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Summary and book reviews of The English Assassin by Daniel Silva

The English Assassin

by Daniel Silva

The English Assassin
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2002, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2003, 416 pages

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Book Summary

A taut, lightning-paced thriller rooted assuredly in fact: Switzerland's shameful WWII record of profiteering and collaboration with Nazi Germany.

The Unlikely Spy, Daniel Silva's extraordinary debut novel, was applauded by critics as it rocketed onto national bestseller lists. "Briskly suspenseful, tightly constructed . . . reminiscent of John le Carré's The Spy Who Came in from the Cold," said The New York Times. "Silva has clearly done his homework, mixing fact and fiction to delicious effect and building tension—with the breathtaking double and triple turns of plot—like a seasoned pro," praised People.

Now Silva has outdone himself, with a taut, lightning-paced thriller rooted assuredly in fact: Switzerland's shameful WWII record of profiteering and collaboration with Nazi Germany.

When art restorer and occasional Israeli agent Gabriel Allon is sent to Zurich, Switzerland, to restore the painting of a reclusive millionaire banker, he arrives to find his would-be employer murdered at the foot of his Raphael. A secret collection of priceless, illicitly gained Impressionist masterpieces is missing. Gabriel's handlers step out of the shadows to admit the truth—the collector had been silenced—and Gabriel is put back in the high-stakes spy game, battling wits with the rogue assassin he helped to train.

Tense, taut, expertly crafted, and brimming with unexpected reversals, The English Assassin is Daniel Silva at his storytelling best.

Switzerland
1975

Marguerite Rolfe was digging in her garden because of the secrets she'd found hidden in her husband's study. It was late to be working in the garden, well past midnight by now. The spring thaw had left the earth soft and moist, and her spade split the soil with little effort, allowing her to progress with minimal noise. For this she was grateful. Her husband and daughter were asleep in the villa, and she didn't want to wake them.

Why couldn't it have been something simple, like love letters from another woman? There would have been a good row, Marguerite would have confessed her own affair. Lovers would have been relinquished, and soon their home would return to normal. But she hadn't found love letters--she'd found something much worse.

For a moment she blamed herself. If she hadn't been searching his study, she never would have found the photographs. She could have spent the rest of her life in blissful oblivion, believing ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

A sensitive hero, a sturdy historical backstory, action aplenty, lots of glam locations - will most likely to impress readers who'll be shocked, shocked to imagine that those Swiss bankers might have aided the Nazis, and might be covering their tracks even now.

Library Journal

Silva's latest follows spies, sellers, lovers, and historians to a chilling climax.

Booklist - Mary Frances Wilkens

Silva, who writes with the atmospheric grace and whiplash tension of le Carre, brings something special to the spy thriller a multifaceted, believable hero whose sideline, spying, is only as intriguing as his regular job, restoring Old Masters.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. As a historical framework, the secrets of the Bahnhofstrasse are well-trod territory, yet Silva's sophisticated treatment - polished prose, an edgy mood, convincing research - gives his plot a crisp, almost urgent quality.

Author Blurb Former President George Bush
Daniel Silva does his homework and puts his readers into the middle of very real life and death situations. But I have one major complaint about his writing: He's so darn good you can't wait for the next book to come out.

Reader Reviews
Lenora

Enjoyed, but unhappy with depiction of
I enjoyed this even more than The Secret Servant (which I liked enough to want to read more of Silva's books.) The character development was richer, and the story was suspenseful from beginning to end. However, I wish that the author had not ...   Read More

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