Review: Portrait of an Unknown Woman by Daniel Silva

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Last Updated on December 18, 2022 by Mary Elle

Portrait of an Unknown Woman is the latest thriller by Daniel Silva and I can assure you that this time, the legendary spy, Gabriel Allon, has finally retired. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that his life is filled with nothing but peace.

On the contrary, his services are needed more than ever. But for what?

You’ll need to dive into Portrait of an Unknown Woman to see who could possibly need Gabriel Allon’s help now.

I have to say, I wasn’t sure what to expect, knowing that the spy and chief of Israeli Intelligence has now retired. I was a bit surprised at the direction this book took, as I imagined something different would be happening.

Portrait of an Unknown Woman

portrait of an unknown woman


Portrait of an Unknown Woman is the 22nd book in the Gabriel Allon series by Daniel Silva, a New York Times Bestselling author of more than 25 novels. His books are bestsellers around the world and are translated into more than 30 different languages. Because, well, Gabriel Allon is an international kind of guy!

This book series features a legendary spy, art restorer, and (eventually) chief of Israeli Intelligence, better known as “the Office”. If you’ve already read the first 21 books in the series, you probably know Gabriel as well as I do, and you’ve also probably been anticipating his retirement almost as much.

I was a bit nervous about having Gabriel retire, as we wouldn’t want him or his series to disappear while Gabriel goes fishing.

But no need to worry about that. While he may want to put up his “gone fishing” sign, it’s not quite working out that way as of yet.

But, you know there are no spoilers here in my book reviews, so you’ll need to check in with Gabriel, Chiara, and a few other well-known characters to see what has interrupted Gabriel’s quiet, peaceful retirement.

Portrait of an Unknown Woman – What I Liked

As with every Daniel Silva book so far, but especially the Gabriel Allon series, the settings are always the first thing I love about the book. This particular book is no different. Starting off in Venice, Italy, and then moving on to London, assorted other places in Europe, and even making a few stops in the U.S. this book goes on a cat-and-mouse journey around Europe following some eccentric art dealers and multi-billion art fraud.

Many characters from previous novels in this series made an appearance in this one, some of which have been favorites of mine from the previous books. I enjoyed seeing them again.

While I was a bit surprised at the direction this book took, I loved it! This book started and ended firmly in the art world, and everything that happened in between was very “artsy” as well. Perhaps this is a glimpse into future adventures for Gabriel?

And, as I’ve come to love and expect with all Daniel Silva books, this one was nonstop action with a brilliant plot.

Portrait of an Unknown Woman – What I Didn’t Like

I was a bit sad not to see a few other favorite characters from previous books in this series. Specifically, some of Gabriel’s “Office” associates. But, since he retired, I guess that’s only to be expected. Perhaps he will meet up with them in a later book.

Honestly, there isn’t a single thing that I didn’t like about this book. Except, of course, I read it too fast, and now it’s over. Until (hopefully) next July when there may be another one? That remains to be seen. But Daniel Silva has quite faithfully published another novel every July for quite some time.

Portrait of an Unknown Woman – Read, ReRead or Reconsider

And now, for my 3 Rs of book reviews. Should you Read, ReRead, or Reconsider Portrait of an Unknown Woman by Daniel Silva?

This book is a definite Read!

Portrait of an Unknown Woman is as much of a masterpiece as the paintings that my favorite art restorer, Gabriel Allon, restores on a regular basis.

If you haven’t yet read any of the books in the Gabriel Allon series, I recommend that you read them in order. The plot and the characters progress as time goes on, and you’ll definitely miss out on a great deal if you don’t read them in order.

And if you’re in the mood for some different types of mystery books and thrillers, here’s a handy guide to all the different types of books that fall into that category.

Just in case you prefer to “listen” to your books rather than read them, here’s a nice opportunity to try Audible free for 30 Days.

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