I quite enjoyed this third installment of the Gabriel Allon series and look forward to diving into the next one on my list (A Death in Vienna (Gabriel Allon, Bk 4)). In fact, my enjoyment of the series is growing with each installment I read. The locations, characters and complexity of the plot are very satisfying and I find these to be first rate espionage thrillers.
Although I have frequently used resources like Google Maps to occasionally look up locations mentioned in novels, this was the first novel I read almost entirely on the new iPad and what a treat this was! Although I don't know if this was the case in the first couple of Silva's Allon novels, I found that all of the intriguing european locations mentioned in The Confessor" were quite legitimate--or at least the street was legitimate and usually specific enough that I could pick out what building must have inspired the author. In some cases, as with the apartment building mentioned in the first line of the novel, the actual building is there and, based on Silva's end notes, he gathered anecdotes about life in that very building from relatives who lived there.
This all makes reading on the iPad especially fun because you can click the Home button twice, switch to Google Maps, search the address or street from the novel and zoom right down to the street or park in question and "walk around" with Gabriel. It's an utterly immersive experience. And given Silva's obviously well researched and carefully chosen Swiss, French and Italian locations, this is a real treat. Silva tends to continuously provide very specific location information such that you can literally trace a car chase down a winding road and get a truly cinematic feel for the real-life location or directly observe the flavor of a shopping district in Cannes where the characters might stop.
It's almost like a whole new way of reading and I found Silva's book remarkably well suited to it. If you're really into the whole iPad-novel immersion thing, you can even stream the real Monaco radio station Silva mentions (using any radio streaming app) and hear the station Gabriel is hearing as you look at the scenery he would be seeing. It's a total blast and the seamlessness of the retina iPad experience elevates this kind of reading technique to the sublime.