The Rembrandt Affair by Daniel Silva

There is one reason and one reason alone that I read Daniel Silva's novels: I desperately want to be Gabriel Allon, a polyglot world class art restorer who works for the Pope, is married to a gorgeous Venetian, and is his tiny country's avenging angel, working as an Israeli assassin fighting terrorism on a scale unequalled in the annals of history. What red blooded Cold Warrior wouldn't idolize a man who fights both the Russian mob and the Islamic jihadists with equal aplomb?

In this latest installment, Gabriel has finally retired with Chiara on the coast of Cornwall in England, secreted away from those who wish to destroy him. He is drawn back into public view by Julian Isherwood, art gallery owner and long time asset of The Office, the Israeli secret service. A long lost painting by Rembrandt Isherwood was having restored for the National Gallery in DC is stolen and the restorer--a colleague from Allon's days as a student in Italy--is killed. Isherwood had not listed the painting with his insurance company, and is therefore on the hook for nearly 50 million dollars.

In his quest to help a friend recover the missing painting, Allon is drawn into a dark world of Swiss banking, Nazi loot, war crimes, and Iranian nuclear proliferation, and unmitigated capitalist greed. The story jets from England to France, Argentina, Switzerland, the United States, and of course Israel. Silva introduces another spectacularly wealthy and evil opponent for Allon to take down, this time a Swiss billionaire known to the world as St. Martin for his generosity and charity.

Daniel Silva's writing is always timely and topical. Moscow Rules was about the reawakening of the Russian Bear, and its old time autocratic ruler, a perfect reflection of Mr. Putin's post Cold War Russia. Now Silva tackles the western collusion in the Iranian nuclear program. In this series of books, Silva pulls back the curtain on how the intelligence and security services operate. Earlier this year when the story of the Mossad operation in Abu Dhabi that ended in the assassination of a Hamas leader broke, I knew the details even before I read them, thanks to Daniel Silva.

Take The Rembrandt Affair to the beach before the summer ends and immerse yourself into the world where occasionally the good guys actually win.

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So glad you got me into this series. Now, if Silva's next series could be a smart, sassy, German-speaking female heroine. ;)