This is a more serious book than any of the later books in the series (at least, of the ones I've read). [a:Daniel Silva|29085|Daniel Silva|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1240154365p2/29085.jpg] is more evidently on a soapbox, linking more of the story's fiction to his version of history and reality. Unfortunately, this reminds me of efforts such as [b:The Da Vinci Code|968|The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon, #2)|Dan Brown|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1303252999s/968.jpg|2982101] in which the author professes that the fiction is based on facts --- but which facts, and whose interpretation of facts? As with the scientific method, which eschews all aspects of bias in its blind test, any hint of tainting invalidates the results. And so I can only approach such books as [b:Prince Of Fire|93799|Prince Of Fire (Gabriel Allon, #5)|Daniel Silva|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1309199471s/93799.jpg|1027588] as entertainment, discounting whatever the author claims to be truth.
Taken in this light, the novel is engaging, in the nature of a frivolous feel good action movie, where good prevails over evil, and the righteous are justified. Silva writes with a panache that is quite apt for spy thrillers. His is opposite the tongue-in-cheek machinations of [a:Ian Fleming|2565|Ian Fleming|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1364532740p2/2565.jpg], hewing more to [a:John le Carré|1411964|John le Carré|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1234571122p2/1411964.jpg] and filled with gravitas, quite sure of his message and purpose.
Here, the main protagonist, Gabriel Allon, an Israeli assassin who is also an expert art restorer, is set to end his career. His wife, the victim of a terrorist attack meant to kill him, is abducted, in a delightfully convoluted plot by master jihadist Khaled. With the skill of a trained killer, Allon escapes the trap set by Khaled, saves his wife, and kills some terrorists. Silva's writing is spare and hi-res clear, placing readers in the middle of the action. The rest of the book seems to be a setup for the retirement of Allon, with an offered promotion to operational administration of the Israeli spy service, the return of his wife's memory and the departure of his young lover, Keira, and his relocation to Jerusalem. But, of course, we know that retirement for Allon is far in the horizon as the number of follow up books featuring this popular hero attest. The book concludes with an uninspired (from the writing viewpoint) assassination by Allon of Khaled. This last seems a superfluous element but underlines the author's concept that the cause represented by his main character Allon is just with closure achieved only by a victorious Prince of Fire.