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The Black Widow

(Gabriel Allon #16)

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  23,365 ratings  ·  1,974 reviews
A network of terror.
A web of deceit.
A deadly game of vengeance.

Legendary spy and art restorer Gabriel Allon is poised to become the chief of Israel’s secret intelligence service. But on the eve of his promotion, events conspire to lure him into the field for one final operation. ISIS has detonated a massive bomb in the Marais district of Paris, and a desperate French gover
Hardcover, 528 pages
Published July 12th 2016 by Harper
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Paul There are advantages to starting at the beginning but that's a lot of books. If you like this one, you'll want to go back and read them in order. A…moreThere are advantages to starting at the beginning but that's a lot of books. If you like this one, you'll want to go back and read them in order. A lot of recurring characters and a definite time line.(less)
Christian Doherty Daniel Silva is absolutely the greatest! I can't wait!

Community Reviews

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4.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  23,365 ratings  ·  1,974 reviews

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Alex is The Romance Fox
Daniel Silva has entertained and even educated us, throughout the last 15 novels featuring the brilliant and enigmatic hero, Gabriel Allon - Israeli intelligence agent, super spy extraordinaire, art restorer, family man. We have been taken on journeys to different places throughout the globe, met a cast of varied, interesting and compelling characters. Creative and inventive plots filled with present day situations and past history that affects our lives today.

The Black Widow, the latest 16th b
Marvin Fein
Jul 15, 2016 rated it did not like it
For over fifteen years, Daniel Silva has rewarded his readers with one of the best spy/action heroes of the last half century. Not only were the books page turning thrillers but they illuminated subjects such as the Holocaust and the Israeli-Palestinian tensions.
With Black Widow, Silva has departed substantially from his former format. He has written an anti-Obama/Clinton political polemic with very little of Allon in the book. It is fitting that the book blaming the rise of ISIS solely on Ameri
Lewis Weinstein
Jul 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another excellent high tension Gabriel Allon story, this one more frightening than most since it deals with current unresolved and perhaps unresolvable terrorist acts. I won't say more about the plot since I don't want to spoil it. It's a good read.

HOWEVER ... With one important exception, Silva repeatedly expresses great disdain for a not at all disguised President Obama, which I find overdone and offensive. On the other hand, there is almost no criticism of Israeli actions which, in my mind, h
Jessica Jernigan
Jun 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I’ve been rereading the Gabriel Allon novels this summer, and, while I still find the early installments entertaining, it’s been interesting to see how much Silva has grown as a writer. The Black Widow is his best yet—which is bittersweet, since it seems that Allon really is about to assume a less active role. There’s the sense, in this novel, that one era is coming to a close and a new era is beginning. And, if this is the darkest of Silva’s stories so far, it’s because the real world is provid ...more
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
A gripping spy thriller from Daniel Silva that reaches for heights set by John Le Carre but does not quite get there. The Black Widow was my introduction to Silva, even though he's been a prolific author for years and I'm a lover of spy novels and thrillers. How I let this excellent writer go unnoticed for so long, I do not know.

I enjoyed the first quarter of the book; thoroughly adored the second two quarters of the book; then found the last quarter didn't live up to the intelligence of the mi
Aug 02, 2016 rated it did not like it
I love Gabriel Allon and have read all of the previous 15 books, but I found this book tiresome for a few reasons. First, Daniel Silva has apparently never met a non-beautiful woman worth writing about. As a female reader, this has gotten quite old by now. Isn't it enough to make the new woman featured in this book a multi-lingual, courageous doctor? Can't she just be normal looking and still be worth writing about? I've found Silva's insistence on creating a world populated almost exclusively b ...more
The Real Book Spy
Jul 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Read this review and more at

Gabriel Allon, the wayward son of Israeli intelligence, returns to star in his sixteenth novel authored by Daniel Silva. Set shortly after the events of last year’s The English Spy, Gabriel is finally nearing the day when he will forever leave behind his dangerous work in the field to instead sit behind a desk as director of Israel’s foreign intelligence service, known simply as the Office.

Gabriel, who apart from being the Office’s most legend
L.A. Starks
Aug 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow! A classic Daniel Silva novel--the best yet. Much has been made, and rightly so, of Silva's prescience. However, like all good thriller authors who dive deeply into their characters and settings, it is possible to extrapolate a fictional but very credible future from the present as Silva has done here.

(For example, in Strike Price, the Chechen in the opening scene was written and accepted for first publication well before the Tsarnaev brothers' Boston attack.)

What I particularly liked was t
Mar 01, 2017 rated it liked it

3.5 stars

In the last few 'Gabriel Allon' books the Israeli agent has been preparing to take charge of his country's spy agency, 'The Office.' Gabriel's just about to start the top job when ISIS terrorists stage horrific attacks in France and Belgium. Several Israeli citizens, as well as Gabriel's friend Hannah Weinberg, are among those killed in France. So Gabriel postpones his promotion (once again) to chase down 'Saladin', the ISIS mastermind who planned the bombings.

To get close to the elusi
Jul 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Good plot and story, although the author's disdain for President Obama was distracting and tiresome.
Jul 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
I love the spy parts of the Allon series, but this book is really just a vehicle to write nasty things about "the American President" and blame Obama for all the woes of the world and to espouse the divine righteousness of Israel in dealing with the Muslims/Arabs. The last few books started to get more political, but they never took away from the story or the characters. This book is almost all political statement with very little else going for it. I hope Silva gets back to writing actual spy n ...more
Jul 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Reading The Black Widow during the summer of 2016 is absolutely terrifying. The fictitious events within its pages dovetail with the real events of Orlando, Paris, Nice, and Brussels.

After an ISIS operative bombs a Jewish museum in Paris, killing one of Gabriel Alon's close friends, the French more or less blackmail the Israeli government into having Alon lead a search for the mastermind, a mysterious man called Saladin. To do so, he must insert a young Israeli female physician into the vipers n
Aug 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Can the Gabriel Allon series get any better? This may be the best book in the series to date. Daniel Silva's writing skills continue to grow. The story could be something straight out of the news headlines. Silva's prescience is uncanny.

Gabriel, new father to twins, is about to be named the Chief of The Office. Before this promotion though he will have to go back into the field for one final operation. ISIS detonates a massive bomb in a Jewish neighborhood of Paris. One of the victims was a frie
Apr 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller
In his foreword, Silva talks about his decision to leave his plot the same as it was prescient about all of the violence that has occurred recently by terrorists. Starting with a horrific bombing of a Jewish Center in Paris, Gabriel Allon is compelled to find the mastermind by recruiting someone fresh to penetrate ISIS. He is almost too successful as the female doctor plays a central role is the subsequent mayhem perpetrated by the mastermind (code named Saladin.) The intelligence forces of Fran ...more
Bobbie Kalman
Jul 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Not as good as previous books. I wish he would not insert his political feelings in his books.
Steven Z.
Aug 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
While discussing his new book THE BLACK WIDOW in the Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH author Daniel Silva pointed out that the Paris bombing described in his sixteenth installment of his Gabriel Allon series was a complete fabrication. In light of actual events that seem to coincide with the book’s publication, Silva seems clairvoyant, a trait that allows him to create plausible scenarios when compared to real events. In part, this characteristic is responsible for the popularity of his work, along ...more
Jul 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It's hard to believe this is the 16th book in the series featuring Gabriel Allon, perhaps my all-time favorite "hero." He's a sought-after restorer of priceless paintings, a spy, soon-to-be chief of Israel's secret intelligence service (albeit reluctantly) and, with his beautiful wife Chiara, the father of twins Raphael and Irene. So much do I love the books that I didn't even break a sweat at the thought of 544 pages - much longer than most books I read these days - and once I started, I admit ...more
Hope Mueller
Apr 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Always enjoy the Gabriel Allon cast of characters. This installment is not bloated as some of the earlier in the series became. Although somewhat predictable, immersing yourself in this world for a period is like visiting friends, comfortable and entertaining. Always love the history lessons built in, along with the scary level of premonition found in these books.
Gabriel Allon is once again in top form in this timely novel! Called in to service to thwart a terrorist attack by ISIS, Allon places an agent, a would-be recruit, into the heart of the caliphate in Syria.

She is a young doctor who travels from Jerusalem to Paris and then to Syria in an attempt to learn the identity of the plot's mastermind, an elusive leader who calls himself Saladin.

This novel is tense and suspenseful, while building a sense of urgency and foreboding that will hold your intere
Thyago | MrsMargotBlog
This is a story that flows naturally, with an easy reading due to its small chapters and I must say it was my first reading of this highly successful author, but this book is the 16th in a series entitled "Gabriel Allon" and although Read very well as an independent reading, because the author knows how to contextualize everything, the truth is that I believe that there may be details and even relations with some characters that we would understand better if we ha
Steve Sparks
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
I am a big fan of Silva, so it pains me to give this book a 2-star rating. Normally, I would never give 2 stars because I don't finish books that warrant that rating. But I did finish this because I have read everyone of his other books and I really like the Allon character and Silva's writing. Like his other books, this one was well-written and fast-paced. I have 4 problems with it, which are a little hard to describe without spoilers, but I'll try. (1) In this book Allon almost felt like a sec ...more
Jul 13, 2016 rated it liked it
I absolutely love the Gabriel Allon series, but I'm afraid this latest is a disappointment.
I love the reoccurring characters, but after 16 episodes they are starting to wear a little thin. Especially since the author feels the need to explain them in every book, using essentially the same boilerplate. It is starting to get cheesy.

I suppose its hard to come up with a story that is truly original, but seriously you might as well just re-read le Carré's Little Drummer Girl.
Unfortunately one cannot
Jul 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
Didn't we do this before? Smart young heroine gets trained as a spy and infiltrates a very bad man's evil network. Sadly, one of my favorite summer guilty pleasures has gone steadily downhill the past few years. Not sure if Gabriel Allon will return next year or not, but sadly I might have to retire.
Kent Beck
Sad and polemical end to the series

One shot at Obama I could stand but too many and they are just annoying. I not be reading any further sequels.
Aug 27, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I downgraded this book from 4 stars to three because the more I thought about it, the more disappointing the end game was. Daniel Silva has crafted a page turning spy thriller populated by strong, memorable characters and present Israel's more muscular approach in confronting ISIS than the US via his protagonist Gabriel Allon. Unfortunately, without divulging the plot, the ending left justice deferred until the authors next book. I would think that Daniel Silva would find it completely unnecessa ...more
Lisa Barbour
Jun 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
This is my favorite series of books, but I was very disappointed in this one. I got tired of the political comments, the plot was nothing new, and Gabriel Allon didn't have much to do. I will reread the others in the series, but unfortunately, this book was not for me.
Robert James
Aug 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great book. If you want a lesson on how ISIS started and the current US policy toward ISIS all wrapped up in a thrilling Allon adventure, this book is for you. And if it's not for you, you should read it anyway.
Tom Mathews
The 16th adventure of art historian turned Israeli assassin Gabriel Allon is entertaining and reads like the author has put a lot of research into his subject. I use the term 'reads like' because there are very few people who have a comprehensive knowledge of the inner workings of ISIS. The ISIS that Silva created in his book differs only slightly from the ISIS of my imagination.) I haven't previously read any of Daniel Silva's books but that didn't hinder my enjoyment if this book. There was so ...more
Aug 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Harpercollins Canada
Aug 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Black Widow by Daniel Silva is the 16th novel in Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon series – and yet, it’s been hailed his most timely and most powerful novel yet. Below I will explain why, but first, some context:

Gabriel Allon is the protagonist in Silva’s internationally bestselling thriller and espionage series. Allon works for Israeli intelligence on international missions. His ancestors are of German decent; most notably his grandfather, who was a German expressionist painter. This is the ins
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The Black Widow; 4 Stars 1 12 Apr 30, 2017 12:03PM  
The Mystery, Crim...: * March/April 2017 Group Read: The Black Widow, by Daniel Silva 19 199 Apr 16, 2017 03:13AM  
What will Silva do now? 3 38 Feb 18, 2017 03:15PM  
Crime, Mysteries ...: Black Widow, The - November 2016 20 71 Dec 19, 2016 07:56AM  
Monthly Best-Sell...: This topic has been closed to new comments. THE BLACK WIDOW, by Daniel Silva 1 9 Aug 24, 2016 09:29AM  
Daniel silva 1 24 Jun 02, 2016 10:13AM  
  • First Strike (Dewey Andreas, #6)
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  • Twelve Days (John Wells, #9)
  • Cold Shot (Kyra Stryker & Jonathan Burke, #2)
  • Games Traitors Play (Legoland Trilogy #2)
  • Days of Rage (Pike Logan, #6)
  • The Cairo Affair
  • The Renegades (Michael Parson & Sophia Gold, #3)
  • Order to Kill (Mitch Rapp, #15)
  • The 14th Colony (Cotton Malone, #11)
Daniel Silva was born in Michigan in 1960 and raised in California where he received his BA from Fresno State. Silva began his writing career as a journalist for United Press International (UPI), traveling in the Middle East and covering the Iran-Iraq war, terrorism and political conflicts. From UPI he moved to CNN, where he eventually became executive producer of its Washington-based public polic ...more

Other books in the series

Gabriel Allon (1 - 10 of 19 books)
  • The Kill Artist (Gabriel Allon, #1)
  • The English Assassin (Gabriel Allon, #2)
  • The Confessor (Gabriel Allon, #3)
  • A Death in Vienna (Gabriel Allon, #4)
  • Prince of Fire (Gabriel Allon, #5)
  • The Messenger (Gabriel Allon, #6)
  • The Secret Servant (Gabriel Allon, #7)
  • Moscow Rules (Gabriel Allon, #8)
  • The Defector (Gabriel Allon, #9)
  • The Rembrandt Affair (Gabriel Allon, #10)
“Like many Vatican pronouncements, the official version of events would bear little resemblance to the truth.” 2 likes
“America could leave the Middle East, thought Gabriel, but the Middle East would follow it home. At” 1 likes
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