cover image Moscow Rules

Moscow Rules

Daniel Silva, . . Putnam, $26.95 (448pp) ISBN 978-0-399-15501-7

Short on moral complexity, bestseller Silva's eighth thriller starring Israeli master-spy Gabriel Allon (after The Secret Servant ) may remind some readers of an action-packed and suspenseful episode of TV's Mission Impossible . Allon's honeymoon with his second wife comes to an abrupt end on his learning that a Russian arms dealer, Ivan Kharkov, is involved in a weapons shipment to al-Qaeda for use in a major terrorist attack whose details are a mystery to the CIA as well as to British and Israeli intelligence. Since this tip originated with the death merchant's wife, Elena, Allon persuades his superiors and his American allies to authorize a complex plan to use Elena to gain access to Kharkov's secrets. Obvious good guys and bad guys, coupled with a straightforward plot in which Allon and Elena owe their lives to a lucky chance at the climax, make this one of the less satisfying entries in the series. (July)