When last we encountered Gabriel Allon in PORTRAIT OF A SPY, he was pitted in a blood-soaked duel with a deadly network of jihadist terrorists. Now, exposed and war-weary, he has returned to his beloved Rome to restore a Caravaggio masterpiece for the Vatican.
But early one morning Gabriel is summoned by his friend and occasional ally Monsignor Luigi Donati, the all-powerful private secretary to the Pope. The broken body of a beautiful woman lies beneath Michelangelo's magnificent dome. Donati fears a public inquiry will inflict more wounds on an already-damaged Church so he calls upon Gabriel to use his matchless talents and experience to quietly pursue the truth -- was it suicide, or something more sinister?
Gabriel discovers that the woman revealed a dangerous secret that threatens powers beyond the Vatican. And an old enemy plots revenge in the shadows, an unthinkable act of sabotage that will plunge the world into a conflict of apocalyptic proportions. Once again Gabriel must return to the ranks of his old intelligence service -- and place himself, and those he holds dear, on the razor's edge of danger.