The Obedient Assassin (Hardcover)

A Novel

By John P. Davidson

Delphinium, 9781883285586, 320pp.

Publication Date: February 4, 2014

List Price: 24.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Leon Trotsky, one of the leaders of the Bolshevik Revolution and the head of The Fourth International, was exiled from Russia in the late 1920's by Joseph Stalin and later assassinated for opposing Stalin's non-aggression pact with Adolph Hitler.

In this dark and riveting thriller, John Porterfield Davidson has re-envisioned the life and mission of Ramón Mercader, the Spanish nationalist enlisted to murder the great intellectual and who obediently and reluctantly completed the task after a great deal of self-doubt and soul-searching regret.

Ramón's great internal conflict is ignited by an unexpected and unwanted passion that develops for a left-leaning Jewish woman named Sylvia whom he is ordered to seduce as a means of getting at Trotsky but ends up being the one enthralled by the woman's intelligence and gentle trusting nature. This finer feeling creates a conflict between Ramón and his mother, part of a satellite group controlled by Stalin who has conscripted her son to murder Trotsky. We follow the protagonist through Spain, France and Belgium and finally to Mexico where he comes into contact with Frieda Kahlo who along with Diego Rivera have offered Trotsky and his wife refuge in one of their gated homes.

With a deft command of mood and atmosphere, John Davidson has woven a narrative that will strongly appeal to all readers of noir Word War II novels.

About the Author

John Davidson is a frequent contributor to Harper’s Magazine. He lives in Austin, Texas. This is his first book.

Praise For The Obedient Assassin: A Novel

“Reading The Obedient Assassin is like watching a great Hitchcock movie. From the first paragraph the reader is caught in a quiet undertow of suspense and swept into a fully realized story of twisted filial duty and cruel deception. In this remarkable novel, John Davidson has transformed the political murder of Leon Trotsky into a frightening, intimate, and hauntingly human crime.”
— Stephen Harrigan, author of the national bestseller The Gates of the Alamo

“From the first sentence, the quality of writing stands out in this fine novel about the events that led to Leon Trotsky's assassination--a skillful blend of history, political intrigue, culture, betrayed love, and the author's almost uncanny ability to paint a vivid picture of those times and places.”
— Neil McMahon, author of Dead Silver and L.A.Mental