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Gabriel Allon

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Discordant (“The Cellist” by Daniel Silva)

“He had a story to tell, and he was going to pay it out slowly, with each plot element revealed in its proper sequence and with appropriate detail given to each character and setting. It was not necessarily a story with mass appeal.” (p. 206, “The Cellist“)


Unfortunately, author Daniel Silva composes this tale without nuance, an off-key denouement that pounds away on a single repetitive discordant note.

As I have every summer for years, I looked forward to the latest novel in the 21 book Gabriel Allon series about an Israeli intelligence operative whose avocation is the restoration of old masters and whose mission is often revenge. Gabriel usually makes the world a safer, more beautiful place.

The Cellist does function as an epilogue to the Gabriel Allon novels, interwoven with a review of Allon’s life and the history of Israeli intelligence as pertaining to the characters of the Barak task force – as well as the many (women) he exploited in his schemes. There are only two small cameo appearances by his mentor, Ari Shamron.

The Acknowledgement informs us that he rewrote much of the novel after January 6, 2021, assisted by his wife and proofreader, CNN correspondent Jamie Gangel. After twenty-plus years of convincing us that all national Intelligence Communities lie and deceive, the current version mocks an unnamed outgoing Republican President – and his readers – for believing that lies and deception exist.

Without the slightest reference to the background of “the Resistance,” the fraudulent investigation beginning in 2015 of everything Trump by the previous Administration, or the escalating but unpunished violence from the Left, including 2020 attacks on the very same Washington, DC law enforcement to whom he dedicates his book, Silva perpetuates the politics of division at least as well as his Russian antagonists. 

Worse, he portrays the incoming Democrat President as competent and in charge. Allon would likely be disappointed in the new Administration’s weak and inconsistent sanctions against Russia.

Although put off by the author’s comments on US politics, as a doctor I’m more surprised that Mr. Silva portrays Allon as someone so ignorant about the facts Israeli intelligence must have known about the Coronavirus Pandemic, even in mid-2020.

Imagine if Allon had confronted the politics and hacks of the actual government and non-government organizations behind the cover-up of the origin and the spread of this novel virus.

I wonder if Mr. Silva has actually met many of his devoted fans. I don’t believe he understands who we are or that we’re more observant than he gives us credit for.

(I don’t profit at all from this blog or review. )

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