A Gabriel Allon novel.
Good guy Gabriel
Artist/not-so-secret-anymore agent Gabriel Allon is lured from his idyllic Umbria honeymoon by a request for a “small favor” from his mentor/father surrogate, former head of the Mussad. The favor turns out to be lethal. Although the mission that develops is a crucial one, involving covert arms sales and global terrorism, Gabriel has learned to subjugate what his heart tells him in order to do what he deems right. Somehow, Moscow Rules is missing the edge that all previous Allon novels have offered. While there is menace and violence to spare, Gabriel himself seems to be going through the paces because, well, that’s what he does. The villain of the piece, Ivan Kharkov, seems a caricature designed to personify all the tyrannical elements that persist even in modern Russia, and his wife, who rats him out, doesn’t come across as strong or committed enough to fulfill her mission. Nevertheless, I’d rather read a Silva covert-ops novel than one by virtually anyone else writing today, and Moscow isn’t bad, simply not quite as sharp as its predecessors.