The setting is Paris. The time is now. The book and its theme are sadly very current. Before the book begins, the author explains that he began to write this novel prior to the actual terrorist attacks that took place in Paris in which Jews were targeted. His prescience is not a badge of honor he wished to wear.
In the book, three 12-year olds, two boys and a girl, were viciously attacked by Islamic extremists, in an apparent overt act of anti-Semitism. The attackers were heard to chant a statement in Arabic referring to the Caliphate. The rise of these attacks against Jews in recent months, which had been treated lightly by the French government in an attempt to maintain a politically correct environment, avoiding unnecessary incidents within the Muslim community, led to a gathering of prominent Jewish leaders who will attempt, together, to find a solution to the re-emergence of assaults reminiscent of the 1930’s and 40’s and the rise of Hitler.
As the meeting begins, there is an enormous explosion that takes the lives of most of the attendees. This bombing is followed by the cold-blooded murder of all those who managed to survive the attack, even those already gravely injured. Then the attackers disappeared into the street, seemingly without a trace. The Isis inspired assault was part of a plan for a series of more and more devastating attacks, some which would soon reach the shores of the United States. The Isis leader wanted to draw America more fully into the conflict between Radical Islam and the rest of the world, hoping that doing so would further the spread of the Caliphate throughout the modern world.
Stage left, enter Gabriel Allon, an Israeli who had been rumored to be dead and duly mourned, a master spy who is very much alive and planning to soon come out of his “retirement” to take over the leadership of the Mossad, commonly referred to as “The Office”. Israelis had attended the important meeting of Jewish leaders who fought for the cause of Judaism, and they had been assassinated along with all the others. Israel had been provoked into action by this mass murder and was anxious to find the perpetrators and prevent further violence.
At first, the search began quietly, with Israel, France and Jordan working together, but soon, America and England were drawn into the effort, as well, as attacks spread and continued. Would they find the assassins before there was another attack? How many would die in America and abroad before the assassins were brought to justice? How would they capture them when their trail was cold and the moving parts were not necessarily aware of each other? Even those involved within the corps of Isis were eliminated at the drop of a hat if they are thought to be compromised and a leak was possible. Isis is a brutal enemy that must be brought down, but will the forces attempting to defeat them be successful?
When it was discovered that a man called “Saladin”, whose true identity was unknown, was leading the current violent effort for radical Islam, all agreed that he must be stopped. An Undercover agent was planted within the organization, against all odds, and she faced grave danger. Would she survive? Will she alone be successful in bringing this Isis cell and Saladin down? The thriller twists and turns as the terror spreads and the investigation becomes more and more dangerous for all involved.
The book is narrated really well by George Guidall who always does a good job of keeping the listener engaged with his expressive presentation, however, the book often rambles and becomes confusing, as it travels from country to country and more and more characters enter each scene. Perhaps a print version would be beneficial.