The sixteenth book in Daniel Silva’s series featuring spy and art restorer Gabriel Allon is very frightening work of fiction. In a “Forward” to the “Black Widow,” Silva writes that he began this book before the Islamic terror attacks in Paris and Brussels. He states that he briefly considered setting aside his manuscript, but chose to complete the work even though his fiction collided with reality. What is so frightening is that the scenario he created could become reality very soon.
Master spy Gabriel Allon, who most of the world believed has died, is very much alive. Soon he will be named the chief of Israel’s secret intelligence service simply known as the Office. This appointment will move him from field work to the management of his agents. Almost on the eve of his taking over the service, an ISIS bomb explodes in the Marais district of Paris killing his friend Hannah Weinberg and many who were attending a conference on the increase of attacks on Jews world wide. This attack was followed by one in Amsterdam. Allon is lured back into the field leading an operation to find and kill the perpetrators on these heinous actions.
Through the investigation, Allon and his team uncover an ISIS plan that will spread beyond Europe. In order to thwart the plans of ISIS and one of their chief architects of evil, Saladin, Allon works with the heads of French and Jordanian security.
The Office recruits a young Israeli doctor Natalie Mizrahi to infiltrate the ISIS network. In order to do this she is trained to become a Black Widow named Leila Hadawi. The term refers to women who have lost their husbands or lovers in the ISIS cause.
A thoroughly suspenseful novel, Silva doesn’t pull any punches. His depiction of the death and destruction caused by ISIS is chilling. The role women play in their plan and how they are recruited to the cause rings very true in today’s world.
“The Black Widow” is not an easy book to read in that it mirrors today’s world too closely.