Gabriel Allan is an art restorer and spy, and presently heads the Israel Intelligence Agency. He and his family live in the Executive Suite on King Saul Boulevard. His wife, Chiara, now retired, was a field operative. She has gone to the Prime Minister because he's the only person who can convince Gabriel to take a much-neeeded vacation. Gabriel needs rest and relaxation badly after a recent skirmish where he suffered broken ribs.
After much thought about their location for a trip, Chiara selects Venice. She was born there and it where she met and fell in love with Gabriel. She can also bring their twins, Irene and Raphael, now four, to spend time with their grandparents. Her father is the head rabbi and has a lovely, welcoming home. They spend days enjoying each other's company, eating wonderful meals and visiting all the popular sites in Venice.
Gabriel received a call from his friend Archbishop Luigi Donati, personal secretary to the Pope. The Pope has passed away and Luigi asked for Gabriel's help. He leaves at once for Rome. It seems the death was not accidental, but murder.
Quickly, Gabriel begins to investigate the murder and soon becomes involved in a dirty, dark, and sinister plot headed by the secret Order of Helena, ruled by dignitaries of the Catholic Church. They want to seize control of the papacy and put a puppet pope in place who will carry out their wishes.
There is also a missing book from the archives that refers to the New Testament which questions events related to the crucifixion of Jesus. It was supposedly written by Pontius Pilate but has never been found.
Of particular interest to me was the conclave and how it works to elect a new Pope. Lots of pageantry and prayers, but how many have been paid off to vote for a specific Pope and not their choice?
To me, Archbishop Luigi Donati is the hero of this story as he grieves for his murdered friend and works with Gabriel to find the answers to a tragedy. His speech just before the beginning of the conclave was brilliant and the ending is very good. I also found the author's note at the end of the book to be very helpful as I had many questions. THE ORDER by Daniel Silva is another sterling read by an excellent writer who does precise research for his historical works and it is always a learning experience along with an exciting ride. Bravo!
From Daniel Silva, the internationally acclaimed #1 New York Times–bestselling author, comes a riveting new thriller featuring art restorer and legendary spy Gabriel Allon.
It was nearly one a.m. by the time he crawled into bed. Chiara was reading a novel, oblivious to the television, which was muted. On the screen was a live shot of St. Peter’s Basilica. Gabriel raised the volume and learned that an old friend had died …
Gabriel Allon has slipped quietly into Venice for a much-needed holiday with his wife and two young children. But when Pope Paul VII dies suddenly, Gabriel is summoned to Rome by the Holy Father’s loyal private secretary, Archbishop Luigi Donati. A billion Catholic faithful have been told that the pope died of a heart attack. Donati, however, has two good reasons to suspect his master was murdered. The Swiss Guard who was standing watch outside the papal apartments the night of the pope’s death is missing. So, too, is the letter the Holy Father was writing during the final hours of his life. A letter that was addressed to Gabriel.
While researching in the Vatican Secret Archives, I came upon a most remarkable book …
The book is a long-suppressed gospel that calls into question the accuracy of the New Testament’s depiction of one of the most portentous events in human history. For that reason alone, the Order of St. Helena will stop at nothing to keep it out of Gabriel’s hands. A shadowy Catholic society with ties to the European far right, the Order is plotting to seize control of the papacy. And it is only the beginning.
As the cardinals gather in Rome for the start of the conclave, Gabriel sets out on a desperate search for proof of the Order’s conspiracy, and for a long-lost gospel with the power to put an end to two thousand years of murderous hatred. His quest will take him from the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, to a monastery in Assisi, to the hidden depths of the Secret Archives, and finally to the Sistine Chapel, where he will witness an event no outsider has ever before seen—the sacred passing of the Keys of St. Peter to a newly elected pope.
Swiftly paced and elegantly rendered, The Order will hold readers spellbound, from its opening passages to its breathtaking final twist of plot. It is a novel of friendship and faith in a perilous and uncertain world. And it is still more proof that Daniel Silva is his generation’s finest writer of suspense and international intrigue.