Book review

The Black Widow by Daniel Silva – Book Review

My first read of the best selling, famous for spy thrillers author – Daniel Silva’s latest – The Black Widow.

The Black Widow
The Black Widow


Title: The Black Widow

Author: Daniel Silva

Publisher: Harper Collins

Published: July 2016

Format reviewed: paperback

Rating: 5/5

Set in: Tel Aviv, Paris, Syria and America

Time period: Contemporary

Professions of main characters: Intelligence Services, Doctor, Terror mastermind


Bestselling author Daniel Silva delivers another spellbinding international thriller—one that finds the legendary Gabriel Allon grappling with an ISIS mastermind.

Gabriel Allon, the art restorer, spy, and assassin described as the most compelling fictional creation “since Ian Fleming put down his martini and invented James Bond” (Rocky Mountain News), is poised to become the chief of Israel’s secret intelligence service. But on the eve of his promotion, events conspire to lure him into the field for one final operation. ISIS has detonated a massive bomb in the Marais district of Paris, and a desperate French government wants Gabriel to eliminate the man responsible before he can strike again.

Acclaimed novelist Daniel Silva has thrilled, entertained and educated readers with eighteen thoughtful and gripping spy novels featuring a diverse cast of compelling characters and ingenious plots that have taken them around the globe and back—from the United States to Europe, Russia to the Middle East. From its shocking opening to its explosive denouement in Washington, D.C., The Black Widow reveals itself as Silva’s most timely and powerful novel yet. Following the success of his smash hit The English Spy, this electrifying thriller showcases Silva’s consummate skill and brilliant imagination, and is sure to be a must read for his multitude of current and future fans.

My thoughts:

My only experience or knowledge about the spy business, intelligence/ secret services up untill now was via television and  movies. Strangely, I had never before read a spy, crime, thriller all rolled into one. What compelled me to read the black widow is it’s relevance to the present times. It addresses the rise of terror spreading organised group known as Isis and various world intelligence services group clashing with each other. 

In the 16th edition of the popular Gabriel Allon series of spy thrillers, we come face to face with the terror mastermind of a group currently posing the biggest threat to world peace. The mastermind is only known to the world by his code name –Saladin. No one knows who he is, where is he from or how he even looks and operates from. His 2 back to back terror attacks in Europe – Paris & Amsterdam has everyone from political groups in power, intelligence & security services to spies in a frenzy of worry and uncertainty. France is on high alert and doesn’t want another similar attacks to happen on its soil. While downplaying the bomb attack which wiped out a Jews convention at a well know centre run by Jews in Paris, they are looking everywhere to find who’s responsible. 

Israeli spy/ intelligence officer Gabriel Allon is pulled into the midst of the ongoing hunt as he inherits a painting from his old friend who happens to be the now dead owner of the Jewish centre in Paris. In order to take possession of his inheritance the 2 countries end up working together in a joint deal to hunt the man responsible for the Paris attack. Gabriel’s only hope is to insert an undercover spy into Saladin’s network and thus starts a journey of a black widow out for blood. 

The story takes us through the birth of a spy, her undercover mission, uncovering the identity of the notorious terror master and finally her extraction from death’s door. The making of a spy and her mission, the whole journey from start to finish reminded me of a pearl. A spy is born out of an idea to achieve victory against evil. A spy is groomed differently for every mission they go on, a new life a different personality every time. While the story you are reading will represent a complete life circle of the operation and the personality the spy undertakes, it leaves behind a question which never has a simple answer. 

Every mission is possibly a spy’s last and death is their constant companion. I was left asking myself how a person does something like that again and again. Like the lead Gabriel given this is the 16th book has been on atleast 16 missions and went from being a young man to a seasoned old man with experiences worth many lifetimes and people. There is a particular incident in every spy’s life which brings them into the intricate, secret and dangerous life as a spy/ intelligence service officer. It feels like taking revenge over and over for that particular pain you experienced once. When does a person let go of it or do they ever let go of it? Is the government feeding off the human misery to save the world or is it willing to sacrifice a handful few of us with the smarts to ensure the safety of the world.

The Black Widow shows that the spy business is a lonely job where the spy walks a thin, dangerous line of illusion and reality. You never know when you will triumph or loose your mind in situations that go out of control with a blink of an eye. So dear reader if you want to witness the life a spy fighting the biggest threat to world peace today, get a copy of this book soon. If crime and terror scare you but also makes you highly curious then the black widow will make a terrific read. Get your copy now.  

Buy Links:

Amazon USA

Amazon India

About the Author:

Daniel Silva has been called his generation’s finest writer of international intrigue and one of the greatest American spy novelists ever. Compelling, passionate, haunting, brilliant: these are the words that have been used to describe the work of award-winning #1 New York Times bestselling author Daniel Silva. 

For a detailed Bio of Daniel visit his Website

Reviewed by Bharti. 

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