July 8, 2016
Daniel Silva’s latest novel THE BLACK WIDOW required me to go to my Thesaurus and search for new adjectives with which to extol its virtues. Having reviewed books by Mr. Silva for over a decade I have simply run out of words and phrases with which to praise him, and praise him I must. THE BLACK WIDOW concerns topics as timely as today’s headlines and is written with the intelligence we have come to expect from this truly accomplished author.
Once again the central character in Silva’s story is Gabriel Allon. He is the Israeli operative who will soon become head of “the Office,” Israels covert operations center. Because of past adventures and misadventures the fabricated story of Allon’s death has been circulated. He is actually living in Israel, virtually in hiding because it suits his plans to do so. He and his wife Chiara have welcomed twins and Allon wants to have some down time to enjoy them.
His down time is short lived as France soon comes calling asking for his help in locating and eliminating a terrorist who is behind a major bombing in Paris. Allon accepts the task and recruits a female doctor to help in his plot to capture the terrorist known as “Saladin”. Natalie Mizrahi is invited to join the hunt but is not coerced into being part of the team. Her voluntary role as an infiltrator of ISIS is highly dangerous and will call upon her own innate abilities to maintain a cover of being an ISIS supporter.
The book is a literary powder keg. The fuse is lit in the first few pages of the novel and burns through the rest of the story until its explosive ending. At any time the fuse could be quenched or it could light other explosives in its path. However it is Silva’s creative genius that keeps it all moving, as well as his mastery of storytelling that keeps the intense momentum of the plot ever pushing forward.
Readers will also marvel at Silva’s uncanny ability to create characters they will immediately know and support. Allon has always been fascinating with his distinct traits ands his undercover activities. Now there is Natalie who joins him for this one time operation and immediately makes her mark on the enjoyment and interest of the book. She also becomes part of a love story that fascinates. It is not a typical romance in that the characters involved are rarely together, but the passion they possess is true and intimate.
I could go on and on about why you should read this book, but maybe it is just best to say that Allon is back and better than ever. You can’t ask for more than that and God bless Daniel Silva for fulfilling our literary needs.
THE BLACK WIDOW is published by Harper. It contains 544 pages and sells for $27.99.
Jackie K Cooper