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A Mystery Wrapped in a Secret Surrounded by an Enigma
am 22. August 2013
"Immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded his head to be brought. And he went and beheaded him in prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother." -- Matthew 6:27-28 (NKJV)
If you haven't read any of the earlier books in this distinguished series, I highly recommend that you read at least some of the earlier books before The English Girl. Much of the pleasure of this book comes from seeing its action in the context of what has gone before ... and seems to be promised in the end for the future.
If you are a series fan, I think you'll like this book better than most of the recent ones. The story is closer to the roots of what good espionage fiction does best: draw away the curtain of pretense to show the naked thirst for control that leads to desperate times and measures. As a fine writer of such tales, Daniel Silva has pulled together a story that will seem predictable ... but will leave a few surprises for all but the most discerning reader. In that sense, the book is a bit like those nesting Russian dolls ... seemingly always having yet another one inside.
In addition, there's movement in the story line for the series. I won't write more in that regard lest I spoil something.
I especially liked the way that Gabe Allon becomes involved in all kinds of matters that aren't really his business, but which he feels obliged to do anyway in the name of honor and friendship. There's a good lesson for everyday living here: do the right thing and you'll please some people and amaze the rest (to paraphrase a Samuel Clemens quote).
There's also an element of destiny here. We do have lives to which we are called to lead. Often, such lives aren't our first choice ... but they often open doors to places much finer than we ever expected to experience. Such could be the case here. See what you think in this regard.
Bravo, Mr. Silva!