Excerpt from The Messenger by Daniel Silva, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Messenger

by Daniel Silva

The Messenger
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  • First Published:
    Jul 2006, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2007, 500 pages

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“I have money.”

“Enough to live like a hermit, but not enough to live.” Shamron lapsed into a momentary silence and listened to the wind. “It’s quiet now, isn’t it? Tranquil almost. It’s tempting to think it can go on like this forever. But it can’t. We gave them Gaza without demanding anything in return, and they repaid us by freely electing Hamas to be their rulers. Next they’ll want the West Bank, and if we don’t surrender it in short order, there’s going to be another round of bloodletting, much worse than even the second intifada. Trust me, Gabriel, one day soon it will all start up again. And not just here. Everywhere. Do you think they’re sitting on their hands doing nothing? Of course not. They’re planning the next campaign. They’re talking to Osama and his friends, too. We now know for a fact that the Palestinian Authority has been thoroughly penetrated by al-Qaeda and its affiliates. We also know that they are planning major attacks against Israel and Israeli targets abroad in the very near future. The Office also believes the prime minister has been targeted for assassination, along with senior advisers.”

“You included?”

“Of course,” Shamron said. “I am, after all, the prime minister’s special adviser on all matters dealing with security and terrorism. My death would be a tremendous symbolic victory for them.”

He looked out the window again at the wind moving in the trees. “It’s ironic, isn’t it? This place was supposed to be our sanctuary. Now, in an odd way, it’s left us more vulnerable than ever. Nearly half the world’s Jews live in this tiny strip of land. One small nuclear device, that’s all it would take. The Americans could survive one. The Russians might barely notice it. But us? A bomb in Tel Aviv would kill a quarter of the country’s population— maybe more.”

“And you need me to prevent this apocalypse? I thought the Office was in good hands these days.”

“Things are definitely better now that Lev has been shown the door. Amos is an extraordinarily competent leader and administrator, but sometimes I think he has a bit too much of the soldier in him.”

“He was chief of both the Sayeret Matkal and Aman. What did you expect?”

“We knew what we were getting with Amos, but the prime minister and I are now concerned that he’s trying to turn King Saul Boulevard into an outpost of the IDF. We want the Office to retain its original character.”

“Insanity?”

“Boldness,” countered Shamron. “Audacity. I just wish Amos would think a little less like a battlefield commander and a little more like . . .” His voice trailed off while he searched for the right word. When he found it, he rubbed his first two fingers against his thumb and said, “Like an artist. I need someone by his side who thinks more like Caravaggio.”

“Caravaggio was a madman.”

“Exactly.”

Shamron started to light another cigarette, but this time Gabriel managed to stay his hand before he’d struck his lighter. Shamron looked at him, his eyes suddenly serious.

“We need you now, Gabriel. Two hours ago the chief of Special Operations handed Amos his letter of resignation.”

“Why?”

“London.” Shamron looked down at his captured hand. “May I have that back?”

Gabriel let go of the thick wrist. Shamron rolled the unlit cigarette between his thumb and forefinger.

“What happened in London?” Gabriel asked.

“I’m afraid we had a bit of a mishap there last night.”

“A mishap? When the Office has a mishap, someone usually ends up dead.”

Excerpted from The Messenger, Copyright © 2006 Danile Silva. Reproduced with permission of the publishers, Penguin Putnam. Reproduction prohibited. All rights reserved.

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