In light of the recent Assassin of Secrets plagiarism scandal, Jeremy Duns has published several emails from author Quentin Rowan on his blog, The Debrief. Duns, a spy novelist who had earlier praised the plagiarized book, was the first to alert publisher Little, Brown to similarities between Rowan’s Assassin of Secrets and published works by Charles McCarry (pictured right), Raymond Benson, and Robert Ludlum. In their correspondence, Rowan provides an explanation for his decision to borrow significant portions of his debut novel, stating “Once the book was bought, I had to make major changes in quite a hurry, basically re-write the whole thing from scratch, and that's when things really got out of hand for me. I just didn't feel capable of writing the kinds of scenes and situations that were asked of me in the time allotted and rather than saying I couldn't do it, or wasn't capable, I started stealing again.”
Overlook publishes an extensive McCarry backlist, including The Tears of Autumn, The Last Supper, and Second Sight; passages of which all appear in Rowan’s novel. Yesterday, we received the following message from the author himself:
Dear Sirs or Madames,
I found this address on the Overlook press website and wonder if there is any way this apology could be extended to Mr. McCarry? If it doesn't merit bothering him, in your eyes, I understand, of course.
Anyway, I wanted to apologize to Overlook as well as Mr. McCarry for the act I've committed. I am deeply ashamed of taking Mr. McCarry's words and using them as my own for several reasons. The first is that he is my favorite writer in the world. Somewhere along the line my mind got so muddled with denial and magical thinking, that I just wanted his words to be my own somehow. Secondly, through my years as a book buyer at retail stores, Overlook press has always been one of my favorite publishers and it pains me that I did something that affects an organization with so much integrity. Mr. McCarry's books have provided me with years of wonderful escape into the world of Paul Christopher and the Christopher family and I believe that the Tears of Autumn is the finest spy novel ever written. (Not that my opinion counts.) I can only hope that I will be forgotten, or remembered as a pimple on the face of espionage fiction while Mr. McCarry is really the whole eyes, nose, ears, and all. He certainly deserves recognition as such.
So once again, I extend my apologies for taking not only what wasn't mine, but from stealing from the king's table.
With sincere regret,