Maira's Books

In January of 2005 I started this blog as a record of books I’ve read as I was afraid I would forget what I have read. I have often referred back to my own blog to remember a book's contents or see what I have read by an author. I have enjoyed passing my books on to friends or recommending books to read. I know I have missed recording some, but in general I try to keep up with what I have read or listened to.

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Location: Kalamazoo, MI, United States

I am a librarian at Waldo Library at Western Michigan University.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Portrait of a Spy by Daniel Silva (2011)

Silva manages to capture the issues of the times, so I had to figure out when he had written this, as the situation was a bit different than today, plus Gabriel Allon and Chiara don't not have the twins yet. This was published in 2011 and I am not sure how Obamaish the US president is supposed to be. It will be interesting to see what Silva does with the current political climate.

The global story in Portrait of a Spy - Islamic terrorism - where suicide bombers blow up people in large European cities. (Unfortunately there seems to be a wave of this again.) The spy agencies of England, US and Israel work together on this one to find a charismatic Islamic leader that was born in the U.S. and his network. Their plot is to convince a rich Saudi Arabian woman - Nadia - raised mostly in the West, who's father was killed for his terrorist activities, but who is trying to help Islamic women, to donate large sums, so the spies can follow the money and destroy the terrorist network.

The art - a Titian thought originally to be by the studio of another, that Allon restores and it is used to transfer an enormous sum. Plus Nadia and her father were art collectors, and the "portrait of a spy" plays a pivotal role at the very end of the book, helping Allon get back to life.

The setting - Cornwall (Gabriel & Chiara's retirement cottage on the sea), London (Gabriel tries to stop a bombing), to Paris, Washington, Spain, Switzerland and the Saudi dessert. From Silva's website: "this deeply entertaining story is also a breathtaking portrait of courage in the face of unspeakable evil." Agreed.

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