When a commercial airliner is blown out of the sky off the East Coast, the CIA scrambles to find the perpetrators. A body is discovered near the crash site with three bullets to the face: the calling card of a shadowy international assassin. Only agent Michael Osbourne has seen the markings before - on a woman he once loved.Now, it's personal for Osbourne. Consumed by his dark obsession with the assassin, he's willing to risk his family, his career, and his life - to settle a score...
"The prose is slick, and readers will find themselves racing through these pages as the body count grows and the conclusion nears. The Mark of the Assassin is a worthy effort from a rising star." (Amazon.com review)
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"The Mark of the Assassin," published back in 1998, spookily augured a real event that occurred three years 𝙡𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙧: on 09/11/01. Here, Daniel Silva -- in only his second novel -- is already hitting his stride, showing his potential for excellent writing, plotting, and insight. Fans of his popular Gabriel Allon series will see in "The Mark of the Assassin" the emergence of the future Gabriel Allon character -- in the person of Jean-Paul Delaroche, international assassin and accomplished artist -- as well as several other characters that will appear in the Gabriel Allon series: most notably Ari Shamron (director of Israel's Mosad), Adrian Carter (director of the C.I.A.'s Counter-Terrorism Task Force), and Graham Seymour (England's MI6 spymaster). Fans of the 9/11 conspiracy theory will appreciate Silva's Society for International Development and Cooperation -- consisting of "rogue intelligence officers, politicians, arms merchants, mercenaries, drug lords, international crime organizations, and powerful business moguls" -- who secretly engineer a deadly terrorist attack on American soil to enrich their own agendas. Sound familiar? I don't doubt that such an organization may, in fact, exist on this planet, secretly manipulating events that profoundly affect all of us little people to its own ends. (Bilderberg Group, anyone?)
I have just finished listening to Silva's entire oeuvre in chronological order -- from "The Unlikely Spy" to "The English Girl" -- with great enjoyment, appreciating his evolution as an author along the way. In particular, I admire his growing encyclopedic knowledge of international affairs and behind-the-scenes political machinations. Also -- of interest to female listeners -- I have witnessed a subtle, but noticeable, evolution in Silva's feminist awareness. Whereas in Silva's early works -- including "The Mark of the Assassin" -- you will see the female characters portrayed as unlikeable, irritable, shrill, dependent, possessive harridans, in later novels the female characters begin developing into more admirable women. I also appreciate the fact that, although Silva necessarily includes the obligatory sex scenes in his novels, he makes them mercifully brief and un-explicit, more so with each novel.
Regarding the narrator, Christopher Lane, I subtracted a star from his rating, only because of an odd, overly nonchalant inflection that he adopted for the "bad guys" in this audiobook. Otherwise, I liked his reading of "The Mark of the Assassin." He has a nice voice, and distinguishes the characters from one another pretty well.
In summary, I highly recommend "The Mark of the Assassin" to most thriller lovers; although I admit that it may not suit everybody's tastes. In general, if you like your thrillers with intelligent, complex plots, with a bit of gratuitous cynicism, then I think that you will enjoy all of Daniel Silva's novels. By the way: "The Marching Season" -- the novel which immediately follows "The Mark of the Assassin" -- picks up where its predecessor left off, effectively continuing the story. So, if you end up enjoying "The Mark of the Assassin," I would suggest purchasing "The Marching Season" next, in order to hear the rest of the story.
I enjoyed every portion of this book. The author gets right to the point of the plot and quickly identifies and developes his characters very well. This was my first book by Silva but will not be my last. I would have rated this a 5 but the narrator, although good with the voices, had a very bad habit of not pausing when switching conversations. He would move from a conversation between two people to a conversation between two different people with virtually no pause. It would take you a few moments to discover the switch. This was very irritating and until you get used to it will detract from the book.