Villa dei Fiori, tucked away on a quiet hillside in Umbria, is an idyllic setting for Gabriel, a painter restoring works of art in his quiet studio. He is surrounded by his Italian staff and his Italian wife..and life couldn’t be calmer or more serene. Little does anyone know (other than his wife) that he is a high-ranking member of the Israeli Secret Service, and he lives in Italy under an assumed identity. He is summoned out of hiding and into service when a Russian defector, currently residing in London, is kidnapped by a Soviet thug who is bent on revenge for his assistance in the escape of his wife and children to the United States and away from his evil ways. The defector, Grigori, is a friend to Gabriel and Gabriel owes him for saving his life during a dangerous mission in Russia.
The Defector, by Daniel Silva, is a fast paced story that moves from that quiet little villa in Umbria, to the shores of Lake Como for a summit with other Israeli Secret Service, to London, CIA headquarters in Virginia, St. Tropez, Russia, Paris, and Israel. The manhunt for the Russian thug leads to moments of high espionage and violence, as well as moments portraying the more emotional ties that hold all the characters together. It is a well written novel that allows us to follow the lives of the many characters. I was a bit worried at first, being that this is #9 in the Gabriel Allon series, that I would be lost…but it turned out OK. Once I remembered who all the characters were and how they were inter-related, I was able to keep up.
I could highly recommend this book – it kept me hooked until the very end!
This book was part of the Italy in Books Challenge 2011.