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Moscow Rules is the eighth book in the Gabriel Allon series. The Office learns about shipments of weapons to hostile Islamic organizations.

Synopsis Edit

The Summons Edit

A Russian journalist checks into an elegant hotel in Courchevel, France. He is there to learn about the activities of Ivan Kharkov. While the concierge and the afternoon manager are waging a campaign to encourage him to move elsewhere, he is murdered.

The Martyrdom of St. Erasmus
Gabriel Allon is restoring The Martyrdom of St. Erasmus by Nicolas Poussin for the Vatican at the Villa dei Fiori in Umbria, Italy. The staff does not like him Gabriel is on his honeymoon with his bride, Chiara. He is restoring the painting under an agreement that justifies his presence in Italy. While he is working on the painting, he is summoned by the Office for a different mission.

Gabriel travels to Assisi, Italy to meet with Uzi Navot. Uzi tells Gabriel that Ari Shamron is worried about Gabriel's security and also that the Office would like Gabriel to do it a favor.

Uzi goes on to describe the Russian journalist's murder and explain that the editor of his newspaper named Boris Ostrovsky wants to meet with Gabriel specifically. Gabriel is reluctant to undertake any operational functions because he is in Italy under an agreement with the Italian government that specifically prohibits his doing anything but restoring art. Uzi presses the issue and Gabriel agrees, provided that Eli Lavon is sent to conduct his countersurveillance.

Gabriel returns to the villa and explains the mission to Chiara. She is unhappy with the arrangement, but has no choice but accept what her husband will be doing. Gabriel assures her he will return the next day.

Gabriel meets Eli in Rome and explains the mission.

After following Ostrovsky to ensure he is not being followed by anyone else, Eli approaches him. When Ostrovsky refuses to convey his information to Eli, Eli tells him the place to meet Gabriel, St. Peter's Basilica. As Gabriel approaches Ostrovsky, the Russian falls to his knees with his hands around his throat and dies. Gabriel is able to back away from the scene and meet with Eli, who assures him the Ostrovsky had no followers.

Gabriel meets with Monsignor Luigi Donati, who is upset because Gabriel became operational while in Italy after giving his word that he would not. Gabriel argues that he was not operational, only meeting someone. Somewhat mollified, Donati agrees to allow Gabriel to review security images in the hope of seeing the man who killed Ostrovsky.

Gabriel reviews the images of Ostrovsky's death then search for images of the perpetrator. Gabriel later shows the images to Eli, who says the man is Russian. Eli hands Gabriel a note from Ari Shamron calling him back to Israel.

Ari Shamron meets Gabriel when Gabriel returns to Israel. Ari tells Gabriel about recent threats involving weapons sales and assigns Gabriel to learn what Boris Ostrovsky wanted to tell the Office.

Ari and Uzi send Gabriel to St. Petersburg, Russia to participate in a cultural conference in the guise of an Israeli diplomat. Afterward, he is to fly to Moscow to attend a dinner party also attended by Olga Sukhova.

Gabriel attends the cultural conference and is then "invited" to Moscow by the Israeli ambassador.


Gabriel and Olga agree to meet the next day. After Olga guides Gabriel around Moscow, they have dinner and she tells him that a member of the new Russian elite (and former member of the KGB) Ivan Kharkov is shipping large military items to the Middle East. Gabriel agrees to escort Olga back to her apartment, where they are attacked by two would be assassins. Gabriel kills both men.

The police are called. A officer takes Gabriel into custody, interrogates him and later turns him over to the FSB. An FSB officer who identifies himself as Sergei interrogates Gabriel in more depth and he is held in Lubyanka prison until the Office retaliates by taking Russian agents in Israel prisoner. Gabriel is expelled to Ukraine.

The Recruitment Edit

Gabriel returns to Israel in the company of Mikhail Abramov on an El Al flight which includes Chiara as a member of the cabin crew. He is met by Shamron.

The Defection Edit

The Harvest Edit

Questions Edit

Commentary Edit

Headlines in the synopsis are from the book.

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