Daniel Silva writes of spies and intrigue and art restoration and he does it impeccably. His protagonist, Gabriel Allon, is a gifted artist and art restorer who frequently, and often reluctantly, leads a double life as a spy for Israeli intelligence. With a recurring cast of characters that we’ve come to know in his many Gabriel Allon novels, and settings that take the reader all over the world, Silva has created a world where secret agents operate to defend and protect their country, where assassins do what they must do.
The newest adventure, The Heist, revolves around a grisly murder and a missing masterpiece by Caravaggio. Allon sets out to find it by setting up a complicated plan to steal another masterpiece that will, he hopes, lead him to the perpetrators. As always, Silva writes a tight plot with unexpected twists and turns. He writes about the world of art restoration and artists and their masterpieces with great style. Likewise, the world of spies and their clandestine activities is vividly created. And somehow he manages to make it all work together.
I was, once again, completely surprised by a twist in the plot about midway through the book. Silva does that kind of thing so well. And once again, I couldn’t put it down.
If you’re a fan of Silva’s series, you won’t be disappointed. This is a great read. If you haven’t read any of his books, I hope you try one. The books are in a series, but can be read as stand alone books as well, because Silva always supplies enough backstory to make them work on their own. But it’s fun to read them in order, as I have.
Whatever way you read them, you’ll find that Silva is a first-rate writer and a great storyteller.
This book of essays by renowned author Pat Conroy came out in 2010. I just discovered it at my local library. I couldn’t put it down. Conroy is a wonderful writer and is the author of The Great Santini, The Prince of Tides, and The Lords of Discipline, among others.
Conroy grew up as a military brat, moving from town to town, never really able to connect with other kids his age. His father was physically abusive; he beat his wife and children. (He was the inspiration for The Great Santini.) Books, words and libraries turned out to be lifesavers for Conroy. They provided him with a world of wonder, of escape, of joy. And he writes about that love in a series of essays: about a librarian, about a teacher who reached out to him, about a bookshop, about Thomas Wolfe.
Each of them is a gem.
Conroy is one of my favorite writers. I read his books in awe, amazed by the beauty he manages to create on the page, stunned by the words he chooses. The same holds true in this book. It’s a treasure. Anyone who has ever fallen in love with reading and escaped to another world through the words on a page will love this book. It’s an ode to books and libraries and booksellers and teachers and the path to sanity they created for a young, lonely and troubled boy.
I’m going to buy my own copy of this book. It’s the kind of book that should be part of my collection.
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(I borrowed these books from my local library. Thank you to libraries everywhere.)