In my top three of favorite authors is DANIEL SILVA who has written 20 books featuring Israeli spymaster Gabriel Allon. I have read most of them (so many books, so little time!). The latest installment is entitled THE ORDER. In addition to being the head of The Office, Israel’s spy department called the Mossad (think The Company, C.I.A.), Allon is a world famous Renaissance art restorer.

The story begins when ex-Company operative Chiara (Allon’s wife) plans a real vacation for the family in Venice, Italy where she was born and where her parents still live. Chiara is also planning a surprise for Gabriel.

After only a couple of days of vacation, his very good friend Archbishop Luigi Donati, private secretary to Pope Paul VII, calls Allon to Rome. The reason, the Pope has died and Donati is sure it was murder. This leads Allon and friends on a quest for a mysterious book that Pope Paul VII wanted to give Allon. The book is “The Gospel of Pontius Pilate” that could bring down the whole Catholic Church.

The opposition force is the Order of Saint Helena established in the 1920s by Bishop Ulrich Schiller a follower and supporter of Adolph Hitler. The Order is trying to orchestrate the election of a successor to Pope Paul VII at the election Enclave. The current opposition leaders in the Vatican are Bishop Hans Richter and Father Markus Graf. Another key person is German Jonas Wolf owner of the multibillion-dollar (euro) empire called The Wolf Group that funds the Order. Another leader who opposes Allon is Cardinal Domenico Albanese who is also The Camerlengo, in charge of defending the empty papal throne.

In addition to the the Pope’s demise, The Order is also responsible for the disappearance of Swiss Guard Niklaus Janson who was stationed outside the Pope’s apartment the night he died. His Swiss girlfriend has information for Allon and his team. It is contained in a letter from Pope Paul VII addressed to Allon and missing from the Pope’s office after his death.

As in many of his previous books, DANIEL SILVA provides the historical background to the story. That is part of what endears these Allon stories to me. The reader will learn a little about real history while consuming Silva’s books. The book is perfect for readers of history, spy thrillers, mysteries and good literature. If you are religious (Jewish, Christian, Islam) be prepared to have your emotions stirred. EXTREMLY RECOMMENDED.

GO! BUY! READ!

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