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Portrait of a Spy is the eleventh book in the Gabriel Allon series. Three terrorist explosions occur in three different European cities. Gabriel Allon meets with a distressed Adrian Carter to seek a solution. Ultimately, the solution lies with Nadia al-Bakari, who herself bears a secret. Gabriel receives and rejects an offer from Julian Isherwood.

Synopsis Edit

Death in the Garden Edit

Gabriel Allon has retired, again, from the Office and has moved with Chiara to Gunwalloe Cove, Cornwall. His true identity remains a mystery to the local residents. The locals learn that Gabriel, who was using the name Giovanni Rossi, is an art restorer and that his current project is Portrait of a Young Woman. The residents learn the story of the painting a short time later when the two strangers disappear and the painting is unveiled in Washington, D.C.. Gabriel and Chiara return. A local man deduces that Giovanni Rossi is Gabriel Allon, but no one in the town believes him.

Terrorist bombs are detonated at a restaurant in Paris at 11:46 am and at Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen by an unnamed shaheed at 12:03 pm.

Madonna and Child with Mary Magdalene

A painting similar to Julian's purchase

Gabriel Allon and Chiara Zolli drive to London to meet with Julian Isherwood. Upon arriving at Isherwood Fine Arts, they discuss the terrorist bombings. The couple learns that Julian has acquired a painting incorrectly identified as coming from the workshop of an inauspicious painter. Working together, Gabriel and Chiara tentatively identify the painting as being the work of Titian. Gabriel agrees to restore the painting for Julian.

As Gabriel and Chiara approach Covent Garden, the death toll in Paris rises to twenty-eight and at the Tivoli Gardens to thirty-seven. Chiara gently chides Gabriel for not accepting Julian's invitation to lunch and for charging him ₤200,000 for restoring the Titian, which she cites as being twice his usual fee. She then admits to an ulterior motive. Julian wants Gabriel and Chiara to become his partners at Isherwood Fine Arts; she and Julian had discussed his proposal while they were in Washington. Gabriel does not want to assume the risk. As they talk, Gabriel sees a man in a gray overcoat; he refers to him as a dead man.

Telling Chiara to wait in a restaurant, Gabriel follows the man in the overcoat, who seems to have trouble walking steadily. Gabriel ponders the timing of the earlier attacks and realizes that the minutes corresponded to the times of the impacts on the World Trade Center, 8:46 am and 9:03 am on September 11, 2001. The time of the impact on the Pentagon that day was 9:37 am; it is approaching 2:37 pm in London. Gabriel calls Chiara and tells her to call MI5.

Gabriel decides to kill the man in the gray overcoat once he is certain he is a bomber. At 2:36 pm, the man says "Allahu Akbar". Gabriel prepares to shoot and two London police officers intervene and force him to the ground. The bomb explodes on schedule.

Gabriel is incarcerated and interrogated but will only answer by telling the police to call a number in London. He is finally released and meets with Graham Seymour. Seymour tells Gabriel the London shaheed's name. Gabriel says he could have stopped Khan; Seymour admits that he could.

In New York, New York, Nicholas Lovegrove is an art consultant who is planning on buying a painting for an unidentified client at an auction. He realizes that the client is in the auction room.

A Madonna and Child with Mary Magdalene arrives in Gunwalloe Cove from Isherwood Fine Arts and Gabriel begins the restoration. While some of the work is drying, Gabriel goes for a walk. He finds Uzi Navot waiting for him near a restaurant.

Uzi tells Gabriel that there are indications that a new terrorist network has emerged. Adrian Carter of the CIA has information he wants to share with Gabriel. Arrangements are made to return the painting to Julian and for Chiara to return to Israel to help Gilah Shamron care for her husband.

Gabriel flies to the United States and meets with Adrian Carter, who bemoans the current administration's unrealistic approach to the war against terrorism. Carter tells Gabriel that the recent attacks were carried out by a new branch of al-Qaeda that had support from a person who occupies a position in western intelligence.

Dina Sarid identifies Malik al-Zubair

The Investment Edit

The Empty Quarter Edit

The Awakening Edit


  • Headlines in the synopsis are from the book.

Blue Line