The Heist

The Heist

A Novel

Large Print - 2014
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"Legendary spy and art restorer Gabriel Allon is in Venice repairing an altarpiece by Veronese when he receives an urgent summons from the Italian police. The eccentric London art dealer Julian Isherwood has stumbled upon a chilling murder scene in Lake Como, and is being held as a suspect. To save his friend, Gabriel must track down the real killers and then perform one simple task: find the most famous missing painting in the world. Sometimes the best way to find a stolen masterpiece is to steal another one. . . . The dead man is a fallen British spy with a secret: he has been trafficking in stolen artworks and selling them to a mysterious collector. Among those paintings is the world's most iconic missing masterpiece: Caravaggio's glorious Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence. Gabriel embarks on a daring gambit to recover the Caravaggio and learn the identity of the collector. His search will take him on an exhilarating hunt--from the shimmering boulevards of Paris and London to the gritty criminal underworlds of Marseilles and Corsica, and finally to a small private bank in Austria where a dangerous man stands guard over the ill-gotten wealth of a brutal dictator. At his side is a brave young woman who survived one of the worst massacres of the twentieth century. Now, with Gabriel's help, she will be given a chance to strike a blow against a dynasty that destroyed her family" -- from publisher's web site.
Publisher: New York, NY : HarperLuxe, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2014]
Edition: First HarperLuxe large print edition
ISBN: 9780062320094
0062320092
Branch Call Number: LP SILVA-D
Characteristics: 599 pages (large print) ; 23 cm

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z
zipread
Aug 29, 2015

The Heist --- by --- Daniel Silva.
Refreshingly, Silva does not write with the chest-thumping bravado style one has come to expect of most of those who write today’s espionage novels. Not that this is entirely an espionage novel: not in the common sense. Rather Silva has crafted an elegant, intelligently written dealing with the world of art theft. The protagonist, one Gabriel Allon, Israeli intelligence agent and master restorer of oils, is drawn into the recovery of a recently stolen Carravaggio. The novel crafted thoughtfully; Silva’s characters are refreshingly self-deprecating and thoughtfully understating. Some even exhibit a sense of humour, however droll. The thing is, however, that this isn't the main story. What it's really about is a Syrian dictator and the money he and his family have sequestered in various parts of the world. And the Israeli secret service has audacious plans to make that money disappear. Their scheme is outrageously devious to say the least. In the best tradition of Mission Impossible, this novel certainly deserves to be read.

w
wyenotgo
Aug 27, 2015

Somewhat in the style of Frederick Forsyth, Silva navigates the often violent world of international espionage, terrorism and the criminal underworld. Like Forsyth, Silva puts a lot of work into research of his subject matter (in this case the world of art and the people who buy it, steal it and fake it) along with the political realities of the Middle East and particularly the desperate struggle between Islamist forces and the secular "strong men" they strive to overthrow. He also enriches his narrative with plentiful local details about the several settings of his story -- Venice, Linz, London etc.
A few quibbles: I find the character of his main protagonist rather far fetched (an extremely skilled restorer of Old Masters paintings, able to create an entirely convincing fake Van Gogh, whose day job is that of a top level Israeli spymaster and experienced killer; now that's a stretch!)
I also found the story hard to get engaged with at first; there was little emotional involvement until we meet Jihan and begin to realize the extreme danger Gabriel and his team are prepared to subject her to. Then at the other extreme, the trade-off Gabriel is willing to make to save her doesn't seem to jive with his initially callous use of her as a pawn in his game.
So, on the scale of believability Silva doesn't measure up to writers such as LeCarré or Forsyth, but his work makes for good diversionary reading. I may try one more of his, perhaps "The English Girl".

r
rahmmie
Aug 22, 2015

Not bad, entertaining, but definitely not one of Silva's best

It is nice to get some historical background on he Syrian war through a well researched novel that is both entertaining and makes some attempt to identify its bias. Well done Daniel, as always.

g
gloryb
Feb 19, 2015

It took the author to reach p. 260 out of 467 pages to get the plot going. The author uses some of those pages to show off what he has learnt about the Italian artist, Caravaggio, and the Syrian civil war. I found it difficult to get into the main character in this story who was portrayed as an expert art restorer being groomed for a high level leadership job in Israel's spy agency. I must admit though that I couldn't predict how Silva was going to solve the kidnapping of the female Syrian bank accountant. Too many political asides/stances, and improbable action for me, not to mention his flowery descriptions, to give this book more than 2 stars.

g
gtct
Feb 14, 2015

My first Daniel Silva novel and I am hooked. I am now going to put all my other pleasure readings aside and focus solely on his earlier works.

r
rdw39
Feb 08, 2015

I had not read any of Silva's books, so I really enjoyed this novel. I wasn't certain I could keep the many character names straight, but I was drawn in & absorbed throughout the entire reading of the book.

3
3dblus
Dec 01, 2014

I enjoyed it as I have all of Silva's novels, but not quite as much as some of his earlier ones. That said, it's still well worth the read.

Dazio Nov 14, 2014

Not quite up to par with his last novels. I really enjoyed The English Girl.

d
dannnn
Sep 18, 2014

This one is excellent. Really great mystery. Much lighter on violence but lots to enjoy. A real page turner as are all in the series.

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SEBoiko
Jul 28, 2014

..., that a simple problem sometimes had a simple solution.

s
SEBoiko
Jul 28, 2014

One hand washes the other, and both hands wash the face,

s
SEBoiko
Jul 28, 2014

The best way to win at a game of chance is to remove chance from the equation.

s
SEBoiko
Jul 28, 2014

Italy had been blessed with two things in abundance: art and professional criminals.

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SEBoiko
Jul 28, 2014

We all choose the life we lead.

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