Prince of Fire by Daniel Silva is the fifth book in the Gabriel Allon Series. Unlike the previous books, this one takes place mostly in Israel as opposed to Europe.
Art restorer Gabriel Allon is, once again, called to action, one last time (once again), by the Israeli intelligence service. A truck bomb exploded in the Israeli embassy in Rome, however the Israelis obtained a computer disk from the terrorists in which they discovered pictures of Allon and his lover as well as notes about his real identity. Also found are evidence that Yassir Arafat himself ordered the elimination of Allon which resulted in the death of Allon’s son and the maiming of his wife.
The Israeli intelligence believe the bomb is related to the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina and a bombing of the main synagogue of Istanbul, Turkey in 2003.
Allon, along with a team of agents, focus on three generations: Sheikh Asad who led the Arab Revolt in 1936, his son Sabri, a friend of Yassir Arafat and Sabri’s son Khaled. Adopted by Arafat aster Sabri’s assisnation, Allon is now charged with finding Khaled.
Prince of Fire is another action-packed book in the series about my new favorite recurring character. With its setting in Israel, it does not have a holocaust connection.
In the previous books, Daniel Silva unleashed his furious pen on European countries, exposing their hypocrisy over their role in the Holocaust. This time however the author targets one person, Yassir Arafat. Arafat, who died shortly after the novel came out, is depicted as a liar, a racist, and a despicable human being who is resisting peace, making the Palestinian people suffer, for no good reason.
With all the action and adventure, Prince of Fire is ultimately a melancholy book. Allon is a flawed hero (but aren’t they all?), who is, this time, out for revenge. The only problem stems from the fact that the old Chinese proverb, “He who seeks vengeance must dig two graves: one for his enemy and one for himself,” is true today as it was thousands of years ago.
The one aspect of the book which really touched me was when Allon’s boss, Ari Shamron, tells him: “…Michael is the highest, but you, Gabriel, you are the mightiest. You’re the one who defends Israel against its accusers. You’re the angel of judgment — the prince of fire.”
Prince of Fire is filled with old friends, as well as new characters. Allon’s background, his personal and professional history outlined in the previous books add much depth as well as the historical background which is explained in neat and understandable language, as much as these complex issues will allow. Daniel Silva, an efficient writer if there is one, keeps his stories exciting and high in tension while exploring issues that could be in the news.
Even though I did not guess the finale, I felt that the author rushed the ending a bit. Though really an insignificant complaint, I just noticed because of my immense enjoyment from the previous books.
Prince of Fire is a good book. If you enjoyed the previous books, have no fear, you’ll enjoy this one as well.