Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book Review: The Fallen Angel


For those that love espionage, mysteries and international politics thrown into the mix, the latest by Daniel Silva is a great read. The next installment  in  Silva's Gabriel Allon series, The Fallen Angel, does not disappoint. Allon is oft compared to another fictional hero, the incomparable Jack Bauer of 24 fame. Meanwhile for Silva fans, there is also a Gabriel Allon movie in the works.



In this latest installment,  our Israeli-super-spy is thrown into the middle of a possible Vatican scandal. This seemingly isolated incident ends up taking Allon on a ride from Catholic politics to stolen antiquities, to funding of Hezbollah terrorists. Along the way Allon once again stops numerous terror attacks, kidnaps an Iranian terror mastermind and brings down an arch international criminal enterprise. All done to the backdrop of gorgeous European vistas and the world's holiest sites.

Hezbollah rally in Beirut
One of the more intriguing aspects of Mr. Silva's works is how he mixes real fact to make his stories seem to jump right out of the news pages. In this episode he brings in the latest struggle between Jews and Palestinians....historical reality. He discusses not only the advent of Holocaust denial by the Arab world, but the latest attempt to delegitimize the Jewish State with the  ignoble ignorance of Temple denial. The new and rather insulting move by the Arab and Moslem world to deny that the Temple of Solomon ever existed and that the Jews have no claim to Jerusalem.  It is why archeological digs are so important. These sites prove beyond a doubt that  David's City actually existed and that the Jews are  indigenous to the area. It is as one of the characters describe so eloquently "a new form of war."


What the reader also learns about in this novel is the extent of the criminal corporation known as Hezbollah. Silva takes his readers on a journey into the underbelly of terror funding and how the European continent is ground zero. We learn about the extent of  the Iranian terror network and the easy with which they operate. 
 
It is one thing to read about terror and the Iranian connection in a novel. It is quite another issue to have your novel come to life. Yesterday, Iranian operatives blew up a bus full of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. Weeks earlier Hezbollah operatives had been arrested planning terror incidents against Jews and Israelis throughout the EU. Yesterday was also the anniversary of the bombing of the Buenos Ares Jewish Center which killed over 90 people. Argentine investigators linked that bombing directly to Iran.


I have to admit, it is very disconcerting when a novel comes to life. It is odd to juxtapose make-believe and the news. I had to keep reminding myself which story is fake and which is real...It is indeed off-putting when the two worlds meld together, especially when the stories are about hate and evil. Yet the reality is what people need to understand. In many ways this novel is a good lesson for the reader. While we may want to escape and read about inane and foolish things, we know deep down inside that a shadowy world exists. It is those few brave souls that inhabit this world of specters that truly stands between us, evil and oblivion. 


This is the world of Gabriel Allon. He is a fictional character dedicated to protecting freedom and liberty and the lives of the innocent.  But in the back of your mind you know that there are real life Allons, as there are real life Jack Bauers, out there. And yes sadly, as we see, they cannot be perfect all the time. All they can really do is their best. To them I want to say thank you. It's the least they deserve.





Qi en Pace,




Elise

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