Author : Daniel Silva (2006)
Genre : Thriller (Political Rant?)
Rating : D-
This Month I Read...
The bombing of the Israeli embassy in Rome puts Gabriel Allon, a reluctant operative for Tel Aviv, on the trail of an Arab terrorist. The path leads all over Europe and the Middle East.
What's To Like...
It's easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys. No gray areas here. The Arabs are evil killers; the Jews are noble killers.
At 376 pages, this is a fast read.
What's Not To Like...
The plot is hopelessly disjointed. The evil Arabs blow up the Israeli embassy in Rome. Somehow this leads to a raid in Milan, where a computer disc is found. Italian intelligence can't decode it, so they decide, "what the heck, let's give it to the Israelis". The Israelis magically decode it, and discover it lists, among other things, the personnel file of Gabriel Allon. Which somehow ties into the bombing. Allon assembles a think-tank team, and somehow they decide that the Ultimate Evil is an Arab named Khaled al-Khalifa. Meanwhile, the UE kidnaps Allon's vegetative wife in England, and instead of just killing her, has her smuggled into Paris so she can be blown up at a later date.
Confused? Don't worry. The obviousness of the plot and the simplistic black-&-white characters (Arabs = bad; Israelis = good) will put you to sleep long before you feel any urge to try to make sense of anything.
Born Under A Bad Zion...
The only way to comprehend this travesty is to recognize that it's merely a vehicle for the author to expound his Zionist viewpoint. This is really just a political diatribe with a sloppily-crafted plot thrown over it.
Silva seems to feel the Arabs are entirely to blame for the Middle East crisis. The millions of Palestinian refugees are to blame because they didn't take a better deal when it was offered way back in the 40's/50's. The various Arab governments are also to blame because they haven't expended vast amounts of money to assimilate these refugees into their own country.
Ultimately, Silva's philosophy can be summed up as, "the only good Arab is a dead Arab". Which is nice if you happen to be an Israeli, but not so nice if you're a Palestinian.
In real life, the Silva scenario is inane. If anyone is to blame for the Middle East crisis, it's Britain (who promised the same land to both the Palestinians and the Israelis), and the United Nations (who felt so guilty about the Holocaust, they mandated a new country where (unfortunately) millions of people already lived).
Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon are hardly wealthy nations. If anyone ought to throw large sums of money at the Palestinians, it's the UN. And the Palestinians can hardly be blamed for rejecting the earlier offer, since in essence it said they could keep a portion of Palestine provided they ceded a large part of it to Jewish immigrants. Is it surprising they rejected this deal?
But I digress. This is a wretched novel - both as a literary work and as a Arab-hating smear-job. If you're into blatant stereotyping - all Arabs are evil; all Chinese are brain-washed; all French are traitors; all Israelis are noble, etc. - then this book will appeal to you. Otherwise, don't waste your time.