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The Defector is the ninth book in the Gabriel Allon series. Grigori Bulganov, who defected when Gabriel Allon escaped from Russia, disappears. Shortly thereafter, Chiara Allon is abducted.
Gabriel Allon is restoring The Crucifixion of St. Peter by Guido Reni at the Villa dei Fiori. He receives a message that Uzi Navot wants to meet with him. Gabriel, who is retired from the Office, meets with Uzi, who first berates him for not following orders in Russia then tells him about Bulganov's disappearance. Gabriel concludes that Bulganov was abducted by Ivan Kharkov. Uzi tells Gabriel that his own security is at risk and that both he and Chiara will be returning to Israel within three days; he leaves two guards behind. Chiara comes home and Gabriel tells her about Bulganov. They also discuss having a child. Gabriel tells Chiara he is going to London to find out what happened to Bulganov and that between them he and Chiara are going to deceive their guards so that they don't follow him.