Putnam, Jul 2008, $26.95
Art restorer Alessio Vianelli also known in some secretive circles as Israeli master-spy Gabriel Allon is on his honeymoon with his second wife Chiara in Umbria when his friend and undercover associate Uzi Navot meets with him at an Assisi, Italy restaurant. Uzi, a senior official for the Israel secret intelligence service, informs Gabriel that Russian arms dealer Ivan Kharkov is selling weapons to al-Qaeda. The assumption is obvious that a planned major terrorist attack is forthcoming, but none of the western espionage agents knows which cell or where. Gabriel insists on investigating.
The tip came from inside Moscow as Ivan’s wife Elena warned the west. Gabriel believes she is the only avenue to who specifically her spouse is selling the weapons to; she must be recruited in order for her to obtain Kharkov's ledger sheet. Unknown to Gabriel and his associates is that the former Russian Colonel and his associates have grandiose schemes to return Russia to its Soviet Empire glory days and thanks to western, Chinese, and Indian thirst for oil, money is no longer an obstacle.
The Allon counterespionage series is one of the best spy thriller sagas on the market today; however his latest escapades in Moscow is fast-paced, but lacks the moral underpinnings that make the enemy seem human. Perhaps it is because MOSCOW RULES follows the fantastic THE SECRET SERVANT, which placed the spy thriller quality bar at stratospheric levels especially with the extraordinary explanation on how a person metamorphosis into a terrorist. In spite a shaky ending, Daniel Silva’s tale showcases a different no longer bleak Moscow in which oil money and America’s economic woes has made many think they can revisit and win the Cold War especially influential ruthless former military colonels.