Why did I love this book?
I love this author for several reasons. He paints a picture of fascinating worlds of which most people have little experience—usually the Vatican and obscure corners of Italy. His research and knowledge of such places are meticulous. He knows how to keep the tension and pace of a thriller without it becoming a superficial action story. His hero, Gabriel Allon, is an intriguing character with his own history and personal problems. He is not only a lethal spy catcher, but also a brilliant restorer of old masters, which is why he has such unusual access to the Vatican and all its high officers, including the Pope himself. What a combination of talents!