ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Silva, born in 1960, is an American author and journalist. He writes thriller and espionage novels.
As a journalist, he has worked for United Press International. He has also worked as a producer and executive producer of several of CNN’s TV programs.
Silva is credited with creating the character of Gabriel Allon, an Israeli spy, assassin, and art restorer. He is the central figure in most of his novels. The series featuring Allon has been The New York Times bestseller since its inception.
He is married to Jamie Gangel and has two children, Lily and Nicolas.
SYNOPSIS (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS)
The Black Widow is an international spy thriller spanning three continents and multiple countries. It is part of the Gabriel Allon series.
When Hannah Weinberg dies in a terrorist attack in France, Gabriel Allon has to come back from his ‘fake death’ and join the investigations.
All intelligence reports point toward a mysterious ISIS leader known as Saladin. The reports further claim that the attack on Hannah is just the beginning of something even more sinister. Saladin has been using the ‘black widows’ to carry out these attacks.
Outside his inner circle, the identity of Saladin remains a mystery. In his race against time, Allon desperately looks for someone from inside the ISIS.
Natalie, a young Jewish Doctor with no experience of espionage, is selected for the job. Will Natalie successfully infiltrate the ISIS as a Black Widow and prevent the impending catastrophe?
WHAT WE LIKED ABOUT THE BLACK WIDOW
The Black Widow is an out-and-out page-turner; it is a perfect spy novel with all the necessary ingredients to make it a good read.
Arguably the best thing about the novel is the presence of strong female characters on either side of the fence.
Though it is part of the Gabriel Allon series, the real protagonist here is Natalie. It is her story all the way. All other characters dwarf around her persona. Allon’s role is more of a mentor. His concern for Natalie has an almost father-like feel to it.
On the other hand, Safia is on the wrong side of the story. She was radicalized, and the death of the man she loved made her a Black Widow. However, despite her obviously crooked thinking, she comes across as a brave woman.
Silva has successfully created a villain in Saladin who does not fit in the conventional mold of the typical Islamic terrorist. There is a definite aura of charisma about him.
That said, in any spy thriller, it is ultimately the plot that needs to emerge as the real hero. And our hero passes that test with flying colors.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER ABOUT THE BLACK WIDOW
The Black Widow has a strong story line. However, some of its supposed twists and turns are fairly predictable, especially for espionage novel aficionados. Even so, this is by no means a deal-breaker, given the author’s genius for crafting nerve-racking thrillers.
The French don’t want money, Gabriel. The French want you.
‘Which answer do you want to hear?’
‘The truth,’ said Natalie, ‘is that he’s probably going to die.’
The Black Widow is a near-perfect spy novel. Even with its uncharacteristic predictability, it very much remains true to its page-turner image. We would recommend this gripping thriller to our readers in a heartbeat.
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