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Spy Novelist Silva's 'Secret Servant'

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

Writer Daniel Silva has a 10th spy thriller coming out next week. It's called "The Secret Servant."

And Alan Cheuse has a review.

ALAN CHEUSE: "The Secret Servant" features Silva's by now familiar hero, Israeli art restorer and special agent Gabriel Allon.

Scarcely having returned home from saving the Vatican from a missile attack by Islamic fundamentalists, Allon gets dispatched back to Europe to try and halt yet another insidious terror plot. This one pits Allon against the group of dedicated gunmen intent on kidnapping the daughter of the American ambassador to England and turning her into a weapon of hideous design.

This may sound thin and purely melodramatic, but it's not. In Allon and his cadre of fellow Israeli agents, Silva has created an authentic band of brothers. And he nearly does the same with the crew on the other side of the conflict, beginning with the father of the Islamist leader.

I won't give away too many of the details, which means, I suppose, that there is a kind of melodrama in the way the novel unfolds, moving from London and various European locations, to Tel Aviv and back again, with time ticking away in each chapter in the manner of Frederick Forsyth's classic, "Day of the Jackal."

But Silva's growing mastery of psychology and narrative suspense and the integration of serious research into the forward motion of the story is also quite evident.

The other thing you'll notice while reading this novel is how time disappears as you sink into the story, like a stone.

SIEGEL: The novel is "The Secret Servant" by Daniel Silva. Our reviewer, Alan Cheuse, teaches writing at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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