Daniel Silva, Author . Putnam $25.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-399-15143-9

Silva completes his cycle of three interconnected novels (The English Assassin ; The Confessor ) dealing with "the unfinished business of the Holocaust" with this superbly crafted narrative of espionage and foreign intrigue. During the later stages of WWII, Sturmbannführer Erich Radek's job was to erase all evidence of the Holocaust. Radek, now known as Ludwig Vogel, is chairman of the Danube Valley Trade and Investment Corporation and lives quietly in Vienna. A bombing at the Austrian Wartime Claims and Inquiries office leaves chief investigator Eli Lavon near death. Undercover Mossad agent Gabriel Allon, protagonist of the two previous novels, is ordered by Israeli spymaster Ari Shamron to ferret out the perpetrator. Allon is reluctant—he's working as an art restorer on one of Bellini's great altarpieces in Venice—but Eli is an old friend from the secret service, and duty calls. The case becomes personal when Allon, reading his mother's account of her time in the camps—"I will not tell all the things I saw. I cannot. I owe this much to the dead"—discovers that not only was Radek a sadistic monster, his mother was very nearly murdered by him. The chase is long and complex as agents from a number of international spy groups circle and harass Allon as he hunts down the infamous and still deadly Radek. Those seeking cheap thrills should look elsewhere. Action and suspense abound, but this is serious fiction with a serious purpose. Silva keeps the pressure on the reader as well as his characters as there are important lessons to be learned and vital history to be remembered. Author tour. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/12/2004
Release date: 02/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
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