Thousands of people get drawn into the world of Israeli intelligence and espionage after getting introduced to Gabriel Allon, a fictional character that has become the face of Israeli intelligence thanks to the work of spy thriller writer Dan Silva.
If you’re fascinated by Gabriel Allon, you probably want to know the order in which you should read the books in the espionage fiction series. Perhaps you’re interested in the broader bibliography of the man behind Gabriel Allon.
This article covers who Daniel Silva is, how he got his start, and which of his books are loved the most by his audience. It also covers Daniel Silva’s books in order. So it is a must-read for anyone getting into Daniel Silva’s books and for people who have read a few titles and want to know the exact order of his books. But before getting into the chronological order of his works, let’s look at the top three Daniel Silva books.
Top 3 Daniel Silva Books to Read
Who is Daniel Silva?
Daniel Silva is an American novelist best known for his spy-thriller novel series. The Gabriel Allon series has consistently ranked on the New York Times bestseller list with each installment since its debut in 2001. Only three titles in Silva’s bibliography are not in the Gabriel Allon series.
Before fiction writing, Silva was a journalist. He had a temporary position covering the beat of the Democratic National Convention for the UPI. When he was given a permanent position, he was moved to the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the UPI. Later on, he moved to Cairo, Egypt, as the outlet’s Middle East correspondent.
Between his journalism career and his fiction writing success is a production pivot. Silva produced multiple news shows and segments for CNN. Crossfire and Capital Gang were two of the shows that he was involved in the production of.
This was perhaps one of the things that contributed to his interest in crime and spy stories. By the time he concluded his executive producer contract at CNN, he had finished his first novel.
It took him two years to finish The Unlikely Spy, which debuted on the New York Times bestseller list in 1997. It stayed on for several weeks, with #13 being the highest it ever got to. The performance of his debut novel was more than enough to launch a career in traditional fiction writing.
Daniel Silva Books in Order
Stand Alone Novels In Order Of Publication
Michael Osborne Books In Order Of Publication
Gabriel Allon Novels In Order Of Publication
- The Unlikely Spy (1996)
- The Mark of the Assassin (1998)
- The Marching Season (1999)
- The Kill Artist (2000)
- The English Assassin (2002)
- The Confessor (2003)
- A Death in Vienna (2004)
- Prince of Fire (2005)
- The Messenger (2006)
- The Secret Servant (2007)
- Moscow Rules (2008)
- The Defector (2009)
- The Rembrandt Affair (2010)
- Portrait of a Spy (2011)
- The Fallen Angel (2012)
- The English Girl (2013)
- The Heist (2014)
- The English Spy (2015)
- The Black Widow (2016)
- House of Spies (2017)
- The Other Woman (2018)
- The New Girl (2019)
- The Order (2020)
- The Cellist (2021)
- Portrait of an Unknown Woman (2022)
Best Daniel Silva Books
The Kill Artist
This is the best Daniel Silva book, according to most Gabriel Allon series readers. It is in part because the book introduces Allon and formally launches the Gabriel Allon series. It also has plenty of backstory for a first book and makes you feel like you’re picking up in the middle of the series.
Some readers look up the order of Gabriel Allon’s books because they feel like there might be a few entries before The Kill Artist. But this book is the first and just has the intensity of a mid-story thriller.
Gabriel Allon is asked to return to the life of a secret agent after he has hung up his hat and taken up a profession as an art restorer. But because of the target of an upcoming mission, he has to accept the job once again.
And this time, it is a secret even from the agency. This book is a must-read if you want to get into the Gabriel Allon series or would like a one-off espionage and spy adventure.
The Secret Servant
Gabriel Allen turned heads with his debut. The next time he gripped the spy fiction genre was in the seventh installment of the series. Perhaps it is the double secrecy elements of this book that are reminiscent of The Kill Artist.
Or maybe it is the London backdrop that makes this a more interesting read. Either way, The Secret Servant is consistently ranked as Daniel Silva’s second most popular book.
In this novel, Gabriel Allon is meant to protect a woman, whom he fails to save from kidnapping. The plot’s mastermind even sees his face in the process. This puts him at a double disadvantage: he has to retrieve the kidnapped woman alive and do so while avoiding being murdered. The stakes are pretty high, though not world-ending.
If Allon fails to save the kidnapping victim on time, a bomb might blow up in the middle of London. To top it off, the woman who is kidnapped is the daughter of the American Ambassador to the Court of St. James.
A Death In Vienna
This novel is a must-read for those who find Allon to be a charismatic character worth following. It ties in with a deep respect for Jewish history and heritage, which has come to define Gabriel Allon.
A Death in Vienna follows Allon, who goes to Vienna to investigate the truth behind the bombing of a wartime Holocaust museum. As expected, the truth isn’t what everyone suspects.
And while Gabriel Allon attempts to wrestle with the lies and mistruths, he has to make peace with his past and face a few truths that he, too, might not want to admit. This is a whodunnit masquerading as a spy thriller, and vice versa. And the art-restoring elements have a few surprising insights and trivia bits as well.
The English Assassin
This title shows why Daniel Silva enjoys the longevity that he does within his publication genre. As a follow-up to the Allon debut, this book pivots from a plot where Gabriel Allon has to kill someone to a story where Allon is framed for killing someone. It is a “find the killer to free the framed” narrative, which is penned masterfully.
This is a Gabriel Allon title that most first-time readers will not enjoy. But people who are thoroughly familiar with the spy-thriller trilogy surely will. This book has an international spy agency backdrop with a clash of governments driving the premise. Allon is tasked with saving Grigori Bulganov, who was introduced in a previous entry.
The man is a Russian defector being chased down by Ivan Kharkov, who was also introduced in a previous Gabriel Allon title. Definitely a great read that deserves to be at the top. This title is more for long-time readers than newcomers to the series.
This is the third Gabriel Allon novel and is a fairly accessible read. It is a whodunit set in the Allonverse, with the murdered individual being none other than a Holocaust scholar in Munich.
In classic Daniel Silva fashion, a deeper conspiracy is uncovered when the art restorer and spy find out that the list of potential suspects for the murder of scholar Benjamin Stern is broader.
In trying to uncover the murderer, Allon uncovers the murdered scholar’s research regarding the Catholic Church’s role in the Holocaust. And as a result, he becomes a victim of a larger conspiracy. It is a great book for those who like to read conspiracy thrillers. It doesn’t require a prior understanding of the Gabriel Allon series.
Portrait Of A Spy
People who haven’t read Gabriel Allon’s debut novel consider Portrait of a Spy to be the best Daniel Silva book. Aside from The Murder Artist, this is the most Gabriel Allon book among all the Gabriel Allon titles in the Daniel Silva bibliography.
While many Allon adventures are international, few come close to Portrait of a Spy in terms of proportions and scale. Among the locations that this novel spans are Washington, New York, Britain, and the Middle East.
The plot revolves around an international plot by a terrorist network that is responsible for atrocities in Copenhagen, Paris, and London. To read this, you do not need a background in Gabriel Allon lore. But if you are a long-time Allon reader, you will find some very significant references to past events.
The Rembrandt Affair
This premise of this novel naturally ties the two worlds of Gabriel Allon. On the one hand, it is the world of crime and espionage, and on the other is that of art restoration and authentication. Both come together when a Rembrandt is stolen and the restorer working on it is found dead.
Allon is tasked with finding the murderer, and on the quest to find the truth about the murder, he finds truths he wasn’t even looking for. The painting bears secrets that powerful people do not want to be known, and they will go to any lengths to keep them hidden. A background in Gabriel Allon books is not required.
Silva often uses the USSR aftermath as a plot driver in many of his titles. This is one of the earlier ones where the references are directly tied to the fall of the Soviet Union and the possible return of those seeking global domination.
One such character is Ivan Kharkov, an ex-KGB agent who has amassed wealth from global investments made on the back of the downfall of the empire he seeks to restore.
In this particular story, Ivan is the main antagonist, and Gabriel Allon has to foil his plot for Soviet supremacy. Whether the art restorer and master spy will be able to beat a new generation of Stalinists is yet to be seen.
This Gabriel Allon title has a few themes consistent with a Daniel Silva classic. The Vatican is a target of Al Qaeda, and Gabriel Allon finds this out when a terrorist is killed and his possessions reveal a potential plan to hit the Vatican.
To prevent what would be a catastrophic blow to religious sentiments and world peace, Allon has to be quick and decipher what the contents of the dead terrorist’s computer point to. More importantly, he has to do it before Al-Qaeda is any wiser.
This novel is a great read for anyone who enjoys international spy thrillers. A background in Gabriel Allon lore enriches the reading experience, but it isn’t mandatory.
The English Girl
Scandal, coverup, and a spy adventure are in the middle of it all. The English Girl is a slight pivot from regular Silva books and incorporates elements of a salacious scandal. The mistress of the British prime minister is arrested, and the kidnappers want to film and release a testimony that would shake the political stage in Britain. MI5 and Gabriel Allon must work together to retrieve Madeline Hart.
Portrait Of An Unknown Woman
One of Daniel Silva’s recent works, this book is definitely one of the must-read Gabriel Allon novels. It is a refreshing break from the inter-government and international conspiracies that were the subject of Silva’s earlier bibliography.
Returning to Allon’s art-restoring roots, The Portrait of an Unknown Woman follows Silva on a quest to find the unknown painter behind an art piece that could be the peak of art forgery.
In uncovering the multibillion-dollar fraud, Allon has to come up with a plot that might make him as big of an art forger as the man he seeks to catch.
Whether he would be able to pull it off remains to be seen. This book requires at least an entry-level knowledge of the art world. Gabriel Allon lore can be helpful, but it is not mandatory to enjoy this read.
Daniel Silva FAQs
What Type Of Author Is Dan Silva?
Dan Silva is a spy thriller writer. More broadly, he can be considered a thriller writer. All but three of his books follow art restorer and spy Gabriel Allon.
How Long Did It Take Daniel Silva To Write The Order?
It took Daniel Silva eight months to write The Order. However, he spent a “lifetime” gathering the material and the background for the book.
He talked to Vatican sources, priests, and journalists to pen the thriller that is also set in the Vatican.
Where Was Daniel Silva Born?
Author Daniel Silva was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States.
Where Did Daniel Silva Grow Up?
Daniel Silva grew up in California, where he also pursued his higher education.
How Many Children Does Daniel Silva Have?
Daniel Silva has two children with his wife, Jamie Gangel. Their names are Lily and Nicholas.
Wrapping It Up
Daniel Silva has become synonymous with Israeli intelligence fiction and international spy thrillers—and that’s for a good reason. He has created one of the most iconic characters and set him in a world of depth and historic significance. There is no better way to get into Daniel Silva’s bibliography than to read a Gabriel Allon novel. After all, that makes up the majority of work. You should read his work if you plan to write spy thrillers yourself or are a fan of the art world and espionage fiction.