The Kill Artist (Gabriel Allon Series #1)

The Kill Artist (Gabriel Allon Series #1)

by Daniel Silva

NOOK Book(eBook)

View All Available Formats & Editions

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now


From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Other Woman comes the first novel in the thrilling series featuring legendary assassin Gabriel Allon.

Immersed in the quiet, meticulous life of an art restorer, former Israeli intelligence operative Gabriel Allon keeps his past well behind him. But now he is being called back into the game—and teamed with an agent who hides behind her own a beautiful fashion model.  

Their target: a cunning terrorist on one last killing spree, a Palestinian zealot who played a dark part in Gabriel’s past. And what begins as a manhunt turns into a globe-spanning duel fueled by both political intrigue and deep personal passions...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440627903
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/06/2004
Series: Gabriel Allon Series , #1
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 291
File size: 518 KB

About the Author

Daniel Silva is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Unlikely Spy, The Mark of the Assassin, The Marching Season, and the Gabriel Allon series, including The Kill Artist, The English Assassin, The Confessor, A Death in Vienna, Prince of Fire, The Messenger, The Secret Servant, Moscow Rules, The Defector, The Rembrandt Affair, Portrait of a Spy, The Fallen Angel, The English Girl, The Heist, The English Spy, The Black Widow, and House of Spies. His books are published in more than thirty countries and are bestsellers around the world.

Date of Birth:


Place of Birth:


Read an Excerpt

By coincidence Timothy Peel arrived in the village the same week in July as the stranger. He and his mother moved into a ramshackle cottage at the head of the tidal creek with her latest lover, a struggling playwright named Derek, who drank too much wine and detested children. The stranger arrived two days later, settling into the old foreman’s cottage just up the creek from the oyster farm.

Peel had little to do that summer—when Derek and his mother weren’t making clamorous love, they were taking inspirational forced marches along the cliffs—so he determined to find out exactly who the stranger was and what he was doing in Cornwall. Peel decided the best way to begin was to watch. Because he was eleven, and the only child of divorced parents, Peel was well schooled in the art of human observation and investigation. Like any good surveillance artist, he required a fixed post. He settled on his bedroom window, which had an unobstructed view over the creek. In the storage shed he found a pair of ancient Zeiss binoculars, and at the village store he purchased a small notebook and ballpoint pen for recording his watch report.

The first thing Peel noticed was that the stranger liked old objects. His car was a vintage MG roadster. Peel would watch from his window as the man hunched over the motor for hours at a time, his back poking from beneath the bonnet. A man of great concentration, Peel concluded. A man of great mental endurance.

After a month the stranger vanished. A few days passed, then a week, then a fortnight. Peel feared the stranger had spotted him and taken flight. Bored senseless without the routine of watching, Peel got into trouble. He was caught hurling a rock though the window of a tea shop in the village. Derek sentenced him to a week of solitary confinement in his bedroom.

But that evening Peel managed to slip out with his binoculars. He walked along the quay, past the stranger’s darkened cottage and the oyster farm, and stood at the point where the creek fed into the Helford River, watching the sailboats coming in with the tide. He spotted a ketch heading in under power. He raised the binoculars to his eyes and studied the figure standing at the wheel.

The stranger had come back to Port Navas.

The ketch was old and badly in need of restoration, and the stranger cared for it with the same devotion he had shown his fickle MG. He toiled for several hours each day: sanding, varnishing, painting, polishing brass, changing lines and canvas. When the weather was warm he would strip to the waist. Peel couldn’t help but compare the stranger’s body with Derek’s. Derek was soft and flabby; the stranger was compact and very hard, the kind of man you would quickly regret picking a fight with. By the end of August his skin had turned nearly as dark as the varnish he was so meticulously applying to the deck of the ketch.

He would disappear aboard the boat for days at a time. Peel had no way to follow him. He could only imagine where the stranger was going. Down the Helford to the sea? Around the Lizard to St. Michael’s Mount or Penzance? Maybe around the cape to St. Ives.

Then Peel hit upon another possibility. Cornwall was famous for its pirates; indeed, the region still had its fair share of smugglers. Perhaps the stranger was running the ketch out to sea to meet cargo vessels and ferry contraband to shore.

The next time the stranger returned from one of his voyages, Peel stood a strict watch in his window, hoping to catch him in the act of removing contraband from the boat. But as he leaped from the prow of the ketch onto the quay, he had nothing in his hands but a canvas rucksack and plastic rubbish bag.

The stranger sailed for pleasure, not profit.

Peel took out his notebook and drew a line through the word smuggler.

The large parcel arrived the first week of September, a flat wooden crate, nearly as big as a barn door. It came in a van from London, accompanied by an agitated man in pinstripes. The stranger’s days immediately assumed a reverse rhythm. At night the top floor of the cottage burned with light—not normal light, Peel observed, but a very clear white light. In the mornings, when Peel left home for school, he would see the stranger heading down the creek in the ketch, or working on his MG, or setting off in a pair of battered hiking boots to pound the footpaths of the Helford Passage. Peel supposed he slept afternoons, though he seemed like a man who could go a long time without rest.

Peel wondered what the stranger was doing all night. Late one evening he decided to have a closer look. He pulled on a sweater and coat and slipped out of the cottage without telling his mother. He stood on the quay. looking up at the stranger’s cottage. The windows were open; a sharp odor hung on the air, something between rubbing alcohol and petrol. He could also hear music of some sort—singing, opera perhaps.

Table of Contents

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

[A] heart-stopping complex yarn of international terrorism and intrigue...A thrilling roller-coaster ride, keeping readers guessing until the mind-bending conclusion." —Publishers Weekly

Reading Group Guide

1. Gabriel Allon's work as one of the world's foremost art restorers has significant parallels to his work as one of the world’s foremost intelligence operatives. Indeed, the part titles of The Kill Artist allude to these parallels: Part One, "Acquisition"; Part Two, "Assessment"; and Part Three, "Restoration." What are the various parallels suggested by these part titles? What are the similarities between Gabriel's work in art restoration and his work in intelligence operations? The goal of the art restorer is to restore a painting so well that it's nearly impossible to tell the difference between the restorer's work and the original artist's. How is a similar kind of deception and layering of identity a part of intelligence work?

2. One of the epigraphs of the book is the motto of the Israeli secret service, the Mossad: "By way of deception, thou shalt do war." It turns out that in various ways this motto applies just as much to the workings within the Israeli secret service as it does to their dealings with their enemies. Towards the end of the novel, Yassir Arafat alludes to just that aspect when he says of Ari Shamron, "Shamron makes a habit of never letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing." How does Shamron employ this method through the course of the plan to assassinate Tariq? In many ways his plan is a brilliant success as a result. What negative consequences result from his method?

3. Ari Shamron trained Gabriel to become one of the world's best intelligence operatives. In the process, Gabriel became Shamron's best and most prized student and the two ended up working closely togetherfor many years. Such a relationship necessarily draws its strength from the bonds of trust and loyalty that are established, but at the same time of course their relationship is not immune to deception, given their environment. How does Shamron deceive Gabriel and vice versa, and how do their deceptions affect their relationship, both professional and personal? What can one say about their relationship by the novel's end?

4. Near the beginning of the novel, Gabriel says to Ari Shamron, "When you look into a man's eyes while pouring lead into his body, it feels more like murder than war." Shamron replies, "It's not murder, Gabriel. It was never murder."The distinction between murder and war in this novel is obviously extremely murky and complex. What lines of reasoning might one follow in support of Gabriel's position? And Shamron's? What is it in each of their characters and/or life experiences that causes them to disagree?

5. Part of Gabriel's reason for agreeing to help Shamron assassinate Tariq is that he thinks, perhaps consciously, perhaps not, that it may help him get past his family tragedy. Do you think that in the end he succeeds in this? Why or why not? Gabriel feels Israel can never be his home, yet for Jacqueline (Sarah), it becomes her home and brings her a measure of peace. Why so for her and not for Gabriel?

6. Much of the action that takes place in this novel results from a mingling of extremely complicated motivations: nationalism and ideals connected with love of one's homeland and of one's family on the one hand and one's own personal success or aggrandizement or vendetta or romantic love on the other. How do these motivations mingle in the case of Shamron's plan to assassinate Tariq and rehabilitate the reputation of the Israeli secret service within Israel? What about in the case of Gabriel? Tariq? Jacqueline Delacroix?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Kill Artist (Gabriel Allon Series #1) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 272 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In Daniel Silva's latest thriller, The Kill Artist, he not only continues the suspense created in The Mark Of The Assasin, he exceeds it. This book can't miss being a sure-fire smash with all readers who like international espionage thrillers; and it will keep you glued to the edge of your seat. Silva's writing style is so 'grabbing' it will make you feel that you're personally there in the middle of the action. The action is non-stop, the plot is excitng and includes several surprises, and the characters are so fully developed, you'll think you really know them. If you're looking for a book in which you can fully 'get lost', get yourself a copy of The Kill Artist as soon as you can.
musiciansinthekitchen More than 1 year ago
Another great installment in the Gabriel Allon series by Silva. Definitely a suggested read!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
nice book.but compared to spy masters like ludlum and forsyth,doesnt come close.but all the same a decent book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just finished my first book by Daniel Silva, The Kill Artist. It was the BEST book I have read in years! I could not put it down and was sorry when it was finished. The female lead (Sarah/Jacqueline/Dominique) reminded me so much of Charlie in Le Carre¿s Little Drummer Girl, in the way she was deceived and led to do things by duplicitous men she loved. I am now starting The Confessor and hope it is even half as good. I plan to get all his books. So thankful there is another writer whose thriller/spy novels I can look forward to getting my hands on (like Ludlum, Forsythe, Follett, etc.).
Guest More than 1 year ago
As an avid reader it is easy to predict the ending for many novels however Silva continues to keep you on the edge of your seat and turning pages. Nothing is ever as it seems Gabriel is a genuine character that is caught between something he believes in and trying to get on with his life. Great read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have just finished three of Silva's books ending with the Kill Artist. He writes sparingly and well, and the action keeps the reader tied to the book. And for those who have read his other books, there is a not so hidden moment in Kill Artist when a terrorist meets an assassin. You will like it!
eBook-Aficionado More than 1 year ago
Dan Silva continually gets stronger as his Gabriel Allon series moves along. Perhaps his writing muscles are reaching their peak potential, but I rather think his knowledge of the lead character has brought him to a point where the story propels forward personally. This engages us, as we too get to care for our art restorer-spy, the one whose painful troubled past both threatens and enables him to face his present. A definite must read. Now on to the next one!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The author developed the character of Gabriel Allon very good. I loved the scenic descriptions as well as the reference to history/facts.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An excellant read-silva has taken the lead as a suspense/spy thriller writer as far as I am concerned.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Daniel Silva burst onto the scene with the Unlikely Spy and has followed it with the Mark of the Assassin and Marching Season. Each of his novels is unique in setting, characters and plot. What remains consistant is his thought, pace and intrigue. He is quite simply the best thriller writer today!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was ok
prussblue10 More than 1 year ago
Difficult to put down.
jbm More than 1 year ago
Well written, page turner, twist and turns everywhere!! My first Daniel Silva book, but not my last!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very easy book to read. Kept my interest and I really enjoyed the authors writing style...not sure what was different from the others but it was.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
great story line and development. Intriguing characters, cannot put them down. Intense descriptions.
paljbl More than 1 year ago
Just finished #4 in the Allon series and am looking forward to completing the series. Silva knows how to keep you interested in the story, preventing you from laying it aside 'til later.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very fast paced. A killer with a heart. Loved it.
Smarti212 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. A friend recommended the Allon series to me and I literally read through all 12 books in about 8 weeks. I was finishing one book every 4 days or so. Clearly this was the book that had to set the stage for my devouring all of the rest of them. You will absolutely enjoy this and all of the rest of them!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gabriel Allon is ¿the Kill Artist¿; a former assassin who worked clandestinely for the Israeli government. When we first meet him he is living in a remote English seaside village and working as an art restorer, a cover he used frequently during his covert operations. He is soon called out of retirement by his former boss, Ari Shamron, head of Israeli intelligence, and a calculating man with his own that may cost Gabriel his life. Ari needs Gabriel¿s talents to track down Tariq, an Palestinian assassin whose killing rampage is threatening the Middle East peace negotiations. Tariq and Gabriel have met before when Gabriel killed Tariq¿s brother in a very brutal manner, and Tariq avenged that death with a killing of his own...Gabriel¿s wife and son, making this a story of international intrigue and personal revenge. The stage is now set for a major showdown, but they must first cover three continents and weave through an array of cultures and characters to find each other. Gabriel is assisted by his former intelligence co-worker, a beautiful French girl named Jacqueline, whose family was killed in the Holocaust. Jacqueline is hesitant to join Gabriel on this assignment, but in the end it is love that prevails, and she plunges head first into Tariq¿s lair, a deadly trap that Gabriel may not be able to get her out of in time to save her life. What I love about Daniel Silva is his smooth and uncomplicated style. He has a 'rhythm' to his writing that hooks you somewhere in the beginning and stays with you long after you finish the book. It took me a little longer to warm up to these characters, probably because there isn¿t a lot happening in the way of relationships as there is in his other book _The Mark Of The Assassin_. Everyone is hiding behind their own specific job and agenda. They¿re all business. Still, the plot is riveting and the pace is solid. 4 and 1/2 stars. Highly recommended. His protagonist doesn¿t quite involve the readers as in his past works but this is definitely worth a buy.
Anonymous 10 days ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
and desperate for ONE female intro that doesnt include breasts...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think what may have killed this book for me was I read this just after reading John Le Carre's The Spy Who Came in from the Cold--and after having recently read Alan Furst and Eric Ambler while working through a recommendation list that included Silva among this number. I got spoiled and after reading the best in the espionage genre this struck me as nothing more than a generic pulp thriller with all the writing skill, complexity of characterization and plotting of a blow'm up rat-tat-tat of a popcorn chomping action adventure flick.It doesn't help that in the first hundred or so pages Silva rotates the points of views so quickly. I didn't get invested enough in any character early on to really get hooked. This is supposedly the first in a series of novels about Gabriel Allon, an Israeli agent fighting terrorists. We're introduced to him only as "the restorer" and then as "the stranger" and it's quite a while before he's linked to Gabriel Allon who seems less a starring player as just one in an ensemble cast. His opponent "Tariq" is the usual cut-out cardboard Muslim terrorist--as quick to execute a lover or someone on his own side as the enemy and without remorse. The style is decent enough, but nothing in the novel raised this to anything memorable among the many "dicklit" thrillers that spend some time in the bestseller list.
reading_fox on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fairly average thriller that starts off well with an unusual premise, but fails to hold it all the way through.Gabriel Allon was a stellar member of Israel's fabelled intelligence service Mossad. When his wife and daughter were the victims of a palastinian terrorist plot he retired and took up the descrete profession as an art restorer - not something that you'd have thought he'd have had time to learn properly. However with the servive's reputation in tatters, he is called back "one last time" to salvage their respect, and maybe settle old debts at the same time. His sole aid is a disenchanted beautiful, young but aging, model. Who, in one of the more unbelivable parts, suddenly finds how to fire pistols with extreme accuracy after many years without even holding one! - unlike every other professional sharpshooter.It's the details and belivability that turn a good book into a great one. And while this is well written and holds the interest, the details just don't quite work. The style is slightly faster than le Carre's Smilely era, but the general air is similar. The author does well in not getting too bogged down in the complex politics of Israel and Palastine, and sympathy can be found for both causes.Readable, but nothing special. Seems a poor hook for a series.I fyou wish to comment on this review please feel free to do so either on my profile or in the Review Discussions group - Here
FicusFan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this book for RL book group. It is for my mystery group and it is more thriller than mystery. It is took me a while, mostly because I wanted it to be over, and found it hard to pick up and easy to put down. The writing was good but that didn't help, it was the content that was the problem for me.I used to like this type of book when I was younger, but now it seems slick, superficial, smarmy and manipulative. I don't know if I have changed and matured, if after 9/11 I am less interested in the casual murder of others, or if this book is just not done well.Its very simplistic, the good guy can kill people and be called an assassin, because he is killing the bad guy. The bad guy kills people and is called a terrorist. Yet both are committing murder.The characters are Israelis and Palestinians, very predictably portrayed.The thing is both are human, both have family and friends who will be the ones to suffer the lingering damage of murder and it will cause another round of killing/dying/suffering.The murders are payback for previous wrongs and will most assuredly generate new murders.I suppose I can't fault the writer for not having a better solution or story, since we are struggling with the same issues in real life, but the author adds nothing new to the mix. It feels ghoulish and sad to watch these doomed people for entertainment purposes.The story follows Gabriel Allon who is a retired Israeli assassin. In retirement he uses his skill in art to become an art restorer. He of course is very good at it, so he lives a comfortable life, on the outside. On the inside he is troubled by his past actions, kindled by the memory of his wife and son being blown up in a car bomb.This was were I felt manipulated by the author. I thought Silva used the love of a family to make Allon seem less like a killer and more like a normal person. He is supposed to be seen as morally superior to his boss, the hard, scheming man who plans killings. Please. Then the bomb incident was two-fold, it made it seem like he had paid for his past evil, that he suffered and didn't get off free and of course it meant he could have sexy encounters with beautiful agents all while conforming to modern morality. I wanted to throw the book against a wall.The story is of the bad guy, Tariq a Palestinian assassin, killing high profile Jewish targets around the world. Allon's boss was also retired, but has been asked back because the current regime was bungling publicly. He of course talks Allon into returning. Allon will come back to hunt Tariq, because he is the one who blew up the car with Allon's wife and child in it.So this is not just protecting the innocent, avenging the wrongs done to the country of Israel and the Jewish people/religion/culture, but a personal vendetta. Hooks to catch the sympathy of many readers. I just felt the killings were there to provide justification for more killings. The bad guy Tariq kills an American too at the start. He uses unsuspecting women as cover, and then kills them. Since only American lives seem to be of value, that had to happen to make Tariq a bad guy we will really hate. To be fair, Silva gives Tariq a childhood of suffering extreme violence and the loss of family at the hands of the Israeli's in the refugee camps in Lebanon. Silva can say he is not one-sided, but presents both sides in a bad light. It means Tariq is also working for vengeance, and feels justified in his actions.The whole thing has the feeling of the calculus of hate and violence balanced so finely to make everything seem justified and inevitable. I just felt sad and dirty reading the book. The writing is very good, if shallow and slick. There are lots of summaries so that the information is packed in, but can be read quickly. Allon works with a beautiful high fashion model who is also an operative, and has romantic feelings for him. The guilt he feels about his family, prevents him from accepting her. Ho - Hum. The only inter