Friday, 4 December 2015

Daniel Silva: creator of Gabriel Allon

I thought it was time to write about Daniel Silva and the pleasure that he has given me with his writing.

I seriously love Mr Silva's books about Gabrielle Allon. These are spy novels that I have read again, and again (and not in hard-copy; only as e-books or audible books).

What has kept me interested, I think, is how global the focus is: global enough for those who don't like American books to be readable; while remaining military and action-oriented for those who find British writers too repressed. And fast-paced enough to keep everyone engaged.

Mr Silva's journalism background is plain to see in how he develops narrative. I find also that his Middle East desk press history is also clear: he conveys a credible depth of knowledge to his writing that he economically shares with his reader. That's the journalistic flair again: telling it simply and quickly.

While I have read Mr Silva's Michael Osbourne books, it is Gabrielle Allon that is his masterwork. Who would think that an Israeli artist (turned assassin, turned art restorer, turned spy) would make such a fantastic character for a book?

Or fifteen? (at the current count)

Especially when Israel is considered to be a fairly toxic global citizen...? Actually, I am not sure whether Mr Silva actually thinks Israel has the right of it, or the wrong. Perhaps he just presents this as "it is", without judgement (hmm. I really need to go back and examine the books in more detail for that theme).

The books would make a great movie. What a character - actually, what a stable of characters: Ari Shamron (who I assume is based on Ariel Sharron?), Chiara, Michael, Eli, Uzi, Yossi, Dina, Jakov, Rimona, Leah, Julian Isherwood, Christopher Keller, Graeme Seymour, Adrian Carter... they all appear fully formed and stay consistently in character each time we meet them.

From how Mr Silva writes over the books in the series, he appears to have created Gabriel Allon fully formed, with his backstory complete. The layering of detail that he has added since fits in perfectly with what has gone before: there are no false notes.

The continued theme of 'putting things right' is probably one of the most redeeming features of Gabrielle Allon. His grief of actions-past, such as the death of his son, and grievous wounding of his former-wife, are a recurring under-current that give him depth as a character.

I like the fact that he talks about the wounding, doesn't get into recrimination, but does take action whenever he can. He is not the huge, up-tight and wordless bloke. He is small, thinking, feeling, PRIVATE and clever.

A wonderful piece of work for Mr Silva to have given us. Me. I wonder what Gabrielle Allon's longevity will be?

I for one will still keep getting my audible versions.


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