Wednesday, August 11, 2010

THE REMBRANDT AFFAIR - Daniel Silva

I am quite excited to have participated in the TLC book tour for Daniel Silva's THE REMBRANDT AFFAIR. This was my first experience reading Daniel Silva's work and I probably would not have done so if it had not been for this tour. And if I had not, I would have continued in my ignorance of this riveting series. This particular tour asked each of the participants to respond to specific questions as opposed to reviewing the novel traditionally. You can click here to see the list of tour hosts if you'd like to visit them and see what their responses to the questions were as well as mine. So, let's get started!

If you were to write a blurb in fewer than three sentences for THE REMBRANDT AFFAIR, what would it be?
An artistic masterpiece of passion, character and action spanning time and geography. An espionage thriller that sets the bar for all others.
Gabriel Allon is a talented spy and assassin, but also a master art restorer. If you could have two careers that seem to be complete opposites, what would they be?
Well, since I graduated with a degree in English and Sports Medicine, I actually already did that. However, these days I'm only kind of using one of those degrees, so if I had the chance today to experience two completely different careers they might be owner of an animal sanctuary and a movie editor. Either that or I'd like to develop curriculum for a subject I was interested in. I don't like the administration of the curriculum as much as I do the development of it, so just leave me to work in my own little world and I'll be good!
What three words would you use to describe the character of Gabriel Allon?
Master espionage artist.

O.k., that's probably not what they meant with this question - I'm just trying to be artistic ;-) Gabriel is passionate, intelligent, and skilled.
THE REMBRANDT AFFAIR takes the reader all over the world. Of all the locations mentioned, which would be your ideal vacation spot?
Since I’ve traveled so little to date, most any of the locations would be welcome vacation destinations for me, but I have to say that Paris and Jerusalem would be high on my list of choices.
Art theft plays a major role in the novel. If no crime were involved, what piece of art would you like to have in your home?
Oh, many artists have amazed me. I’m fascinated by Pollock, Escher, Jasper Johns and Picasso. And of course Michelangelo, di Vinci and Raphael. The French Impressionists are probably my favorite group of artists. While Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali and Hieronymus Bosch interest me, I’d probably not want their work in my home. So, given a choice I’d probably pick either one of Renoir’s dancing couples or Monet’s water lilies. Or maybe I’d get Renoir’s painting of Monet and then I could have both!
Zoe Reed is a powerful female character in the novel. Tell us about an influential woman in your life.
When I first read this question about 10 people popped to mind immediately. I think we're very lucky to live in a time when we can identify women who justifiably earn the role of hero. That being said, I decided to mention my younger sister here. She's influential in my life in many ways. My sister is extremely intelligent and knowledgeable. She isn't afraid to try things or venture to places unknown. She's funny and compassionate and talented. I doubt there will ever be a time when she says, "I wish I would have..." simply because if she wants to do something, she figures out a way to make it happen. Probably more than anyone else she has challenged me to venture out of my safety zone. And in the end, there will be a lot that I will have done because either she gave me the nudge I needed to do it or I heard her voice in my head when trying to make my decisions.
Who was your favorite “good guy” in THE REMBRANDT AFFAIR and why?
Well, Gabriel Allon would definitely be my first choice. I don't tend to connect easily with spy heroes, but I found an immediate connection with Gabriel. I think the fact that he isn't a loner is a big factor. He has his wife and we're constantly introduced to people he's worked with throughout his career. He has a strong bond with Ari Shamron that is symbolic of a father-son bond. And also his connection with Timothy Peel. Gabriel Allon is passionate about his mission. He isn't involved because it's an assignment but rather it's a calling; he's involved because he believes it's the right thing to do. And he's selfless. One of the most moving scenes of the book for me was when he was thinking that he didn't want to listen in on Zoe and Martin; he was so conscientious of the invasion to her and would have rather done anything else but followed through for HER safety. To me that really defined a lot of his character.

However, if this question was meant more to mean, who was your favorite "good guy" other than Gabriel Allon, my response would probably be Ari Shamron, but there are so many rich 'good guy' characters in this novel (both guys and gals) - which is part of why I like Gabriel so much. But I admire Shamron's gumption and his strength and especially his intelligence. Likewise, I especially admired Lena for her will to survive despite the guilt she lived with her entire life.
All of the technology discussed in the novel is real. Does any of it surprise you?
I’m fascinated with all things technology-related. And I remember hearing Kathy Reichs speak once where she said, “are all the things you see on ‘Bones’ possible? Yes. Is the expense of them realistic for a government agency? No.” So I guess technology-wise, little surprises me. Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” I don’t think that’s anywhere more true than with technology. I will, however, wrinkle my nose in doubt, if I think it’s not likely for a group or individual to have realistic access to the technology.
What celebrity would play Gabriel Allon if THE REMBRANDT AFFAIR were on the big screen?
This question has given me the most fits of the entire questionnaire. The first reason being I imagined someone while reading who doesn't really match up with anyone I can identify from Hollywood. Secondly, when I would picture physical traits that might be similar for Gabriel I couldn't really conceive of the actor fulfilling the personality traits.

The actor would definitely need to be older, couldn't be one of these young whipper-snappers that's considered a teen idol right now. Gabriel isn't supposed to be real tall. I think Mark Harmon and Ed Harris would be my top choices for the personality traits. I think either one could pull off Gabriel's persona and would be appropriate age-wise. Harmon might be closer to physical traits than Harris would be, but I really don't think either one is what I imagined physically. Ed Harris does have captivating eyes, though. And while Gabriel's are green and Harris' are blue, there is that distinction of the physical trait being noticeable.   Dustin Hoffman was another actor that came to mind for me, but I wonder if maybe he's too old for the role? Again, not sure. And my final thought was John Cusack. I think that his talent would enable him to pull of Gabriel; it would be a different role for him, but he's got the acting chops.
Which fellow book-loving, blogging friend do you think would enjoy THE REMBRANDT AFFAIR? Tag them here and we will mail a finished copy of the novel!
I'm going to tag Naomi over at The Drowning Machine. I know her TBR pile mirrors mine, but I'm that confident in this novel. It'll definitely be good use of her reading time.
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14 comments:

Naomi Johnson August 11, 2010 at 9:12 AM  

Hey! Are you saying I don't use my reading time wisely? :->

S. Krishna August 11, 2010 at 9:27 AM  

Ooh, glad this was your first Daniel Silva and you enjoyed it. I read the first book in this series and it didn't click with me, but I really want to read this one because it's about art theft!

Jen Forbus August 11, 2010 at 9:28 AM  

No, I'm saying you'd kill me if I gave you something that WOULD be a waste or your time! ;-)

Jenn's Bookshelves August 11, 2010 at 10:06 AM  

Love that you loved this one! This will be my first Silva as well. Now that I know you liked it I probably will as well!

bermudaonion August 11, 2010 at 10:09 AM  

This has been such a fun tour and after reading everyone's posts, I'm convinced I need to try Silva's work.

carolsnotebook August 11, 2010 at 11:51 AM  

This was my first Silva too, but not my last. I thought this tour was really fun.

Jen Forbus August 11, 2010 at 3:37 PM  

Swapna, the art and the history in this book are fascinating! I learned a lot.

Jen Forbus August 11, 2010 at 3:39 PM  

Jenn & Kathy, I do think you'd enjoy Silva. While I definitely didn't need to have read the previous books, I'm wanting to go back because I'm interested which of the characters in this book were involved in previous capers with Gabriel.

Jen Forbus August 11, 2010 at 3:39 PM  

Carol, I really enjoyed this tour as well. I like when they shake things up and make us think a little differently than we're use to!

le0pard13 August 11, 2010 at 6:16 PM  

This reminds me, I got to start Daniel Silva's series. I already have the first Allon in audiobook. Fun post, Jen. Thanks.

Judy Bobalik August 12, 2010 at 10:27 AM  

You would not have remained ignorant. I love Daniel Silva, so I'm sure I would have made you read him.

novelwhore August 12, 2010 at 5:24 PM  

Great review as always, Jen! I think your example of degrees in "English and Sports Medicine" are perfect - maybe you have a little Gabriel Allon in you!

Jen Forbus August 12, 2010 at 7:46 PM  

Judy, I knew there was a good reason I hung out with you! ;-)

Anonymous October 8, 2010 at 1:01 AM  

i have read all of the series and the plots are wonderful as are the characters. i especially like the banter between gabriel and uzi. i liked the older books better because gabriel had more interaction with his first wife, leah. she has spent the last 15 yrs in a mental institution because of gabriels actions with the office and his personal action also cost him the life of his son dani. he divorced leah so he could marry chiara and i miss the visits and talks he used to have with leah. since his remarriage his character has lost the compassion and tenderness he once had. you need to read the whole series because overall they are great. i just wish that leah could become part of the stories again. not overally fond of chiara...she seems spoiled and self centered.

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