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The Marching Season: A Novel Hardcover – March 2, 1999

4.3 out of 5 stars 366 customer reviews
Book 2 of 2 in the Michael Osbourne Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Good Friday agreement that promised to bring peace to the embattled Protestants and Catholics of Northern Ireland is jeopardized by a new paramiltary group bent on destroying the truce. Michael Osbourne, the hero of Silva's previous thriller, The Mark of the Assassin, is rerecruited by the CIA when Douglas Cannon--his father-in-law, a former senator, and the new ambassador to the Court of St. James--is targeted for death by the Ulster Freedom Brigade. Osbourne has long since given up on the spying game and is reluctant to be drawn back into it again. Then he discovers that the Brigade has shopped the contract on Senator Cannon to October, the assassin who narrowly missed killing Osbourne a few years ago but succeeded in murdering the woman he once loved. It's a good setup for a political thriller, with nonstop action that moves from Belfast to Armagh, New York to Washington, London to Mykonos. What really notches up the suspense is the double-dealing in the corridors of power, particularly the CIA and a secret organization called the Society--a nasty assemblage of politicos, spymasters, arms merchants, and killers bent on destabilizing nascent peacemaking efforts all over the globe. Down but not out at the conclusion of Silva's latest, the Society and Osbourne will likely be back for a return engagement the next time warring factions attempt to beat their swords. In fact, as the director of the Society says in the last chapter, "The Kosovo Liberation Front would like our help: Gentlemen, we're back in business." --Jane Adams

From Publishers Weekly

The title of Silva's new thriller (after Mark of the Assassin and The Unlikely Spy) refers to the time of the year in Northern Ireland when the Protestants assert their right to march in celebration of a 300-year-old victory over the Catholics?and the Catholics (naturally) object. The Irish background to this elaborately plotted but not very convincing yarn is by far the best part about it. Silva has clearly done his homework on Belfast and the tone of the contemporary Troubles, and the opening passages have an authentic ring. All too soon, however, the story becomes bogged down in one of those worldwide conspiracies to keep the world safe for arms merchants by blocking any efforts toward peace, of a kind only John le Carre, with his much more acute eye and ear for offbeat villains, can hope to bring off. There is a supposedly charismatic yet glum world-class assassin who bumps off the surgeon who has changed his face; an embittered ex-CIA man, Michael Osbourne, whose job is to save the free world; Osbourne's wife, who wishes he would leave the Agency alone, and various cynical and suave operatives on both sides. The whole tale is told in simple, declarative sentences that convey information (though not much else) with economy and authority, but ultimately become tedious. There are anomalies, too: a climactic shootout in Washington might work as a movie scene but sags on the page; and while such real-life figures as British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams and (in a truly ludicrous scene) even Queen Elizabeth are given walk-ons, the American public figures are all mythical. Despite Silva's skill at moving a story along, this is basically a mechanical and lackluster performance.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 418 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (March 2, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375500898
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375500893
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 6.9 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (366 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #438,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

He has been called his generation's finest writer of international intrigue and one of the greatest American spy novelists ever. Compelling, passionate, haunting, brilliant: these are the words that have been used to describe the work of #1 New York Times-bestselling author Daniel Silva.

Silva burst onto the scene in 1997 with his electrifying bestselling debut, The Unlikely Spy, a novel of love and deception set around the Allied invasion of France in World War II. His second and third novels, The Mark of the Assassin and The Marching Season, were also instant New York Times bestsellers and starred two of Silva's most memorable characters: CIA officer Michael Osbourne and international hit man Jean-Paul Delaroche. But it was Silva's fourth novel, The Kill Artist, which would alter the course of his career. The novel featured a character described as one of the most memorable and compelling in contemporary fiction, the art restorer and sometime Israeli secret agent Gabriel Allon, and though Silva did not realize it at the time, Gabriel's adventures had only just begun. Gabriel Allon appears in Silva's next nine novels, each one more successful than the last: The English Assassin, The Confessor, A Death in Vienna, and Prince of Fire, The Messenger, The Secret Servant, Moscow Rules, and The Defector. Silva's forthcoming novel, The Rembrandt Affair, will be published on July 20, 2010.

Silva knew from a very early age that he wanted to become a writer, but his first profession would be journalism. Born in Michigan, raised and educated in California, he was pursuing a master's degree in international relations when he received a temporary job offer from United Press International to help cover the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco. Later that year Silva abandoned his studies and joined UPI fulltime, working first in San Francisco, then on the foreign desk in Washington, and finally as Middle East correspondent in Cairo and the Persian Gulf. In 1987, while covering the Iran-Iraq war, he met NBC Today National Correspondent Jamie Gangel and they were married later that year. Silva returned to Washington and went to work for CNN and became Executive Producer of its talk show unit including shows like Crossfire, Capital Gang and Reliable Sources.

In 1995 he confessed to Jamie that his true ambition was to be a novelist. With her support and encouragement he secretly began work on the manuscript that would eventually become the instant bestseller The Unlikely Spy. He left CNN in 1997 after the book's successful publication and began writing full time. Since then all of Silva's books have been New York Times and international bestsellers. His books have been translated in to more than 25 languages and are published around the world. Silva continues to reside in Washington with his wife and teenage twins Lily and Nicholas. When not writing he can usually be found roaming the stacks of the Georgetown University library, where he does much of the research for his books. He is currently at work on a new Gabriel Allon novel and warmly thanks all those friends and loyal readers who have helped to make the series such an amazing success.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the third of Daniel Silva's books that I have read and all I can say is that THE MARCHING SEASON is perhaps the best sequel I have read in any of the genres I read in. At the very beginning of this book I did not think I would end up saying this, but here I am, saying it in spite of my initial reservations.
To be sure, this book starts off more slowly than I would have expected or liked. However, that is where the skill that Daniel Silva possesses reveals itself. Without a doubt, here is a relatively new author who is already a master of pacing, tension, plot, scene, character development and everything that is needed to craft a finely wrought spy novel.
Michael Osbourne is reprised from THE MARK OF THE ASSASSIN as are his wife, his liberal father-in-law, retired U.S. Senator Douglas Cannon and other members of the government and the CIA. Also returning for a not so welcome guest appearance is Jean-Paul Delaroche, aka October, the Assassin who unsuccessfully attempted to kill Michael Osbourne in the previous installment.
The internal machinations of the U.S. and British governments, as well as the possible goings-on inside both the IRA and the various Irish Protestant paramilitaries are also revealed here and in fine detail. Another master stroke that Silva employs throughout this story is that he doesn't ever really get preachy. With some authors, their natural biases come out in their writing. Not so with Daniel Silva. He simply tells the story and writes about the people he populates the book with.
Is there moral outrage on Silva's part? I would have to guess yes. No normal person could ever condone the terroristic acts that are carried out in the name of one misguided cause after another around the globe.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Against the backdrop of the "Troubles" between militant Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, ex-CIA agent Michael Osbourne pursues his nemesis, assassin par excellance Jean Paul Delaroche. Northern Ireland has exploded amidst a wave of terroristic violence perpetrated by the Ulster Freedom Brigade, a pro-Protestant militant group. Their goal is to upset the ongoing peace process authored by British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.
The Ulster Freedom Brigade is backed by a secretive group called the Society, a conglomerate of intelligence officers, arms merchants, businessmen and criminals who try to influence world events for their own profit. Delaroche, also known as October, is the Society's chief assassin. He has previously failed in an assassination attempt on Osbourne and his wife and been wounded in the process. Osbourne's wife Elizabeth is the daughter of retired New York senator Douglas Cannon. In an attempt to exert a strong American influence in the stalled peace talks, Cannon, at the request of Blair, is appointed U.S. ambassador to England.
In order to safeguard his father in law, Osbourne re-ups with the CIA and is commissioned to be the liason in Northern Ireland. The Society wishing to potentiate the chaos in Ireland targets Cannon for assassination. A lethal cat and mouse game ensues between Osbourne and Delaroche.
Silva has a wonderful knack for crafting fast moving, entertaining spy thrillers. The Marching Season is no exception, replete wih unexpected twists and a very satisfying conclusion
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
First of all, I like Daniel Silva's writing and I thoroughly enjoyed his first two novels. "The Unlikely Spy" was one of the best World War II espionage novels that I had read in a long time. "Mark of the Assassin", the prequel to this book, was also quite good. But, I guess I just missed the boat on this one.
The success of the Good Friday Agreement is being threatened by a new terrorist group and the current British Prime Minister requests that the U.S. President appoint a heavyweight to the Court of St. James to show U.S. support for this agreement. Senator Douglas Cannon, a political rival of the current administration, gets the appointment and since he is Michael Osbourne's father in law, we know that the former hero of "Mark of the Assassin" will be lured back into the web of dirty deeds and operatives. Even the "Assassin" from "Mark of the Assassin" returns. What more could one ask for.
Unlike many, I thought that the first half of the book was extremely well done. Especially where Silva lays the seeds for the problems in Northern Ireland and introduces his new paramilitary "bad guys" (and "bad gals"). But, with the introduction of a super-secret cabal known only as "The Society", whose directors are interested in world domination and control from an economic as well as a political/military level, I think he starts to lose it. First of all, the identity of the U.S. delegate to this group is a piece of cake to figure out. Then, "October", the assassin from the second book, performs a hit for the Mossad and Osbourne can recognize him from his hand (?). The Society itself - that world domination thing, again - is vintage Robert Ludlum.
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