In over twenty novels, the American author Daniel Silva has related the adventures of a dashing Mossad operative named Gabriel Allon. While these books are action-packed page-turners—and best sellers—they also offer something more than the typical thriller, argues Henry George:
Allon is . . . afflicted by history. He and his comrades bear the scars on their souls of their own sorrow, reflecting on an individual level the scars on the soul of the Jewish people. This is directly addressed in the early books—The Kill Artist, The English Assassin, The Confessor, and A Death in Vienna—all of which deal with aspects of the Shoah and attacks on Israel during the second intifada. . . . The clarity of Silva’s prose in its description of the horror allows it to sink into one’s bones. The book reminds the reader that this rupture in history is still with us in the survivors who remain, having done their best to piece together their shattered lives and spirits.
[An] attachment to family and faith is why even though the weight of the past presses down on Allon and his family, his team, and his people, it does not crush them. These novels are a restatement of the sanctity of the individual, and our capacity to act on the stage of world affairs and drive the chariot of history one way or another through our own efforts. Allon and his friends and comrades are far from powerless pawns in a deterministic universe devoid of agency. Nor are they simply victims who face the world with their manifest pain as their only calling card to membership of the human community.
Allon and his fellows are willing to kill and die for their country and its people. . . . In this way, Israel reminds those of us in the safe, prosperous, and senescent West what it means to be a nation in history. This arguably explains a good deal of the resentment many Europeans feel towards the Jewish state. Those they tried to kill not only survived, but are a living, national refutation of the supposed one-way march towards a comfortable end of history.