The Other Woman by Daniel Silva, 2018, Harper Collins. Now chief of Israel’s secret intelligence service, Silva’s familiar protagonist Gabriel Allon, is involved in an important turncoat asset’s assassination in Vienna. Murdered under Allon’s eyes while trying to defect, the dead man is the possible victim of an allied intelligence mole. It’s up to Allon to uncover the double agent. Basing a key character in his latest novel on a fictional episode in the life of Kim Philby, once a trusted insider in Britain’s intelligence family, Silva weaves a layered espionage tale. Philby was actually a closeted communist dedicated to betraying the West.
Along with a small fraternity of other Old School elites—the Cambridge Five—were traitors all. Russia’s SVR, before that the KGB, is up to its usual tricks. The Cold War’s legacy throws a long shadow across two continents, threatening the Anglo-American intelligence family. Silva weaves a mesmerizing story of Philby’s fathering a girl in 1963 with a fellow believer, a lover in Beirut before fleeing MI6’s clutches to Moscow where he later died. The child grows up in his likeness.
In his book, Silva writes of Russia’s current leadership: Like the tsars and commissars who came before him, Putin readily uses murder as a tool of statecraft. Putin, he says, “Is always probing with a bayonet…and when he hits steel he looks for softer spots elsewhere. Full of his usual supporting cast of Israeli oddball spies, Silva’s latest is his signature Israeli super spy at his best.