In this latest installment in the Gabriel Allon series, the fatal poisoning of a Russian billionaire sends Allon on a dangerous journey across Europe and into the orbit of a musical virtuoso who may hold the key to the truth about his friend's death. The plot Allon uncovers leads to secret channels of money and influence that go to the very heart of Western democracy and threaten the stability of the global order.
The pace of The Cellist never slackens as its action volleys from Zurich to Tel Aviv to Paris and beyond. Mr. Silva tells his story with zest, wit and superb timing, and he engineers enough surprises to startle even the most attentive reader.
Akin to a diabolical game of chess, The Cellist is a sophisticated voyage through the world of concert halls, art museums, lavish receptions and the occasional chase scene—all delivered with Silva’s crafty dry wit and innuendo.
Silva makes a persuasive case that the best way to neutralize the threat of troll farms and disinformation campaigns is to starve these operations of cash. But this is a thriller, not an essay in Foreign Policy. It turns out that money laundering isn’t inherently exciting, and Silva does little to make it so. Identifying the shadowy figure who manages the Russian president’s fortune is easy, as is infiltrating his world. All the characters in this universe are types, but most of them are crafted with verisimilitude sufficient to keep the reader engaged. The titular cellist, Isabel Brenner, is a beautiful blond blank. It’s not at all clear why she makes the transition from functionary at a dirty bank to amateur spy willing to risk her life to ruin oligarchs ... Past installments have...given Gabriel's team more to do, and it’s impossible not to miss them and their spycraft. As attuned as always to current geopolitical concerns, but substantially less compelling than Silva's previous novels.