The English Girl is a Gabriel Allon story by Daniel Silva; I've read a few of these since the first one I found in the English language section of an Italian bookstore in the town I was visiting. The selections was small so I figured it would make much difference, and I was pleasantly surprised. Since then I've read a few of Silva's books and they've been pretty good. I actually had another one on my list to read next: The Fallen Angel, but I couldn't find it and found this one instead. I had planned to read a non-fiction story a few books ago and kept putting it off. This was one of the infills.
The English girl in question disappears under some pretty mysterious circumstances while vacationing with some friends on a tropical island. This particular girl happens to work for the British government, but not in a very lofty position. One that wouldn't normally require British secret service to look into, but they do need to look into it because this particular girl happens to be pretty closely connected to someone pretty high up in British governance. So high up that they can't even risk British secret service being involved, so they turn to Gabriel Allon for a favor.
The plan is pretty simple, find out where she is and get her back before they kill her.
It doesn't go according to plan.
Allon is an interesting character because he becomes too personally involved in his work. What other spy novel writer constantly remind us is that this kind of personal involvement gets you killed; but in Allon's case, its an asset. What typically surprises me is how a character that can be so caring, can also be so brutal when it comes to carrying out his duties, but Silva manages to make that dichotomy balance in this character. I think its why he's so fun to read.
I also sense the emergence of a new character in this book, and I get the feeling we'll see this character again. its a mystery