Silva, Daniel 1960-

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Silva, Daniel 1960-


Born 1960, in MI; married Jamie Gangel (a broadcast journalist), 1987; children: Lily, Nicholas (twins). Education: San Francisco State University, graduate study.


Home—Washington, DC. Agent—Esther Newberg, International Creative Management, 40 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019. E-mail—[email protected].


Newspaper and television journalist, writer. United Press International, staff member, 1984-88; Cable News Network (CNN), Atlanta, GA, executive producer of political news programs, including International Hour, World Today, Prime News, Crossfire, The Capital Gang, Late Edition, Evans & Novak, and Inside Politics Weekend, 1988-97. Has appeared on television programs, including The Today Show.



The Unlikely Spy, Villard (New York, NY), 1996.

The Mark of the Assassin, Random House (New York, NY), 1998.

The Marching Season, Random House (New York, NY), 1999.


The Kill Artist, Random House (New York, NY), 2000.

The English Assassin, Putnam (New York, NY), 2002.

The Confessor, Putnam (New York, NY), 2003.

A Death in Vienna, Putnam (New York, NY), 2004.

Prince of Fire, Putnam (New York, NY), 2005.

The Messenger, Putnam (New York, NY), 2006.

The Secret Servant, Putnam (New York, NY), 2007.


Former television journalist and producer Daniel Silva has established himself as a major voice in the espionage fiction genre. His first novel, The Unlikely Spy, is set in England, near the close of World War II. Prime Minister Winston Churchill becomes aware that a group of Nazi spies in England have learned of the Allied plans to invade France via Normandy rather than Calais—the decoy location. Churchill asks an academic, Professor Alfred Vicary, to help ferret out the Germans and prevent them from conveying this vital information to their homeland. Chief among the enemy spies is a woman named Catherine Blake, who is assigned to seduce and betray a young American engineer working on the Normandy project. A Publishers Weekly reviewer found that The Unlikely Spy "will find an audience among devoted readers of WWII thrillers, and deservedly so." J.D. Reed, in People, praised Silva for doing "his homework, mixing fact and fiction to delicious effect," while Barbara Conaty in the Library Journal hailed The Unlikely Spy as "a totally engrossing account."

With his second thriller, The Mark of the Assassin, Silva juggles plot lines involving a terrorist named October, who is bombing airliners, and a government conspiracy to use such outrages to put a missile defense system into place. CIA operative Michael Osbourne finds himself at the focal point of both plot lines and risks his life and that of his wife to settle old scores with October, a nemesis once responsible for the death of his girlfriend. For a Publishers Weekly contributor, the book is a "creditable page-turner." Similarly, Wes Lukowsky, writing in Booklist, called the novel an "exciting, engrossing thriller."

With his third thriller, The Marching Season, Silva turned to the troubles in Northern Ireland. Michael Osbourne is back in action in this novel, ferreting out members of an Ulster terrorist brigade intent on foiling peace plans. The group hires the assassin October to kill the new American ambassador, Osbourne's father-in-law, and the ex-CIA antiterrorist operative is again in the thick of things in this "superior entertainment for all espionage fans," according to Lukowsky in Booklist. Conaty, writing in the Library Journal, described the book as "solid, reliable, and delicious nourishment for those whose daily diet is limited to blander selections."

With The Kill Artist, Silva inaugurated a series of books featuring art restorer and former Israeli agent Gabriel Allon. In this initial title, Allon is seduced back into the spy trade by his former handler Ari Shamron to catch the Palestinian terrorist Tariq, responsible for killing some of Allon's family. Allon is paired up with a French model and Mossad agent, Jacqueline Delacroix, in this "heart-stopping complex yarn of international terrorism and intrigue," as a contributor for Publishers Weekly described the book. Allon comes back into play in The English Assassin, the first of a trilogy of novels dealing with Holocaust themes. Here Silva focuses on the Swiss banking community that helped Nazis obtain Impressionist art from Holocaust victims. Allon is sent to meet a Swiss banker who has requested a meeting with Israeli intelligence, only to find the banker dead and himself subsequently locked up as the prime suspect. Finally released from custody, Allon tracks down those responsible—powerful men who want to keep the Swiss connection to the Nazis a secret—and must also deal with the lethal intervention of the English assassin hired to put a stop to his investigations. Connie Fletcher, writing in Booklist, found this second Gabriel Allon novel to be a "stunning contribution to the spy thriller." Similarly, a reviewer for Publishers Weekly concluded: "Silva's sophisticated treatment—polished prose, an edgy mood, convincing research—gives his plot a crisp, almost urgent quality."

More secrets from World War II are presented in The Confessor, another title featuring Israeli agent Allon. In this novel, the role of Pope Pius XII during World War II is about to be given public light by a new pope. Allon becomes involved in investigating the murder of a German writing about Pope Pius XII and follows his investigation all the way to the papacy. For a Kirkus Reviews critic, the book is "another polished and entertaining thriller." Similarly, Joanne Wilkinson, writing in Booklist, called The Confessor "an uncommonly intelligent thriller told with elegant precision." And a Publishers Weekly contributor noted: "the provocative historical revelations will keep readers enthralled." A Death in Vienna deals with Austrian complicity in the Holocaust. Allon of the Mossad chases down an ex-SS man in charge of covering up evidence of the Holocaust. Living under an assumed identity in Vienna, the old Nazi comes to Allon's attention when he discovers that the man personally almost killed Allon's mother in the concentration camps. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that this title raises the bar for thrillers: "Action and suspense abound, but this is serious fiction with a serious purpose." Fletcher, writing in Booklist, also commended this "finely wrought thriller [that] reads like an exquisitely suspenseful chess game." And a critic for Kirkus Reviews concluded that the Allon books on the Holocaust are both "chilling and intriguing."

With the 2005 title in the series, Prince of Fire, Allon is once again dragged unwillingly from his art restoration work in Venice to track down a group of terrorists who bombed the Israeli embassy in Rome. Allon's investigations lead him to a French archaeologist with a cover name of Khaled. But Khaled also knows all about Allon, for the spy's dossier has come into the man's hands and Allon's carefully constructed double life is an open secret. A critic for Publishers Weekly called this installment a "passionate, intelligently crafted entry," while in a Booklist review, Wilkinson concluded: "Silva delivers both chilling suspense and a thoughtful if grim history lesson."

Allon continues his adventures in the next volume in Silva's series, The Messenger. In this book, Allon finds himself assigned to infiltrate the Brotherhood of Allah, a terrorist group intent on attacking the Vatican. When their plans result in an explosion at St. Peter's and the deaths of hundreds of people, and nearly the Pope, Al- lon goes undercover in an effort to get inside the Brotherhood and undermine their structure by assassinating the leaders of the group. Ron Terpening, in a review for Library Journal, commented that "Silva builds suspense through realistic threats, harrowing situations, and gripping action." Booklist contributor Connie Fletcher called the book "an engrossing and beautifully written contemporary spy thriller."

The Secret Servant, the next in the Allon series, finds Allon with the dual mission of locating the U.S. president's goddaughter, Elizabeth Halton, who has been kidnapped, while also determining why a terrorism analyst has been murdered in Amsterdam by a Muslim immigrant. His search takes him all over Europe, as terrorist attacks pepper the continent, and not all of the countries affected are willing to take an active role in helping him as they do not feel the Islamic extremists are a viable threat. Robert Conroy, writing for Library Journal, wrote that "the exploits of Allon and his team make for great entertainment and a thought-provoking cautionary tale."



Book, March, 2001, Randy Michael Signor, review of The Kill Artist, p. 83.

Booklist, February 15, 1998, Wes Lukowsky, review of The Mark of the Assassin, p. 949; February 1, 1999, Wes Lukowsky, review of The Marching Season, p. 942; January 1, 2002, Connie Fletcher, review of The English Assassin, p. 777; January 1, 2003, Joanne Wilkinson, review of The Confessor, p. 809; January 1, 2004, Connie Fletcher, review of A Death in Vienna, p. 790; February 1, 2005, Joanne Wilkinson, review of Prince of Fire, p. 918; July 1, 2006, Connie Fletcher, review of The Messenger, p. 8; May 15, 2007, Connie Fletcher, review of The Secret Servant, p. 5.

Current Biography, April, 2007, "Silva, Daniel," p. 73.

Entertainment Weekly, July 28, 2006, Tim Stack, review of The Messenger, p. 69; July 27, 2007, Jennifer Reese, review of The Secret Servant, p. 71.

Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2002, review of The Confessor, p. 1799; January 1, 2004, review of A Death in Vienna, p. 14.

Library Journal, December, 1996, Barbara Conaty, review of The Unlikely Spy, p. 147; February 15, 1999, Barbara Conaty, review of The Marching Season, p. 186; February 1, 2002, Barbara Conaty, review of The English Assassin, p. 133; July 1, 2006, Ron Terpening, review of The Messenger, p. 72; May 15, 2007, Robert Conroy, review of The Secret Servant, p. 84.

New York Times Book Review, February 9, 1997, Scott Veale, review of The Unlikely Spy, p. 20.

People, January 13, 1997, J.D. Reed, review of The Unlikely Spy, p. 34; March 16, 1998, William Plummer, review of The Mark of the Assassin, p. 38.

Publishers Weekly, December 2, 1996, review of The Unlikely Spy, p. 42; March 2, 1998, review of The Mark of the Assassin, p. 57; February 1, 1999, review of The Marching Season, p. 78; November 27, 2000, review of The Kill Artist, p. 56; April 1, 2002, Adam Dunn, "The Allure of Intelligence," p. 46; January 14, 2002, review of The English Assassin, p. 36; January 20, 2003, review of The Confessor, p. 809; January 12, 2004, review of A Death in Vienna, p. 35; January 24, 2005, review of Prince of Fire, p. 221; June 19, 2006, review of The Messenger, p. 40; May 21, 2007, review of The Secret Servant, p. 32; June 4, 2007, "PW Talks with Daniel Silva: A Terrorist Threat; In Daniel Silva's Seventh Gabriel Allon Thriller, The Secret Servant, the Israeli Spymaster Takes on Islamic Extremists Based in Europe," p. 26.

Writer, September, 2004, Daniel Silva, "How I Write," p. 66.

ONLINE, (March 8, 2002), Ann Burns, "Daniel Silva Interview" and review of The English Assassin; (July 28, 2003), Ava Dianne Day, review of The Confessor.

Books "n" Bytes, (July 28, 2003), Harriet Klausner, reviews of The English Assassin and The Confessor.

Daniel Silva Home Page, (August 30, 2005).

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Online, (April 21, 2002), Karen Carlin, review of The English Assassin.

Readers Read, (July 28, 2003), Claire E. White, review of The English Assassin.

Under the Covers, (October 2, 2002), Terry Matthews, review of The English Assassin.

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Silva, Daniel 1960-

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