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I have read all of Silva's books, most of them more than once. I am not sure what to make of this one. In his notes at the back , Silva claims that this is all a work of fiction, and maybe so. But Silva has also used it a a forum on which to editorialize on the historical failings of the Roman Catholic Church, a faith which he himself was born into. If he was so intent on writing a book like this, he should have considered writing it as a separate work of non-fiction, and not rolled it under the banner of Gabriel Allon , a character than I and many, many readers enjoy very much. Let's hope that this is not a new trend by Silva, and simply a one-off. The Prince of Fire deserves no less.
Lets hope his next one brings back some of his great characters like Christopher Keller, Sarah Bancroft, Julian Isherwood, Graham Seymour , Adrian Carter and others.
In contrast to the last comments, I thought that Silva hit it right on with combining current politics and the power, deceit and lies that unfortunately are overshadowing the world right now with the ancient power play that religion has played in the last centuries. Well done in clearly drawing from current events and highlighting the corruptness in people and politics.
I agree. I was just wondering whether Silva agrees with CNN and their hatred of President Trump. God will bless the nation that blesses Israel.
After thoroughly enjoying all of the previous Gabriel Allon books, I was sad to see Silva take a hard left turn and go off the road with this one. I have no problem with the religious aspects of the novel, including the accurate historical portrayals of the Gospels, but his explicit and implicit leftist politics really jarringly intrude into the narrative and plot. And his not so subtle digs at the US administration are not only annoying, but misplaced. The current President has been the best friend that Israel has seen in the White House for quite some time. Hate to see the winding down of the Allon series on such a sour note..
A fast-paces story with interesting stories. the author presents information about early Christianity and the gospels and information that has evolved about what really happened or did not happen. Sadly, there are people with strong extreme feelings against other groups and we are all dealing with that today. We see it right here in America.
Appears several commenters have complained about the leftist slant and the portrayal of conservative Christians as being anti Jewish.
I found the book a great read and historically, there has been a lot of controversy regarding early Gospels and how many were "discarded" or ignored.
It's a great continuation of the Gabriel Allon series and I highly recommend it.
This Gabriel Allon thriller returns to his old friends at the Vatican. But this time, the Pope dies and Allon is asked to investigate the mysterious circumstances by the late Pope's private secretary. Add to the mix the hunt for the last remaining copy of a secret New Testament Gospel with radical content that the dead Pope intended Allon to have, and a secretive right wing religious order with ties to Neo-Nazis trying to take over the Papacy. So the plot is preposterous but told with Silva's usual careful plotting and attention to detail. The narrative is propulsive, with short chapters hop-scotching across numerous locations in Italy, Germany and Switzerland. It's an enjoyable, quick read. There are, however, short digressions into the rise of anti-Semitism throughout western Europe and reminders of the papacy's moral failures during the Holocaust that are disturbing reminders of the real world we live in.
As a long-time fan of the Gabriel Allon series I was looking forward to reading this book. What an enormous disappointment to discover that the purpose of the story was really an attempt to claim that the New Testament and Jesus' lineage as the Son of God are lies and that Christians have been the real enemies of the Jews for 2,000 years. With several leftist jabs at the current US administration thrown in for good measure. Like so many other rancorous instances in our current political climate, the author just couldn't resist polluting his work with his own ideology.Though I will miss any future exploits of Gabriel Allon, no more Daniel Silva for me. I'm just glad I got this book from the library and didn't give any of my own money to Silva for the book.
4 - 4 1/2 star read. The 20th book in Silva's excellent Gabriel Allon series was a very interesting thriller. Gabriel is on holiday in Venice with his family when he gets a call that the Pope has died and he is needed in Rome. His friend Archbishop Donati believes the Pope was murdered and asks Gabriel to investigate. The investigation uncovers a conspiracy to influence the election of the new Pope and change the political persuasions of most of Europe. And there is the problem of the missing book...a book that the Pope had wanted sent to Gabriel before he died. Someone didn't want that book to see the light of die and would kill for it. A very complex and intelligent thriller and an interesting read.
After 15 years of enjoyable reading, Silva finally lost me with his loony leftist politics. So conservative Christians have been the greatest threat to Jews and the Catholic Church over the past century - only if you believe radical Islam, Hitler and Mussolini and their followers were conservative Christians, which is simply nuts. Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia go hand in hand? No sane person connects the two. Losing our left-wing Pope means we may not get another encyclical on climate change - thank goodness! Sadly, conservatives today have to hear this nonsense from the time they wake up until they go to bed if listening to or watching NPR, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, or even ESPN. Half way through this book I found myself beginning to pull for the "bad guys" so I just stopped reading. Silva is such a talented author. What a waste.
This is very different than Silva's other Gabriel Allon books. Longer, slower, more introspective. I knew something was up when I was able to read this so soon after I placed the hold. Gabriel is back at the Vatican. The pope is murdered because he has found a document that casts doubt on the story of Pilate washing his hands of responsibility for the death of Jesus. It is cutting edge timely. The author's note is helpful and offers a bibliiography.
It is helpful in understanding his reasoning in writing the book and constructing the plot.
I am a great fan of Daniel Silva's books featuring Gabriel Allon. This book is a first rate addition to that series. Once again he travels down the path of featuring a story mostly having to do with his interesting, if odd-fellows-to-be-friends relationship, between the Director of Israel's Mossad and key figures in Vatican, including the Pope. I am not going to get into spoilers, except to say that Silva once again has written a compelling tale that is hard to put down once you start it. There is, however, a more poignant, and relevant side to this particular story as it touches on the theological and political implications of the role of Christianity in fostering (or not) antisemitism. If you are a Christian or Jewish, you should be prepared for a novel that may touch you beyond the story. Silva does pen an author's note at the end separating fact from fiction, which I always greatly appreciate from novelists who intertwine history and fiction. I highly recommend you read it when the book is done.
The level of research and educational material on the history of the Gospels of the Bible and the apocryphal books was, truly, breathtaking. It was not anything that was done or completed in 1 conversation or by reading 1 boring scholarly book but was dozens of long lecture-like conversations and large portions of hundreds of truly the worst of the most boring scholarly works.
At least his sleep was improved by all of this horrible reading!!
But this lead to such a complete, comprehensive exposition on the Gospels as a part of the plot, and as a part of my life as a Christian and religious educator, this made the book far more meaningful. The discussion about the Bible was, up to the final point, accurate, correct, and reliable. I encourage all to read that repeatedly.
And the rest? Just kick back and enjoy!! I do miss that there were no great works of art described in this book, nor were any great cities described as we traveled with Gabriel.
This I missed.
If life is a book, then those who don't travel see only a page. (St Augustine)
"If you want to send a message, call Western Union."
Shallow effort, not worthy of the canon.
Politically correct McGuffin story, without even McGuffin details at the end.
Predictable, cartoon villains.
In my top three of favorite authors is DANIEL SILVA who has written 20 books featuring Israeli spymaster Gabriel Allon. I have read most of them (so many books, so little time!). The latest installment is entitled THE ORDER. In addition to being the head of The Office, Israel’s spy department called the Mossad (think The Company, C.I.A.), Allon is a world famous Renaissance art restorer.
The story begins when ex-Company operative Chiara (Allon’s wife) plans a real vacation for the family in Venice, Italy where she was born and where her parents still live. Chiara is also planning a surprise for Gabriel.
After only a couple of days of vacation, his very good friend Archbishop Luigi Donati, private secretary to Pope Paul VII, calls Allon to Rome. The reason, the Pope has died and Donati is sure it was murder. This leads Allon and friends on a quest for a mysterious book that Pope Paul VII wanted to give Allon. The book is “The Gospel of Pontius Pilate” that could bring down the whole Catholic Church.
The opposition force is the Order of Saint Helena established in the 1920s by Bishop Ulrich Schiller a follower and supporter of Adolph Hitler. The Order is trying to orchestrate the election of a successor to Pope Paul VII at the election Enclave. The current opposition leaders in the Vatican are Bishop Hans Richter and Father Markus Graf. Another key person is German Jonas Wolf owner of the multibillion-dollar (euro) empire called The Wolf Group that funds the Order. Another leader who opposes Allon is Cardinal Domenico Albanese who is also The Camerlengo, in charge of defending the empty papal throne.
In addition to the the Pope’s demise, The Order is also responsible for the disappearance of Swiss Guard Niklaus Janson who was stationed outside the Pope’s apartment the night he died. His Swiss girlfriend has information for Allon and his team. It is contained in a letter from Pope Paul VII addressed to Allon and missing from the Pope’s office after his death.
As in many of his previous books, DANIEL SILVA provides the historical background to the story. That is part of what endears these Allon stories to me. The reader will learn a little about real history while consuming Silva’s books. The book is perfect for readers of history, spy thrillers, mysteries and good literature. If you are religious (Jewish, Christian, Islam) be prepared to have your emotions stirred. EXTREMLY RECOMMENDED.
GO! BUY! READ!