Monday, 1 January 2018

Wot I'm reading: The patron saints of terror

DANIEL SILVA: The Black Widow

Mossad’s latest confront-ation with the worst the Islamist world has to offer is an annual treat. This year’s villain, as topical as he could be, is an Iraqi known as ‘Saladin’ who is master-minding outrages in European capitals on behalf of ISIS and has the US in his sights.

Israeli superspy Gabriel Allon recruits Natalie, an Arab-speaking French Jewish doctor, and creates a new identity for her that will make her attractive to ISIS: she becomes Leila, a Palestinian ‘black widow’ thirsting for vengeance after the death of her husband at the hands of the Zionists. The infiltration works, although Natalie/Leila’s first meeting with Saladin is under circumstances very different to what she or Allon expected.

This is Silva’s 16th thriller featuring Gabriel Allon. They have inevitably become formulaic. Israel’s military – and moral – superiority over the Islamists is hammered home, although this time round the Jordanian secret service has a part to play, as also (and more regularly) do the British and French services and, of course, the CIA. The climax in Washington is nothing less than apocalyptic. We are once again reminded that no matter how conclusively the West defeats Islamic State (and Al-Qaeda and the Taliban) on the battlefield, 'the patron saints of terror' will continue to bring their war to our cities and our streets.

Another page-turning, nerve-shredding read from Daniel Silva.