Gabriel Allon is a man on a mission. As the head of Israel’s national intelligence agency, Gabriel has been called in to personally direct the defection of a high-level Russian double agent to the west, and he’s determined to ensure the operation goes off without a hitch. Gabriel is almost ready to breathe a sigh of relief, when the double agent is assassinated by a Russian operative, mere metres from his Vienna safe house.
Gabriel is sent reeling. Only a select handful of Israeli, British and American agents knew of the plan, which means there’s a mole in their midst. After ruling out the Israelis and Americans as suspects, Gabriel turns his attention to MI6, and to Alistair Hughes in particular. Head of MI6’s Vienna bureau, Alistair was behaving oddly in the lead-up to the doomed defection, and then a source alerts Gabriel to Alistair’s secretive trips to Switzerland.
Gabriel has heard enough. He mounts a major operation to track Alistair on his next clandestine excursion, and watches from a distance as Alistair meets with a Russian agent in a Swiss hotel bar. Triumphant, Gabriel begins to plan his confrontation, but just minutes after his meeting with the Russian, Alistair is killed in a hit and run.
Although it’s written off in the local press as an accident, Gabriel knows the timing of Alistair’s death is far too coincidental. Digging deeper into Alistair’s history, however, he uncovers something unexpected: Alistair’s covert trips were for mental health treatment at a private Swiss clinic. But who was framing him as a double agent? Who is the real mole? Where in the world is the one woman rumoured to know? If anyone can solve this puzzle, it’s Gabriel, and with this, the real intrigue begins.
As the 18th installment in the Gabriel Allon series, The Other Woman is another masterfully crafted novel from the prodigious Daniel Silva. Gabriel’s quest to unmask the elusive mole leads him all the way back to one of the most treasonous acts in Cold War history, and Silva effortlessly weaves the lives of real life historical figures with those of his fictional characters to create a complex and completely engrossing story.
Silva has always been excellent at incorporating contemporary events into his novels, and The Other Woman is no different: the book paints a picture of a Russia hell-bent on influencing foreign governments and shattering diplomatic relations between western powers. It’s exciting to read a story so relevant in light of current goings-on.
Beyond the espionage and thrilling political drama, The Other Woman is jam-packed with beautifully drawn characters. Like the best spy novels, this book is ultimately about people in all their flawed glory, and as Gabriel and his team work for what they believe to be the greater good, it’s hard not to sympathise with them, despite their sometimes-dubious actions.
Is The Other Woman Gabriel Allon’s best outing yet? We think it very well might be.
About The Author
Daniel Silva was born in Michigan in 1960 and received his BA from Fresno State University. Silva began his writing career as a journalist for United Press International (UPI), traveling in the Middle East and covering the Iran-Iraq war, terrorism and political conflicts. From UPI he moved to CNN, where he eventually became executive producer of its Washington-based public policy programming. In 1994 he began work on his first novel, The Unlikely Spy, a surprise best seller that won critical acclaim. He turned to writing full time in 1997, and all of his books have been New York Times/national best sellers, translated into 25 languages and published across Europe and the world. He lives in Washington, D.C.