I am always a year behind on Daniel Silva's books, but that's OK since I know I always have one waiting for me every July. Last year's read was The Black Widow and my July read this year was House of Spies, the 17th installment in the Gabriel Allon series. It takes place about 4 months after The Black Widow with nearly the same group of characters.
Allon has been promoted to the Director of the Intelligence Office on King Saul Boulevard. Appearing with him in this book are his arch rival, Uzi Navot, Ari Shamron, the former director, Christopher Keller, Mikhail Abramov, and from The Black Widow, Natalie Mizrrahi.
After terrorist attacks by Isis in France, the West End, and Washington, Allon is determined to bring Saladin, the ISIS leader down. Because Natalie nursed him back to health, she is one of the few who can identify him. The path to Saladin is traced to assault rifles from the London attack through a gallery in Saint-Tropez and the Moroccan desert. Along this path Allon and his crew manage to blackmail the drug kingpin, Jean-Luc-Martel and his companion, Olivia Watson into providing information and setting a meeting with Saladin.
The action becomes quite the cat and mouse game with Keller, once a British special Ops figure, assassin, and now an MI6 officer, in the midst of the planning and execution. It is an intriguing plot that attempts to rid the world of this radical leader. Allon builds a coalition of Israel, France, and the US to carry it all out. Somewhat true to life, the French and the British have the bulk of the action here while the United States' role is somewhat diminished. One realizes, also, that even if Saladin is captured or killed, there will be other who will carry on his war, in just what arena is undetermined.
Silva is truly a gifted author who keeps the reader on the edge of his seat, turning pages as quickly as possible. As far as this reader is concerned, he is a must-read author, who continues to hone his craft.