The Defector

The Defector

Book - 2009
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In the #1 New York Times bestseller Moscow Rules , Gabriel Allon brought down the most dangerous man in the world. But he made one mistake. Leaving him alive...

Over the course of a brilliant career, Daniel Silva has established himself as the "gold standard" of thriller writers ( Dallas Morning News ), a "master writer of espionage and intrigue" (The Cincinnati Enquirer), and the creator of "some of the most exciting spy fiction since Ian Fleming put down his martini and invented James Bond" ( Rocky Mountain News ). Now Silva takes that fiction-and his hero, the enigmatic art restorer and assassin Gabriel Allon-to a whole new level, delivering a riveting tale of vengeance that entertains as well as enlightens.

Six months after the dramatic conclusion of Moscow Rules , Gabriel has returned to the tan hills of Umbria to resume his honeymoon with his new wife, Chiara, and restore a seventeenth-century altarpiece for the Vatican. But his idyllic world is once again thrown into turmoil with shocking news from London. The defector and former Russian intelligence officer Grigori Bulganov, who saved Gabriel's life in Moscow, has vanished without a trace. British intelligence is sure he was a double agent all along, but Gabriel knows better. He also knows he made a promise.

Do you know what we do with traitors, Gabriel? Many things have changed in Russia since the fall of Communism. But the punishment for betrayal remains the same. Promise me one thing, Gabriel. Promise me I won't end up in an unmarked grave.

In the days to come, Gabriel and his team of operatives will find themselves in a deadly duel of nerve and wits with one of the world's most ruthless men: the murderous Russian oligarch and arms dealer Ivan Kharkov. It will take him from a quiet mews in London, to the shores of Lake Como, to the glittering streets of Geneva and Zurich, and, finally, to a heart-stopping climax in the snowbound birch forests of Russia. Faced with the prospect of losing the one thing he holds most dear, Gabriel will be tested in ways he never imagined possible. And his life will never be the same.

Filled with breathtaking turns of plot and sophisticated prose, and populated by a remarkable cast of characters, The Defector is more than the most explosive thriller of the year. It is a searing tale of love, vengeance and courage created by the writer whom the critics call "the perfect guide to the dangerous forces shaping our world" ( Orlando Sentinel ). And it is Daniel Silva's finest novel yet.

Publisher: New York : G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2009.
ISBN: 9780399155680
0399155686
Characteristics: 469 p. ; 24 cm.

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Cindasan_62
May 19, 2018

Daniel Silva is a reliable thriller writer. I can count on him to deliver suspense that increases in intensity as the narrative progresses, fiendish villains, memorable plots and Gabriel Allon with his unique point of view. I love reading Silva's books on my commute to and from work because they make the commutes fly by and take me away from my routine. The Associated Press review of this book called it "perfect." I wouldn't go quite that far, but it is an excellent example of what thrillers are and what they can achieve in terms of storytelling.

Gabriel Allon, however, has become something of a superhero. He sustains physical injuries that for mere mortals would mean weeks in a hospital, rehab, and/or permanent disability. Gabriel Allon just gets up and keeps walking. In this novel, however, he sustains an injury that debilitates him, and brings to the forefront that sometimes the worst trauma that humans experience have nothing to do with the physical. I admire Silva for finally making Allon human. I was getting tired of Allon the superman.

In this novel, Allon faces once again a Russian villain he's met before: Ivan Kharkov. In Moscow Rules their encounter and its aftermath set the stage for the plot of The Defector. The title refers to Grigori Bulganov whom Allon had helped to leave Russia. At the beginning of this story, Bulganov disappears. The British think he's returned to Russia voluntarily. But Allon knows Bulganov would not do that, and so he launches his own investigation into the Russian's disappearance and uncovers, of course, Kharkov's revenge. Ivan Kharkov believes he's the ultimate Teflon Russian gangster, especially because he has the Russian president in his pocket. But Allon doesn't see him that way, and he develops a plan with his trusted and talented team of Israeli operatives to take Kharkov down once and for all.

Silva writes fast-paced prose and spends little time on descriptive setting details. After 12 novels, he knows how to create the tension of successful thrillers, but there's not a lot of nuance. His plot lines are imaginative and this novel is no exception. Just when you think things are finally going in Allon's way, an obstacle or twist occurs that sends the story spinning again. He has developed Allon, Ari Shamron, Uzi Navot and Chiara well as characters without a lot of depth (expect Allon perhaps), but the villain and his coterie as well as secondary characters don't receive the same care. I was glad to see Chiara getting a larger role in this story and not only as Allon's love interest. I would really like to see Silva take a female character, like Sarah Bancroft for example, and give her her own series with Allon making only cameo appearances in it. I'm getting tired of Gabriel Allon the superman, the "legend." He's a human being, and if the events of this story are the beginning of returning him to mere human status, I applaud that.

I've been in Vladimirskaya Oblast and was disappointed in the way Silva described the forests. They are magical with a depth and personality all their own, unique in the world. But of course, it was just a setting for action in this story instead of giving it more depth. I did like that Silva hides something in the forest that has a profound effect on Russian politics and its social fabric.

I'd recommend this novel for readers of thrillers, especially those who aren't looking for a literary treatment with more in-depth character development and theme. This is very much a plot-driven story. Having said that, it's fun, entertaining, and a fast read.

nfentonn Jun 26, 2014

With this I think I've read all the Allon novels. While good they fit a common story line. Allon is trying to live his own life. Someone,usually a female, gets in trouble and only Allon can save her and Isreal and the rest of the Western world. He brings in his usual crew, with Sharom looking over everybodys shoulder, and saves the day. Reminds me of Superman in my youth. (He was Jewish too!!)

deVichi Jan 04, 2012

I read Portrait of the Spy first before taking on The Defector and it was nice reading about some of the underlying story outlined in the latter book. Yet another great Gabriel Allon spy book with insight into the relationships between Gabriel, his wife, his team, and his international connections. I liked seeing how his view differ from book to book, the way it evolves was an interest point for me. The storyline is believable although some fantastic points were there that seemed to accentuate the status of certain characters. I enjoyed the Russian aspect of the story, the ruthlessness of the bad guy, and how the good guys make it in the end. Overall an enjoyable book, hard to put down at times, recommend if your up for a little espionage, spy novel.

d
Dub
May 08, 2011

Another excellent read. Silva is one of the top espionage writers on the current charts. You won't be disappointed.

r
rahmmie
Apr 28, 2011

Very entertaining and much better than "Moscow Rules"

rubysue Aug 25, 2009

An excellent book in the Gabriel Allon series.

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