The Black Widow: Daniel Silva
With what is happening in the news today this book strikes a hard chord as the author takes us inside the training camp of ISIS and teaches readers about their missions, training and the end result of what happens to those that think they are going to Paradise and give themselves up to their ideology and way of thinking. Gabriel Allon works for the Office and is about to become the Chief but not quite yet. Things are getting out of control and they need to find out just what ISIS is planning and the only way to do that is to infiltrate with organization with someone of their own on the inside. But, who would take on this mission, risk their life and pray to Allah knowing that he/she might wind up the same as what they consider their martyrs. ISIS detonated a bomb at the Weinberg Center killing not only its found but many others too. Hired and lured by the French government Allon’s job with his team of operatives is to eliminate the man known as Saladin the mastermind behind ISIS. The Alpha Group made up of Paul Rousseau, Mikail Abramov and Eli Lavon and Dina would Added in are other members of the group and as Dina comes forward she shows at this meeting a picture of an operative for ISIS named Safia Bourihane. Just how dangerous is she and what is her mission will be just a small part of what they need to find out. Would you watch the beheading videos in the net? Many of these women watch as their husbands, sons and daughters sacrifice there lives for ISIS winding up in ash or in pieces thinking that Allah await them, sad that they believe that and are so brainwashed. Enter many others who take this as an honor when given a suicide mission. Many of these woman become as the title says a Black Widow.
Gabriel Allon is a famous art restorer and spy. The book begins with this mass terror attack in France by ISIS. Wanting to inherit a priceless and unknown Van Gogh will to him by someone close to him killed in the attack, he is determined to take down the person responsible and promises the French Government his complete dedication to do this. However, in order to do this he enlists the help of a doctor named Natalie Mazrahi who will be trained in the ways of ISIS and turned from being a Jewish Doctor in Jerusalem into an ISIS terrorist. But, why will she agree and what will happen if she does not succeed? Would you do this in order to get revenge for France and for those killed at the Weinberg Center if it means doing things that go against your own grain? ISIS is planning a strike on the United States and intelligence shared by Israel, Jordan, France, the U.S. and England all confirm this and working together is the only way they can succeed and stop what has already been put into place.
Jalal Nasser was taken by the Alpha Group and questioned in a way that they hoped would make him talk. But, unfortunately dire measures had to be taken before he realized he had no way out and in order to stay alive, at least for now, he would have to give up some information about Saladin and what he was planning. As the roads leading to Saladin are thin its difficult to learn what he looks like, who has met him and when his longtime friend Hannah Weinberg the head of the Isaac Weinberg Center is targeted and killed because she is focused on the subject of Anti-Semitism in France Allon is on the rampage to get anyone involved. Safia Bourihane plays an important role as she escaped from Paris and as so many others is considered a black widow. Natalie Mizrahi is recruited to become part of ISIS and these two women would become allies of some sort. Her role is to find Saladin so that Allon can take him out. Turning her into a spy requires discipline, commitment and courage as she learns how to become one of them, wearing the proper garments, speaking the proper language and the willingness to know you might not come back alive. With the help of Mikhail and Dina Sarid he plans to teach Natalie how to beomce Leila Hadawi the daughter of Palestinian refugees. Natalie seems to be a natural and her training takes her way out of her comfort zone leaving her job in a clinic in France and fearing she will never regain a normal life again. Imagine being Jewish and hiding in the center of the caliphate and knowing that one false move or word could mean your death. What will happen is she fails? What will happen if Allon and his team cannot get her out in time? As we hear the voice of Saladin and his conversation with Natalie after she is taken and blindfolded to meet this dangerous man who promises that she will be his permanent doctor. But, when she finally learns her mission and the training has stopped and she is ready to prove her loyalties why is she given along with the other woman a suicide mission. Failure means death not just to her but to thousands of innocent people. But, the realistic situations and the attacks in France and the United States are graphically depicted as bombs go off, lives are lost and the fate of the United States and France is at risk. As a journalist who was sent to the Middle East much of what he writes sounds like first hand experience as author Daniel Silva takes readers deep inside the caliphate, inside the minds of ISIS members and the harrowing ending that could send Natalie to her death. As the blade is about to be sharpened and used on her to end it all how did Saladin know that she might be a plant? Who is responsible for the deaths of those at the Weinberg Center as author Daniel Silva reminds us that he wrote this novel before the Paris attacks last year.
The technology used in this book is replete with cell phones, encrypted computers and ways to connect that no one will ever know. As Natalie is being closely monitored and hopefully no one will know that she is a plant somehow when she has the bombs strapped to her and used as a protective vest yet it is not, she realizes the magnitude of what she is in for but if she survives will she ever be the same? The ending allows readers to know that Saladin is still out there and he definitely is not done yet and revenge is on the horizon when Gabriel takes on the job of Chief of the Office and his death is recounted surprising some and not others. As he follows in the footsteps of his father and now it is his turn to take on the head job he insists that Uzi Navot the former chief remain to work closely together with him even though he’s been offered a job for millions somewhere else. Justice is meted out at the end as those that cross Allon will soon learn. This is a powerful book and what is going on in the world today and in the United States we all must stay alert, vigilant and if you see something you don’t think is right you need to say something. What’s next for Allon only Daniel Silva knows and I can’t wait to see what the fate of Saladin is going to be. How many more will become black widows? How far will you go to protect your country, your freedom and your safety?
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine