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More about politics and less about the heist Started out good and then, for me, went south I kept on with it because George Guidall is one of my favorite narrators. Why did you steal a Van Gogh and sell a copy to an Arab named Sam Because I m looking for a Caravaggio For whom The Italians Why is an Isreali intelligence officer looking for a painting for the Italians Because he finds it hard to tell people no So far the only major drawback of doing most of my reading via audiobooks is that I have no easy way of marking quotes to use later in my reviews, which is something I usually try to include I listened to The Heist during my commute to work, and I want everyone to appreciate the fact that I had to rewind the above passage at least five times so I could write down the conversation on the notes app on my phone The reason I went to so much trouble to write down this specific exchange was because it perfectly sets you up for this complex, convoluted plot, and there was no way I couldn t include it in the review Having never read any of Daniel Silva s thrillers, I can t say if his other books require so many steps just to get to the main conflict But holy shit, this one s a doozy So the book starts with art dealer Julien Isherwood being called to a mansion on Lake Como, where he s supposed to pick up a painting for a colleague Instead, he arrives to find the painting gone, and the owner of the house murdered Isherwood calls in his friend Gabriel Allon, an art restorer and Isreali intelligence agent, to investigate the murder and clear his name Allon soon discovers that the dead man was a former British spy who had been trading stolen artwork, and that one of those stolen pieces, now missing, is Caravaggio s famous lost Nativity painting To recover the painting, Allon has to borrow a Van Gogh, make a forged copy, and trade that version for the Caravaggio Oh, and the money trail for the stolen artwork leads to a bank in Germany that holds the fortune of a Middle Eastern dictator Getting the Caravaggio back will require spying on, and stealing from, one of the most dangerous political families in the world.Like, that s a lot, right Around the time the dictator was thrown into the mix probably two thirds of the way into the story , I was already tired of keeping track of the various spy shit going on, and the last thing I needed was for Silva to add yet another complication to the mix And what a complication it is I had been enjoying the book up until then, because there was a lot of good stuff about art theft and forgery, and Allon is a great protagonist he won me over early in the book when he s going to the Lake Como house to investigate the murder scene, and when the cop on duty tells Allon that he has one hour, and that he ll be following Allon around the house, Allon snaps I ll take as long as I want, and you ll wait outside Quote is not exact, because audiobook Also I mentally cast Oscar Isaac as Allon, which certainly didn t hurt I was on board for all the art forgery stuff and tracking the thieves, but then we introduce the dictator, and Silva takes us on a chapter long digression to explain the history of the dictator s rule And before I knew it, my fun art heist caper was gone, and had been replaced by a dreary political thriller Not that there s anything wrong with those kind of books, but it definitely wasn t what I signed up for, and I finished the book feeling almost like I had been the victim of a bait and switch.The writing is good, the plot is complex and fast paced, and all the characters that Allon works with over the course of his assignment were interesting and well drawn also I could read an entire book about Allon s Italian spy wife, Chiara , but ultimately, the change from art heist to political spy thriller was too jarring, and I could never adjust Silva s books were recommended to me by someone who has the same taste in detective novels as I do, and I don t want to discount his work based just on this one book I d definitely be willing to give Gabriel Allon and Silva another chance in the future this one just wasn t quite what I was expecting. I ve been reading Daniel Silva s books since he began writing them I have to say that this is his best novel to date He keeps getting better and better I absolutely loved THE HEIST Daniel Silva is the best thriller writing alive today His characters feel like they are part of my family And the topics he chooses to move his stories forward not only entertain me, they educate me He uses current events hot topics in all his books And his research is second to none This latest page turner even had me shedding a tear at the conclusion I can hardly wait until next summer when I hope Gabriel Allon will return once again Thanks, Daniel, for giving us this fabulous story. Another great book by Daniel Silva in which the legendary agent Gabriel Allon, who also works as an art restorer in his spare time, uses his spying skills to trace a lost piece of art by Caravaggio, which had also disappeared in reality about 50 years ago The search leads him to an underground network of stolen art trafficking for the most dangerous people on this planet Silva reveals before us the tragic fate of Syria and the story about the eye doctor from London, liberal and enlightened on paper, who eventually became the most awful and cruelest dictator the country has ever seen, eventhan his infamous father Silva describes in an authentic and fascinating way the horrors in Syria, the consequences of war, and the ones who d gotten away but haven t forgotten What I absolutely love about Sliva s books is that they have, beyond their carefully crafted plots, plenty of knowledge in a variety of areas from art to the Middle East politics It s fun to read books that have added values, and Silva s book fit this definition perfectly I love a great hero from Tarzan to Perry Mason to Harry Potter, the good guy gets my attention every time Over many years of reading, favorites have emerged characters whose personalities are so appealing that I look forward to reading about them again and again and, were it possible, with whom I d love to share a beer or two and what I have no doubt would be interesting conversation for a couple of hours.These guys have been on my Top 10 list for quite some time now in case any are unfamiliar to other readers who might want to give them a try 10 Forest ranger Joe Pickett author C.J Box 9 Manhattan bookstore owner and part time burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr Lawrence Block 8 Prison chaplain and former police officer John Jordan Michael Lister 7 Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent Virgil Flowers John Sandford 6 Psychologist and police consultant Dr Alex Delaware Jonathan Kellerman 5 Cleveland private eye Milan Jacovich Les Roberts 4 The mysterious Roarke, husband of police lieutenant Eve Dallas J.D Robb, a.k.a Nora Roberts 3 British 007 agent James Bond Ian Fleming 2 Boston private investigator Spenser Robert B Parker And in the No 1 spot None other than art restorer and accomplished Israeli spy Gabriel Allon, who s the star of this book In it the 14th in the series his beautiful and younger wife, Chiara, is pregnant with twins they ve been living in Vienna, where Gabriel is helping restore a major work of art When a friend discovers the torture and murder of a former British diplomat who apparently has turned to trafficking stolen art, Gabriel begins to investigate learning that the works of art may be a cover for a Syrian dictator to hide scandalous amounts of money The chase, as usual, takes Gabriel to several countries where he dons different disguises as he and his team put together an involved operation to bring the dictator to his knees and, hopefully, locate the stolen art in particular, a Caravaggio that s been missing for decades.Many characters from previous books return in this one, and perhaps a little too much space is given up to explanations of who they are for the benefit, I suppose, of making sure new readers know the background rather than simply trying to fill up pages Also, the ending is predictable and a bit abrupt reasons that prompted me to give this one 4 stars rather than 5 although I m willing to go 4 1 2 if that were possible.But in the end, it s a great adventure and a pleasure to read I always enjoy the historical information that s sprinkled liberally throughout even if it s not always factual I honestly can t say this book is the best of the bunch, but it sure held my attention throughout. I m a huge Gabriel Allon fan, but I humbly disagree with many of the rave reviews of this, the 14th book in the series Can it really be summer without time spent with my fave Mossad assassin and art restorer I think not Every year I have the publication date marked in my calendar, and eagerly await the new release of one of my fave characters in a contemporary series As I look at my reviews of the previous books in this series, I see that my ratings have been dropping, but how can I resist attending the reunion of the Barak team every summer This one is the worst in the series so far It is rather formulaic and the writing seems rote The characters are recycled without any additional depth added The story is almost the same as a couple others in the series, just updated with Syrian troubles I almost did not finish it, and that makes me sad If you have yet to read about the exploits of the man named like an archangel, I would highly recommend reading some of the earlier books in this series But skip this one.And yet I ll be waiting to see if there is a new installment next July Come on Mr Silva, give this junkie a good fix Please. Three pages into the novel and you do a collective sigh of relief as a big smile spreads across your lips You know that feeling it s the one you get when you realize you ve found a novel that is an instant guarantee it s going to take you on a great, well paced, interesting ride into the dark underworld of espionage.Daniel Silva s Gabriel Allon, the top of the game assassin for the Israelie Mossad, is at his best in this one Allon has never been one dimensional as a character He s always been a complex soul with his own specific ghosts to deal with But this journey is a classic.You ll have to read the book for yourself But I d lay money down if I had any money, by the way on the table and bet that you ll fall in love with Gabriel Allon. another excellent Silva, exciting and fast paced It is, as some have said, somewhat formulaic, but the formula works so well it is not at all objectionable, at least to me Silva stays just close enough to actual current events to make it very real, and events since it was written make it evenreal, almost like historical fiction in the present instead of the past. 3.5 stars In this 14th book in the Gabriel Allon series the Israeli intelligence agent art restorer investigates a wide ranging art theft scheme The book can be read as a standalone Gabriel Allon 5 8 , slim and attractive..with striking green eyes is a man of many talents He s one of the best art restorers and forgers in the world a top notch Israeli intelligence agent a capable assassin and a first class strategist technician for covert operations.As the book opens Allon and his second wife Chiara who s expecting twins are living in Venice, Italy where Allon is restoring artwork in a church Allon s quiet life is disrupted when he s approached by General Ferrari head of the art recovery squad who s determined to retrieve a Caravaggio painting The Nativity stolen decades ago Ferrari believes Jack Bradshaw a murdered British expat living in Lake Como may have known the whereabouts of the Caravaggio Thus, Ferrari coerces Allon to investigate Bradshaw s death and hopefully find the masterpiece The NativityIn the course of his inquiries Allon learns that unscrupulous bigwigs, including mafia dons and dictators, collect stolen art to use as a kind of currency Moreover, one of the Middle East s most ruthless tyrants Syrian President Bashar al Assad is amassing a large collection of stolen art Al Assad views this as a kind of insurance, in case he s ousted and can t access his hidden billions Syrian President Bashar al AssadAllon hatches an elaborate scheme to part al Assad with his fortune and to find the Caravaggio The plan involves selling a forgery of Van Gogh s painting Sunflowers painted by Allon to al Assad s buyer and to hack al Assad s secret accounts and steal the cash For the hacking scheme Allon s team co opts a woman named Jawal Nawaz a Syrian born, German citizen who works in a bank that al Assad uses.SunflowersAllon s plan requires lots of travel plus assistance from various series regulars including Ari Shamron former head of The Office the Israeli spy agency Eli Lavon an ex spy who s now an archaeologist Uzi Navot the current director of The Office Navot s wife Bella an expert on Syria and terrorists and Christopher Keller an assassin turned good guy sort of Several features of Allon s plan are completely unbelievable for example, a banker keeps the only records of al Assad s secret bank accounts in a notebook in his pocket..but this is a novel after all LOLIn the midst of all the action Allon visits his first wife Leah in a psychiatric hospital Leah lost her sanity after being injured by a bomb that killed her and Allon s son Daniel Leah s mind replays the bombing constantly, but she has occasional moments of clarity and these scenes are disturbing and sad I won t say anyabout the plot, except that Allon shows he s an honorable, stand up guy.Many reviewers remark that Daniel Silva s Gabriel Allon stories are formulaic, and they are But the books are well written with good plots and interesting characters I d highly recommend The Heist to fans of espionage thrillers.You can follow my reviews at ^Read Epub ✒ The Heist ☠ Gabriel Allon, Master Art Restorer And Assassin, Returns In A Spellbinding New Thriller From No Bestselling Author Daniel Silva For All Fans Of Robert LudlumGabriel Allon Art Restorer And Legendary Spy Is In Venice When He Receives An Urgent Call From The Italian Police The Art Dealer Justin Isherwood Has Stumbled Upon A Chilling Murder Scene, And Is Being Held As A SuspectThe Dead Man Is A Fallen Spy With A Secret A Trafficker In Stolen Artwork, Sold To A Mysterious Collector To Save His Friend, Gabriel Must Track Down The World S Most Iconic Missing Painting Caravaggio S Nativity With St Francis And St LawrenceGabriel S Mission Takes Him On Exhilarating Hunt From Marseilles And Corsica, To Paris And Geneva, And, Finally, To A Private Bank In Austria, Where A Dangerous Man Stands Guard Over The Ill Gotten Wealth Of One Of The World S Most Brutal Dictators