Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Saga of Gabriel Allon Flows On in 'The English Girl'

Book Review Jackie K Cooper
July 11, 2013
The English Girl by Daniel Silva
When you read a book by Daniel Silva you are always secure in knowing his story is going to unfold in an interesting manner. You open the pages and the words just flow, pulling you along with its tide of a plot and a wave of characters. Once you immerse yourself in this story you cannot fight the tide nor can you stop and disembark from the story. You will go to its destination and enjoy the journey. Such is certainly the case with Silva's latest novel THE ENGLISH GIRL.
Once again we are transported to the world of super Israeli spy and operative Gabriel Allon. It is a world that is very timely and Allon deals with happenings of today, tomorrow and yesterday. He moves from country to country in order to accomplish his mission. In THE ENGLISH GIRL it takes him to Britain, Corsica and Russia among other places, but his base of operations is always Israel.
In this story Allon is trying to solve the disappearance/possible kidnapping of a woman named Madeline Hart. She is "the English girl" to whom the title refers. Madeline has been on vacation in Corsica when she disappears. Allon gets the call asking him to investigate what happened to her and if possible to find her. The Israelis want him to do it as a favor to the British.
Finding out what happened to Madeline only takes up half the book. There are other circumstances that come into play regarding her disappearance that fill out the remainder of the story. This second half adventure is based on a situation that is just as intriguing as the circumstances in the first.
The plot is tricky and enjoyable, but it is not the main reason to read this story. The main attraction in a Gabriel Allon book is, and always shall be, the character of Allon himself. This man has many facets to his personality and Silva has complete control when writing about them. There is never a slip up; never a contradiction.
Even better Allon is not a Superman. He is totally human and sometimes very fallible. His strengths, however, outweigh his weaknesses but the weaknesses give him his humanity. Readers respond to this part of his character and love him even more for being human.
You can lose yourself in a Silva book. You can get caught up in the twisting adventures that are undertaken, and you can steep yourself in information about the characters that populate the pages. Allon's world is not a solitary place. It takes a village, or at least a large group of people to get his missions accomplished. Everyone in his orbit is unique and essential.
Block out some time for this great novel. Allon is a great political operative, but Silva is an even greater writer. That is what makes THE ENGLISH GIRL a must read.
THE ENGLISH GIRL is published by HarperCollins. It contains 406 pages and sells for $27.00.
Jackie K Cooper

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