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Portrait of an Unknown Woman


Portrait of an Unknown Woman

Gabriel Allon has had a long, illustrious career with Israeli intelligence. But his days as a spy have finally come to an end in PORTRAIT OF AN UNKNOWN WOMAN, the 22nd installment in Daniel Silva’s outstanding series. It’s time to enjoy retirement with his wife, Chiara, and their children. They have chosen the enchanting city of Venice in which to quietly disappear. At this point, Gabriel spends his time wandering the labyrinthine streets and healing from his last dangerous case.

"This battle is no less thrilling than those [Gabriel] fought as a spy. And the sneaky twist at the end puts the icing on the cake. You won’t see it coming."

Just as he’s settling into a comfortable rhythm, Gabriel’s longtime friend, Julian Isherwood, contacts him with a rather large problem. Isherwood Fine Arts of London sold a painting for several million pounds a while back, which Julian now believes is worthless. Someone noticed a discrepancy and sent him a letter, asking to meet in Bordeaux. That person never made it to the meeting. The circumstances appear highly suspicious to Julian. Gabriel agrees. If Isherwood Fine Arts is found to have sold a forged master, Julian will be ruined. He desperately needs a way out of this mess.

Art forgers do exist. Gabriel knows because he himself has forged many paintings. Of course, he paints old masters for reasons other than bilking buyers out of money. And now he’s about to turn out several more. What better way to shut down a forgery ring than to infiltrate it? The plan, though, is quite intricate and involves many of Gabriel’s cohorts --- and a lot of traveling around Europe and New York --- to pull it off. It also involves a beautiful Spanish woman. In truth, she doesn’t rival Gabriel’s talent when it comes to exceptional painting, but she can claim a close second.

Unfortunately, the woman embarked on a career that took her down a dark road, leaving her vulnerable. She is, without question, good enough to be the forger they’re seeking, but Gabriel has his doubts. He does figure, though, that he and his team can use her in their scheme. However, someone will need to keep a close eye on her; she is clever and quite slippery, and entirely willing to switch allegiances if the incentive proves high enough. As always, Gabriel has an ace up his sleeve.

The world of art may seem like a genteel one, but below the surface it can be as cutthroat as drug running or horse racing. If there’s money to be had --- by producing an excellent fake --- someone will definitely do it. And since the stakes are seriously high, so is the danger. Once Julian realizes that something is wrong, the action begins, ramps up to a fever pitch and doesn’t stop until Gabriel is back in the arms of his beloved Chiara. Thankfully, he can call upon the help of many --- including Don Orsati, a man who should never be crossed, the FBI and even the carabinieri --- since the people he’s pursuing are more than worthy opponents.

Just because Gabriel retired doesn’t mean that his story ends. It simply means that he doesn’t have The Office looking over his shoulder anymore. He can choose his battles now. This battle is no less thrilling than those he fought as a spy. And the sneaky twist at the end puts the icing on the cake. You won’t see it coming.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on July 20, 2022

Portrait of an Unknown Woman
by Daniel Silva

  • Publication Date: February 14, 2023
  • Genres: Adventure, Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0062834983
  • ISBN-13: 9780062834980