricciardi by Maurizio de Giovanni, trans. from the Italian by Antony Shugaar (F)

Perennial by Kelly Forsythe (F) *

Desperate Girls by Laura Griffin (F)

Maeve in America: Essays by a Girl from Somewhere Else by Maeve Higgins (NF) (Essays)

The Blue and the Black: A Cop Reveals Crimes, Racism, and Injustice in America’s Law Enforcement by Matthew Horace and Ron Harris (NF)

If You Leave Me by Crystal Hanna Kim (F)

Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America by Beth Macy (NF)

A Short Film About Disappointment: A Novel by Joshua Mattson (F)

The Arab of the Future 3: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1985-1987 by Riad Sattouf (Memoir)

Before She Sleeps by Bina Shah (F)

Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World by Maryanne Wolf (NF)

August 13

Blind Kiss: A Novel by Renée Carlino (F)

Pinnacle City by Matt Carter and Fiona J. Titchwell (F)

Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century by Nate Chinen (NF)

Don’t Eat Me by Colin Cotterill (Mystery)

The End of all Our Exploring by F.Brett Cox (Short Stories)

Pretty Things by Virginia Despentes (F)

Founding Martyr: The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren, The American Revolution’s Lost Hero by Christian Di Spigna (NF)

Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear (Mystery)

De Gaulle by Julian Jackson (Bio)

The Carrying by Ada Limón (Poems)

Amateur: A True Story about What Makes a Man by Thomas Page McBee (NF)

Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, trans. from the Polish by Jennifer Croft (F)

August 20

Little Man, Little Man: A Story of Childhood by James Baldwin for his nephew, Ages 10+ (reprint)

Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett (Fantasy)

Fogland Point by Doug Burgess “a standout” (F)*

Red, White, Blue by Lee Carpenter (spy novel)

Heartbreaker: A Novel by Claudia Dey (F) “it’s the voice”

Desirable Body by Hubert Haddad (F)

Summer by Karl Ove Knausgaard (F)

The Boy on the Beach: My Family’s Escape from Syria and Our Hope for a New Home by Tima Kurdi (NF)

Notes from the Fog by Ben Marcus (Short Story)

Swift Vengeance by T Jefferson Parker (F)

A Life of My Own by Claire Tomain (Memoir)

August 27

Pandemic 1918: Eyewitness Accounts from the Greatest Medical Holocaust in Modern History by Catharine Arnold (NF)

Unapologetic: A Black, Queer and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements by Charlene Carruthers (NF)

The Imposter: A True Story by Javier Cercas (Bio)

Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames (Fantasy) “a messy glorious romp” *

Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas (NF)

21 Lessons for the 21stCentury by Yuval Noah Harari (NF)

Little Comfort by Edwin Hall (F)

The Disordered Mind: What Unusual Brains Tell Us About Ourselves by Eric R Kandel (NF)

Been So Long: My Life and Music by Jorma Kaukonen (Memoir)

Dog Symphony by Sam Munson (F)

September 3

Better Times by Sara Batkie (Short Stories)

Small Fry: A Memoir by Lisa Brennan-Jobs (Memoir)

Terra Nullius by Claire G Coleman (F)

Fashion Climbing: A Memoir with Photographs by Bill Cunningham (Memoir)

Pay No Heed to the Rockets: Life in Contemporary Palestine by Marcello Di Cintio (Memoir)

The Last Palace: Europe’s Turbulent Century in Five Lives and One Legendary House (NF)

Pale Horse Rider: William Cooper, The Rise of Conspiracy, and the Fall of Trust in America by Mark Jacobson (NF)

Every Day is Extra by John Kerry (Memoir)

The Golden State by Lydia Kiesling (F)

After the Winter by Guadalupe Nettel, trans. from the Spanish by Rosalind Harvey (F)

We That are Young by Preti Taneja (F)

Ponti by Sharlene Teo (F)