In his latest international thriller, The Marching Season, Daniel Silva continues the unique blend of fact and fiction that gives his stories the immediacy and urgency of the evening news. Michael Osbourne, the CIA officer who narrowly survived an assassination attempt by a former KGB killer, code named October in The Mark of the Assassin, retired from the agency and eased into a comfortable, domestic routine with his Wall Street lawyer wife Elizabeth and their young twins. The Marching Season begins several years later when Douglas Cannon, Elizabeth's father and a retired U.

S. senator, accepts appointment as the American ambassador to Great Britain with a commitment to advance a fragile peace agreement in Northern Ireland, the Good Friday Accords. Despite its acceptance by the country's major political factions, the agreement also spawned a few small extremist groups dedicated to destruction of the peace process. One such group, the Ulster Freedom Brigade (UFB), begins a bombing campaign and then sets its sights on Douglas Cannon as its next high-profile target. Michael's longtime friend lures him back into service in the agency's effort to reinforce British security measures to protect the new ambassador.

The expected attack on Cannon and Osbourne's role are reminiscent of a younger Jack Ryan in Tom Clancy's Patriot Games. Silva's narrative has the same effect on this earlier fictional creation as tilting a holographic picture; the reader suddenly sees a new and intriguing perspective.

With The Marching Season, Daniel Silva confirms his position as a frontrunner to succeed Tom Clancy as America's foremost source of international intrigue fiction. Clearly, Osbourne has a great future; one that Silva will share with his many admirers.

John Messer is a freelance reviewer in Ludington, Michigan.

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