The English Girl

Readers who enjoy sophisticated novels of international intrigue like those of John le Carré and Alan Furst will enjoy this book, the 13th featuring the Israeli master art restorer and spy Gabriel Allon. When the British prime minister’s secret lover, a rising star in his governing party, is kidnapped while vacationing in Corsica—“You have seven days, or the girl dies,” the note reads—the Israeli government agrees to do the Brits a favor by rescuing her before the kidnappers’ deadline expires. Allon’s crafty search leads him from Corsica to the criminal demimonde of Marseilles, from 10 Downing Street in London to the dangerous streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg, where he uncovers a plot at the highest levels of the Russian government. Silva creates a vivid array of characters and settings, and his plot twists often and unexpectedly, but the story is utterly current and never seems less than plausible, and the reader finds it hard to put the book down. Please note: There’s a fair amount of backstory in a Gabriel Allon tale, so readers who enjoy this novel might want to read the others, beginning with the first in the series, The Kill Artist.