This is my first Silva novel on the recommendation of a friend. Wow, how come I never read him before? Prince of Fire jumps into the plot immediately and never stops which is reminding me of the days when I first picked up Ludlum. Anyway this is a Gabriel Allon story (apparently Silva has different series) which takes place all over Europe and of course Israel. I say of course because Gabriel is fighting for the Jewish cause. There is a little propaganda here but as a student of the trials and tribulations of Israel I have to say not too overboard at all. If Silva has an axe to grind it is probably completely appropriate and I for one would never presume to negate that.
Gabriel is minding his own business renovating art in Venice when his past catches up with him again. He basically worked as an agent throughout his adulthood and left at the top of his game. He wants to walk away and never look back but he is not allowed to by his superiors. The story in this book tells of the legacy of a war hungry Arab who is one of the decision makers back in the 30s when Palestine is being divided to accommodate the Jews. The Arab in question does not want to play ball in any sense with anyone and in fact is at war with his own people as much as the Jews and British at the time. We are brought up to date on his story and that of his family throughout this book as the present threats are being carried out.
Gabriel has his own ghosts and his legacy includes losing a child and surviving an assassination attempt which leaves his wife severely crippled. That is just one of many reasons he wants to walk away and do what he loves, restore art. A major bombing in Rome changes that for him and he is called back to duty. He is a terrific cool customer though and has a huge network of agents with whom he has already worked and a whole lot who are considerably younger who he will work with. Gabriel has to undergo the customary physical changes and of course name changes to get in and out of different countries and also go undercover to try to figure out the identity of the one who becomes his nemesis. This book really never gets old, doesn’t overdo descriptions of people and places and keeps you turning the pages. Like I said before, how did this get by me for so long? Never mind, I will now go and find the first book in the series and get on with it and I encourage you to do the same.