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The Mark of the Assassin

The Mark of the Assassin

4.2 50
by Daniel Silva

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Daniel Silva's first novel, The Unlikely Spy, proved itself to be one of the most auspicious debuts in years, was translated into over a dozen languages and went on to be a major international bestseller. Now, with The Mark of the Assassin, he firmly takes his place among the most compelling writers of his generation with an incredible tale of power,


Daniel Silva's first novel, The Unlikely Spy, proved itself to be one of the most auspicious debuts in years, was translated into over a dozen languages and went on to be a major international bestseller. Now, with The Mark of the Assassin, he firmly takes his place among the most compelling writers of his generation with an incredible tale of power, politics and intrigue.

When Michael Osborne of the CIA is called in to investigate the terrorist bombing of an airliner off the coast of Long Island, there is one relevant clue that drives him: a body found in the water, near the crash site, with three bullet holes to its face. Osborne recognizes the deadly markings as the work of a world-class assassin—a man whose very existence has never been proven because the only people ever to have seen him became his victims. Among those victims: a young woman Osborne loved years before.

As Osborne gets closer and closer to solving the puzzle of the airline crash, his personal obsessions threaten to consume not only the investigation, but his marriage and family life as well. And when the frightening identity of the assassin's employers becomes clear, Osborne puts himself—and his loved ones—into the sights of the most fearsome man on earth.

With breathtaking plot twists, complex characters, and a villain who is among the most ruthlessly diabolical creations in modern thriller fiction, The Mark of the Assassin is a razor-sharp suspense masterpiece from one of the more exciting new authors at work today.

Frank Runyeon, a versatile actor and comedian, has appeared in such popular shows as Melrose Place and L.A.Law, and has appeared in the feature films Sudden Death and Bolero.

Editorial Reviews

When CIA agent Michael Osbourne is sent to investigate the tragic bombing of an airliner, he notices the mark of a notorious assassin on one of the dead: three bullet holes to the face. Now it's up to Osbourne to seek out the killer's employer, as well as the savage man who has evaded Osbourne for years.
Library Journal
For his second thriller, Silva turns from World War II (The Unlikely Spy) to a modern intelligence milieu with corrupt government officials and wealthy special interests. The title character, October, is a contract master assassin released by the KGB 30 years ago. CIA agent Michael Osbourne, a terrorism expert, saw October kill his girlfriend and badly wants to capture him. Then the investigation of a missile-downed airliner off the coast of Long Island reveals a body with three shots to the faceOctober's signature. Osbourne's need to attend to his marriage while trying to stop October's completion of a multiple-hit contract and to uncover those financing it lead to a violent denouement. With concise, vivid character sketches, Silva weaves a swiftly paced, internationally tangled plot. Fans of Ludlum and Forsyth will look for this Literary Guild selection.-- Louise Saylor, formerly with Eastern Washington Univ,. Libs., Cheney
Entertainment Weekly
...[A] must-read for conspiracy buffs...
Kirkus Reviews
Silva, whose debut, The Unlikely Spy (1997), put the WWII thriller back on the map, brings the genre up to date with a vengeance in an exhilarating story that roots razzle-dazzle espionage heroics in contemporary political headlines. The Islamic fundamentalist group Sword of Gaza has apparently claimed responsibility for the Stinger missile attack that brought down TransAtlantic Flight 002, and the President, lagging in the polls a month before the next election, has responded by recommending a costly new antimissile defense system. But wiser heads at the CIA don't believe that Sword of Gaza shot down the plane. Michael Osbourne in particular has reason to remember the signature wounds in the face of the dead terrorist found near the Stinger launcher, since years ago his lover was killed in the same distinctive way. Now that Michael and his wife Elizabeth are trying for their last chance to have children, he's called away from her side to go after his bˆte noir, the freelance assassin dubbed October, who all but pointed the Stinger at Flight 002, and who's now agreed to execute all the accomplices to the deed. Michael would be even more worried if he knew about the troubles he had much closer to homeþfor example, the Society for International Development and Cooperation, those warmongers whose tentacles reach high up in the Agency and the White House itself. The closer Michael gets to October, who's now taken out a Society contract to liquidate Michael, the greater the danger to himself, his wife, andþthanks to a gleefully inventive series of plot twistsþthe American political system as we know it. TWA Flight 800, Star Wars, Whitewater, Vince Fosterþthey're allhere, together with enough soothingly familiar spy stuff (the beautiful killer, the triple-cross, the conspiratorial military-industrial complex) to wring a sigh of pleasure and recognition from the most rabid paranoiac.

From the Publisher
“A terrific thriller…one of the best-drawn fictional assassins since The Day of the Jackal.”—The San Francisco Examiner

“A must-read.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Split-second suspense by an inventive ace of the genre.”—Newsday

“[A] fast-moving, bang-bang thriller.”—Los Angeles Daily News
“Compulsively enjoyable…Silva keeps the double-crosses moving at [a] frenzied clip.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“A taut spy thriller…Silva’s writing is clean, his characterizations pithy. And he keeps readers guessing.”—New York Post

“A strong, driving pace...Its two main characters cannot be denied.”—Chicago Tribune

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:

Read an Excerpt

When he heard the approach of the Dauntless, the man called Yassim quickly flashed a powerful signal lamp three times. The smaller vessel came into view. Mahmoud reduced power, and the Dauntless glided toward the stern of the yacht.

Even in the weak light of the moon he could see it on the boy's face: the crazed excitement, the fear, the rush. He could see it in the shining deep-brown Palestinian eyes, see it in the jittery hands fumbling over the controls of the Dauntless. Left to his own devices, Mahmoud would be up all night and the next day too, reliving it, recounting every detail, explaining over and over how it felt the moment the plane burst into flames.

Yassim detested ideologues, detested the way they all wore their suffering like armor and disguised their fear as valor. He distrusted anyone who would willingly lead a life such as this. He trusted only professionals.

The Dauntless nudged against the stern of the yacht. The wind had picked up in the last few minutes. Gentle swells lapped against the sides of the boats. Yassim climbed down the ladder as Hassan Mahmoud shut down the engine and clambered into the forward seating area. He reached out a hand for Yassim to help him out of the boat, but Yassim simply drew a silenced 9mm Glock pistol from the waistband of his trousers and shot the Palestinian boy rapidly three times in the face.

That night he set the yacht on an easterly heading and engaged the automatic navigation systems. He lay awake in his stateroom. Even now, even after countless killings, he could not sleep the first night after an assassination. When he was making his escape, or still in public, healways managed to remain focused and operational cool. But at night the demons came. At night he saw the faces, one by one, like photographs in an album. First alive and vibrant; then contorted with the death mask or blown apart by his favorite method of killing, three bullets to the face. Then the guilt would come, and he would tell himself that he had not chosen this life; it had been chosen for him. At dawn, with the first gray light of morning leaking through his window, he finally slept.

He rose at midday and went about the routine of preparing for his departure. He shaved and showered, then dressed and packed the rest of his clothing into a small leather grip. He made coffee and drank it while watching CNN on the yacht's superb satellite television system. Such a pity: the grieving relatives at Kennedy and Heathrow, the vigil at a high school somewhere on Long Island, the reporters wildly speculating about the cause of the crash.

He walked through the yacht room by room one last time to make certain he had left no trace of his presence. He checked the explosive charges.

At 6 p.m., the precise time he had been ordered, he retrieved a small black object from a cabinet in the galley. It was no larger than a cigar box and looked vaguely like a radio. He carried it outside onto the aft deck and pressed a single button. There was no sound, but he knew the message had been sent in a coded microburst. Even if the American NSA intercepted it, it would be meaningless gibberish.

The yacht motored eastward for two more hours. It was now 8 p.m. He set each of the charges and then slipped on a canvas vest with a heavy metal clamp on the front.

There was more wind tonight. It was colder and there were high clouds. The Zodiac, cleated at the stern, rose and fell rhythmically with the three-foot swells. He climbed into the craft, untied it, and pulled the starter cord. The engine came to life on the third pull. He turned away from the yacht and opened the throttle.

He heard the helicopter twenty minutes later. He shut down the Zodiac's engine and shone a signal lamp into the sky. The helicopter hovered overhead, the night filled with the thump of its rotors. The cable fell from its belly. He attached it to his vest and pulled hard on it twice to signal that he was ready. A moment later he rose gently from the Zodiac.

He heard explosions in the distance. He turned his head in time to see the large motor yacht being lifted out of the water by the force of the blasts. Then it began its slow descent toward the bottom of the Atlantic.

Meet the Author

Daniel Silva is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Unlikely Spy, The Mark of the Assassin, The Marching Season, and the Gabriel Allon series, including The Kill Artist, The English Assassin, The Confessor, A Death in Vienna, Prince of Fire, The Messenger, The Secret Servant, Moscow Rules, The Defector, The Rembrandt Affair, Portrait of a Spy, The Fallen Angel, The English Girl, The Heist, The English Spy, and The Black Widow. His books are published in more than thirty countries and are bestsellers around the world.

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Mark of the Assassin 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
Man_Of_La_Book_Dot_Com More than 1 year ago
"The Mark of the Assassin" by Daniel Sivla is fast paced fictional mystery about CIA agent Michael Osbourne. The story takes place mainly in the United States & England and involves several contemporary themes. The story starts with an act of terrorism. A jet liner is shot out of the sky using an land-to-air shoulder missile, the shooter is a terrorist known to the authorities who is found dead next to the empty missile tube shot in the face three times. Three shots to the face are the mark of the assassin and CIA agent Michael Osbourne knows it - he has encountered it before while working in the field. Michael believes that the jet liner was not shot down by Arab terrorists but by someone else and this makes him a target. What Michael doesn't know is that a group of rich and powerful world policy manipulators have targeted him for assassination and sent the world's best assassin to do the job; an assassin who justifies his work and morality by the famous Wild West well reasoned defense of "he needed killin'". "The Mark of the Assassin" was a good, quick read with several references to Silva's first novel "The Unlikely Spy" (book review) which I found entertaining - even though this is a separate story. The book starts out a bit slow (but well paced) and keeps you reading with twists and a surprise I didn't see midway through. To be fair though, the setup alone is half the book. There are many elements in the mix: political intrigue, a wife, medical issues, international locations, twists, turns and a few surprises. Those elements are a winning combination. The book has well developed characters, great plot-line and it kept me interested until the last page, as well as a theory which is thought provoking, if nothing else. For more book reviews please visit ManOfLaBook dot com
Guest More than 1 year ago
it really didn't spoil my enjoyment of this fantastic story. It did, however, tip off the ending. I recommend all of Daniel Silva's work so far. Next, I will read 'Death in Vienna' and anxiously await more books from DS. These newer writers make me wish I had time to reread some of Leon Uris' books.
miss_dobie More than 1 year ago
Anything written by Daniel Silva is exciting and beyond a great value in a reading experience. His characters are human and make you want to be friends with them. His stories are fast-paced and exciting. And even tho Gabriel Allon is a spy, Daniel Silva writes in such a way that anyone can easily follow along and understand what's going on and why. Gabriel is one of the most famous characters ever written about and we never want his story to end. The stories are so well written that you have finished the book before you know it. And to say that Daniel Silva is one of the greatest writers of our time, is probably a very big understatement. His writing is fluid and flawless and easy to read. You never have to read a sentence twice. If you haven't already read a Daniel Silva story, you are truly missing out on a great reading experience.
jrwils56 More than 1 year ago
A good fast paced thriller. I like the previous book by Silva better but this one is good. My pet peeve is when there are misspelled place names but I guess I can blame the publisher for not doing their job.
JCD2 More than 1 year ago
If there was a failing with this book, it was probably mine.  I grabbed the book expecting Gabriel Allon to appear.  What I got was MIchael Osbourne of the CIA who is willing to go to great lengths to avenge his lover's death.  He also has the most understanding wife alive.
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Thoroughly captivating. Edge of your seat. For anyone that enjoys suspense with facts that are, for the most part, familiar, this author's works are a "must read"
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Ronniedean More than 1 year ago
I cannot believe I have never read Daniel Silva until The Fallen Angel...he is great....I am reading his first Gabriel Allon now The Kill Artist and can't put down. Going to read the entire series. LOVE HIM
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