Yesterday afternoon debut spy novel ASSASSIN OF SECRETS by Q. R. Markham (AKA Quentin Rowan) was pulled by publisher Little, Brown after the company discovered that a number of passages had been taken from other sources.
"Little, Brown and Company said the book, released last week as a paperback original, included material 'lifted from a variety of classic and contemporary spy novels' and that stores should return any copies." (source: Associated Press)
Among the authors plagiarized, including Ian Fleming and Robert Ludlum, was Overlook's own Charles McCarry. Although a spokesperson from Little, Brown declined to identify the borrowed passages in question, Reluctant Habits editor Edward Champion compares passages from Markham's novel to their original sources on his blog, including selections from McCarry's The Tears of Autumn, The Last Supper, and Second Sight.
From Reluctant Habits:
Markham, Page 15: “He was a natural administrator; he absorbed written material at a glance and never forgot anything. He knew the names and pseudonyms, the photographs, and the operative weakness of every agent controlled by Americans everywhere in the world. Brewster rarely met with any of them, and few of them knew he existed, but he designed their lives, forming them into a global subsociety that had become what it was, and remained so, at his pleasure. He was outranked by only three men in the American intelligence community.”
Taken from Charles McCarry’s The Tears of Autumn: “He was a natural administrator; he absorbed written material at a glance and never forgot anything. He knew the names and pseudonyms, the photographs and the operative weakness of every agent controlled by Americans everywhere in the world. Patchen never met any of them, and none of them knew he existed, but he designed their lives, forming them into a global sub-society that had become what it was, and remained so, at his pleasure. His hair turned gray when he was thirty, possibly from the pain of his wounds. At thirty-five he was outranked by only four men in the American intelligence community.”Visit Champion's blog for the full post and an ongoing list of new outlets, including The Paris Review, The Huffington Post, and BOMB Magazine that are reporting tips of Markham plagiarism.
UPDATE: 11/9/2011, 5:01 PM
Overlook publisher Peter Mayer, who has a long history publishing spy novels commented:
"If you're borrowing from Charles McCarry, you're borrowing from the best. I find it interesting that Markham chose to steal content from three different books; he obviously has a high regard for McCarry. If you're going to steal, make it count."