Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Review: Portrait of a Spy

Portrait of a Spy Portrait of a Spy by Daniel Silva
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Daniel Silva is easily one of best spy-thriller novelists out there. Gabriel Allon is a character of great depth and integrity. I thoroughly enjoy these novels; they never fail to entertain and engage me. This one is no different; I was even moved to tears towards the end. That said, there is a certain formulaic aspect and it is getting harder to believe the set-ups that keep bringing Allon back into the espionage world. But that is standard for the genre and it’s quite minor.

One of the things Silva does very well is humanize his villains. By that, I don’t mean what is sometimes meant: that he makes them morally gray or mixed good and bad. They are evil; there is no question. By humanize, I mean he doesn’t just put them out there as caricatures or mysterious monsters. They are people with real motivations and traits but they have chosen the path they are on.

Silva also avoids caricatures of Muslims and Arabs; they are just as often heroes/good guys in the books (as is very much the case here) as they are the bad guys.

I hope and wish there are few Allons out there for real; I’d feel a lot safer. Hell, just one would be good.

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