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Daniel Silva and “The Messenger”

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Daniel Silva’s latest, The Messenger, made the flight home from Minneapolis seem like minutes rather than hours.  This is his sixth novel featuring Gabriel Allon, an Israeli intelligence operative who is also a master art restorer.  They include: The Kill ArtistThe English Assassin, The Confessor, and A Death in Vienna.

Silva’s latest is unsparing in its criticism of the Saudis and their support for radical Islam. Here’s a bit from a recent Silva interview:

Question: THE MESSENGER is the sixth novel featuring Israeli intelligence agent and art restorer Gabriel Allon, a man who has been described as one of the most intriguing and original characters in today’s commercial fiction. He’s had a long and colorful career, to say the least, and now he’s found himself in a fight with a new enemy: Saudi Arabia. What attracted you to the material?

Daniel Silva: The Saudis are, quite simply, the perfect villains. They have a seemingly endless supply of money and hold the economic security of not only this country but the entire world in the palm of their hand. They have been described as one of our closest allies in the Middle East, yet at various times throughout their history, they have behaved more like enemies than friends. I also believe that Saudi Arabia bears a large responsibility for what happened to this country on 9/11 and have never truly been held accountant. The 9/11 Commission described them as “a problematic ally in the war against terrorism,” a stunning example of understatement. They are, to a large degree, the ideologues and financiers of global Islamic extremism. Indeed, I believe one can argue it was the House of Saud that started the fire of the global jihad movement in the first place. THE MESSENGER gave me an opportunity to explore some of those themes.

The Washington Post reviewer concluded that “[t]he author is quite serious in his contempt for the Saudis


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