Gabriel Allon is one of the thriller genre’s most charismatic characters. He’s something of an oxymoron: the soft hearted, intellectual, humanist, cold blooded assassin. Author Silva has also surrounded Allon with other appealing characters, and the political backgrounds are always compelling. This is what keeps me reading the series. As many other reviewers have noted, Silva’s plots have grown predictable. The Defector is the sequel to Moscow Rules, but, except for the change in the identity of the female victim, there’s little to differentiate the novels. I do not mean to imply that The Defector is subpar. Silva writes with simple eloquence and is a master at conveying emotion and motivation, and, as I’ve noted, characterization. For readers who haven’t followed the series, it’s a first rate novel. But long term fans of Gabriel’s career are in need of new direction. He remarried after years of grief following the bomb attack on his family. Will he now dare to have a child with Chiara, and if so, how will that change his life? Here’s hoping we’ll soon find out.