TODAY’S GUEST: JOHN P. DAVIDSON…Step inside for a thrilling Q&A….



{Based on a true story}

*This is his first novel*


 {Thriller/Political Intrigue/Historical Fiction}

The Obedient Assassin by John. P. Davidson





Welcome John and congratulations on the release of your novel, THE OBEDIENT ASSASSIN!!!

What was the most surprising thing you learned from your 10 years of research for the book?

JOHN: One of the many surprising things I learned was that Trotsky had almost absolute faith in the power of the written word. Knowing that Joseph Stalin was attempting to have him killed, Trotsky was attempting to defend himself by writing a biography of Stalin. This had to set some kind of record for a problematic author-subject relationship.

      What drew you to Trotsky that made you decide to center a book around him?

JOHN: Trotsky was a classical tragic character. He was known as one of the “great minds” of his time, was considered the greatest orator of the Russian language, and was a brilliant writer who, coming from nowhere, rose to the greatest heights only to have everything ripped away because he had slighted Stalin.

      THE OBEDIENT ASSASSIN is a story full of personal relationships. Which relationship is most interesting to you?

JOHN: The relationship between Ramon and Sylvia and Ramon was intriguing in that it developed slowly into a genuine romance, but what was perhaps more fascinating and certainly more unusual was what occurred between Ramon and Trotsky toward the end of the book. With little direct contact, from opposite sides of the wall,  they became intensely aware of each other and it seemed that Trotsky all but collaborated with Ramon in his execution. As Sylvia says at the end of the book about panic attacks, he certainly stopped looking.


      How difficult is it to write fictional dialogue and actions for characters that really existed in history?

JOHN: Because so many of the characters were speaking a second or third language, they needed to sound a bit foreign and that was fairly easy because I’ve studied German, French, Italian and am fluent in Spanish. The scene in the hospital room at the end of the book when there were so many languages being spoken and simultaneously translated was tricky but the power of the drama was worth the effort.

      What draws you to this particular period in history?

JOHN: The late 1930s were a romantic, dramatic and mysterious time when the world powers were on a collision course, alliances were shifting, and one could cast the story in terms of good and evil.

      If you could go back to one period in history in any part of the world, what would you choose?

JOHN: Paris in the years after the first World War.


7.  Why do you think that few have written about Trotsky’s story?

JOHN: The Kremlin’s propaganda machine destroyed Trotsky reputation and wrote him out of Soviet history.  There are famous photographs from the Revolution that were airbrushed to remove Trotsky from the picture. Many Russians today don’t know that Trotsky was a revolutionary hero.

 If Trotsky had not been assassinated, how do you think the world would be different?

JOHN: Trotsky provided a voice of reason and a humane face for socialism, but the forces against him were so great, I doubt the world would be any different.


      How did growing up in a small ranching community in Texas impact your imagination as a child and your desire to write?

JOHN: We were newcomers and outsiders in a deeply rooted and tightly knit German community. We didn’t speak the language or know all that much about the culture, so that understanding relationships required attention and curiosity.


After studying economics and history in college, what inspired you to leave Texas and serve in the Peace Corps?

JOHN: I wanted to have exotic adventures, speak a foreign, and help less fortunate people.


How did your time in Peru impact your storytelling?

JOHN: I was the only foreigner and English speaker living in a small desert village. At night, I read Henry James by candle light after the town’s generator was turned off.






The Obedient Assassin by John. P. Davidson

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Delphinium (February 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1883285585
  • ISBN-13: 978-1883285586

*From the publicist*



Ramón Mercader seemed to have everything—a lush life in Paris, evenings with Frida Kahlo and other artists, and the love of a beautiful woman who shared his leftist ideals—so why did he carry out the murder of Leon Trotsky, a leader of the Bolshevik Revolution?

Because this bourgeois life was a façade constructed by his mother and her lover, both Soviet agents loyal to Stalin.

Author and journalist John P. Davidson follows the twisted and melancholy path to assassination in THE OBEDIENT ASSASSIN: A Novel Based on a True Story (Delphinium Books/distributed by HarperCollins; February 2014). Based on 10 years of meticulous research, Davidson recreates the story of a man at a crossroads of modern history.

Mercader was recruited from the frontlines of the Spanish Civil War and his newly assumed identity of a Belgian aristocrat allowed him to insinuate himself with the exiled Trotsky’s circle in Europe. When he fell for the Jewish woman he was ordered to seduce to get closer to Trotsky, his obedience began to weaken and his conscience threatened to betray him.

THE OBEDIENT ASSASSIN leads the reader through Spain, France and New York, and finally to Mexico, where Mercader contacts Kahlo and Diego Rivera, who had offered Trotsky and his wife refuge in one of their gated homes. With the atmosphere and detail of the memorable spy novels and movies set in the mid-20th Century, this novel captures the drama of one of the most tumultuous times in world history—and one of its most controversial events.


About the author:

JOHN P. DAVIDSON is the author of the front-page story of the upcoming January 2014 issue of Harper’s Magazine. He began writing for Texas Monthly in 1976, and in 1980 published the expose, The Long Road North (Doubleday).  He subsequently received a NEA grant and the Penney-Missouri Prize for Excellence in Journalism. He has held senior editorial positions at The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Texas Monthly, Vanity Fair, and the San Antonio Express-News.  He edited Texas Architect and writes frequently about culture, society and politics. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to GQ, Fortune, Mirabella, Elle, House & Garden, Preservation, and Mexico Business. He taught English at the Universidad Catolica de Puerto Rico, and has been a guest lecturer at the University of the Americas in Cholula, Mexico.




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Thanks so much for stopping by for a visit with John P. Davidson.



One Reply to “TODAY’S GUEST: JOHN P. DAVIDSON…Step inside for a thrilling Q&A….”

  1. This was a great meeting as the guest was really humble and nice and it is really nice to meet him. I really respect such guests which have a decent manner and it was quite a good conversation with him.

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