Prince of Fire is the fifth book in the Gabriel Allon series. Gabriel and others in the Office are drawn into a plot designed to make it look as if the Office is responsible for an act of terrorism. The probable year of the action is 2004. Gabriel's permanent team makes its debut.

Synopsis Edit

The Dossier Edit

The Israeli embassy in Rome is attacked by a truck bomb and a group with sub-machine guns. Shimon Pazner, the head of the Rome Station escapes because he was away in a meeting with Italian officials. Within days, there is a break in the case. The Italians find a computer disk in a room believed to have been occupied by one of the terrorists. Unable to break through the security on the disk, they ask the Israelis for help. The Office penetrates the security on the disk but tells the Italians otherwise. The disk contains a dossier on Gabriel Allon

Daniel in the Lions' Den 1613-1615 Peter Paul Rubens

Daniel in the Lions' Den

Gabriel visits an auction with Julian Isherwood and tells him a painting he is considering purchasing is by Rubens; together, they put off inquiries by Jeremy Crabbe. Julian buys the painting and Gabriel agrees to restore it for him. He goes on to visit with Leah at the Stratford Clinic, speaking first to Leonard Avery about her condition. The visit comes to nothing; Gabriel wants to tell her about Chiara, but Leah is completely unresponsive to him.
Bellini Altarpiece

Bellini's Altarpiece

Gabriel moves on to Venice to speak to Chiara, but finds Ari Shamron waiting for him by the Bellini Altarpiece with Chiara; Ari shows Gabriel his dossier. Ari tells Gabriel that he is being called back to duty with the Office. Gabriel responds that Leah and Chiara must be brought to Israel and Ari agrees. Gabriel goes to see Francesco Tiepolo, tells him he must leave and asks Tiepolo to finish his current restoration for him; Tiepolo agrees.

Gabriel returns to King Saul Boulevard and with his team begins to assemble a picture of the bombing and a list of those possibly responsible.

Rimona Stern tells the group the story of Asad al-Khalifa and, with Gabriel's help, Sabri al-Khalifa. Rimona says that the link between the two men, the elusive Khaled al-Khalifa and the bombing in Rome is the village of Beit Sayeed. The team travels to the ruins of the Palestinian village and Rimona points out the connections between the village the people involved; she tells the group that dates are also significant and predicts that al-Khalifa will hit the Israelis again in twenty-eight days.

The Collaborator Edit

Paul Martineau is a French archeologist studying an ancient civilization near Aix-en-Provence, France. After working at a dig all day he makes excuses to his student and mistress and departs for Marseilles, France. Upon arrival there, he goes to the Arab quarter and begins speaking Arabic.

Ari and Gilah Shamron dine with Gabriel and Chiara. After the meal, Gabriel and Ari Shamron discuss Shamron's part in the clearing of Beit Sayeed during the 1940s. They go on to theorize about the case at hand. Ari tells Gabriel that the safe flat is now his property; that it was purchased for him by "a friend of the office." Ari gives Gabriel paperwork that will dissolve his marriage to Leah. Shamron suggests that Gabriel should ask Yasir Arafat about Khaled al-Khalifa. Gabriel tells Ari that Leah's move to Israel should take about a month because her doctor needs time to prepare her. After the Shamrons leave Gabriel and Chiara argue briefly over when Gabriel should sign the divorce papers. When they hear the sound of a bomb exploding, Chiara tells him to sign when he is ready.

Shamron arranges a meeting between Yasir Arafat and Gabriel in Ramallah, Palestine. Arafat refers to Gabriel having saved his life. He denies any knowledge of Khaled al-Khalifa's whereabouts, but Gabriel can tell he is lying. Arafat also denies any responsibility for the harm to Gabriel's family in Vienna. Gabriel can also tell that is a lie.

Yaakov Rossman takes Gabriel back to the West Bank on a supposed raid to cover the fact that they are going to talk with an informant, says that al-Khalifa is in contact with Arafat. He gives Gabriel a photo of the man he says is al-Khalifa and says that when he communicates with Arafat's headquarters a European woman who speaks Arabic talks for him and refers to "Tony."

Gabriel learns that Israeli technical intelligence has five intercepts of a European woman who calls Arafat's office and mentions "Tony." On one of the intercepts Tony may be heard speaking. After a bureaucratic argument with Lev Ahroni, Gabriel sets out on a trip that will eventually lead him to Cairo, where the calls originated.

Arriving in Cairo, Gabriel Allon meets with David Quinnell, an Office source. Gabriel gives Quinnell the photo of "Tony." Quinnell provides the name Mimi Ferrere, an American ex-patriot who operates a night club in Cairo. An occasional visitor to to Mimi's club is a man who calls himself Tony. Gabriel goes to Mimi's club, where he is joined at his table by three Arabs who ignore him. Later in the evening Mimi Ferrere stops by his table and introduces herself. Gabriel returns to his hotel and notifies the concierge, Mr. Katubi, that he would be extending his stay.

While David Quinnell draws attention away from Mimi's apartment, Gabriel enters the apartment surreptitiously. He inserts a device into a telephone and downloads documents from Mimi's computer. Returning to his hotel, Gabriel ingest a substance guaranteed to cause violent intestinal distress. For a week, he conducts electronic surveillance of Mimi Ferrere's conversations. Recovering ffrom his self inflicted illness, Gabriel checks out of the hotel and flies to [Germany]]. At an airport, Gabriel telephones technical intelligence. They match the two voices Gabriel has recorded from Mimi's apartment and telephone to Voiceprints. The latter is comes from a number registered to Paul Véran. King Saul Boulevard orders Gabriel to go to Rome.

The Gare de Lyon Edit

Paul Martineau drives to Marseilles and is briefed on the status of the operation. Martineau declines to meet with a female member of his team who had once been his lover and orders that Daoud Hadawi, who executed the bombing of the embassy, be killed. Martineau goes to an apartment he keeps in Marseilles, calls Mimi Ferrere and leaves the message that Gabriel hears via a tap. Mimi calls him back, addressing him by his alias Véran.

Gabriel meets with Shimon Pazner, who takes him to the site of the bombed out embassy and tells him that Varash met the previous night. At the Stratford Clinic, A new nurse prepares to settle Leah Allon for the night. Leah's bodyguard follows.

Gabriel meets Dina Sarid and boards a yacht. He meets with Ari Shamron, who reiterates that Varash met and tells Gabriel that it committee's verdict was to execute Khaled al-Khalifa. Gabriel argues that the case against al-Khalifa is weak but gives in to Shamron. The team is in place. Gabriel tells Ari that this is the last time.

The surveillance of al-Khalifa's Marseilles apartment begins. It continues until April 17, when Khaled al-Khalifa and a woman arrive at his apartment.

At the Stratford Clinic, the new nurse kills Leah Allon's bodyguard. She and a helper place Leah in a stolen laundry van.

It is night. In Marseilles, Gabriel prepares to execute al-Khalifa. In Cairo, David Quinnell is killed. In Ramallah, Yasir Arafat thinks about another enemy soon to be killed.

Gabriel approaches al-Khalifa to kill him but his way is blocked. A woman asks him if he is looking for his wife then describes Leah. The woman tells Gabriel to break off the operation and send his team out of France or Leah will be killed. Gabriel complies. His team reluctantly boards their yacht and leaves the port. Gabriel realizes that the dossier was a plant designed to lead him to Marseilles. Al-khalifa boards a train for Paris.

Gabriel is taken to a house where is is strip-searched and given clothes too large for him. The woman who accosted him in Marseilles forces him into a car at gunpoint. They begin their journey to Paris. Enroute, they agree that Gabriel may call the woman Palestina. Gabriel convinces Palestina to tell her story to him.

In Jerusalem, Varash meets and reviews the situation. Because everyone except Gabriel and Leah is out of France, the committee decides that it is time to notify the French government. In Paris, al-Khalifa goes to an apartment he keeps for contingencies. When he learns by watching television that the French have been notified of the threat of his planned terrorist action, he decides to return to Marseilles that evening on a train leaving the Gare de Lyon at 7:15 p.m.

Gabriel and Palestina continue toward Paris and she tells him about her family's eviction from Israel after independence and the degradation her father suffered in refugee camps in Lebanon and about Israeli attacks later. Palestina does not want to tell Gabriel any more; she tells him it is almost time to meet his wife.

Leah is taken to a Paris Metro station for a ride to the Gare de Lyon; she becomes aware of her surroundings. She remembers the night of the bombing in Vienna and is confused about being in the company of a woman she does not know.

Khaled al-Khalifa arrives at the Gare de Lyon and, after passing through a security checkpoint, meets Mimi Ferrere.

Gabriel Allon and Palestina arrive at the Gare de Lyon. Palestina gives him a cell phone and tells him to dial a number.

Gabriel connects with Mimi Ferrere. She tells him that Leah is on track D and that he has a choice of saving Leah or saving all the people in the station. While she talks Gabriel sees the three bombers and realizes they are the three men with whom he was seated at Mimi's club. Gabriel moves. He kills Palestina and takes her weapon. He then kills two of the three suicide bombers. He does not have time to kill the third and runs to save Leah instead. As Gabriel gets Leah into a safe place, he las bomber detonates his bomb. After the blast, Gabriel carries Leah back to the car he had driven to Paris. As he drives away from the wrecked station, Gabriel calls King Saul Boulevard.

Sumayriyya Edit

Gabriel makes his way to an Office safe house with Leah. Uzi Navot, the katsa of Paris Station meets them while King Saul Boulevard works on an extraction plan. Moshe, a local bodel, handles logistics. Gabriel and Uzi update each other on recent events. Headquarters completes the plan. Uzi will take Leah to Poland where she will be inserted into a group of Israeli tourists. Moshe will drive Gabriel to a pickup point at Fiumicino in Italy.

Yaakov Rossman meets Gabriel on the Italian beach and transports him to a yacht. Gabriel tells Dina Sarid about Palestina and draws a picture of the woman. Gabriel transfers to an Israeli frigate and meets with Ari Shamron in Israel. The story of the bombing has already appeared in the French press, including pictures of Gabriel at the Gare de Lyon and in Mimi Ferrere's club with the three bombers. Ari warns Gabriel that he will have to endure an inquiry led by Lev Ahroni. Gabriel responds that he wants to trace Khaled al-Khalifa through Sumayriyya. Ari agrees, but tells him to go see Leah and Chiara Zolli first.

At Mount Herzl Psychiatric Clinic, Gabriel meets with Dr. Mordecai Bar-Zvi who takes him to see Leah. Not including their conversation in Paris, Leah talks to Gabriel for the first time in thirteen years. Gabriel goes home and is met by Chiara who, although glad to see him, is upset that he went to visit Leah first. They make love. Afterward, Chiara asks him to sign the papers initiating his divorce from Leah and he temporizes.

Gabriel survives the inquiry into the bombing while French officials blame the Israelis for the event. Gabriel and Chiara get along, barely, while he continues to visit Leah, who is remarkably lucid. He defers the signing of the divorce papers. Dina Sarid calls to tell him that she has developed a lead on Sumayriyya. The next day, Gabriel, Yaakov and Dina drive to the area where Sumayriyya once stood; Gabriel and Yaakov talk with a man who identifies Palestina's family as the al-Tamaris, based on Gabriel's description of the family history.

Lev Ahroni refuses to allow Gabriel to go to Lebanon but does agree to using an asset the Office has. Gabriel meets with a Lebanese businessman, in Cyprus and tells him what information he needs about Palestina. Three days later the man reported that Palestina's name was Fellah al-Tamari and that she had gone to Europe in 1990 to study archaeology. When Gabriel returns to the apartment on Narkiss Street, he finds that Chiara has removed the papers she wanted him to sign.

Gabriel visits Eli Lavon at an archaeological dig, briefs him and asks him to identify Khaled al-Khalifa based on his association with archaeology. Eli agrees. Gabriel returns to his apartment and finds Chiara preparing to leave on an assignment for the Office. She tells him that she will be returning to Venice to be with her parents when the assignment is completed.

Gabriel dines with Ari and Gilah Shamron and Yonatan Shamron and his family. Ari tells Gabriel that Lev Ahroni's time as director is over and that the Prime Minister intends to ask Gabriel to become the director of operations of the Office; Gabriel responds that he has no where else to go. Gabriel begins the cleaning and restoration of Daniel in the Lions' Den for Julian Isherwood. Gabriel spends time with Leah, takes her to see Dani's grave and brings her to the apartment. She is amazed to learn that Yasir Arafat lives only a few miles away. Eli Lavon returns.

Five months later, Gabriel kills Khaled al-Khalifa at his dig near Aix-en-Provence, France. As Gabriel leaves the dig he passes a woman who looks very much like Fellah al-Tamari.

Commentary Edit

  • Headlines in the synopsis are from the book.