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Portrait of a Spy

(Gabriel Allon #11)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  25,739 ratings  ·  1,250 reviews
Haunted by his failure to stop a suicide bomber in London, Gabriel Allon is summoned to Washington and drawn into a confrontation with the new face of global terror. At the center of the threat is an American-born cleric in Yemen who was once a paid CIA asset.

Gabriel and his team devise a daring plan to destroy the network of death - from the inside - a gambit fraught with
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published July 19th 2011 by HarperAudio
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Stan I do not recall any graphic sex scenes in any books of the Gabriel Allon series and I'm on book eleven. There's a little intimacy but it's very very t…moreI do not recall any graphic sex scenes in any books of the Gabriel Allon series and I'm on book eleven. There's a little intimacy but it's very very tame.(less)
Manu I don't think this century will see the end of terrorism because it has taken shape of religious extremism. Religion is giving pseudo solutions for pr…moreI don't think this century will see the end of terrorism because it has taken shape of religious extremism. Religion is giving pseudo solutions for problems like hunger, poverty and discrimination and people are exploiting these things for their own purposes; political and capitalist. There are nations which are power mongers and hungry for power and control. It's their greed of the past and present which is taking shape of terrorism.(less)
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le CarréOperation Hail Storm by Brett ArquetteThe Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le CarréThe Bourne Identity by Robert LudlumThe Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
Best Spy Novels
1,139 books — 2,432 voters
Operation Hail Storm by Brett ArquetteThe Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le CarréTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le CarréThe Day of the Jackal by Frederick ForsythThe Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
901 books — 1,369 voters

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Average rating 4.25  · 
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 ·  25,739 ratings  ·  1,250 reviews

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Apr 25, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“A very wise man once told me that hope is not an acceptable strategy when lives are at stake.”

This is the 11th novel in Mr. Silva’s Gabriel Allon series, and although some of the books are formulaic, I find if I read one every so often I don’t get too annoyed with it.
In “Portrait of a Spy” Silva has strong words for a Europe that he clearly thinks has been foolish in its handling of Islamic terrorism. I have noticed calling out of Europe pops up in a couple of his book thus far. This book was p
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook, thriller
This is another spy novel in the Gabriel Allon series. It is excellent, like all the others in the series. My only complaint is that it is starting to feel a little repetitious. Here again, Allon sends a willing female into the lion's den of a known terrorist. The purpose is to make an identification of the terrorist mastermind, in order to ensure that the correct person is assassinated. Here, the terrorist uses some of the same confusion-causing tactics as in at least one of the other books.

Jay Connor
Aug 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Silva again justifies my claim that he is today's best writer of international intrigue. He is to our world of jihad what Ludlum and Le Carre were to the cold war -- unrivaled. Not only does he write "ahead of the headlines" but imbues this struggle with courage and character in the face of unspeakable evil. Unlike Clancy and Flynn, Daniel Silva writes of a world which is more complex and nuanced than a testosterone tempest.

His lead is Gabriel Allon, an art restorer and at-large agent of Israeli
Sep 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Is it my imagination or have I read this book before. Actually, I have not, but the plot is nothing to write home about. Its not that I am tired of Silva's ability to write because he still remains a great read, but the plots are a tad tired, and the characters are looking a little frayed around the edges.

I liked the book, but its too similar. Formulaic in the extreme.

Silva may be a master of espionage, but his stories are depressingly the same.
Judith E
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: espionage, audible
I read the first Gabriel Allon installment over a decade ago and maybe one other since then, so I was familiar with the main characters and their professions. Book #11 is post 911 and its plot is pertinent to our times. It is a sturdy and thoughtful book about spy recruitment and one in which characters are studied and exposed through the author’s writing. The pace is steady, the characters are fully developed and the plot gives insight into the world wide cooperation of combating terrorist acti ...more
Aug 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thrillers, ebooks, fiction
This is the 11th Gabriel Allon novel from Silva, and it is very good. At the same time, when you've done ten previous titles in a series, then it's easy for things to start to seem repetitive and derivative of previous outings, and that's once again the problem here. The last time around, the problem was surmounted by a particularly good plot line, but this one takes a bit of a step back on the plot front, making the more formulaic aspects of things more noticeable. Perhaps some of it is because ...more
Dana Moison
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I started reading this current book in the Gabriel Allon series while vacating in the beautiful beaches of Santorini on my mini-honeymoon. Soon enough, I was taken away from the clear water and the mesmerizing view and thrown into the mayhem of suicide bombings executed by a new terror organization in the middle east.

If you read my former reviews about Silva’s books, you know I have a soft spot for Gabriel Allon. Silva’s writing is always gradual, thorough, and intriguing. The immortal character
Kenneth P.
Jul 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
Not exactly a page-turner. There is action in the beginning and end. In between you have endless dialogue, interior monologue, chapters that plod along until you're ready to scream. Characters are paper-thin. I mean that literally since they are little more than names on a page.

It's clear from the outset that American intelligence agencies are inept and naive. Thankfully the Israelis come to the rescue and take over a huge CIA anti-terrorist effort. Hero Gabriel Allon, an Israeli agent, gets a
kartik narayanan
Jun 01, 2019 rated it liked it
I am resuming reading Gabriel Allon after a break where I was reading only indie authors for a month. What a relief to come back to something familiar and well written. The story is similar to its predecessors and the beats are the same. But, the book is so much fun that you never get bored.
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
Yesssssss! Another Gabriel Allon book.
I wonder how Silva will top himself this time. The last two were the best in the series. Untoppable?
Lewis Weinstein
Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Another good Silva thriller. So far, he seems able to keep adding new wrinkles to his set of characters and issues. Silva has a unique way of building tension even when you suspect what is about to happen. This one had some plot surprises. Silva's descriptions of places and great art is also as excellent as always. ...more
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have enjoyed all of the Gabriel Allon books but this is one of my favorites. I like that the main character uses the restoration of famous art to atone for the things that he has to do for his country. The events in Daniel Silva's books are very relevant to current affairs which makes his books very believable.

BTW - I have read the series out of order and I still enjoyed it.
Dec 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
*Rating* 4
*Genre* Thriller


Gabriel Allon is known around the world as the angel of vengeance, and an international operative who has worked for the Israeli Intelligence machine called the Office, since 1972. He is a man who will stop at nothing to see justice done even if it puts his own life at risk.

After the events that occurred during The Rembrandt Affair, Allon has finally decided to retire from the Office. He is living the quiet life in Cornwall, England as an art restorer along wit
Jun 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Another reliable entry in the multi book story of Gabriel Allon, spy and assassin, originally recruited by the Israeli agency known as "the Office" to help with retaliation after the murder of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics. He was recruited out of art school and this is a field to which he returns after each assignment, having developed skills as an art restorer over many years.

As this new episode begins, Gabriel has left that spy's life behind and once again retired to Cornwall to paint
Oct 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The perfect companion for a quick cross-country 32-hour round trip (with, of course, some work, a nice dinner, and a little sleep squeezed in too).... I continue to find that Silva's Gabriel Allon series meets my needs - convenient, voluminous serial fiction that keeps me interested and entertained without over-taxing my concentration - when I travel.

As for this installment, a few random observations: I enjoyed the title - I admit I didn't see it coming, and that, as a result, I found it somewh
I read it again! First time, March 2018! So complex and so much depth! I think I only comprehend a fraction of the political machinations. I was clueless as to the one who betrayed Nadia and Gabriel.... quite a lot of cast of characters to keep straight. And, I couldn’t grasp how art played into this one... other than the donations of Nadia’s collection revealed at the end of the book. Hmmm. Obviously, one can not skim or scan! My bad.

Even so, Mr. Silva’s writing is politically enlightening how
Marty Fried
A pretty typical Gabriel Allon story. He starts out minding his own business, then something triggers a reaction or a situation comes up that needs his expertise, he organizes an almost perfect operation that seems infallible, something goes wrong, he almost dies, but comes through in the end. Then there's the strong bias against the terrorists who cause all the problems for no reason other than historic hatred of Israel, a purely innocent country who does nothing to provoke them.

Now, don't get
Shawn Davis
Jul 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Gabriel Allon, Mossad Officer extraordinaire, has decided to retire from the espionage business. He and his wife, Chiara, nestle into a faintly reclusive life in a small British community. Allon, however, cannot get away from his past. No matter how many paintings he restores, restoring normalcy in his own life escapes him and he finds himself again at the center of terrorism's storm.

I love Silva's novels. They were my introduction into the thriller genre, and I look forward to them so eagerly t
J.F. Penn
Apr 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thrillers
I am a Gabriel Allon fan and love to read these books. As ever, Silva doesn't disappoint as the book opens to bombings across Europe with the threat of violence moving towards the US. A new wave of terrorists has emerged and Israeli assassin/ art restorer Gabriel Allon must step in with his team to find the people responsible. Recruiting billionaire business woman Nadia al-Bakari means Gabriel must confront his past and try to protect Nadia from discovery.
I particularly enjoyed the detailed expo
N.L. Brisson
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Europe is in an economic recession and it is flooded with refugees who cannot speak the language of their new nations and who have difficulty finding work that will pay enough to support their families, or even a single person. In this post 9/11 world refugees inhabit areas around Europe’s cities and some mosques are centers of religious radicalism where young men are recruited to terrorize the West. Portrait of a Spy (Gabriel Allon Series, Book 11) by Daniel Silva deals with an environment we r ...more
John Carter McKnight
Dec 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Daniel Silva is a man of strong opinions: he clearly believes that the West is locked in an existential struggle with Islam, that Arab culture is violent and backward generally and that its treatment of women is absolutely intolerable, and is no fan of those in the West (including a nameless US President who ran on a campaign of "Hope") who practice appeasement. So, if that perspective's intolerable, don't even try.

If you can run with Silva's ideology, you'll find a taut, well-crafted thriller o
Eric Wright
Apr 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of the most interesting and informative spy stories I have read in a long time. The main character, Gabriel Allon is unique: an art restorer extraordinaire and a retired international operative from Israel's spy agency. Gabriel and his wife Chiara are in London as an outing from their isolated cottage in Cornwall where he has retired. Suddenly he spies a man whom he is sure is a suicide bomber. What to do? Kill him? But what if he is mistaken?

He follows the bomber into a crowded place in Lon
Caroline Bock
Jul 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read through this in one day -- a mini vacation! Another captivating, intelligent thriller by Daniel Silva. What I love about his work is that it feels so current, so real and provocative about extremism and the men and women who fight it. (I don't want to give away any spoilers, but Saudi Arabia is prominent in this novel). His main character, Gabriel Allon, remains emotionally deep and thoughtful (almost too much, but then he's sharing exposition with us in the least cumbersome way possible) ...more
Aug 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Was listening to this one, but by the end I had to get the book and finish!! I don't drive very much and just couldn't wait for the ending!! These books are just terrific, but scary too in the real world sense. I hope the Israeli's really do a lot of the things that happen in these books! I am now about to start "Fallen Angel" Fortunately my library has all the audio books, but I will read the most recent when I get there, as my brother got me a signed copy when Silva was in Houston. I came to S ...more
Mar 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spy, daniel-siva
Another fast paced, "don't want to put down" Silva thriller! I honestly thought about giving this book a 4 star rating instead of a 5 star because, at this point, all of the Gabriel Allon books are a bit similar. Then I realized why should I penalize Silva for that? His well developed characters, Allon, Isherwood, Shamron..., are wildly entertaining. The action is nonstop. The story flows while incorporating fact into it. If Silva changed the formula, I'm sure we'd all be disappointed. Recommend ...more
Elwood D Pennypacker
Oct 05, 2013 rated it did not like it
I read Silva's first book, The Unlikely Spy, when it was released when I was a teenager and I thought it excellent.

This is not excellent.

Pop trash Clancy/Fleming-light. But with a hawkish tint to the War on Terror that could read as if Silva has it in for Obama as a soft pacifist who would let all the baddies get away if not for the badasses of Israel. So history is proving him wrong right through today (read the news).

Maria Carmo
Once more I was delighted by a book which has everything to please the reader: fast moving action, strong and compelling characters, the virtues of loyalty and friendship...

It had been some time without reading a Gabriel Allon adventure, and meeting him, Chiara, Shamron and all others in this new book felt like a family reunion... in fact, I missed those characters and their solid friendship and respect of each other!

Maria Carmo,

Lisbon 15 December 2016.
Dick Reynolds
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Gabriel Allon is having a nice weekend vacation in London with his wife, Chiara, when he finds himself in Covent Garden with a terrorist massacre in progress. He’s armed and possibly has a shot at the assassin but withholds his fire because he might kill an innocent bystander by mistake. Allon is summoned to Washington for a meeting with Adrian Carter of the CIA. Carter wants him to avenge this crime by locating the supposed mastermind of the massacre, one Rashid al-Husseini, and make it the la ...more
Jun 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Legendary and sometimes retired Israeli Intelligence officer Gabriel Allon lives a quiet life in Cornwall. The residents of Gunwalloe Cove don’t quite know what to make of the mysterious art restorer “Giovanni Rossi” and his wife Chiara.
Suicide bombings in Paris and Copenhagen leave everyone in a state of shock. Soon after, a trip to London takes an unexpected turn for Gabriel when he spots a third bomber, but ultimately fails to stop him. It isn’t long before Adrian Carter the Director of the C
Ken Ronkowitz
Aug 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Two friends really like this series and so I thought I'd give it a try via an audiobook. I jumped in at #11 because it was available. I didn't feel lost not having read the earlier ones.

Gabriel Allon is the main character and this is all about global terrorism. Maybe I watch too much news because all this about CIA assets, Washington, a cleric in Yemen, Israel versus Arabs made me as tired as watching the news. Actually, I read that Silva was UPI's Middle East correspondent and moved to Cairo,
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The Portrait of a Spy Series 5 54 Dec 23, 2011 02:52PM  

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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 21 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)

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