Madeline Hart is a political star within the Party in London. While on holiday in Corsica with some friends, she disappears. Her friends don’t realize anything is wrong right away, but once her disappearance is reported in The English Girl by Daniel Silva, no trace can be found. A ransom note is finally delivered within the government in London, but it is kept quiet.
It turns out that Madeline Hart has been having an affair with the Prime Minister, and her kidnappers have found out and plan to use that to their advantage. In an effort to keep the investigation quiet, Gabriel Allon, an Israeli agent is recruited to find her. He has seven days before she’ll be killed and there are no real clues for him to find. Allon is an art restorer and has great attention to detail, in addition to being a master spy and accomplished assassin.
Not surprisingly, he finds a trail that starts to lead him to Madeline from Corsica through Marseilles to London to Poland and beyond. The more he investigates and learns, the deeper the mystery becomes in this almost 500 page book. Silva needs every page in the book to draw out the characters and set up the intricate detail that make this book work as well as it does.
This is the 13th book in the Gabriel Allon series, although you do not need to have read them for this book to make sense or to pull you in and not let you go. I actually didn’t realize it was a series until partway into the book. References to earlier happenings come up from time to time, but they do not at all interfere with your understanding or enjoyment of The English Girl whether you’ve read the other books or not.
The characters are gripping, and the attention to detail is impressive. Daniel Silva paints an incredibly realistic portrait of the underground world of crime in Marseilles and Corsica, in addition to the corruption in Poland and the Russian states. Each of the characters exists for a reason and has a strong personality causing the reader to react.
As long as The English Girl is, I read the book in a matter of days. I was enthralled with it and couldn’t wait to see what happened next. I loved that things didn’t turn out the way I anticipated they would and that it wasn’t simply a clean, cut and dry problem and solution. Daniel Silva has created a powerful series, and I’ve already gone back to read the first book in the Gabriel Allon series (The Kill Artist) and plan to work my way through the rest of his novels, as well. That says something right there, doesn’t it?
Written by Michelle who is pretty sure she has a relative who is in the spy business, though her own life isn’t nearly so exciting. See the small moments that keep her going day to day on her blog Honest & Truly! and follow along with her on Twitter where she is also @HonestAndTruly.
I listened to the audio book and really enjoyed it. I, too, did not realize that it was a series until partway through. I have since picked up two more in the series from Half Price Books. Glad you liked it.