The Fallen Angel

by Daniel Silva

Book, 2012



Call number




New York : Harper, c 2012.


When a body is found beneath Michelangelo's dome, Gabriel Allon is summoned to secretly investigate the death that has been ruled a suicide--a case that brings about an unthinkable act of sabotage.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Olivermagnus
Any book featuring Gabriel Allon, former Israeli spy/assassin and current art restoration genius will have a complex plot. Gabriel is currently restoring a Caravaggio painting at the Vatican. After events in The Confessor, he has developed a close relationship with the Pope. When Dr. Claudia
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Andreatti falls to her death in St. Peter’s Basilica, Gabriel is asked by his friend and the Pope’s private secretary, Luigi Donati, to quietly investigate. At first, Claudia's death is assumed to be a suicide. Once Gabriel discovers she was documenting the provenance of some of the Vatican's precious art objects, another motive comes into play. The chain of events, starting with the murder in St. Paul's, involves many twists and turns. Gabriel and his team begin to follow a trail that leads them to art theft, terrorist explosions, a kidnapped Iranian diplomat and even a potential plot to kill the Pope on his upcoming visit to Israel and Palestine.

Gabriel has had a past life filled with anguish. His son and wife were blown up in an explosion targeting Gabriel and he is filled with a constant struggle to understand and accept his new love and life. The writing and research in this book is flawless. Gabriel's poignant back story and tender scenes with his wife, Chiara, provide moments of humanity to a man who knows he's killed many times before. The relationship between Donati and Gabriel is very vivid and humorous.

Daniel Silva takes a complex story and makes it a thriller. The author also puts in a note at the end of the book to tell you the true stories that the fictional novel is based on. I can't think of anyone whose books I look forward to so much. Over the years I've read each one as soon as it's published and am now making my way through them in audio. I enjoy them even more in audio, narrated by one of the true masters in audio narration, George Guidall.
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LibraryThing member repb
Another wonderful book in the Gabriel Allon lineup. A terrific writer, Silva, has created quite a franchise in this series. Only thing I noticed was a tendency to fall into a predictable pattern and the story lines are getting to sound a little bit similar. Still a fine read.
LibraryThing member labdaddy4
Once again an excellent and fast paced yarn. The fact that the prime factors in the current Middle East are all there make the story believable - sadly so.
LibraryThing member khiemstra631
Gabriel Allon is at it again. This time he has taken on the job of restoring a painting for the Vatican. While there, a woman falls to her death from the upper reaches of the dome in Saint Peter's Basilica. Looking into the reasons behind her death, which is not the suicide it first appeared, leads
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to a terrorist plot to attack a Jewish site in Vienna. The "retired" Gabriel is lured back into leading his usual team for The Office. I have to think that this business of Gabriel being retired but still working is getting a little tiring. The end of the book indicates there is reason to hope he will soon make a major change to his status. This book has lots of good information about both archaeology and Holocaust denial as well as current threats to the state of Israel. While it's a good read, it is not the riveting read that some of the past books have provided. Witness the fact that it took me well over a week to finish it!
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LibraryThing member Betty30554
So many story lines, so few pages. As a thriller, [The Fallen Angel] did not disappoint. It was fast-paced, hair-raising at times. The characters of the Pope and Donati, and their relationship with Allon is fascinating, and could possibly been a bit more developed. Early in the book, when
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antiquities looting was being introduced as a major story line, I almost expected Julian to make an appearance, and was mildly disappointed when he didn't. The investigation into the death of Dr. Andreatti and the role of the Vatican banker seemed to have been forgotten through a large part of the book. The focus seemed broad and scattered. Several times while reading the book, I would wonder how it got to certain points, such as the relationship between Marchese and the Vatican Bank to South America, why Allon doesn't particularly like Paris, or the sudden appearance at the end of the Imam that was involved in the antiquities looting that appeared at the beginning. And once again, Gabriel Allon toys with retirement. The book-lover in me hopes he never retires, while the involved-reader in me would love for him to retire, somehow raise a bunch of children with Chiara, but take over the advisor/consultant job for Shamron.

That being said, Mr. Silva always does a very good job of relating the "eternal-ness" of the Middle East conflict, and how it spills over into the rest of the world. Occassionally he has teetered on the brink of excess in his more recent books, but mostly does well at letting his characters express the depth of emotions engendered by the topic. It is a "good read" in my opinion.
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LibraryThing member MSWallack
This was almost like three separate books or at least three separate stories rolled into one longer plot. The initial storyline, dealing with an investigation into a murder, never grabbed me and it seemed an odd situation to put Gabriel Allon into. The second storyline, which was much more along
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the lines of a standard Gabriel Allon thriller wound up being too brief and didn't allow the supporting characters to do much of anything. The final part of the book could, perhaps, have been the most interesting if fleshed out into a longer story. But as written, it seemed almost an afterthought or a recognition by the author that it was simply time to end the book. This was also a story that, eventually, depends upon characters acting through a very lengthy and complicated series of motions necessary for a portion of a plot to come to fruition, but the likelihood that just those steps would, in fact, be taken, was too me far too remote to hold the story together.
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LibraryThing member theportal2002
Fantastic journey through history and adventure!
LibraryThing member skinglist
This was a slightly bizarre reading experience as it was one of three Daniel Silva books I read in catch up mode this summer and I began it on my Nook and finished it on my Kindle.

I'm not sure if it was because it was my third book this summer or the book wasn't as good, but I didn't love it as
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much as I have some of the other Gabriel Allon stories. I got sucked in & didn't want to put it down, but it wasn't the same. I felt as if he was trying to wrap up too many loose ends - like this might be the series end. The operation in Vienna, the possible death of "his brother", his own near death, some tense moments with Chiara. Those, however, I loved. I did feel as if there were almost too many stories going on at once. By the time he'd saved Israel & found the remains of the first temple, I'd forgotten about Dr. Andreatti & the Marcheses. I still love his friendship with the Pope - and find myself growing attached to both men. It was interesting how he filled in Donati's back story and put some time context into the series.

I don't know how I feel about the resolution to Marchese - it was interesting how Carlo told him how/why he'd tried to have Chiara killed. That happened with Kharkov too and it makes me worry that when Silva is ready to end this, he will kill Chiara -- and then Allon will eat his gun because Gabriel will not survive another loss. While the storyline with Marcheses & Andreattis was interesting, it got lost in the middle east. I felt it could have either been expanded on or omitted, but that was the only piece I didn't like.

"If I hadn't lost the baby, you wouldn't be going to Paris without me" ... "No explosion. No funeral for a child. No Chiara." I felt some of the drama with Chiara to be somewhat contrived. Between asking if Leah knows he loves her - and asking whether he does - and one of the conditions of Ari giving her his Narkiss St. house being filling it with children, I felt like Silva was pushing this a little too much. If she hadn't miscarried, she'd be a mom and definitely not on the mission. Or did she mean he'd have retired? Because I doubt it. Her fear in Vienna, praying for sirens, was palpable and if I didn't know that Silva won't kill Allon, I'd have been in tears with her. "When he was gone, she stood alone in the window, her face wet with tears, and prayed for the screaming of sirens" but I didn't understand why he couldn't wear his ring. I don't think that was an issue in any other missions. For as much as I was glad for the pre-mission detail, I wish we'd gotten more post mission. She had a palpable fear of leaving Vienna a widow - and it made me love Chiara even more. But I didn't like his indifference "If you hear explosions, you'll know I'm dead. But if you hear sirens" It's not like he doesn't care - or that Uzi and team won't tell her. It just felt odd. Loved the tie backs to Eli's history in Vienna. Nice touch.

The kidnapping of Massoud was interesting, albeit rushed. Was it them who ultimately killed them after the temple discovery or his handlers in Tehran? I don't like that kind of loose ends.

I love Silva's description of Jerusalem as god's fractured citadel on the hill. Very true. While I've always had a passion for the middle east, this series was a huge part of why I wanted to visit Israel and now having been there, I love "revisiting" it via his writing. I liked the overlap of Catholicism and Judaism with Allon as the pope's bodyguard.

"Blood never sleeps" I liked this twist, although I found the Indiana Jones angle of Eli and Gabriel accidentally finding the pillars of the first temple to be a little far fetched. The stones was a nice parallel throughout the series - and them being responsible

I love that this tied back into Chiara's wishes for the art world - she wanted to work with Julian at the beginning of Portrait... and now she's designing the Eli Lavon wing at the Israel Museum. I like the explanation of Jerusalem Syndrome. I like that they'll be home - although we know as long as Silva is writing that ALlon will never be able to tell Uzi to "find someone else" but their being based in Jerusalem eases my fear of Gabriel receiving news that Shamrom, who he finally called Abba, has passed.

"Shamron made no reply other than to twirl his lighter nervously between his fingertips. He didn't believe in karma. He believed in God. And he believed in his angel of vengeance, Gabriel Allon."

my favorite line, hands down.

Overall a good if not great read.
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LibraryThing member 66usma
The work was interesting and enlightening as to the conflicts surrounding the occupation of Jerusalem and historical aspects relating to the description and destruction of the Temple of Solomon. The depth of the story and character development is what one would expect in a series of twelve works
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relating to Ggabriel Allon, art restorer and Israeli agent.
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LibraryThing member onetiredmom
I love Gabriel Allon and the "Office" (the Israeli spy organization). Daniel Silva's books are well-written with interesting characters and plots. How many spies are world-renowned art restorers on the side? This one is very clean, just one objectionable word. I love that the author doesn't rely on
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obscenities to evoke emotion, just an intelligent plot and well-written dialogue.
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LibraryThing member norinrad10
This series has long been one of my favorites, however the last two entries have been a little stale. The Fallen Angel picks up the game a little bit. This time Gabriel is in the service of the Vatican per suing a banker that is so much more. Per usual the plot is sweeping and Gabriel is
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relentless. Not the best book in the series but al in all a fine entry.
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LibraryThing member buffalogr
Another exciting Gabriel Alon book. Well written and kept my interest. How that man keeps his private life and his spy-killer life separate, I'll never know. His wife must be a saint. Oh...he's imaginary!
LibraryThing member MarkMeg
Another good read. Gabriel tracks a Hezbollah killer after he is asked for help by the Pope's assistant. The museum curator of the Vatican is killed.
LibraryThing member adgrogan
Daniel Silva’s “The Fallen Angel” catapulted me on to a high mountain where revered storytellers reach into the stratosphere, collect the sparkling debris of shooting stars, and through some rare and magical process, transform the particles into inexpungible words of enlightenment to rain
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down on the rest of the world.
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LibraryThing member librarian1204
Another addition to the series. A very good one. It begins back at the Vatican and goes from there culminating in Jerusalem.
I really enjoyed the additional history that came with this plot.
LibraryThing member LaBibliophille
Since I'm on a roll with Daniel Silva, I thought I'd read his latest bestseller now.The Fallen Angel continues the story of the reluctant Israeli intelligence operative Gabriel Allon. He is older, still working as an art restorer, and still one of the most respected and feared agents in the
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This novel begins as Allon is restoring a Caravaggio for the Vatican. He is living in Rome with his young wife Chiara, also an intelligence agent for Israel's super secret "Office". Work on the Caravaggio is proceeding normally, until Allon is asked to report to the Sistine Chapel by Monsignor Luigi Donati, private secretary to the Pope. Donati asks Allon's help in solving the mystery of the death of Claudia Andreatti, a curator in the antiquities division of the Vatican Museum. Andreatti's body lies broken on the floor of the chapel, clearly the result of a fall from a great height. Suicide, accident, or murder?

While Allon begins to delve into the mystery, he realizes that other forces are at work. Andreatti was investigating the provenance of the Vatican Museum's vast collection. Perhaps she ran afoul of one of the many criminals involved in the illegal trade in antiquities. When Allon and Chiara discover another death that is likely related to Andreatti's the Italian police get involved. The carabinieri have an art squad which investigates looting and illegal trade in art. The chief of the squad, General Cesare Ferrari is smart, savvy, and powerful. He suspects that Allon has something to do with the second death, but is really not sure.

Eventually Allon learns that the trade in illegal antiquities is also a conduit for Hezbollha, the Iranian-backed international terrorist organization. So once again an Israeli intelligence operation begins, with Allon at the helm.

The Fallen Angel reintroduces some old characters from Gabriel Allon's past, and we meet some new and interesting ones. The book is fast paced, contemporary and interesting. It is a must read for the spy novel enthusiast.
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LibraryThing member neddludd
This is the latest in the series about an Israeli superhero. Just like Jason Bourne or Indiana Jones, Gabriel Allon is a pure hero, his skills in espionage matched by his knowledge of art and his skill in restoring damaged masterworks.This is high testosterone stuff, with Allon using his formidable
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intellect to solve a murder; however, in this tale, many people already know who the killer was and so this becomes something of a performance test for Allon; naturally, he passes with the Israeli flag flying high. The evil posed against him is ultimately led by Iran's Supreme Leader, and naturally the Iranians concoct a complicated plot in which there are feints and provocations in many countries. Although Allon is nearly blown up in one, he is, of course, like Israel, indestructible. Together with his personnally selected team of assassins and analysts he cuts through the Iranian plans and saves the world, and his nation, yet again. Then he returns to his first love--the restoration of Renaissance art. The reader is a fly on the wall in this tale; conferring privately with the Pope, listening in as the Israeli Prime Minister places his nation's fate in the hands of his intelligence service, and most particularly in Allon. Sprinkled throughout are archaeological tidbits ultimately leading to the question: who inhabited Jerusalem first, the Jews or the Palestinians. The search and obfuscation of ancient artifacts becomes, in fact, one of the key elements in the ongoing war between the two groups. Virulently anti-Israeli, the Palestinians--Middle Eastern Muslims in general--are presented as monomaniacal in their hatred of Jews and in their efforts to rid the region of Israel; Allon and his colleagues insure that their goal never becomes a reality. The book is well written and effectively edited, and it fits well into an enduringly first-class series.
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LibraryThing member DCarlin
An enjoyable read, reasonably paced and set between the Vatican City and Jerusalem. Add some archeology, religious conflict and organised crime and you have the recipe for a good read. Well worth a read
LibraryThing member Stahl-Ricco
A fast paced, page turner that I couldn't put down! A woman commits suicide in St. Peter's Basilica - or does she? Gabriel Allon, art restorer/Israeli intelligence agent, takes the case and goes on a wild investigation that takes him all over the world, chasing art thieves and Middle Eastern
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terrorists! Lots of locales, lots of characters, and lots of action!
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LibraryThing member kimkimkim
A fast and enjoyable read. I always gain knowledge and perspective from Daniel Silva's characters.
LibraryThing member 400mom

The Gabriel Allon books are always thought-provoking, educational and great thrillers. I recommend them all.
LibraryThing member johnwbeha
I have always enjoyed the earlier books in this series and this is no exception to the rule. Gabriel is slowing done; one wonders if the end of the series is nigh. But the plot keeps up the usual high standard moving from Rome, via St Moritz and Vienna (where old ghosts lurk) to Jerusalem with the
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mixture of action, espionage and political background bubbling along as before.
I look forward to reading #13 and wait with trepidation as to Gabriel's future.
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LibraryThing member jimgysin
A solid addition to the Allon canon by Silva, who rarely disappoints. I liked the fact that there was a significant Catholic component to this one and enjoyed seeing those Catholics and the usual band of Israelis working so well together. Very much the same way that it is in the real world, in
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fact. Differences of opinion, sure, but lots of mutual respect. And lots of shared threats.
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LibraryThing member John_Warner
Gabriel Allon, noted art restorer and former Israeli spy and assassin, is pulled from retirement again by the Vatican City hierarchy to investigate the death of a Vatican Museum employee assumed to be a suicide when she threw herself from a catwalk in St. Peter's Basilica. Gabriel quickly realizes
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that the woman was murdered instead. Her death is shortly linked to a number of thefts of art and antiquities from the Vatican Museum which is sold on the black market to fund Hezbollah missions. The task for Gabriel and his Israeli team is to discover Hezbollah's immediate plans and to thwart a war within the Middle East.

Daniel Silva's novels read like a cross between James Bond with his license to kill and Mission Impossible's charades to expose the villain. Although always enjoyable, there isn't anything really different in this novel that the reader hasn't already experienced with earlier books.
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LibraryThing member jmoncton
This is a great spy series that combines fast paced action with some good historical background. I like the team that accompany Gabriel on his missions. Even as side characters, they're complex and have interesting diverse backgrounds. The plots for the different stories are clever and realistic
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enough to leave you wondering if there is some truth to it.
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Original publication date



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