In the Goblet of Fire movie, the Death Eaters appear within seconds after being summoned by a newly resurrected Voldemort. The first words out of his mouth are to berate his followers for their lack of loyalty.
Five months earlier on the night of the Yule Ball, Igor Karkaroff admitted his fear to Severus Snape of Voldemort returning. He specifically dared Snape to show his bare arm - the arm that bore the Dark Mark, which Voldemort used to summon his minions.
In a memory scene in the book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Snape describes Karkaroff's fear and Dark Mark to Dumbledore. (This memory is from the night of the Yule Ball, so it probably occurred moments after the video clip above.)
‘Karkaroff's Mark is becoming darker too. He is panicking, he fears retribution; you know how much help he gave the Ministry after the Dark Lord fell.’ Snape looked sideways at Dumbledore's crooked-nosed profile. ‘Karkaroff intends to flee if the Mark burns.’
If Karkaroff's own Dark Mark signaled Voldemort would return soon, then surely the marks on the other Death Eaters did too. And if they did know, they should have started seeking him months before the resurrection. Seems odd that they did not seek him out.
Is there anything from the Harry Potter books that says the Death Eaters knew Voldemort would return soon?
Please support your answers with quotes from the books. (I know I mentioned the movie rather than the books, but I consider the books canon and the movies as non-canon. If I had access to the books, I would either answer this myself or use quotes from the books within this post. Alas, I gave away all those books to a teen girl who is closely related to me.)
Another way they could have known their master would return soon was if Peter Pettigrew and Barty Crouch Jr. could have informed the Death Eaters they were planning to resurrect him. (But there is no evidence of Wormtail or Crouch telling anyone of their plans to my best knowledge.)
In the time leading up the the Dark Lord regaining a corporeal form, the Dark Mark on the Death Eaters’ arms grew clearer. Then, when the Dark Lord touched Pettigrew’s Dark Mark to summon the Death Eaters to the graveyard, they would have all felt the Dark Mark burn and know the Dark Lord had truly returned and was summoning them.
“When he touched the Mark of any Death Eater, we were to Disapparate, and Apparate, instantly, at his side. This Mark has been growing clearer all year. Karkaroff’s, too. Why do you think Karkaroff fled tonight? We both felt the Mark burn. We both knew he had returned. Karkaroff fears the Dark Lord’s vengeance. He betrayed too many of his fellow Death Eaters to be sure of a welcome back into the fold.”
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 36 (The Parting of the Ways)
They may have suspected that he would return from the Dark Mark growing clearer, but when they felt the Dark Mark burn, they would have all known for sure that he had returned, and that he was calling them, expecting them to arrive.
The Death Eaters who arrived in the graveyard didn’t choose to seek him out at any point until he actually summoned them, which is why the Dark Lord was angry with them. They were able to seek him out, but they chose not to - which is why he berated them for their disloyalty.
“I see you all, whole and healthy, with your powers intact – such prompt appearances! – and I ask myself … why did this band of wizards never come to the aid of their master, to whom they swore eternal loyalty?”
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 33 (The Death Eaters)
The truly loyal were in Azkaban - the ones who remained were those who lied their way out of sentencing, and were willing to disavow the Dark Lord in exchange for their own freedom.