23 May 2013



September 1938. Spain's Civil War has been raging for two years, the outcome still in the balance. But rebel General Franco is so confident of winning that he has opened up battlefield tourism along the country's north coast.

Jack Telford, a left-wing reporter, finds himself with an eccentric group of tourists on one of the War Route's yellow Chrysler buses. Driven by his passion for peace, Telford attempts to uncover the hidden truths beneath the conflict.

But Jack must contend first with his own gullibility, the tragic death of a fellow passenger, capture by Republican guerrilleros, a final showdown at Spain's most holy shrine and the possibility that he has been badly betrayed. Betrayed and in serious danger.
....... Outer back cover. (Last paragraph may contain a slight spoiler, hi-light if you wish to view)

FIRST SENTENCE (Reflection: Saturday 1 October 1938): Sydney Elliott discarded yet another attempt - his fifth - at writing the obituary.

MEMORABLE MOMENT(Page 79): ..... "I say what was all that screaming about?"
"Good morning," said Peter. "No idea, I'm afraid, but there seems to be some sort of kerfuffle going on. D'you think somebody might have been murdered?"
"You've not read enough crime novels, Mister Kettering," said Frances. "The body is always discovered during dinner, never at breakfast.
"They might do things differently over here," said Kettering. "Anyway, we must find a table........"

MY THOUGHTS: With twists and turns aplenty, a strong sense of time and place and peppered throughout with vivid images of both the Basque region and its cuisine The Assassin's Mark is extremely well written and obviously thoroughly researched, the authors knowledge and passion for his subject shines through in this his second novel.

Set in 1930's Spain at the close of the civil war, alas, as it turns out, not a chapter in history that I found myself particularly fascinated by (I suspect that on this account I may well have fared better with the authors first book, THE JACOBITES APPRENTICE) whilst I did enjoy this as a Christie-eque thriller I admit that I did find the political element more than a bit daunting and on occasion a bit long-winded.

Impressed that it did work on so many levels, perhaps more than the plot itself it was the wonderful cast of eccentric characters that made this such an enjoyable read for me. Quirky if not always likable, the author did a wonderful job in capturing the psyche of the Brit abroad.

Disclaimer: Read and reviewed on behalf of the author,  I was merely asked for my honest opinion, no financial compensation was asked for nor given.
Please note: All original content on http://pettywitter.blogspot.co.uk/ is created by the website owner, including but not limited to text, design, code, images, photographs and videos are considered to be the Intellectual Property of the website owner, whether copyrighted or not, and are protected by DMCA Protection Services using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Title 17 Chapter 512 (c)(3). Reproduction or re-publication of this content is prohibited without permission.
In addition I would also urge that if you are reading this on any other page you contact the original blog owner/reviewer.


Blond Duck said...

I do like the quote: "You always find bodies at dinner, never at breakfast!"

Kelly said...

Now this one sounds more like something I would enjoy.

Like you, though, I would find the time period of her first novel more interesting. Still...this one sounds quite good.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

The first sentence grabs my attention! I liked your review too :-)

Mama Zen said...

This sounds like one I might like!

EC Stilson said...

That first line is awesome! And it does sound as if the author succeeded on so many levels. I might have to check this one out :)

Suko said...

Love your wording in this review, such as "With twists and turns aplenty". This sounds positively wonderful!

Brandi Kosiner said...

Great first line

Nikki-ann said...

Not one I'd automatically pick up, but having read your review, it does sound quite good! :)

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Oh eccentric characters! I like that. Might have to check this one out.

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

This sounds like a fun HF novel! Thanks for sharing. My first time hearing of this one. :)

Brian Joseph said...

I am really interested in this period so this one sounds like a very interesting book. It seems that lots of fiction came out of the Spanish Civil War. Ernest Hemingway's For whom the Bell Tolls comes to mind? Though folks tend to say it was not his best work, I really thought that it was a compelling book.

Betty Manousos said...

this sounds like an interesting read.
i might have to check this one out.
i do like the memorable moment; that quote is so true.

big hugs~ xx