I spent much of the book thinking that it was a bit more cliche-like than usual. In fact, I was getting ready to give it a 3/4, whereas, last year, it was a 3.5/4, and I was singing Silva's praises on how he was getting better with each book. But I had to change my mind because Silva is just too darn clever. The scam that they perpetrated on the bad guys was really well-conceived. And he really knows how to develop a plot. Plus, his knowledge of art restoration and the backgrounds of the Masters (in this case, it was Caravaggio) are pretty mind-blowing. So I ended up rating it a 3.5/4. Maybe I'm just becoming soft in my old age.
You know how I always make such a big deal about having an emotional connection to the characters. Well, in this case, there isn't much, and, more importantly, I don't need it. Yes, you heard/read me right. I had a very quick emotional reaction to a meeting Gabriel had with Leah, his 1st wife. And, again, when he gives his real name to someone who is helping them put one over on the evildoers. There's another time where I did a little bit of head-shaking. And still another situation where I said: "What the heck happened?" That was it. Otherwise, I'm just reading and enjoying another episode in a long series. And you know what? I'm just fine with that.
ANOTHER SILVA RECOMMENDATION: One of Silva's early works, before he started the Allon series, is called The Unlikely Spy. This is one of my very favorite WWII stories. This one is about the Nazi's embedding spies in England a number of years before WWII began. And how the English found and uprooted them. It's probably my favorite Silva, including the 14 Gabriel Allon's.