Gabriel Allon is an agent for the Israeli government.
He has been one for many years, working undercover for the Office of Intelligence and Special Tasks since he took part in the retribution for the Munich Massacre in 1972. In his own mind he was ruthless and cold in his work, doing whatever was necessary. Then his wife was severely wounded and his son died in a bombing meant for him and his world collapsed.
After a period of grief that still haunts him, he left the clandestine world. To earn a living and keep his sanity, he went back to a previous love, the art world. He now works as an art restorer specializing in the Old Masters with a reputation that reaches deeply into the art world. His prices are very high and he takes his time to get to truly know the artist before ever touching a canvas. This meticulousness gets him ridiculed by his less-capable peers and pressured by those would-be employers who want it now. It also gets him a long list of would-be clients.
But the covert world is not ready to leave him alone. He was always the best agent that the department had had so at times he is brought back by Ari Shamron, the oft-times head of the agency and a man Allon both loves and hates.
Being well into his 50's, Allon cannot run and fight as well as he once did but his experience and training over the years has more than compensated. Adding in a keen intellect and an eye for detail, plus fluency in five languages, makes him a danger to his enemies. As the series progresses, Allon changes with time, as is appropriate, but his committment to what he perceives as right, and his loyalty to old friends, never diminishes.