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The Black Widow


The Black Widow

My copy of THE BLACK WIDOW arrived on the heels of the horror of the Orlando nightclub massacre, believed to have been inspired by ISIS. In an almost prescient foreword by Daniel Silva, he says: “I commenced work on this novel before the Islamic terrorist group known as ISIS carried out a wave of shootings and bombings in Paris and Brussels.... After briefly considering setting [it] aside, I chose to complete it as originally conceived…. I only wish that the murderous, millenarian terrorism of the Islamic State lived solely on the pages of this story.”

My initial reaction upon reading those ominous words was to set the book aside. Reading a work of fiction that so closely resembled what is unfolding in the real world was almost too much to bear. Yet, having read Silva’s work many times, I knew I could trust him to treat, in fiction, an accurate portrayal of what plays out in real life.

"From the devastating beginning in Paris to the terrifying end in Washington, D.C., THE BLACK WIDOW holds us in its grip --- a thriller that any fan will devour from cover to cover."

THE BLACK WIDOW is every bit as chilling as those screen crawlers on our TVs as “BREAKING NEWS” raises neck hairs wondering “What now?” Silva has succeeded in drawing our attention to the methods used by ISIS to seduce the vulnerable and disenchanted of the world into its web. The very title bears an insidious double meaning.

Gabriel Allon, the infamous Israeli spy and assassin, is thought to have died in the conflict between Russia and Israel portrayed in THE ENGLISH SPY. He is very much alive, though, and has returned to his peaceful life as an art restorer, living incognito in Jerusalem with his new wife, Chiara, and their young twin sons. However, Gabriel is called back into action by the head of the secret Israeli intelligence agency known as “The Office” when the bombing of a Paris Jewish Memorial museum kills several close friends and prominent citizens. The attack is believed to have been directed by ISIS, and The Office is called upon to find a person willing to go undercover to learn the identity of the leader and eliminate him before he can strike again.

The task is to recruit someone who is fluent in French and Middle Eastern languages and fits the profile of a black widow --- a woman who has lost her husband and wants to avenge his killing by becoming a martyr. We are drawn into that dark web of intrigue and brainwashing that turns angry and naive men and women into fanatical jihadists, willing to become suicidal mass murderers. It becomes Gabriel’s job to find that person and persuade her to undergo and report on this spine-chilling look inside the ISIS online recruitment and training program. She must survive the Syrian training camps and carry out her mission.

From the devastating beginning in Paris to the terrifying end in Washington, D.C., THE BLACK WIDOW holds us in its grip --- a thriller that any fan will devour from cover to cover. Daniel Silva’s apparent depth of knowledge of the mindset of the ISIS trainers and their recruits is uncanny. It establishes Silva, who already has 18 spy novels to his credit, as the foremost author of the genre. He takes us inside the movement that is perhaps the 21st century’s greatest threat --- the madness that is ISIS.

Reviewed by Roz Shea on July 15, 2016

The Black Widow
by Daniel Silva

  • Publication Date: February 28, 2017
  • Genres: Adventure, Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Harper
  • ISBN-10: 0062320238
  • ISBN-13: 9780062320230