I ended up going back to buy a second title, which I finished just after I got home. I'll write about that one next. This one is by Daniel Silva, titled The Defector. Its an adventure including a recurring Silva character named Gabriel Allon, an Israeli secret service agent whose cover is an art restorer working for the pope and living in Umbria, Italy--a connection to my vacation that I enjoyed. As I read, I got the feeling that this one follows hard on the heels of another book, which after a quick look turns out to be Moscow Rules. If you're interested in reading the Gabriel Allon books in order, check it out here.
Gabriel Allon isn't fooling around. He takes what he does seriously, and personally. And if actually gets personal, he takes it to the next level. Allon is an interesting character. I can't say that I've never read of a character like him, because he has a lot of the same traits we often see in super spy types. He seems to be put together a little differently. We don't see a lot of super spies that both refuse promotions and have committed personal relationships. We also don't see a lot of super spies with the education and training to be fine art restorers and have the stomach for extreme prejudice 'wet work'.
This story finds Allon taken away from the life it seems like he'd rather be living to help out someone he helped in the past: a defector whose got himself in a bind. As one can imagine, things quickly escalate until until the proverbial pucky hits the fan. The Defector is fast, grim, brutal, tense, well plotted and sometimes tricksy. This is the first Daniel Silva book I recall reading, and based on this I may look around for some of his other stuff.
One more book on the Italian trip to go, then I've got some more bookmarks to share!