Featured Review: ‘The Order’ by Daniel Silva

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The Order - Daniel SilvaDaniel Silva once again reminds readers why he’s one of the most gifted novelists of our time with his latest must-read thriller, The Order.

It was supposed to be a vacation. A badly needed, week-long trip to relax and recharge. And after years of dedicated service that has no doubt taken a major toll on him and his family, nobody needed it more than Gabriel Allon, the master art restorer turned Israeli assassin who’s now halfway into his first term as chief of the Office.

However, just one day into his holiday—a covert trip to Venice with his family, arranged by his wife, Chiara—an old friend urgently requests Gabriel’s help.

Pope Paul VII has died. News reports suggest the leader of the Catholic church passed away from a massive heart attack that occurred while he was praying in his favorite chapel. But Archbishop Luigi Donati, the Holy Father’s loyal private secretary, suspects there might just be more to the story than anyone else is letting on, and in order to find out for sure, he sends for Gabriel Allon. 

Though it turns out that Pope Paul VII did indeed suffer from heart disease, making a fatal heart attack possible (if not probable), Donati offers Gabriel several other tidbits that were not reported by the media. For starters, Donati explains that the Holy Father passed away on the one night that he was absent from the Pope’s side each week. Likewise, other oddities arise too: like a missing member of the Swiss Guard who had stood post outside the papal apartments that night, and a letter that Pope Paul VII had been writing just before his death, intended for Gabriel himself, which has since gone missing.

But the real mystery, however, surrounds the Holy Father’s reasons for visiting the Vatican archives late at night, where he was known to wander and read while battling insomnia. Donati suggests he might have found something that someone—or many, for that matter—would kill to keep hidden, giving Gabriel a trail to follow. 

What document could be so powerful, so damning, that a sitting Pope would be assassinated to protect it? That’s the question Gabriel must answer, and the closer he gets to the truth, the more dangerous things become . . .

After several books involving Gabriel’s duty to protect Israel, Daniel Silva shakes things up a bit by taking his beloved hero out of the Office for his latest adventure. In a plot that is closer to The Fallen Angel (2012) than The New Girl (2019), The Order brings back a number of familiar faces and settings that longtime readers of Silva’s series will recognize. As always, his attention to detail and unmatched ability to paint words on the page bring each location to life in a way that’s stunningly cinematic. In many ways, reading one of Mr. Silva’s books is like a vacation in itself, no doubt a welcome treat for many who, because of the deadly pandemic, have been forced to live in self-isolation for several months and counting.

Though the escape of diving into Allon’s universe is wonderful, one of the many bonuses of Silva’s series, The Order does just as much to teach and inform as it does to entertain. Moreover, the author’s note at the end of the book details the enormous amount of research that Silva did before writing his story and sheds light on a number of things that make his fictitious plot seem even more believable.

Gabriel Allon, like his creator, seems to only get better with age. Whereas most writers struggle to hit twenty books in a single series, Silva continues to get better each time out while showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. In fact, his latest offering has more twists, turns, and hard-hitting action than anything else he’s ever written. And much like Dan Brown’s The Davinci Code, this is the type of story that’ll stay with readers for quite some time.

Timely, fast-paced, and impossible to put down, The Order makes one thing absolutely clear . . . if you’re not reading Daniel Silva, you’re missing out on one of the greatest, most prolific novelists the genre has ever known.

Book Details

Author: Daniel Silva
Series: Gabriel Allon #20
Pages: 464 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0062834843
Publisher: Harper
Release Date: July 14, 2020
Real Book Spy Rating: 9.75/10

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Praised as “One of the hardest working, most thoughtful, and fairest reviewers out there” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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