Assume nothing; never go against your gut; everyone is potentially under opposition control; and don’t look back: you are never completely alone. Any good spy knows these rules — the Moscow Rules — the rules to follow operating inside Russia.
Gabriel Allon, Israel’s top operative, finds himself repeating the Moscow Rules as he becomes deeply entrenched in a dangerous operation to save the world from an unscrupulous Russian oligarch.
Wrested from a sleepy Italian villa and his new bride, Allon is compelled to untangle the mystery of two dead Russian journalists. In the process, he discovers former KGB colonel Ivan Kharkov, who has become a real estate developer and arms dealer — and intends to sell a weapons cache to jihadists. The clock is ticking and Allon must act quickly before the deadliest attacks since 9/11 are unleashed.
The eighth in the Gabriel Allon series, Silva’s novel is pragmatic and plausible. Silva accurately portrays life in post-communist Russia, deftly exposing the stark contrast between the nouveau riche and the working class as well as the concerning trend of centralized power growing behind the Kremlin walls.
A good spy story and a fun read, Moscow Rules relies on a few well-placed wire taps and Allon’s cool head to save the day. It lacks the super-spy toys of James Bond, the quick wit of Burn Notice, and page-turning thrills of a John Grisham novel. Even though the plot is compelling enough and moves forward adequately, it does so without the breathtaking suspense I anticipated from reading reviews on the flyleaf.
Rated: Moderate. This book could have been mild if not for three uses of strong language and two of moderate language toward the end of the book. Violence is brief and never described in detail. The existence of sex and intimate relations is alluded to, but the scene fades to black before the first kiss.