Other Woman
by Silva, Daniel

After his asset inside Russian intelligence is assassinated, Gabriel's search for the truth leads him to the twentieth century's greatest act of treason.

*Starred Review* Promotion to the top job in Israel's secret intelligence service hasn't changed Gabriel Allon's hands-on approach to spying one whit. He led the team that finally ended the run of ISIS mastermind Saladin (House of Spies, 2017), and now he's on the track of a Russian mole high up in British intelligence. His allies in MI6 don't like it, but even they know if anyone can ferret out the mole, it's Allon. Once again Silva follows the familiar structure his readers have come to love-gathering the team, setting up the sting, laying on the tradecraft, dealing with the surprises-but this time there is an even more elaborately detailed backstory than usual, and it is every bit as compelling as the tension-drenched drama slowly unspooling in the present and leading to a socko finale on the shores of the Potomac River. In a kind of homage to classic Cold War espionage, Silva draws on both history (the most famous spy of the twentieth century plays a role here) and fiction: there are strong elements of le Carré throughout, with the mole story itself echoing Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974) and Russian mastermind Sasha suggesting a contemporary version of George Smiley's nemesis, Karla. But Silva is never merely imitative; he uses these references and plot elements to add texture and resonance to his story, which puts a chilling, twenty-first century spin on the idea of Russian interference in global politics: "Everyone loses," Allon concludes. "Everyone except the Russians." Another jewel in the bedazzling crown of a spy-fiction master. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Silva's novels rarely dally on the lower rungs of best-seller lists. Expect this one, too, to leapfrog to the top. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Gabriel Allon is back in action. For a time, it looked like Israel's most famous spy might actually retreat to a desk job. In The Black Widow (2016) and The House of Spies (2017), it seemed as if Allon's creator was bringing younger, secondary characters to the foreground, but Allon has now taken center stage again. In this way and others, Silva's latest feels like a throwback to some of the earlier books in the series as well as to spy novels of the Cold War era. This is not the product of a lack of creativity on Silva's part but rather a reflection of current events. Russia is the adversary here, and Allon and his team must find the one woman who can reveal the identity of a mole who has reached the highest echelons of Britain's MI6. The search will take Allon deep into the past, into the secret heart of one of the 20th century's greatest intelligence scandals. Silva's work has always had a political edge, and his storytelling has only grown more biting recently. Although h e doesn't name the current American leader, he does mention "a presidential tryst with an adult film star" as well as that president's strange fondness for Vladimir Putin. Silva depicts a world in which communist true believers are dying out while far-right populists around the world look to the New Russia as a triumph of hard-line nationalism. The alliances that have sustained Western democracies are fraying, and Europe is preparing for a future in which the United States is no longer a reliable friend, nor a superpower. Silva's work is always riveting, but this summer blockbuster isn't exactly an escape—especially for readers who stick around for the author's note at the end. Although the Gabriel Allon novels are interrelated, Silva is adept at crafting narratives that can stand alone. This thriller will satisfy the author's fans while it will also appeal to those who appreciate past masters of the genre like John le Carré and Graham Greene. Gripping as always a n d grimly realistic. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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