Book Review: Portrait of an Unknown Woman by Daniel Silva

February 16, 2023


Portrait of an Unknown Woman by Daniel Silva is the 22nd book in the series featuring Israeli spymaster Gabriel Allon. In this book, the retired spy is attempting to break an international art forgery ring.

  • 448 pages
  • Publisher ‏ : Harper
  • Language ‏ : English
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : 0062834851

Book Review: Portrait of an Unknown Woman by Daniel Silva
My rat­ing for Portrait of an Unknown Woman5

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It has been a while since I read a book in the series, and it was good to get back. Even though I missed a good chunk of the series I didn’t feel as if I needed a refresher. As always, it was good to catch up with beloved characters.

I previously have watched several documentaries about art and wine forgeries. There’s no specific reason, it just caught my interest for a few weeks and I always felt as if both industries have become one big money laundering scam. The one that sticks out in my mind is Made You Look on Netflix, which is well worth watching.

Portrait of an Unknown Woman by Daniel Silva is a true art heist book. Unlike the other books I’ve read, this one doesn’t involve terrorism, but still involves villains and murderers out to protect their golden goose worth millions.

Both Mr. Silva and Mr. Allon freely admit that, frankly, no one knows how much fake art is out in the world. In several documentaries, gallery and museum directors flat-out admit that they have no idea how many pieces in their collections are fake (and they probably don’t want to know either).
Gabriel Allon, however, has an eye for such things.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy the book. After all, the big attraction to the series was the international intrigue. Spymaster Allon is now retired, but danger still seems to follow him around. Gabriel Allon can certainly find trouble in the midst of a Yom Kippur service.

The book did not disappoint, as much as I love the espionage genre, it’s always the characters that make the story. This is especially true if you’re interested in heist books, art history, and, of course, art forgery.


Israeli spymaster Gabriel Allon has retired and is living in Italy with Chiara, his wife, and children. That is until London art dealer, Julian Isherwood asks him to investigate suspicious paintings which have suddenly appeared, seemingly out of nowhere.

Allon enters the world of criminal deals, forgers, as well as clients and museums who are “pulling a Schultz”. The investigation could cost them millions of dollars, which they are happily willing to exchange for Allon’s life.

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Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer:I bought this book.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

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