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by Silva, Daniel






"Gabriel Allon has slipped quietly into Venice for a much-needed holiday with his wife and two young children. But when Pope Paul VII dies suddenly, Gabriel is summoned to Rome by the Holy Father's loyal private secretary, Archbishop Luigi Donati. A billion Catholic faithful have been told that the pope died of a heart attack. Donati, however, has two good reasons to suspect his master was murdered. The Swiss Guard who was standing watch outside the papal apartments the night of the pope's death is missing. So, too, is the letter the Holy Father was writing during the final hours of his life. A letter that was addressed to Gabriel."-





*Starred Review* Silva's fictional pope, the reform-minded Pope Paul VII, who has appeared in three of the author's previous novels, dies in the opening pages of this one, just as he is beginning a letter to his friend, Israeli intelligence chief Gabriel Allon. The pope's private secretary, Archbishop Luigi Donati, summons Allon to Rome to look into the circumstances surrounding the pope's death. Did he really die of a heart attack, or was he murdered? So begins the twentieth in Silva's best-selling series, and, like its predecessors, it combines escalating tension with layer upon layer of weighty themes embracing international politics and religious history. While researching in the Vatican Secret Archives, I came upon a most remarkable book . . . , the pope begins his letter to Allon, and the whereabouts of that book-the suppressed Gospel of Pontius Pilate, in which the Roman prelate contradicts the New Testament's version of the events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus-drive the action here, as Allon and Donati track the secretive Order of St. Helena, a far-right Catholic society with a plan to hijack the papacy (think The Manchurian Candidate). Can Allon both save the Catholic Church and, with an assist from Pontius Pilate, help to undo the church's legacy of anti-Semitism? A surprise ending strikes just the right tonic chord with which to conclude this refreshingly hopeful thriller for troubled times. (An author's note sorts out invention from fact.)HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Silva's latest broad-canvas thriller starring the much-loved Gabriel Allon will quickly take its reserved seat atop most best-seller lists. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.





A legendary spy takes a vacation—or tries to, anyway—in Silva's 20th Gabriel Allon novel. Gabriel is trying to enjoy some rest and relaxation with his family in Venice when he learns that an old friend has died. As it happens, this old friend was Pope Paul VII, and it's not long before Allon is summoned by the pontiff's personal secretary. Archbishop Luigi Donati has reason to believe that the Holy Father did not die a natural death. For each of the past several summers, Silva has delivered a thriller that seems to be ripped from the headlines. This latest book feels, at first, like something of a throwback. Palace intrigue at the Vatican might seem quaint compared to Islamist extremism or Russia's rise as an international influence, but Silva makes it relevant and compelling. Allon discovers that the most likely culprits in the death of the pope are connected to far-right leaders throughout Europe, and the rediscovery of a lost Gospel sheds new light on Christian anti-Semitism. The villains here are Catholic traditionalists—Silva's imaginary Paul VII looks a lot like the real-life Francis I—and "populist" politicians who appeal to nativist, anti-globalist sympathies. As Silva looks at European contempt for a new wave of immigrants from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, he finds a model for this xenophobia in ancient hatred of the Jewish people, an antipathy that has its roots in the New Testament. He interjects a few Bible studies lessons and offers a bit of history as background; these passages add depth without impeding the forward momentum of the plot. Readers familiar with this series may notice the evolution of a motif introduced a few novels ago: In the world of Gabriel Allon, the United States has receded from relevance on the world stage. Engaging and deftly paced, another thoughtfully entertaining summer read from Silva. Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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