STAFF BOOK REVIEW: OCTOBER 1964 BY DAVID HALBERSTAM
by Kevin O’Neill, IT Systems Manager In his 1954 book God’s Country […]
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Gabriel Allon--art restorer, spy, and assassin--returns in a spellbinding new thriller from the #1 "New York Times"-bestselling master of intrigue and suspense
When last we encountered Gabriel Allon in "Portrait of a Spy," he was pitted in a blood-soaked duel with a deadly network of jihadist terrorists. Now, exposed and war-weary, he has returned to his beloved Rome to restore a Caravaggio masterpiece for the Vatican.
But while working early one morning in the conservation laboratory, Gabriel is summoned to Saint Peter's Basilica by his friend and occasional ally Monsignor Luigi Donati, the all-powerful private secretary to his Holiness Pope Paul VII. The body of a beautiful woman lies smashed and broken beneath Michelangelo's magnificent dome. The Vatican police rule the death a suicidal fall, though Gabriel, with his restorer's eye and flawless memory, suspects otherwise. So, it seems, does the monsignor. Concerned about a potential scandal, Donati fears a public inquiry will inflict more wounds on an already-damaged Church; he calls upon Gabriel to use his matchless talents and experience to quietly pursue the truth--with one important caveat.
""Rule number one at the Vatican," Donati said. "Don't ask too many questions." "
Gabriel soon discovers that the dead woman had uncovered a dangerous secret--a secret that threatens powers beyond the Vatican. To solve the mystery, Gabriel joins forces with a master art thief to penetrate a criminal smuggling network that is looting timeless treasures of antiquity and selling them to the highest bidder. But there is more to this network than just greed. An old enemy is plotting revenge, an unthinkable act of sabotage that will plunge the world into a conflict of apocalyptic proportions. Once again Gabriel must return to the ranks of his old intelligence service--and place himself, and those he holds dear, on the razor's edge of danger.
An intoxicating blend of art and intrigue, "The Fallen Angel" moves swiftly from the private chambers of the Vatican, to a glamorous art gallery in St Moritz, to the hidden alleyways of Istanbul--and finally, to a pulse-pounding climax in the ancient city of Jerusalem, the world's most sacred and contested parcel of land. Each setting is rendered with the care of an Old Master, as are the spies, lovers, priests, and thieves who inhabit its pages. It is a story of faith and of the destructive power of secrets. And it is an all-too-timely reminder that those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it.
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