The Marching Season

Title:                      The Marching Season

Author:                Daniel Silva

Silva, Daniel (1999). The Marching Season. New York: Random House

LCCN:    98053464

PR6069.I362 M36 1999

LC Subjects

Date Posted:      July 19, 2017

Review by Edward Neuert[1]

Composing spy novels in the wake of the Cold War is a tough business, but in the wake of “Austin Powers” it has become even more difficult. So you can blame the two Michaels, Gorbachev and Myers, for the bind Daniel Silva finds himself in. Silva’s third political thriller follows Michael Osbourne, a retired C.I.A. officer, as he is forced back into his former trade. His mission: to protect his father-in-law, the newly appointed American Ambassador to London, from assassination at the hands of a rogue Protestant faction opposed to the Good Friday accords for peace in Ireland. Stepping in to support this faction—and to assist in the assassination plot—is the Society for International Development and Cooperation, a shadowy organization of powerful arms dealers, intelligence operatives and crime associations who want to “promote constant, controlled global tension through covert operations.” In the old days, the ranks of the K.G.B. or the Stasi could cough up a fictional spymaster who, no matter how thinly drawn or wooden-tongued, would have enough immoral reality behind him to successfully stagger to life on the page. Now such figures often seem silly. Silva’s readers are asked to believe that without the guidance of the Society’s omnipotent Director, airliners would not explode in the sky off Long Island, Arab leaders would not face assassination, and Irish hotheads would be without resources. In these days of decentralized mayhem, however, it does not take Dr. No to make bad things occur—to paraphrase the bumper sticker, Evil Happens. Silva is not a bad writer, and one wishes he had cut straight to his gritty, unnerving Irish scenes and dug deeper into the sod of Ulster, where everything is green and bleak and where, as one I.R.A. member says, “we may stop slaughtering each other for a while, but nothing’s ever going to change.”

[1] Edward Neuert, in The New York Times (May 9, 1999)