Bookseller Quentin Rowan appears to have forged a writing career entirely by raiding the contents of his shelves. Publisher Little, Brown & Co. recalled every single copy of his debut spy thriller, Assassin of Secrets—written under the pseudonym QR Markham—after discovering that passages had been lifted from more than a dozen other spy novels, both classic and contemporary, reports the Wall Street Journal. In one place, a nine-paragraph passage lifted from a Robert Ludlum thriller flows cleanly into a seven-paragraph passage plucked from one of John Gardner's James Bond novels.
Literary blogs, including Reluctant Habits, have been busy cataloging the plagiarism in Assassin of Secrets and in stories and essays Rowan has published elsewhere. Spy novelist Jeremy Duns, who hailed the book as an "instant classic," says he is embarrassed to have been duped. "I don’t think it would be reasonable to expect a publisher to check through the thousands of thrillers out there to make sure a book on submission was not a collage of others’ work from start to finish," he wrote in his blog. "It’s such a bizarre thing to have done that I can’t fathom the reasons for it." (Read more plagiarism stories.)