By Jennifer Armstrong
Updated July 20, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

The rise of Islamic terrorism is good news for no one but, perhaps, authors of espionage fiction. So far, however, they haven’t figured out how to handle this rich, sad material. In Daniel Silva’s stiff, didactic thriller, The Secret Servant, a radical Muslim sect kidnaps the daughter of the American ambassador to Britain as she jogs through a ”Londonistan” park. Enter soulful Israeli operative Gabriel Allon, the hero of Silva’s last six thrillers, who nobly takes on democracy’s necessary dirty work. The novel is unswervingly pro-Israel, shrill about the threat of Muslim immigration to Europe, and contemptuous of ”quisling” liberals. This is the stuff of fiery editorials, but heavy-handed novels. B-

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