The Assassin’s Mark

Written by David Ebsworth
Review by Rachel Malone

Spain is in the grip of Civil War, the year is 1938 and the war is not over, but General Franco is so utterly convinced of victory that he opens up War Route holidays where tourists are invited to follow in the footsteps of battlegrounds. For Jack Telford, a left-wing reporter in an eclectic bunch of what appears to be right-wing sympathisers, this tour is by no means an easy journey.  From the initial stages of being the easy target for  sympathisers to give Franco the support at the expense of the “left”, to being devastated at the brutal death of a friend and fellow passenger, to finding himself captured by Republican fighters Jack has a huge amount to contend with.

The Spanish Civil War was never an area of history that interested me, so I have to admit to not being overly excited to read this, and with a fairly slow start, I thought this was going to be a bit of a chore.  I was wrong. The Assassin’s Mark twists and turns like a theme park ride!  What starts out as a war tour where our hero seems to be the butt of every joke; soon turns into a murder mystery with more than a touch of espionage thrown in.

The characters are so incredibly vivid that you absolutely detest the more right-wing elements, the Hitler sympathisers who are casually racist and you mentally cheer when a resounding punch lands squarely.  There are characters you adore, others that annoy you and all of these are so expertly devised that you simply cannot help but miss them all when you finish the book, and you will finish it; this is not a novel you will be able to put down.

One tiny note from this reviewer: don’t read this book hungry! The descriptions of some of the meals are enough to make you salivate and book a table at a Spanish restaurant at your earliest convenience!