#1 New York Times Bestseller #1 USA Today Bestseller #1 Wall Street Journal Bestseller A Kirkus Best Book of 2018 A Real Book Spy Best Thriller of 2018 From Daniel Silva, the #1 New York Times-bestselling author, comes a modern masterpiece of espionage, love, and betrayal She was his best-kept secret ... In an isolated village in the mountains of Andalusia, a mysterious Frenchwoman begins work on a dangerous memoir. It is the story of a man she once loved in the Beirut of old, and a child taken from her in treason's name. The woman is the keeper of the Kremlin's most closely guarded secret. Long ago, the KGB inserted a mole into the heart of the West--a mole who stands on the doorstep of ultimate power. Only one man can unravel the conspiracy: Gabriel Allon, the legendary art restorer and assassin who serves as the chief of Israel's vaunted secret intelligence service. Gabriel has battled the dark forces of the new Russia before, at great personal cost. Now he and the Russians will engage in a final epic showdown, with the fate of the postwar global order hanging in the balance. Gabriel is lured into the hunt for the traitor after his most important asset inside Russian intelligence is brutally assassinated while trying to defect in Vienna. His quest for the truth will lead him backward in time, to the twentieth century's greatest act of treason, and, finally, to a spellbinding climax along the banks of the Potomac River outside Washington that will leave readers breathless. Fast as a bullet, hauntingly beautiful, and filled with stunning double-crosses and twists of plot, The Other Woman is a tour de force that proves once again that "of all those writing spy novels today, Daniel Silva is quite simply the best" (Kansas City Star).
In this outing, intelligence services in several countries become involved in the hunt for a Russian mole. There are connections to the Cambridge Five & its most infamous member Kim Philby.
Silva’s books are smart, fast paced & topical & this is no exception. I’ve become so fond of the regular cast & enjoy catching up on their personal lives just as much as trying to figure out who-dun-it as they race around the world on their latest mission. You may have favourites among his books but as with authors like John Sandford or Michael Connelly, if you enjoy one you’ll enjoy them all. It’s an engrossing & very timely read.
In Vienna, Israel was about to bring in a Russian defector. Everything went well until he approached the safe house. He was not followed, and no outsiders knew where the house was locataed. Just as he was steps away from the doorway, a speeding motorcyclist killed him. The assassin fled, followed by two Israeli agents. As a high-speed chase continued, the cyclist lost control of his motorcycle, crashed, and died. The remaining question was how did the Russians know the location of the safe house.
Two countries had been involved in the operation: England and Israel. Israel knew it was not responsible, even though was widely blamed, and realized there had to be a mole somewhere in the British intelligence. With very few people in England knowing about the operation, the list of possible moles was short. The blame quickly turned to one man.
The next step was trying to prove that the man was a mole. Seemingly irrelevant information actually provided important clues.
The most famous spy in British history, Kim Philby, is discussed in the book.
To avoid giving away any spoilers, that's all I will say about the plot except that it has many twists and turns with a lot of action leading to an unexpected conclusion. Seemingly irrelevant information actually provides important clues.
The book is very current in several areas. It mentions Donald Trump’s admiration of Vladimir Putin, his desire to create a closer relationship with Russia, and the current investigation about that relationship and its role in the 2016 Presidential election.
“The postwar global security and economic institutions America so painstakingly built were crumbling. Soon they would be swept away, and with them to go the Pax Americana. IM6 was already planning for the post-American world.”
In the Middle East, “America's retreat in the region had created a vacuum that the Iranians and the Russians were rapidly filling. Israel was acting as a bulwark against the rising Iranian threat, with Gabriel and in the Office serving as the tip of the spear. What's more, America's unpredictable president had declared his intention to scrap the agreement that had temporarily delayed Iranians nuclear ambitions. Gabriel fully expected the Iranians to ramp up the weapons program in response, and was putting in place a new program of intelligence-gathering and sabotage to stop it.”
Be sure to read the brief “Prologue” and the “Author’s Notes” at the end; The Notes discussed the Active Measures program while Stalin headed the Russian government. It used “disinformation to the Western media, political violence, and assassinations to try to weaken and eventually destroy the capitalist West. Many of those techniques are currently being used.” “The United States imposed economic sanctions on seven of Russia's richest men and seventeen top government officials, in part over Russia's interference in the 2016 US presidential election. Vladimir Putin, regarded by many observers to be the richest man in the world, was not on the list.
“Security analysts estimate that two thirds of the ‘diplomats’ stationed at the typical Embassy in Western Europe are actually intelligence officers. Therefore, it is unlikely a modest round of tit-for-tat sanctions will deter Putin from his present path. And why should it? Putin and Putinism are on the march. The strongman in the corporate state and the ‘corporate state’– by another name, fascism, are all the rage. Western-style democracy and other global institutions that created an unprecedented period of peace in Europe are suddenly out of vogue.
"Probe with bayonets," advised Lenin. "If you encounter mush, proceed; if you encounter steel, withdraw." Thus far, Putin has encountered only mush. In the 1930s, when the world witnessed a similar simultaneous rise of authoritarian and dictatorial regimes, the calamitous world war ensued, leaving more than sixty million dead. It is wishful thinking to assume the 21st century's flirtation with neofascism will proceed without conflict.”
‘The postwar global security and economic institutions America so painstakingly built were crumbling. Soon they would be swept away, and with them to go the Pax Americana. IM6 was already planning for the post-American world.’
Regarding the Middle East: “America's retreat in the region had created a vacuum that the Iranians and the Russians were rapidly filling. Israel was acting as a bulwark against the rising Iranian threat, with Gabriel and in the Office serving as the tip of the spear. What's more, America's unpredictable president had declared his intention to scrap the agreement that had temporarily delayed Iranians nuclear ambitions. Gabriel fully expected the Iranians to ramp up the weapons program in response, and was putting in place a new program of intelligence-gathering and sabotage to stop it.”
Bella was unhappy with Navot's current weight, which fluctuated like a Latin American stock exchange.
“I had a meeting with the prime minister. That’s about the extent of it.”
“It didn’t go well?”
“He didn’t offer me Chinese food. I took it as a bad sign.”
Referring to the tsar of Russia “real fascists, thought Charlotte, did not use Botox.”
In THE OTHER WOMAN, Daniel Silva referred to several activities covered in previous books. It is not necessary to have read those books in order to understand this one..
My only complaint is excessively short chapters: 88 of them in 467 pages. Toward the end of the book they dropped down to two-page of chapters. I think story and the suspense level could have easily be handled with chapters and less waste of paper.
The only repetition I noticed was mentioning Vienna's Demel chocolates. They must really be good.
This book belongs on the top of spy story fans list of books to read. I'm looking forward to the movie.
THE OTHER WOMAN, newly published in July, 2018, does not disappoint. I believe it is the 18th title in the Gabriel Allon series. It is a lesson in spycraft, a lesson in putting together complex and frustrating ‘human’ puzzles. Again, I gain historical, geographical and political insights about the world. This title has more of a ‘Russian’ locale and feel to it, as opposed to the Middle East region. (very appropriate for our current times)
I always highlight or note passages while I am reading.
“Gabriel studied Heathcliff as though he were a figure in a painting. His real name was Konstantin Kirov, and he was one of the Office’s most valuable sources.”
“There was a woman, and the woman had given birth to a child. The child of treason. The child of Kim Philby.”
I like this book cover with the symbols inside the letters O in the title.
The assassination of a double agent as he heads for a safe house seems to suggest Gabriel’s involvement in the murder. Since only a very small, select group of people knew the where and when of the defection, the murder inadvertently reveals the presence of a spy within their own ranks, setting Gabriel on a quest for the truth that will lead to a shocking revelation.
In this, the eighteenth book in the series, all the expected characters are in place. As always, a strong sense of place pervades the story and the historical events, smoothly woven into the telling of the tale, add depth to the narrative. The two storylines come together with unexpected twists and turns that keep the suspense building as the story unfolds. Gabriel’s latest outing is certain to please fans of the series.
This hefty work of fiction has a large cast; fascinating background about the Cambridge Five, citizens of the U. K. who began funneling state secrets to the Soviet Union during the 1940s; old-fashioned tradecraft (dead-drops, safe houses, and surreptitiously tailing of persons of interest); sophisticated surveillance involving high powered cameras and other sensitive eavesdropping equipment; games of cat and mouse that threaten to turn violent; and trips to such places as Austria, England, France Washington, D. C., Spain, and Canada. The plot is dizzying and, at times, difficult to follow, but the second half picks up steam, especially when Silva focuses on a confrontation between two wily and experienced spies.
The author depicts a shadowy world in which men and women betray their country for money, because of their political beliefs, and/or to boost their egos. Allon and company spare no effort or expense to fulfill their mission but, even with meticulous planning, not everything goes precisely as expected. To his credit, Silva offers no pat solutions to the bitter conflicts that make our divided world so dangerous. Moreover, he effectively portrays the precarious lives of intelligence agents who, in order to survive, must be convincing, resourceful, and audacious. "The Other Woman" has its flaws. It is too long and drawn-out, and there are instances of painfully clich̩d writing ("Fear stalked him day and night." "He was gripped by an overwhelming sense of impending doom."). On the other hand, the book becomes far more compelling when the seemingly disparate threads come together, and the proceedings conclude with a suspenseful, intense, and engrossing finale.
Gabriel Allon is the head of Israel’s Intelligence Service. While attempting to extricate a double agent from Europe, something goes wrong and the agent is murdered in cold blood. Although it was a clandestine effort, somehow a video surfaces which seems to show a blurry, identifiable image of Allon. Soon another murder of an agent in Europe, points a finger at him. The world, always ready to accuse Israel, once again jumps on the event to point fingers at the head of the Israelis for what they believe were planned murders, not attempts to save the lives of the Russian moles who had been turned to help them. As Gabriel Allon sets out to find out who set him up and why, the plot really thickens involving the British, the Americans and the Russians, as well.
Silva writes with a clear hand, creating tension and excitement on every page. The story is sometimes confusing as it jumps around a lot, and there are many characters from many countries popping up in various scenes. The story takes the reader back to the days of Kim Philby, the most notorious Russian agent planted deep in the British Intelligence service for decades, rising almost to its pinnacle. As the threads of his betrayal are revealed so are the betrayals of many others. Philby’s legacy lives on.
The reader is excellent. He never gets in the way of the novel and always accurately portrays each character with his accent and tone of voice. This is a great beach read or an entertaining accompaniment on a long drive.