The Order, Daniel Silva
It was nearly one a.m. by the time he crawled into bed. Chiara was reading a novel, oblivious to the television, which was muted. On the screen was a live shot of St. Peter’s Basilica. Gabriel raised the volume and learned that an old friend had died …
Gabriel Allon has slipped quietly into Venice for a much-needed holiday with his wife and two young children. But when Pope Paul VII dies suddenly, Gabriel is summoned to Rome by the Holy Father’s loyal private secretary, Archbishop Luigi Donati. A billion Catholic faithful have been told that the pope died of a heart attack. Donati, however, has two good reasons to suspect his master was murdered. The Swiss Guard who was standing watch outside the papal apartments the night of the pope’s death is missing. So, too, is the letter the Holy Father was writing during the final hours of his life. A letter that was addressed to Gabriel.
While researching in the Vatican Secret Archives, I came upon a most remarkable book …
The book is a long-suppressed gospel that calls into question the accuracy of the New Testament’s depiction of one of the most portentous events in human history. For that reason alone, the Order of St. Helena will stop at nothing to keep it out of Gabriel’s hands. A shadowy Catholic society with ties to the European far-right, the Order is plotting to seize control of the papacy. And it is only the beginning.
As the cardinals gather in Rome for the start of the conclave, Gabriel sets out on a desperate search for proof of the Order’s conspiracy, and for a long-lost gospel with the power to put an end to two thousand years of murderous hatred. His quest will take him from the Ponte Vecchio in Florence to a monastery in Assisi, to the hidden depths of the Secret Archives, and finally to the Sistine Chapel, where he will witness an event no outsider has ever before seen—the sacred passing of the Keys of St. Peter to a newly elected pope.
Swiftly paced and elegantly rendered, The Order will hold readers spellbound, from its opening passages to its breathtaking final twist of plot. It is a novel of friendship and faith in a perilous and uncertain world. And it is still more proof that Daniel Silva is his generation’s finest writer of suspense and international intrigue.
Daniel Silva is an author who I had heard of many times but I had never read any of his books. I am glad I dove into his literary pool. He writes marvellously and if this thrilled is indicative of his spy thrillers, it is first class. The writing style is excellent, always engaging, always appealing. A reader will never become bored reading Silva is this style is consistent.
Judging from this story, Silva does his research and uses the facts and information he has learned to weave a very believable tale. His characters have the feel of authenticity, the locales the same, the scenes also. His historical information seems not only authentic and accurate, but it is presented in a wonderfully captivating way. The reader wants to turn the page and read more.
At the risk of being a spoiler alert, The Order is set in the Vatican and deals with murder there, the pope no less. That isn’t really giving much away as there is so much intriguing and so many twists and turns, one never grows sleepy-eyed in the read.
Silva’s character descriptions supplement the story, each character painted on to the story’s palette in a way that the reader wants for more, more information, more detail, more full stop. Silva then delivers it page after page.
I have one quibble with Silva. The Vatican setting of the story borders too much on another well-known author, Dan Brown, and his incredible bestseller, The Da Vinci Code. Silva seems to be trying to ply the same waters but he is very justified to do so. After all, how can you argue with a book which has sold nearly 100 million copies?
Finally, Silva’s lead character in the story, Gabriel Allon, is a more subtle, less “007ish” intelligence agent working for the Israelis. A super talented individual as his ‘cover’ confirms, a restorer of old paintings. Interesting and quite believable.