House of Spies: A Novel (Gabriel Allon)

by Daniel Silva

Hardcover, 2017

Call number




Harper (2017), Edition: First Edition, 544 pages


#1 NYT Bestseller#1 USA Bestseller#1 WSJ BestsellerFrom the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Black Widow comes the thrilling new summer blockbuster featuring legendary spy, assassin and art restorer Gabriel Allon.A heart-stopping tale of suspense, Daniel Silva's runaway bestseller, The Black Widow, was one of 2016's biggest novels. Now, in House of Spies, Gabriel Allon is back and out for revenge - determined to hunt down the world's most dangerous terrorist, a shadowy ISIS mastermind known only as Saladin.Four months after the deadliest attack on the American homeland since 9/11, terrorists leave a trail of carnage through London's glittering West End. The attack is a brilliant feat of planning and secrecy, but with one loose thread.The thread leads Gabriel Allon and his team of operatives to the south of France and to the gilded doorstep of Jean-Luc Martel and Olivia Watson. A beautiful former British fashion model, Olivia pretends not to know that the true source of Martel's enormous wealth is drugs. And Martel, likewise, turns a blind eye to the fact he is doing business with a man whose objective is the very destruction of the West. Together, under Gabriel's skilled hand, they will become an unlikely pair of heroes in the global war on terror.Written in seductive and elegant prose, the story moves swiftly from the glamour of Saint-Tropez to the grit of Casablanca and, finally, to an electrifying climax that will leave readers breathless long after they turn the final page. But House of Spies is more than just riveting entertainment; it is a dazzling tale of avarice and redemption, set against the backdrop of the great conflict of our times. And it proves once again why Daniel Silva is "quite simply the best" (Kansas City Star).… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member labdaddy4
Another excellent book by Silva, The plot is completely believable and fast paced. Following the author's typical practice of telling most of the story in the past tense - the action unfolds smoothly but with a mounting sense of urgency and tension. No new "good guy" characters are introduced but the "old" ones are well-developed. Daniel Silva is one of the very best authors in this genre - his recurring characters have not gone stale as so often happens. I look forward to the next novel in the Allon saga.… (more)
LibraryThing member norinrad10
I've followed Daniel Siva books featuring super agent Gabriel Allon for nearly quarter of a century, all the way back to the Unlikely Spy. There is a reason this series has survived all these years. Silva does his research, creates great characters, and educates while he spins a fantastic yarn. He keeps things relatively fresh by continuing to expand the universe of Gabriel.

That said, the books have become a bit formalistic over the last several years. The first 300 pages are focused on building the back story. The next 100 involve the execution of the master plan which ends up going awry.. The last 100 involve Gabriel utilizing his unique skill set to save the failed operation. House of Spies pretty much adheres to this structure.

Despite being formalistic, House of Spies is a damn fine read. Allen's new counter balance ex-SSA officer/Mob assign Keller is a competing character who's role grows. The rest of the gang is back and therefore the book serves as conduit for a reunion of fictional friends.

Much of the formula remains hidden to those that have not read all of these books and Silva is such a skilled author that he never fails to catch you up in the action. Whether you are in old reader or just getting introduced to the legend of the Avenging Angel you'll like this one and won't regret the time spent among friends. If you are not careful, you also might learn something.
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LibraryThing member diana.hauser
Daniel Silva’s HOUSE OF SPIES is a suspenseful story of espionage, terrorism, assassination and secrecy.
It features the familiar spy, assassin, artist and art restorer, Gabriel Allon. He is Head of ‘The Office’ now (Head of Israeli Intelligence) and is hunting Saladin, an ISIS mastermind.
I like all the familiar characters, but Christopher Keller stands out in this particular title.
Very fast-paced, suspenseful with complex plots; interesting and powerful images and characters - I never tire of Mr. Silva’s writing.
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LibraryThing member gmmartz
'House of Spies' may be the first of Daniel Silva's novels that I didn't devour from beginning to end in a sitting or two. Too long, too outlandish a plot, and too many holes in the story were my major complaints.

Gabriel Allon, a favorite character for me in the spy novel genre, has ascended to the top of the Israeli intelligence service. A terrorist attack takes place in London with weapons that lead back to Allon's bete noire, the super-elusive Saladin. Intelligence groups from various western powers see the situation as an opportunity to finally bring Saladin to justice, if they can only find him. Enter Allon, who has a powerful incentive to locate the terror mastermind (see 'The Black Widow').

The plot (I won't go into details) bogs down in the middle. Intelligence leads the good guys to a rich Frenchman who has wittingly been helping Saladin through drug transactions and washing the money via an art gallery owned by his beautiful female partner. The spies determine that'll be the path they'll take to smoke out Saladin. They eventually do so. At a high level, the plot sounds pretty interesting, but along the way there are far too many unrealistic details, implausible situations, and activities that just don't pass the smell test.

Silva's writing is fine although the dialogue is sometimes a bit off. His descriptions have always been very detailed but have often seemed a little on the melodramatic side (I can see the phrase 'rich Corinthian leather' showing up in one of his novels at some point....). All in all, House of Spies is a decent spy thriller with one of the great characters of the genre, just not at the level of Silva's prior efforts.
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LibraryThing member Judiex
Once again, Daniel Silva seems to be ahead of the news, writing novels that become partly reality before the book hits the bookstores.
In HOUSE OF SPIES, Gabriel Allon would like nothing more than being free and available to spend time with his wife and young twin children but as the newly named leader of Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, it seems that is not likely to happen soon. A series of deadly bomb attacks in London appear to have be planned by his nemesis, an ISIS mastermind known as Saladin. Saladin had previously killed Israelis. Another member of the squad, a doctor, saved his life but he could then identify her.
There appears to be one way to find this mysterious terrorist: The French-Moroccan criminal and ISIS operative who supplied the weapons.
Using the talents of Mossad agents and working with British and French intelligence departments, the hunt is on to find the operative. They develop a complicated and expensive ruse to try to locate the operative to try to get him to reveal the information they desperately need to find and stop Saladin.
While Allon could have stayed in the Office and directed the operation from there, this was a personal issue and Allon wanted to be there when he was captured. So, he traveled to England, France, Morocco, and the US to get the support needed to try to complete the mission.
“An MI6 officer... never resorts to violence. And if he does feel the need to draw a weapon or throw a punch, it’s only because he hasn’t done his job properly.”
Referring to a line of car approaching a villa at night: “An unclasped diamond necklace of car lights lay along the shore..., flowing towards the gate of the Villa.
After the death of Gaddafi, no country stepped in with money and other assistance to help the newly freed country “make the transition from a tribal society to a Western style democracy....As a result of our inaction, Libya became yet another failed state, and ISIS moved into the void.”
I expect some major changes in Allon’s life in the next book. He is realizing that his children will grow up and not really know him. That is beginning to bother him.
On the whole, the story moves quickly but there are a few spots where it drags. Previous stories are referenced but it isn’t necessary to have read those books to follow this one. I thought that too much money was used to try to achieve the goal. It could have been accomplished with less. Many chapters are unnecessarily short and could easily have been combined. I think authors and/or publishers have a low opinion of their readers and think they have exceedingly short attention spans. I drop my rating one star because of that.
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LibraryThing member shazjhb
Still the best spy book.
LibraryThing member 66usma
Don't know why I was disappointed. Not a lot of surprises in the search for Saladin.
LibraryThing member kimkimkim
At first I thought the plot set-up was overdone but then I realized this is how the best writing happens, draws you in, makes you hold your breath, makes you hands sweat, makes you keep reading and it is 2AM an now it is approaching dawn and you realize that not only have you read an amazing piece of historical fiction but Daniel Silva is brilliant and prescient.… (more)
LibraryThing member buffalogr
A reliable addition to the series.Silva's villain is Saladin, a shrewd strategist who believes that, by wreaking havoc in the west, he will unite his followers in a new Islamic caliphate. A good researcher, provides alarming information about how Morocco's role in the drug trade helps bankroll ISIS while obtaining a dirty bomb for use against the west. A collaboration of many western agents fight Saladin, which makes a 6 hour book into twice that. Unrealistically, Gabriel, in his new role as the director of "the office" is unrealistically allowed on an op. Yep, staff work is boring.… (more)
LibraryThing member breic
After the last novel in the series, where our hero Allon saved the life of the terrorist leader and facilitated a string of major terrorist attacks, I was curious where Silva would take him next. Needless to say, Allon has been promoted! He's now head of Israel's intelligence agency. (I guess terrorist attacks on America are a good thing, because they discredit Obama; Silva's Trumpist political leanings are a bit insane.) We are treated to a rollicking story of an unplanned Osama bin Laden-takeout-style special forces raid, led of course by Allon himself. The story goes too quickly, so Silva tacks on a pointless dirty bomb scenario to add a few pages, then tacks on another four or five chapters of empty denouement after that. (Not entirely empty; Silva can't help talking politics more. And I loved the story of how Allon spent the billions of dollars his agents stole from Assad: $50 million Allon gives to a drug dealer [because she's pretty?], $10 million to an Israeli art program, and a few million for Syrian refugee assistance [because Allon is such a saint].) There's very little art or atmosphere here, and that aspect is disappointing.… (more)
LibraryThing member JosephKing6602
Good descriptions of the social/governmental context of the story; ‘sense-of-place’. Story line was a bit overly complicated; (he could get by with 2-3 fewer nefarious characters!) An ok book... too dependent on the shoot-em-up denouement!
LibraryThing member Olivermagnus
My favorite thing about July is a new Gabriel Allon book by Daniel Silva. House of Spies, the seventeenth book in the series, picks up shortly after events that occurred in The Black Widow. Saladin, the ISIS mastermind who terrorized the West is still on the loose where he continues to plan terrorist attacks. The whole world seems focused on finding and stopping him, but he remains elusive. When a single clue presents itself, Gabriel and his team begin the difficult process of once again getting close to the world’s most dangerous terrorist.

As usual, many of the characters we have met before are together again in this book, including art-dealer Julian Isherwood and our newest team member, Natalie. Christopher Keller, whom we know from previous stories, has given up being a paid assassin in order to help the British government. The main character, Gabriel Allon, may be the boss now but he's still the perfect spy. He's resourceful, fearless, and has just enough integrity and conscience to make him someone we can relate to.

House of Spies is a complex espionage tale but for me it was still a a page turner. Daniel Silva is very knowledgeable about ISIS, and the whole subject is terribly relevant. His Gabriel Allon books are one of the best series I have ever read. I did feel like this book was more of a continuation of The Black Widow which was a definite five star read and my favorite book of 2016. This one gets bogged down in a few places but is still a must read for any fan of the series. I highly recommend starting one of the earlier books of the series to get to know the characters. If you prefer to start the series at a later book, I highly recommend The Black Widow ahead of this one. I don't like to wish my life away but I can hardly wait to pick up his next book in July 2018.
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LibraryThing member ronploude
The 17th book in the Gabriel Allon series, House of Spies now has Gabriel Allon, a former spy and artwork restorer, as the Israeli Intelligence director. But despite his elevated position, Allon can't help himself for engaging in field work. This story has him tracking down an ISIS theorist who’s responsible for bombings and deaths in every major western country. Finding this killer requires Allon and his US, British, and French allies to develop human assets in order to maximize the return on the multiple small leads that bring him closer to his quarry.

The book has plenty of action and dirty tricks; the kind that excite spy mystery readers. I've read several books in this series over the years and never hesitate to pick up the next book addition when it becomes available.
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LibraryThing member thewanderingjew
The House of Spies, Daniel Silva, author; George Guidall, narrator
Daniel Silva writes great spy novels filled with suspense and tension. He creates excitement with ease, and this book is no exception. At times, though, it is too wordy. In addition, there are an awful lot of characters to keep track of, and some have similar names which adds to the confusion that is sometimes created. Although the subject of the novel is not funny, the dialogue between the characters often contains humor which diffuses the tension created by the story. Gabriel Allon, the head of Israeli Intelligence, is one of my favorite characters in a novel. This is the 17th in this series, and I am not bored yet.
After a series of terrorist attacks in varied worldwide locations, Gabriel Allon has identified the mastermind behind them, and he is determined to find and eliminate him. He secretly engages the help of Great Britain and France to track the terrorist down. Saladin must be stopped from causing further violence. He is evil. Allon devises a scheme using false identities, subterfuge and betrayal. The elaborate plan that is hatched involves role playing and great danger. The world becomes the stage for the search to find the terrorist.
Isis is buying drugs from a big dealer who masquerades as a legitimate entrepreneur. They are then sold and the money raised is used to fund the purchase of weapons for the terrorist group. That is not the goal for the mastermind, however. He wants to wreak as much havoc and destruction as possible. He wants no ordinary weapons. He wants to bring about the Caliphate and will do anything necessary to accomplish his evil plans. He wants material for a dirty bomb. He must be stopped and so must his plot. Can the violence be prevented before more deaths occur, before a city is rendered uninhabitable? Will Allon and his allies be successful?
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