Daniel Silva is that rare thing — a popular writer who is also a true creative artist and consummate master of his craft. If you picked up one of his books, you may have fallen in love and are now looking for a list of all the Daniel Silva books in order to continue your reading splurge.
Daniel Silva’s compelling books will engage your mind, emotions, and imagination in a way few other thriller writers can manage. Widely acclaimed, Silva is arguably the best American “spy” writer ever. His books are literate, brilliant, convincing, utterly engaging, and thought-provoking.
The main protagonist of all but three of Silva’s books is enigmatic Gabriel Allon, spy/assassin and artist/art restorer. The diverse settings of the novels include events linked to the Holocaust and World War II, the Russian crime scene and Islamic terrorism. They also afford tantalizing and fascinating insights into the world of art and art restoration.
Before we dive into the list of Daniel Silva books in order, let’s take a look at the man himself.
Who is Daniel Silva?
Award-winning Daniel Silva is the writer of the compelling and often haunting best-selling thriller/espionage novels featuring the intriguing Gabriel Allon. Silva’s writing career launched in 1997 with his electrifying debut novel, The Unlikely Spy. Silva’s novels also feature other strong protagonists like CIA officer Michael Osbourne and international hitman, Jean-Paul Delaroche.
Daniel Silva was born in Michigan, but grew up in California where he received a BA degree from California State University. Though he always knew he wanted to be a writer, his first job was as a journalist. He was working towards a Master’s in International Relations when he was invited by United Press International to cover the 1984 San Francisco Democratic National Convention.
It was later that same year that Silva joined UPI full-time. He worked for them in various capacities, before becoming their Middle East correspondent. Silva met his wife, Jamie Gangel, in 1987 while he was covering the Iran-Iraq war. He returned to Washington to join CNN where he became a talk show executive producer.
But his dreams of becoming a writer were still strong, and in 1995 he began work on his debut novel. The Unlikely Spy was an instant bestseller and he left CNN in 1997 to pursue writing full time.
Since then, Silva’s books have been published in more than 30 languages around the world.
Who is the intriguing Gabriel Allon?
Gabriel Allon is the main character and title of Daniel Silva’s most prevalent series. Allon is a painter, art restorer, Israeli secret agent, and spy. He wasn’t introduced until Silva’s fourth novel — The Kill Artist — was published, but Allon’s been captivating fans ever since its publication in 2000.
The advent of this character took Silva’s career to a whole new level. Gabriel Allon has justifiably been described as one of the most compelling, multi-faceted, and interesting characters in contemporary fiction.
The Gabriel Allon series takes place in the complex world of Israeli intelligence. Allon’s career began when he avenged the killing of the Israeli Olympic athletes by the terror group Black September in 1972. Before this assignment Allon had a promising career as a painter, which is apparent in the books with his passion for art and art restoration.
Other threads that appear within the series are that Allon grew up in a secular Jewish home in Israel by parents who were Holocaust survivors. As well, his first language is German. He speaks fluent English, Hebrew, Italian and French, as well as passable Spanish and Arabic.
All of this creates a nuanced, captivating protagonist that has become beloved by fans during the past two decades.
Daniel Silva Books in Order of Publication
For simplicity, I’ve separated this list of Daniel Silva books in order not only by publication date, but also by series.
- The Unlikely Spy (1995)
The Michael Osbourne Series
The Gabriel Allon series
- The Kill Artist (2000)
- The English Assassin (2002)
- The Confessor (2003)
- A Death in Vienna (2004)
- Prince of Fire (2005)
- The Messenger (2006)
- The Secret Servant (2007)
- Moscow Rules (2008)
- The Defector (2009)
- The Rembrandt Affair (2010)
- Portrait of a Spy (2011)
- The Fallen Angel (2012)
- The English Girl (2013)
- The Heist (2014)
- The English Spy (2015)
- The Black Widow (2016)
- House of Spies (2017)
- The Other Woman (2018)
- The New Girl (2019)
- The Order (2020)
- The Cellist (2021)
- Portrait of an Unknown Woman (Expected publication: July 19, 2022)
Do I Need to Read Daniel Silva Books in Order?
Though each book works as a standalone novel, you should read the Daniel Silva books in order. There is definitely a progression from novel-to-novel in regards to overall plot and character development, history, and Allon’s personal history.
Reading the books in order helps you grasp these elements as the characters grow older and their personal circumstances change, often drastically.
Each novel definitely builds on and draws on previous books. Therefore, reading them in order deepens one’s understanding and appreciation of Allon’s journey and the growth of his and other characters’ relationships.
Understanding these elements and the subtle nuances in the books enhances your appreciation and engagement with the novels. Predictably later books will also frequently act like “spoilers” of earlier books.
But since you still can pick up any book and read it, let’s take a closer look at each of the Daniel Silva books in order.
Summary of Daniel Silva Books in Order
For the purposes of this summary section, I will only be looking at the Gabriel Allon series of the Daniel Silva books in order.
1. The Kill Artist
When we meet Gabriel Allon he has already concluded a brutal job. This was to track down and assassinate the Black September terrorists who massacred the Israeli Olympic athletes in Munich in 1972. The personal cost of this mission is terrible as his wife and son died due to a car bomb. Allon quits and retreats into the quiet life of an art restorer.
However, when peace negotiations in the Middle East are at risk, Ari Shamron, head of Israeli intelligence, needs Allon’s unique skills. Allon comes up against a deadly enemy from his past, Palestinian zealot, Tariq.
Allon’s “supporting cast” consists of sage-like Ari Shamron, an amusing and slightly seedy London art dealer, and a stunning French/Jewish model who seeks justice for her family who died in the Holocaust. The ensuing riveting manhunt takes readers across three continents against a background of political intrigue.
2. The English Assassin
The English Assassin finds its origins in fact. It delves into Switzerland’s inglorious WWII history of profiteering and collaboration with the Nazi regime. It is a masterly-crafted thriller that will disconcert readers with unexpected twists and turns, and keep them riveted right to the end.
Gabriel Allon, occasional Israeli agent and art restorer, goes to Zurich to restore a Raphael for a reclusive banking millionaire. On arrival, he finds his client dead below the painting. A collection of priceless looted Impressionist masterpieces has also disappeared.
Gabriel finds himself drawn back into the spy game as he has to pit his wits and skills against a rogue assassin he himself trained!
3. The Confessor
In Venice, art restorer and Israeli agent Gabriel Allon gets the news that an esteemed Jewish scholar has been assassinated in Munich. He sets aside his brushes and sets out immediately.
In Rome, the new Pope vows to lay bare the truth of the Roman Catholic church’s actions during the Holocaust. However, a powerful cardinal plots and plans as he follows his own sinister agenda. Millions of lives are impacted as Silva takes his readers along a dark and secret trail. Unthinkable actions are revealed as a veil is lifted on the Vatican’s murky past. And, of course, the life of a single man is always expendable…
4. A Death in Vienna
When a bombing gravely injures an old friend, Gabriel Allon goes to Vienna to track down the truth. But he finds more than he expects and uncovers something that rocks the foundations of his world. It is a hauntingly familiar face from the past that chills his heart.
As Gabriel frantically searches for answers, he uncovers a 60-year old evil that has impacted thousands of lives and even informs his own nightmares.
5. Prince of Fire
Allon is back in Venice when a dreadful explosion occurs in Rome. This leads to an intensely disturbing revelation for Allon on a personal level. A dossier laying bare his life about and revealing his most personal secrets is in the hands of terrorists.
Gabriel finds himself back in the secret service as he tracks an elusive arch-terrorist. His quest takes him along a confusing, bewildering and blood-soaked trail — who is, in fact, stalking whom? The inevitable showdown lays bare not only Gabriel’s life, because he is not the only one on the brink of ruination.
6. The Messenger
Is Gabriel Allon, art restorer and occasional spy, about to face his greatest challenge yet? He has barely recovered from a grueling confrontation with an arch-Palestinian terrorist, when Monsignor Luigi Donati, the private secretary of Pope Paul VII, arrives in Jerusalem to see him.
Donati is as ruthless as he is brilliant, but he needs Allon’s help. A young Swiss guard, found dead in St. Peter’s Basilica, has been labeled a suicide. However, Donati’s instincts make him suspect murder and tells him that the Pope is himself in great danger.
As Gabriel reluctantly begins to investigate, he rapidly comes to the conclusion that Donati has every reason to be concerned. As he follows a tortuous trail, Allon uncovers lies, conspiracy and deception. Are they really facing an enemy whose sinister aim is simply the most daring assassination ever envisaged?
7. The Secret Servant
After successfully dealing with Saudi terrorist financier, Zizi al-Bakari, Gabriel is in Amsterdam to sanitize the archives of an Israeli asset, a murdered Dutch terrorism analyst. While in the city, he uncovers a plot about to play out in London. The American ambassador’s daughter is about to be kidnapped.
He races to London, but arrives too late to save her. Therefore, he must embark on a desperate race against time to save her. How will Gabriel deal with circumstances that not only compromise his conscience but also threaten his life?
8. Moscow Rules
In the “new” Moscow critics are not tolerated. It is the death of a journalist that draws Gabriel Allon to Moscow where a new generation of Stalinists plot to rebuild an empire. Unless Gabriel Allon can stop him, ex-KGB officer turned wealthy oligarch cum arms dealer, Ivan Kharkov, will deliver Russia’s most destructive weapons into the hands of the US’s most dangerous enemy, al-Qaeda.
And this is a new Moscow. It is full of new oil-rich elite in fancy cars who will challenge the global dominance of their old traditional enemy, the United States. But is Gabriel Allon out of his depth as he now has to play by Moscow’s rules? If Allon can’t establish the place and time of the arms delivery, will the world see a terror attack on a par with 9/11?
9. The Defector
The Defector takes place six months after the dramatic denouement of Moscow Rules. Gabriel and his new wife, Chiara, are back in Umbria to resume their honeymoon while Gabriel restores a 17th century altarpiece for the Vatican.
But shocking news from London disrupts their idyllic life once again. The former Russian intelligence officer turned defector, Grigori Bulganov, has disappeared. While British Intelligence writes him off as a double agent, Gabriel knows better. Grigori saved his life in Moscow, and Gabriel made a promise to not let Grigori lie in an unmarked grave. And Gabriel always honors his debts.
So he gets his team together to go after the perpetrators. It means coming up against ruthless Russian oligarch and arms dealer, Ivan Kharkov, again. The mission takes them from London, to Lake Como, Geneva and Zurich, and finally plays out in a snow-deep birch forest in Russia.
10. The Rembrandt Affair
Free from the Office again, Gabriel Allon is living in the wilds of Cornwall with his beautiful wife Chiara. But their blissful solitude is interrupted by idiosyncratic London art dealer, Julian Isherwood, who has a problem only Gabriel can help with. In ancient Glastonbury, an art restorer has been brutally murdered, and a Rembrandt portrait has gone missing.
Initially reluctant, Gabriel agrees to apply his unique abilities to search for the painting. His search takes him from Amsterdam to Buenos Aires, and then to a villa on the edge of Lake Geneva. But what is the terrible secret linked to the painting, and who are evil men connected to it?
And is the powerful Swiss billionaire philanthropist all that he seems?
11. Portrait of a Spy
With his failure to stop a suicide bomber in London still preying on his mind, Gabriel Allon goes to Washington to confront the new face of global terror — an American-born, former CIA-asset, now a cleric in Yemen.
To destroy the threat from the inside, Gabriel must go back into his violent past. He must call on his connection with a reclusive heiress and art collector who is also the daughter of an old enemy. Gabriel’s bond with her is a highly unlikely and indeed dangerous one, but she is able to move between the West and Islam.
This fast-paced story moves from the art and intelligence worlds in Washington, New York and London, to a gripping and haunting climax in the harsh Saudi desert.
12. The Fallen Angel
Reluctant spy, Gabriel Allon, has withdrawn to the sanctuary of the Vatican to restore a Caravaggio masterpiece. Early one morning, Monsignor Luigi Donati, private secretary of Pope Paul VII, summons him to the Basilica where the broken body of a beautiful woman lies beneath Michelangelo’s soaring dome. Though the Vatican police see it as a suicide, Gabriel and Donati believe otherwise. Monsignor Donati calls on Gabriel to inquire — discreetly.
As Gabriel investigates, he establishes that the dead woman had come across a shocking secret. Her discovery posed a huge threat to a global criminal organization that was stealing and selling treasures of antiquity. But this enterprise is driven by more than greed. An act of sabotage so monstrous is being planned that it has the potential to unleash a conflict of truly cataclysmic impact.
13. The English Girl
A rising star of Britain’s governing party, Madeline Hart is intelligent, beautiful and driven to succeed. She also has a dangerous secret — she is the lover of Jonathan Lancaster, who just happens to be the prime minister.
When she is kidnapped, Lancaster is told that he has seven days before she is killed. Fearful of a scandal that could damage his career, Lancaster opts for handling the matter privately rather than involving the police.
So, yes, you guessed it — enter Gabriel Allon stage left. As a master assassin, spy, and art restorer of note, Gabriel can be trusted to navigate a dangerous situation and the minefield of political intrigue with care, rare skills and subtlety.
The riveting narrative moves from the corridors of power in London, to the underbelly of criminal Marseilles, via a remote valley in Provence to a heart-stopping finale in Moscow.
14. The Heist
Gabriel Allon, assassin, legendary Israeli spy, and master art restorer is in Venice when he is urgently summoned by the Italian police. London art dealer, Justin Isherwood, came across a murder scene, and is currently being held as a potential suspect.
The murdered man is a trafficker of stolen artwork. If Gabriel wants to save Isherwood, he has to track down what is probably the world’s most iconic missing painting: Caravaggio’s Nativity with St Francis and St Lawrence.
Gabriel’s challenging mission takes him from Marseilles and Corsica, via Paris and Geneva, to an Austrian private bank. Here he has to confront the dangerous man who guards the illicit plunder of a brutal and conscienceless dictator.
15. The English Spy
The target is an iconic member of the British royal family. When a bomb explodes aboard her holiday yacht, British Intelligence turns to legendary spy, assassin and master art restorer, Gabriel Allon, to track down her killer.
Gabriel is looking for Eamon Quinn, a mercenary and master bomb maker, who works for the highest bidder. Gabriel is accompanied by Christopher Keller, an ex-British commando now professional assassin who has reason to know Quinn’s murderous craft only too well.
And though Gabriel does not yet know this, he is in pursuit of an old enemy. An evil coterie that wants nothing more than to see him dead as Gabriel and Chiara await the birth of their twins babies.
16. The Black Widow
Legendary assassin, spy, and art restorer, Gabriel Allon, is about to become the new chief of Israel’s Secret Intelligence Service. But before this can happen, events draw him into the field for a final operation. ISIS is responsible for a devastating bomb in Le Marais district of Paris. Desperate French officials want Gabriel to eliminate Saladin, the terrorist responsible, before he can strike again.
But Saladin is so elusive that even his nationality is completely unknown. His network communicates in total secrecy with the aid of sophisticated encryption software. Gabriel has no choice but to insert an agent into the terrorist network. Natalie Mizrahi is a brave and beautiful young doctor who will pose as a viable ISIS recruit, a black widow out for revenge.
17. House of Spies
After the deadly attacks in America and London’s West End, Gabriel Allon is back to hunt down the world’s most dangerous and hated terrorist, the elusive ISIS mastermind Saladin.
Their hunt leads Gabriel Allon and his team to the south of France and the doorstep of drug-lord Jean-Luc Martel and beautiful former British model, Olivia Watson. They seem an unlikely choice to become instrumental in the global war on terrorism, but under Gabriel’s deft and skilled hands that is indeed what happens.
18. The Other Woman
An unknown Frenchwoman starts writing her memoirs in an isolated hill town in Andalusia. She tells the story of the man she loved years before in Beirut, and of the child who was treasonously taken from her. The woman is the keeper of the Kremlin’s most jealously guarded secret. A KGB mole was inserted long ago into the inner heart of the West, and now stands on the very doorstep of paramount power.
Gabriel Allon, art restorer, spy, assassin, and current chief of Israel’s Secret Intelligence Service, is the only man who can decipher the riddle. Gabriel is drawn into the hunt for the mole when his most valuable asset within Russian Intelligence is killed in Vienna whilst trying to defect. Gabriel’s mission will take him back to the 20th Century’s most heinous act of treason, and to a final enthralling climax along the Potomac River outside Washington.
19. The New Girl
Mystery surrounds the beautiful dark-haired girl who arrives each morning at an exclusive private school with enough pomp for a head of state. In fact, her father is Crown Prince Khalid bin Mohammed of Saudi Arabia. Once honored for his forward-looking religious and social reforms, he is now pilloried for his part in the killing of a dissenting journalist.
When his daughter is kidnapped, the Prince turns to the one man he feels he can trust, Gabriel Allon, the chief of Israeli Intelligence. Prince Khalid has sworn to break the bond between the Saudi Kingdom and fanatical, radical Islam. So Gabriel regards him as a flawed but valuable partner in the deadly secret war for ultimate control of the Middle East.
Both the life of a girl and the throne of Saudi Arabia hang in the balance as these unlikely allies work together in what is not just a riveting story, but also a sophisticated look at political alliances and the alpha-power rivalries in a dangerously divided world.
20. The Order
Gabriel Allon is in Venice on holiday with Chiara and the twins, Irene and Raphael. Archbishop Luigi Donati summons him to Rome when Pope Paul VII dies unexpectedly, supposedly of a heart attack. But Donati suspects murder — the Swiss guard on duty outside the papal apartments the night the Pope died, is missing. A letter the Pope was writing to Gabriel the night he died is also gone.
The letter dealt with a long-suppressed gospel that calls the accuracy of the most momentous events in the New Testament into question. Will the Order of St. Helena stop at anything to keep that letter out of Gabriel’s hands? And is there really an amorphous far-right Catholic society that is conspiring to take to control of the Papacy?
21. The Cellist
Viktor Orlov, once Russia’s richest man, has waged a relentless crusade against the kleptarchy that has taken control of the Kremlin. But Viktor Orlov is a dead man walking, as the saying goes. He now lives in luxurious exile in a heavily fortified Chelsea mansion in London.
And then Orlov is indeed killed, by having documents contaminated with a lethal nerve agent delivered to his house by one of his employees, a well-known investigative reporter working for the anti-Kremlin Moskovskaya Gazeta. When she disappears mere hours after Orlov’s death, MI6 come to the conclusion that she was a Moscow Center assassin.
But Gabriel Allon does not agree. He owes his life to Viktor Orlov, and wants the truth. Can Gabriel Allon, working with a brilliant young employee of the world’s dirtiest bank, stop the destructive machinations of the subversive Haydn Group?
The Cellist is a provocative and daring book that voices a stark warning about the fragile state of democracy and the corrupting influence of big money.
In Gabriel Allon, Daniel Silva has created a remarkable, multi-faceted, and often tortured character who makes us question our truths just as he questions his. One hesitates to draw the parallel, but could Allon be the thinking person’s James Bond?
22. Portrait of an Unknown Woman
A gripping story of deception in the world of international fine art. Restorer and spy Gabriel Allon embarks on a dangerous hunt across Europe for the secret behind the forgery of a 17th century masterpiece that has fooled experts and exchanged hands for millions.
Bestselling author Daniel Silva follows up his acclaimed #1 New York Times bestsellers The Cellist, The Order and The New Girl with this stunning new novel.
More details to come.
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