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Daniel Silva (born 1960) is the best-selling Americanmarker author of 12 thriller and espionage novels. His most recent novel, The Defector, was published in July 2009 and was a #1 New York Times bestseller. In January 2009 Silva was appointed to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museummarker's United States Holocaust Memorial Council.


Silva was raised in Michigan and California. He began his writing career as a journalist with a temporary job from United Press International in 1984. His assignment was to cover the Democratic National Convention. The job became permanent and, a year later, he was transferred to the Washington, D.C.marker, headquarters. After two more years he was appointed as UPI's Middle East correspondent and moved to Cairomarker.

Silva returned to Washington, D.C., for a job with CNN's Washington Bureau, where he worked as a producer and executive producer for several of the network's television programs, including Crossfire and Capitol Gang. In 1994 he began work on his first novel, The Unlikely Spy. The novel became an instant New York Times best-seller, and in 1997 he left CNN to pursue writing full-time. Since then Silva has written 11 more spy novels, all New York Times best-sellers. His novel The Messenger won the Barry Award in 2006 for Best Thriller. His 2008 novel Moscow Rules featuring art restorer and assassin Gabriel Allon was a No. 1 New York Times best-seller, as was his most recent novel, "The Defector." In January 2009, Silva was appointed to a five-year term on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's United States Holocaust Memorial Council. He is working on his next book to be published July 2010.

He lives in Georgetownmarker in Washington, D.C.marker, with his wife, the NBC Today show's national correspondent Jamie Gangel, and their children, Lily and Nicholas.


  1. The Unlikely Spy (1996)

Michael Osbourne series:
  1. The Mark of the Assassin (1998)
  2. The Marching Season (1999)

Gabriel Allon series:
  1. The Kill Artist (2000)
  2. The English Assassin (2002)
  3. The Confessor (2003)
  4. A Death in Vienna (2004)
  5. Prince of Fire (2005)
  6. The Messenger (2006)
  7. The Secret Servant (2007)
  8. Moscow Rules (2008)
  9. The Defector (2009)
  10. The Rembrandt Affair (2010)

Recurring characters

Silva's first book, The Unlikely Spy, is a World War II thriller featuring Professor Alfred Vicary.

Silva's second and third books, Mark of the Assassin and The Marching Season, are known as the Osbourne series and are spy thrillers, which feature an American CIA agent, Michael Osbourne.

Books 4 to 12 are known as the Gabriel Allon series. They feature Gabriel Allon as a spy/assassin who works undercover as a restorer of priceless works of art. Allon is featured in The Kill Artist, The English Assassin, The Confessor, A Death in Vienna, Prince of Fire, The Messenger, The Secret Servant, Moscow Rules, and The Defector.

Gabriel Allon was a former assassin for the Israeli secret service. He was responsible for killing six of the 12 members of Black September for their actions in Munich during the 1972 Olympics—kidnapping and killing the Israeli athletes. He was recruited by spymaster Ari Shamron, referred to as the "Old Man", the "Sentinel" and the "Memuneh" (the one in charge). Allon was a promising young art student when Shamron approached him at school and persuaded him to help Israel avenge the deaths at Munich. In the art world, Allon apprenticed under Umberto Conti in Venice using the alias "Mario Delvecchio" and was regarded as one of the world's greatest art restorers, specializing in Old Masters. While Allon was in Vienna on an operation, along with his wife, Leah, and son, Dani, a car bomb exploded, killing Dani and causing amnesia and trauma to Leah. After that, Allon refused to work for the office. However, many times since, legendary spymaster Ari Shamron has brought Allon back to help the ever-needing office. Allon, immensely talented, has become a legend himself. Throughout the books he is often seen doubting his actions. He is an assassin with a conscience. However, Shamron is always there to help Allon justify his actions—and after a conversation with Shamron one rarely sees things the same. Allon begins to understand why it is not only all right for him to do what he does, but also necessary.

Throughout the series Allon, as well as those around him, is seen to go through major transformations. He is brought out of retirement several times, and once he begins an operation he always finishes it. He instinctively approaches these cases as though he is restoring a painting. Allon eventually comes back on the office payroll, runs his own operations, and gets offered extremely important and high-ranking jobs inside the office.

Perhaps the most dramatic aspect of the series is Allon's personal relationships with his wife, Leah, and with other women. Whenever he is sent into the field, the woman accompanying him almost always falls for him. However, the ever-faithful Allon has difficulty sustaining a relationship with another woman ever since the car-bombing in Vienna, because he still loves Leah. In the third book, The Confessor, readers are introduced to a new woman in Allon's life, Chiara Zolli. She is also a member of the office staff, and their relationship has been explored, deepened, and complicated over the remaining books of the series. However, the drama mostly comes when Allon visits his wife in the mental hospital. The most touching scenes involving these two are found in The Prince of Fire and The Messenger.

The Confessor takes Allon into the Vatican, where he meets the "successor" to Pope John Paul II. The Confessor has its wishful side to it. This new pope wants to simplify the church with a view to making it meaningful to Catholics who are abandoning it. He also feels a responsibility to apologize to Jews for what he sees as a failure of the Vatican and pope to speak out against Nazism in World War II. Opposition within the curia sets the stage for this very tense and exciting story.

The Messenger continues Allon's relationship with the new pope as the Vatican is targeted by Saudi Muslim fundamentalists of the Wahhabi sect.

The Secret Servant follows Allon as he is called into action when the daughter of the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom (the "Court of St. James's") is kidnapped. The novel explores the rise of Islamic radical fundamentalism in Europe.

Moscow Rules (2008) features Allon and explores the world of a rising Russia. The villain is a rich Russian oligarch who is a weapons dealer. The title is based on the Cold War rules in which CIA agents were trained when operating against the Soviet Unionmarker, known as the Moscow Rules—for example, "Don't look back, you are never alone".

The Defector (2009) is a sequel to Moscow Rules.

Silva is presently writing his next book which will be published July 2010.


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