The Heist is Daniel Silva’s 14th book in the Gabriel Allon series, all of which I’ve savored, some more than once. In this book, Allon is doing another art restoration in Venice, perhaps the last one of his career until he moves back to Israel to assume command of the Office, Israel’s foreign intelligence service. He’s avoided becoming the boss of the organization for man years, but its finally time. But, as has happened so often in the past, his restoration was interrupted, this time when he was seduced into an attempt to find a stolen masterpiece, Caravaggio’s Nativity. The reader is lead into the mysterious world of art theft and the real value of such. Necessarily, Silva also leads us into the world of international banking and the hidden movement of great wealth among banks. But, Silva has always been timely with his stories, and this one takes us to Syria and the attempts of the Bashar Assad, the President of Syria, to loot his country of all value while resisting all attempts to give up his authority. Silva referred to Assad as the Butcher of Damascus, or butcher boy in tribute to Assad’s father who was equally brutality to his own people. Silva likens Assad’s actions to those of Putin in Russia, the only regime that stood in support of Assad’s massacre of his own countrymen, and it was Putin’s insatiable quest for money that was behind the support. This story grows from an attempt to recover a lost painting to an attempt to grab most of Assad’s wealth to an attempt to save the life of a woman that Allon had used to accomplish both of his goals.
Silva is the master the international thriller. This newest book was just released this week, and if you’ve read all of his other books, put down what you’re reading now (just as I did) and jump into this one. If you haven’t read Silva, then start with The Kill Artist and know that you’ve a great adventure ahead. Since I've read them all and Silva publishes just one book a year, now I have to painfully wait until next July for the next installment.