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

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Messenger

by Daniel Silva

The Messenger by Daniel Silva X
The Messenger by Daniel Silva
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jul 2006, 352 pages
    Jul 2007, 500 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Shamron, as he entered the foyer, glanced at the mailbox for apartment number three and saw it was absent a nameplate. He mounted the stairs and tramped slowly upward. He was short of stature and was dressed, as usual, in khaki trousers and a scuffed leather jacket with a tear in the right breast. His face was full of cracks and fissures, and his remaining fringe of gray hair was cropped so short as to be nearly invisible. His hands were leathery and liver-spotted and seemed to have been borrowed from a man twice his size. In one was the file.

The door was ajar when he arrived on the third-floor landing. He placed his fingers against it and gently pushed. The flat he entered had once been meticulously decorated by a beautiful Italian-Jewish woman of impeccable taste. Now the furniture, like the beautiful Italian woman, was gone, and the flat had been turned into an artist’s studio. Not an artist, Shamron had to remind himself. Gabriel Allon was a restorer—one of the three or four most sought-after restorers in the world. He was standing now before an enormous canvas depicting a man surrounded by large predatory cats. Shamron settled himself quietly on a paint-smudged stool and watched him work for a few moments. He had always been mystified by Gabriel’s ability to imitate the brushstrokes of the Old Masters. To Shamron it was something of a parlor trick, just another of Gabriel’s gifts to be utilized, like his languages or his ability to get a Beretta off his hip and into firing position in the time it takes most men to clap their hands.

“It certainly looks better than when it first arrived,” Shamron said, “but I still don’t know why anyone would want to hang it his home.”

“It won’t end up in a private home,” Gabriel said, his brush to the canvas. “This is a museum piece.”

“Who painted it?” Shamron asked abruptly, as though inquiring about the perpetrator of a bombing.

“Bohnams auction house in London thought it was Erasmus Quellinus,” Gabriel said. “Quellinus might have laid the foundations, but it’s clear to me that Rubens finished it for him.” He moved his hand over the large canvas. “His brushstrokes are everywhere.”

“What difference does it make?”

“About ten million pounds,” Gabriel said. “Julian is going to do very nicely with this one.”

Julian Isherwood was a London art dealer and sometime secret servant of Israeli intelligence. The service had a long name that had very little to do with the true nature of its work. Men like Shamron and Gabriel referred to it as the Office and nothing more.

“I hope Julian is giving you fair compensation.”

“My restoration fee, plus a small commission on the sale.”

“What’s the total?”

Gabriel tapped his brush against his palette and resumed working.

“We need to talk,” Shamron said.

“So talk.”

“I’m not going to talk to your back.” Gabriel turned and peered at Shamron once more through the lenses of his magnifying visor. “And I’m not going to talk to you while you’re wearing those things. You look like something from my nightmares.”

Gabriel reluctantly set his palette on the worktable and removed his magnifying visor, revealing a pair of eyes that were a shocking shade of emerald green. He was below average in height and had the spare physique of a cyclist. His face was high at the forehead and narrow at the chin, and he had a long bony nose that looked as though it had been carved from wood. His hair was cropped short and shot with gray at the temples. It was because of Shamron that Gabriel was an art restorer and not one of the finest painters of his generation—and why his temples had turned gray virtually overnight when he was in his early twenties. Shamron had been the intelligence officer chosen by Golda Meir to hunt down and assassinate the perpetrators of the 1972 Munich Massacre, and a promising young art student named Gabriel Allon had been his primary gunman.

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

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Speak No Evil
    Speak No Evil
    by Uzodinma Iweala
    Young Nigerian American writer Uzodinma Iweala is fast becoming known as a powerful chronicler of ...
  • Book Jacket: Winter
    by Ali Smith
    "God was dead; to begin with." This first sentence of Winter perfectly sets up the dreamy journey ...
  • Book Jacket: A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
    A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
    by Atia Abawi

    When you're a refugee, everyone has lost, at least for the time being... And the journey ...

  • Book Jacket: Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Sometimes I Lie
    by Alice Feeney

    This brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something a lie if you believe it's the truth?
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Balcony

The Balcony
by Jane Delury

A century-spanning novel-in-stories of a French village brimming with compassion, natural beauty, and unmistakable humanity.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One N U G

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.