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The Confessor
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The Confessor [Format Kindle]

Daniel Silva

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Gabriel Allon, Daniel Silva's protagonist in an interesting series about a Mossad spy who doubles as an art restorer, returns in a fascinating tale of Vatican complicity in the Holocaust. Author Silva, a political journalist turned espionage writer, has done his homework on some recently unearthed documents and written a fast-paced novel that will reawaken the discussion regarding whether the Catholic Church turned a blind eye to Nazi atrocities against Jews in occupied countries during World War II, and if so, why. Allon remains an enigmatic figure whose desire for revenge against the Leopard, the assassin who killed his wife and child, compels him to put down his paints and brushes and take arms against Israel's past and present enemies. The Confessor is a solidly plotted, well-crafted story that will appeal to fans of Allen Furst, John le Carré, and other standouts in the international espionage genre. --Jane Adams



The apartment house at Adalbertstrasse 68 was one of the few in the fashionable district of Schwabing yet to be overrun by Munich’s noisy and growing professional elite. Wedged between two red brick buildings that exuded prewar charm, No. 68 seemed rather like an ugly younger stepsister. Her façade was a cracked beige stucco, her form squat and graceless. As a result her suitors were a tenuous community of students, artists, anarchists, and unrepentant punk rockers, all presided over by an authoritarian caretaker named Frau Ratzinger, who, it was rumored, had been living in the original apartment house at No. 68 when it was leveled by an Allied bomb. Neighborhood activists derided the building as an eyesore in need of gentrification. Defenders said it exemplified the very sort of Bohemian arrogance that had once made Schwabing the Montmartre of Germany, the Schwabing of Hesse and Mann and Lenin. And Adolf Hitler, the professor working in the second-floor window might have been tempted to add, but few in the old neighborhood liked to be reminded of the fact that the young Austrian outcast had once found inspiration in these quiet tree-lined streets too.

To his students and colleagues, he was Herr Doktorprofessor Stern. To friends in the neighborhood he was just Benjamin; to the occasional visitor from home, he was Binyamin. In an anonymous stone-and-glass office complex in the north of Tel Aviv, where a file of his youthful exploits still resided despite his pleas to have it burned, he would always be known as Beni, youngest of Ari Shamron’s wayward sons. Officially, Benjamin Stern remained a member of the faculty at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, though for the past four years he had served as visiting professor of European studies at Munich’s prestigious Ludwig-Maximilian University. It had become something of a permanent loan, which was fine with Professor Stern. In an odd twist of historical fate, life was more pleasant for a Jew these days in Germany than in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.

The fact that his mother had survived the horrors of the Riga ghetto gave Professor Stern a certain dubious standing among the other tenants of No. 68. He was a curiosity. He was their conscience. They railed at him about the plight of the Palestinians. They gently asked him questions they dared not put to their parents and grandparents. He was their guidance counselor and trusted sage. They came to him for advice on their studies. They poured out their heart to him when they’d been dumped by a lover. They raided his fridge when they were hungry and pillaged his wallet when they were broke. Most importantly, he served as tenant spokesman in all disputes involving the dreaded Frau Ratzinger. Professor Stern was the only one in the building who did not fear her. They seemed to have a special relationship. A kinship. “It’s Stockholm Syndrome,” claimed Alex, a psychology student who lived on the top floor. “Prisoner and camp guard. Master and servant.” But it was more than that. The professor and the old woman seemed to speak the same language.

The previous year, when his book on the Wannsee Conference had become an international bestseller, Professor Stern had flirted with the idea of moving to a more stylish building, perhaps one with proper security and a view of the English Gardens. A place where the other tenants didn’t treat his flat as if it were an annex to their own. This had incited panic among the others. One evening they came to him en masse and petitioned him to stay. Promises were made. They would not steal his food, nor would they ask for loans when there was no hope of repayment. They would be more respectful of his need for quiet. They would come to him for advice only when it was absolutely necessary. The professor acquiesced, but within a month his flat was once again the de facto common room of Adalbertstrasse 68. Secretly, he was glad they were back. The rebellious children of No. 68 were the only family Benjamin Stern had left.

The clatter of a passing streetcar broke his concentration. He looked up in time to see it disappear behind the canopy of a chestnut tree, then glanced at his watch. Eleven-thirty. He’d been at it since five that morning. He removed his glasses and spent a long moment rubbing his eyes. What was it Orwell had said about writing a book? “A horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness.” Sometimes, Benjamin Stern felt as though this book might be fatal.

The red light on his telephone answering machine was blinking. He made a habit of muting the ringers to avoid unwanted interruptions. Hesitantly, like a bomb handler deciding which wire to cut, he reached out and pressed the button. The little speaker emitted a blast of heavy metal music, followed by a warlike yelp.

“I have some good news, Herr Doktorprofessor. By the end of the day, there will be one less filthy Jew on the planet! Wiedersehen, Herr Doktorprofessor.”


Professor Stern erased the message. He was used to them by now. He received two a week these days; sometimes more, depending on whether he had made an appearance on television or taken part in some public debate. He knew them by voice; assigned each a trivial, unthreatening nickname to lessen their impact on his nerves. This fellow called at least twice each month. Professor Stern had dubbed him Wolfie. Sometimes he told the police. Most of the time he didn’t bother. There was nothing they could do anyway.

He locked his manuscript and notes in the floor safe tucked beneath his desk. Then he pulled on a pair of shoes and a woolen jacket and collected the rubbish bag from the kitchen. The old building had no elevator, which meant he had to walk down two flights of stairs to reach the ground floor. As he entered the lobby, a chemical stench greeted him. The building was home to a small but thriving kosmetik. The professor detested the beauty shop. When it was busy, the rancid smell of nail-polish remover rose through the ventilation system and enveloped his flat. It also made the building less secure than he would have preferred. Because the kosmetik had no separate street entrance, the lobby was constantly cluttered with beautiful Schwabinians arriving for their pedicures, facials, and waxings.

He turned right, toward a doorway that gave onto the tiny courtyard, and hesitated in the threshold, checking to see if the cats were about. Last night he’d been awakened at midnight by a skirmish over some morsel of garbage. There were no cats this morning, only a pair of bored beauticians in spotless white tunics smoking cigarettes against the wall. He padded across the sooty bricks and tossed his bag into the bin.

Returning to the entrance hall, he found Frau Ratzinger punishing the linoleum floor with a worn straw broom. “Good morning, Herr Doktorprofessor,” the old woman snapped; then she added accusingly: “Going out for your morning coffee?”

Professor Stern nodded and murmured, “Ja, ja, Frau Ratzinger.” She glared at two messy stacks of fliers, one advertising a free concert in the park, the other a holistic massage clinic on the Schellingstrasse. “No matter how many times I ask them not to leave these things here, they do it anyway. It’s that drama student in 4B. He lets anyone into the building.”

The professor shrugged his shoulders, as if mystified by the lawless ways of the young, and smiled kindly at the old woman. Frau Ratzinger picked up the fliers and marched them into the courtyard. A moment later, he could hear her berating the beauticians for tossing their cigarette butts on the ground.

He stepped outside and paused to take stock of the weather. Not too cold for early March, the sun peering through a gauzy layer of cloud. He pushed his hands into his coat pockets and set out. Entering the English Gardens, he followed a tree-lined path along the banks of a rain-swollen canal. He liked the park. It gave his mind a quiet place to rest after the morning’s exertions on the computer. More importantly, it gave him an opportunity to see if today they were following him. He stopped walking and beat his coat pockets dramatically to indicate he had forgotten something. Then he doubled back and retraced his steps, scanning faces, checking to see if they matched any of the ones stored in the database of his prodigious memory. He paused on a humpbacked footbridge, as if admiring the rush of the water over a short fall. A drug dealer with spiders tattooed on his face offered him heroin. The professor mumbled something incoherent and walked quickly away. Two minutes later he ducked into a public telephone and pretended to place a call while carefully surveying the surroundings. He hung up the receiver.

“Wiedersehen, Herr Doktorprofessor.”

He turned onto the Ludwigstrasse and hurried across the university district, head down, hoping to avoid being spotted by any students or colleagues. Earlier that week, he had received a rather nasty letter from Dr. Helmut Berger, the pompous chairman of his department, wondering when the book might be finished and when he could be expected to resume his lecturing obligations. Professor Stern did not like Helmut Berger, their well-publicized feud was both personal and academic, and conveniently he had not found the time to respond.

The bustle of the Viktualienmarkt pushed thoughts of work from his mind. He moved past mounds of brightly colored fruit and vegetables, past flower stalls and open-air butchers. He picked out a few things for his supper, then crossed the street to Café Bar Eduscho for coffee and a Dinkelbrot. Forty-five minutes later, as he set out for Schwabing, he felt refreshed, his mind light, ready for one more wrestling match with his book. His illness, as Orwell would have called it.

As he arrived at the apartment house, a gust of wind chased him into the lobby and scattered a fresh stack of salmon-colored flie...

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105 internautes sur 110 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Thrilling Read 4 mars 2003
Par Randyll McDermott - Publié sur
Each year I look forward to Daniel Silva's new thriller. The Confessor was worth the wait. After starting off slowly, the novel quickly picks up steam.
As is usual with a suspense novel, there are a few plots to keep track of, three in The Confessor. Though it is hard to remember the various characters at first, they quickly become integral parts of the novel. Silva develops his characters wonderfully. None are faultless, but all are a joy to read about.
Readers of The Kill Artist and The English Assassin will be familiar with The Confessor's protagonist, Gabreil Allon. This book takes place a few years after the events of The English Assassin. Gabriel is restoring a fresco in a Venetian church when Ari Shamron, his sometimes spymaster, comes to him with a job. Gabriel's friend and fellow spy, Benjamin Stern, had been killed. Shamron wants Gabriel to investigate the death. Gabriel reluctantly accepts and goes off to Munich. It is there that the book really begins.
Gabriel uncovers evidence that Stern had gone to Italy while in the process of researching a book that he (Stern) was writing. As the novel progresses, Gabriel investigates and unearths a conspiracy in the Catholic Church. Like all other Silva novels, The Confessor has a healthy dose of breathless chase scenes, exotic European locales, and multiple assumed identities. The Confessor will be enjoyed by all fans of Silva's earlier work, and those with an interest in international intrigue.
43 internautes sur 45 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Speculative Historical Fiction 26 mars 2003
Par Tim Smith - Publié sur
Realistic and thought-provoking, THE CONFESSOR is actually speculative historical fiction about the role of the Catholic Church during WW II. Since the Vatican has chosen not to open the Secret Archives, the public (and gifted authors)can only speculate about the role of the Catholic Church and particularly Pope Pius XII as Hitler was devastating Europe and carrying out his Final Solution.
Daniel Silva uses the center of power of the Roman Catholic Church, a newly chosen Pope and the powerful men of the Vatican, as key elements of the plot in this realistic thriller. As familiar protagonist Gabriel Allon is restoring a painting of the Virgin by Bellini, he is summoned by the enigmatic Israeli, Ari Shamron, to investigate the murder of Gabriel's writer friend Benjamin Stern who had been gathering information about the role of the Church during WWII and the effects on the Jewish people.
Naturally, Gabriel answers the call. During his investigation, he meets several intriguing and mysterious characters, encounters many close calls requiring his skills of deception, and undergoes formidable personal challenges on his journey to uncover the truth. Therein lies the power of Silva's writing. He is able to involve the reader in the characters and their development throughout a complex, absorbing plot while maintaining realism and emotional depth. He uses the continuity of the characters' past, especially Gabriel Allon, by referring to events which occurred in his previous novels. This adds color and intensity to the characters, making their behavior more realistic and the plot more believable.
THE CONFESSOR is another bold, well-written thriller by an author who has maintained a high standard of thought-provoking, realistic novels since he burst on the spy-fiction suspense scene with AN UNLIKELY SPY. This latest addition to his highly regarded body of work should interest, entertain, and challenge you; it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
38 internautes sur 43 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Spine-Tingling Thriller! Daniel Silva's Best To Date! 25 juillet 2003
Par Jana L. Perskie - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Daniel Silva brings back his enigmatic hero, Gabriel Allon, in "The Confessor," to investigate the mysterious murder of a dear friend, the unpopular aspirations of a newly elected Pope, a secret society in the Vatican, and long hidden secrets from World War II. Allon, is a brilliant Israeli art restorer and a complex, melancholy man. He had worked for many years as an Israeli intelligence agent, and assassin, (when necessary), losing his young son and wife to violence as a consequence of his work. Now he just wants to restore paintings and be left alone with his grief and his guilt.
Allon's boyhood friend and associate, Benjamin Stern, is murdered in his Munich apartment while writing a secret expose on Pope Pius XII and the Church's involvement in the Holocaust. Ari Shamron, Gabriel's old mentor, former head of Israeli intelligence, and the father of Ben Stern, finds Allon in Venice, restoring a Bellini altarpiece. He has little difficulty persuading Allon to accept this assignment to find Stern's killer, even though it means leaving the Bellini, at least temporarily.
Although Allon runs into a stone wall with his investigation in Munich, he begins to discover clues to the secrets of his friend's manuscript. Apparently Stern had been writing about material from top secret Vatican archives that proves Pope Pius XII, and the Church, were directly involved with the Nazis in the implementation of the Holocaust. Evidence also points to a deadly secret Vatican society, the Crux Vera.
Pope Paul VII, known by his Vatican detractors as "Pope Accidental," has recently been elected to the Papal Throne. He has pledged to review the Church's alleged complicity in the Nazi extermination of the Jews, and make available the Secret Vatican Archives regarding the Holocaust - archives that certain Vatican officials would do anything to keep suppressed. Allon's life, and the Pope's, are in terrible jeopardy.
Whatever your opinion on these controversial issues, Daniel Silva has written his best novel with this mesmerizing tale of Vatican politics, intrigue, murder and World War II history. Mr. Silva's style is reminiscent, but not derivative, of Ken Follett, Frederick Forsyth and John LeCarre. He is definitely in their league and oh, so original, with his 21st century relevant storyline. I have waited for a long time for an author of this caliber to appear and keep me on the edge of my seat, reading through the night. I was unable to put this book down.
9 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 In a word---exceptional. 13 mars 2003
Par nobizinfla - Publié sur
Daniel Silva's "The Confessor" is tightly written with an intricate plot and subplots...a thinking man's international espionage thriller. Full of subtle touches that invigorate the is a sophisticated novel.
Protagonist Gabriel Allon, an art restorer/sleeper Mossad agent is chosen to investigate the murder of an author (and former Israeli agent) whose research unearths the Vatican's dirty secret. The Vatican's silence during WWII shows complicity between the Vatican and the Nazis that furthered the Holocaust.
While searching for the murderer Gabriel is hunted by both the assassin and a shadow organization within the Vatican. That organization (Vera Crux) will stop at nothing to keep the secret hidden.
Connecting the dots, Mossad uncovers a plot to assassinate the current Pope who desires to make the Vatican's covert files public.
The intrigue is intense with a multitude of richly drawn characters. The characters are introduced gradually and are well developed, eliminating the confusion often found in complicated plots. Gabriel's recapping his progress to various contacts is a skillful device that keeps the reader on track with the protagonist.
The author's notes at the conclusion, where facts take over from fiction, make the story all the more chilling.
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 4 1/2 Stars -- Very Suspenseful And Controversial! 7 juillet 2003
Par Bobbewig - Publié sur
In The Confessor, Silva, as in The Kill Artist and The English Assassin, calls on his art restorer/Israeli spy-assassin, Gabriel Allon, to investigate the murder of a long-time friend and fellow spy. As part of his investigation, he uncovers a conspiracy within the Vatican pertaining to the Holocaust, which is where the real plot begins and compelling suspense builds and builds right up to its bullets flying, bodies dying ending. While Silva once again relies on what has become a successful formula for him, The Confessor kept me engrossed throughout the book. However, for me, what really made this book rise to the top of its genre is the very interesting, thought-provoking and controversial perpsective Silva provides on the Vatican's involvement (or lack thereof) during the Holocaust. I've enjoyed all of Silva's books very much and I'd consider The Confessor to be the best of the three featuring Gabriel Allon. Regardless of your personal viewpoint about the controversial subject on which the plot is based, The Confessor is a novel of slow-building but non-stop tension and suspense that will keep you glued to the edge of your seat. Highly recommended!
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