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Assassin of Secrets


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#61 Bryce (003)

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 06:08 PM

*low whistle*

Man...Odd I was just talking to a literary agent friend the other day and she brought this up to me.

This guys days of writing are toast. She explained to me the way the chips will fall and what he's liable for.

Let's see...

- Publisher's will now demand any and all monies to be returned and drop him like a hot stone.

- Each and every word of everything he has ever had published will be gone over.

- Literary agent's (past and present) can and will sue for defamation of their character by association.

- Black listed for all eternity.

- Potential to be sued by any of the authors and their publishers and agents (all of whom will win)

- Complete and full alienation by writers and espionage fans.

Sad really, but what a jerk.

Hopefully he'll still have a driver's license...That delivery job may be his only option.

*shakes head*

#62 MarkA

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 06:28 PM

Just ordered a copy of this piece of from Amazon because it's going to be a nice collector's item very soon. Only 1 copy left on Amazon.com!

Why would you do this? This book needs to be ignored not turned into a collectors item.

#63 Single-O-Seven

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 06:51 PM

Buying the book won't support the author. Not now! It may help out the publisher who need to recoup some massive losses. I'm surprised that people can even buy it - I thought it would be immediately inaccessible due to recall.

#64 marktmurphy

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 07:18 PM

I'm impressed by those who've managed to spot all the stolen bits. Or is there some way of searching for text in Google docs?

Ooh look: linked to by The Guardian. Fame at last.

#65 dlb007

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 07:20 PM

I am truly appalled that this individual would try something so stupid and think he could actually get away with it. I can't understand why someone would copy other's work and attempt to pass it off as their own. It's childish and a complete slap in the face to all those who originally purchased the book; not to mention those who gave their time and money to publish it. It makes you wonder how many other writers have attempted this and have gotten away with it.

#66 Syndicate

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 08:30 PM

One of the authors who recommended the novel (he was quoted on the cover) has shared his thoughts on what happened and how it came about. It appears that Markham's deception worked because almost the entire novel was plagiarised, and he took works from dozens of authors, both prominent and obscure. I'm actually amazed he managed to splice all of it together into a coherent whole, much less one that a publishing house could pick up and that established authors could fall for. Full credit to Duns for this response - it's measured, intelligent and above all, mature.



Who are the authors he took the works from on his plagiarism. Were they from any of these authors, Tom Clancy, John Le Carre, Robert Littell, Alex Berenson, Daniel Silva, Larry Bond, David Morrell, Jack Higgin, Frederick Forsyth, Vince Flynn and Dale Brown.

#67 zencat

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 08:54 PM

Just ordered a copy of this piece of from Amazon because it's going to be a nice collector's item very soon. Only 1 copy left on Amazon.com!

Why would you do this? This book needs to be ignored not turned into a collectors item.

I wouldn't bank on it becoming a hot collectors item. There's noting inherently valuable here. Once this story is forgotten (and it will be), there will be no value to the book whatsoever. I also wouldn't buy it just on principle.

Hope the publisher sues Rowan to recoup their costs.

#68 Syndicate

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 09:51 PM


Just ordered a copy of this piece of from Amazon because it's going to be a nice collector's item very soon. Only 1 copy left on Amazon.com!

Why would you do this? This book needs to be ignored not turned into a collectors item.

I wouldn't bank on it becoming a hot collectors item. There's noting inherently valuable here. Once this story is forgotten (and it will be), there will be no value to the book whatsoever. I also wouldn't buy it just on principle.

Hope the publisher sues Rowan to recoup their costs.


I hope all the authors that write spy novels will join along in doing something about Rowan, and any authors outside of spy novels that also want to.

#69 Captain Tightpants

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 10:07 PM

Who are the authors he took the works from on his plagiarism. Were they from any of these authors, Tom Clancy, John Le Carre, Robert Littell, Alex Berenson, Daniel Silva, Larry Bond, David Morrell, Jack Higgin, Frederick Forsyth, Vince Flynn and Dale Brown.

The full depth of Rowan's plagiarism hasn't been discovered yet. Jeremy Duns reckons he has found parts from over a dozen authors in the text, including Robert Ludlum, Charles McCarry, John Gardner and Raymond Benson. A full list has not been revealed, but I daresay that if they're prominent spy fiction writers, they've been plagiarised by Rowan.

#70 AMC Hornet

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 10:51 PM

It's astounding how quickly this news went viral.

Of course, Little, Brown & Co. had to issue a press release, which was picked up by every literary supplement out there (US, Great Britain, Canada, evenn the Hindustani Times), but this must be the biggest publishing scandal since...when?

Wikipedia already has a new entry for this case under 'List of plagiarism contoversies' and there hasn't even been a summons issued yet.

Thanks, by the way, for all the positive attention. My OC tendencies have paid off again.

#71 Bryce (003)

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 11:11 PM

Well done AMC. The poor dumb bastard didn't just shoot himself in the foot on this one, he emptied the clip and reloaded and there seems to be even more rounds left.

Of my published friends, crap like this is the holy grail of sins in the literary world. Makes me glad I go to the trouble of copyrighting everything I write. Even my fan-fic stuff and even things going back to my college projects.

I'm not sure what his deal was, but beyond just the shame, the legal fees alone are going to go north of $100K easy. Also, per my agent friend, there is a section of a publishing contract that states clearly about plagiarism and it's consequences. If he's cashed a check and only spent a dollar of it on a soda, he's liable for all of it.

#72 DLibrasnow

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 11:22 PM

"The Washington Post" is reporting that Rowan's book has shot up in sales becoming one of the biggest sellers on Amazon.com:

"Sales rise for ‘Assassin of Spies,’ a novel pulled by publisher over plagiarism complaints"
http://www.washingto...YS5M_story.html

#73 Bryce (003)

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 11:27 PM

At least he won't see a cent of it.

#74 glidrose

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 12:35 AM

Oddly HODDER & STOUGHTON is the UK publisher. Hodder & Stoughton published John Gardner's and Raymond Benson's Bond novels.

Rowan also plagiarized Graham Greene's Our Man in Havana and Nicholas Mosley’s novel Accident.

American crime writer Lawrence Block doesn't mince his words.

"The author must be seriously disturbed; he quite deliberately stole everything in the book. And no, it's not an homage, not a tribute album. It's theft, and quite transparent; it should be off-sale by now, but it may take Amazon a while to take it down. The author, it turns out, has made a habit of this sort of thing throughout his "career." Let us not encourage him."

Block moderated a Q&A session with Rowan at "The Mysterious Bookshop" in New York last week. This link has photos of the event. Author Duane Swierczynski was there. He too gave the book a plug. He discusses this on his blog.

Not all blogs are hostile. This writer wonders if the book is a cutting edge work of genius and wants the book back on bookshelves.

Here's Jeremy Duns' original blurb: "QR Markham's ASSASSIN OF SECRETS is an instant classic. Precise, cool, and enormously entertaining, it takes on the greatest spy thrillers of the Cold War and doesn't just hold its own, but wins. I loved every word of it." (Jeremy Duns, author of Free Agent) :cooltongue:

Edited by glidrose, 10 November 2011 - 12:49 AM.


#75 Captain Tightpants

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 12:38 AM

Rowan has so far failed to comment, but I did find this, which I suspect contains some of the only things he has ever said that were actually his:

It was while he was working at the Community Bookstore in Park Slope that he started reading thrillers seriously. It was also where the aspiring writer came in contact with Brooklyn’s literary elite.

“There was a huge literary swirl around me,” he said. “I always felt a part of that and also apart from it at the same time. Paul Auster was in all the time.”

Rowan was frank about his intention to go for the money.

“With the economy so bad, there’s no room for a writer to worry about selling out, he said. “People who were writing thoughtful short stories about suburban malaise are now writing vampire stories.”

It would appear that Quentin Rowan saw how close he was to the literary world, felt that he should be a part of it, and so was deserate to get his foot in the door.

#76 Captain Tightpants

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 12:51 AM

Wikipedia already has a new entry for this case under 'List of plagiarism contoversies' and there hasn't even been a summons issued yet.

I'm surprised there isn't a page for Rowan/Assassin of Secrets yet.

#77 Bryce (003)

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 06:27 AM

He doesn't deserve one. This whole damn thread is enough to have the Admiral issue a termination warrant.

Actually, if it comes to that and across my desk, well, it isn't worth the travel, wear and tear on my silencer or the bullet.

Wouldn't mind the travel or frequent flyer miles and a few days in a nice hotel though. Odds are I could just hand him the gun and (at this point) he'd do it himself.

Besides, the holidays are approaching, and with them, Jim's usual lavish attempt on my life by some exotic means. I wouldn't pass it up for anything. Including snuffing this loser. Yeah, it'd be fun, but I'm traditional when it comes to this time of year and being a cold blooded assassin.

#78 Captain Tightpants

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 07:30 AM

He doesn't deserve one.

It's not a question of whether or not he deserves one. Wikipedia is governed by very different rules to CBn. While you might be upset by the fact that Rowan plagiarised so extensively, the fact that he has done so means that he satisfies Wikipedia's notability guidelines. If you look at the Wikipedia page on plagiarism incidents, none of the listed entries are as extensive as Quentin Rowan. Perhaps the closest case is that of a twelve year-old girl who coped a piece of HIGHLANDER fan fiction, rewrote it and presented it as an original work. Quentin Rowan plagiarised from over a dozen authors to the point where his entire novel was an amalgam of other peoples' work, and he was able to mislead publishing houses and writers in the genre into believing it was original. Like it or not, he qualifies for a page.

This whole damn thread is enough to have the Admiral issue a termination warrant.

Why, exactly? Because we're discussing someone who plagiarised from a dozen authors, and that upsets you? Sorry, but that sounds like pretty poor reasoning to me. This case will eventually be forgotten; the thread will fall from prominence in the forums. Why not just let it run its course and let Quantin Rowan fade into obscurity, instead of shutting a thread down because the person responsible for the book in question disgusts you?

#79 Jim

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 07:34 AM

One wonders if it was an experiment to expose lax quality standards in publishing and entrap rentaquote laziness. Fairly bold experiment if t'were.

#80 Captain Tightpants

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 08:12 AM

I doubt it. According to a couple of authors who were at a panel with him, Rowan came across as pretentious and unlikeable.

#81 Jim

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 08:17 AM

One wonders if it was an experiment to expose lax quality standards in publishing and entrap rentaquote laziness. Fairly bold experiment if t'were.


Look at that; I plagiarised myself. B-bm.

But the more I think about it, the more it looks like (if not actually "is") a set-up.

If, let's say, an individual is (for whatever reason) frustrated that anything original of his/hers cannot be published and that there is a vogue for churning out stock, similar genre stuff; additionally, said individual notes a published author of genre fiction - Mr Duns - appearing in print and online as a given authority on the genre, and is peeved (if utterly unreasonably) at both - motive unclear, perhaps he/she didn't like the innocuous Free Agent for whatever reason...

1. Spend considerable time reading and gathering the pieces to plagiarise - which tends to suggest this person has some "expertise" in the area; perhaps that's it, perhaps he/she considers themselves considerably more expert than Mr Duns and they'll show him, they'll show him good. Might be someone whose "expertise" in this light entertainment Mr Duns may have called into question; I don't know/care.

2. Spend time sewing that together into a credible whole - which it must have been if it was capable of being a ) accepted by a careless publisher and b ) read for quote from Mr Duns. That takes some skill. Skill doubtless better exercised coming up with something original but why bother it it will be rejected, etc. But not an idiot. Such a scheme and such time devotion is not the work of an idjit.

3. The point of limited return. Submit to publisher hungry for genre sales; submit to Mr Duns. Could all go spectacularly wrong at that point and perhaps it was not intended to go any further. Could have been sent to any author but given the nature of the text, Mr Duns appears to have been specifically targeted. Was he "expert" enough to spot it? Not to cast aspersions but by his own admission he did not (nor perhaps could he reasonably be expected to). So there y'go, Mr Duns is not an expert after all! Pointless point proven. If "so-called expert Mr Duns" cannot spot it, ha ha! (Bit unfair - I don't think this Mr Duns has ever proclaimed himself as anything more than a benevolent enthusiast).

4. There's the plot for a book exposing slack practice and authorial vanity in there, somewhere. Coming 2012 - "Blurb! A searing expose of all dat is wrong and stuff with publishing!" Is all this but stage 1 of something else?

Admittedly it may be none of that, and the above is purely original imaginative speculation. I don't think I have nicked it from anywhere.

Regards
Jackie Collins

#82 Captain Tightpants

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 08:22 AM

let's say, an individual is (for whatever reason) frustrated that anything original of his/hers cannot be published

Perhaps they should ask themselves why they're not getting published in the first place. If their writing is particularly clumsy, poorly-plotted, lacked any sort of depth or value, then perhaps they should probably take a look at what they are doing wrong.

#83 Jim

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 08:30 AM

True enough, but then this total mishmash of styles and plots did get published; the point is not so much that he or she did not get away with it but how he or she very nearly did.

#84 Pussfeller

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 08:39 AM

It seems more like a Viswanathan than a Sokal. We're talking about genre fiction.

#85 David Schofield

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 08:41 AM

He doesn't deserve one. This whole damn thread is enough to have the Admiral issue a termination warrant.

Actually, if it comes to that and across my desk, well, it isn't worth the travel, wear and tear on my silencer or the bullet.

Wouldn't mind the travel or frequent flyer miles and a few days in a nice hotel though. Odds are I could just hand him the gun and (at this point) he'd do it himself.

Besides, the holidays are approaching, and with them, Jim's usual lavish attempt on my life by some exotic means. I wouldn't pass it up for anything. Including snuffing this loser. Yeah, it'd be fun, but I'm traditional when it comes to this time of year and being a cold blooded assassin.


Ah, the plagriser is taken an even larger step into the theatre of the absurd.

From one fantasist to another, p'raps?

#86 Captain Tightpants

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 08:42 AM

the point is not so much that he or she did not get away with it but how he or she very nearly did.

Well, like I said earlier, I don't think he thought of what he was doing as being wrong.

I believe this was your response to that post:

Oh do calm down; whilst it's a noble effort to understand what is, in essence, theft, you are giving him more original thought than he evidently gave this book; too much attention. Were I you, I wouldn't waste my time trying to understand it. It might explain things, but it won't excuse them.



#87 Jim

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 08:52 AM

Yep. And "da system" was set up perfectly to be exploited. Still think the perp is an utter [censored], and has had more than enough attention, which should be directed towards a system whereby this utter [censored] came to be very nearly a ginormous [censored].

#88 Captain Tightpants

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 09:07 AM

A publisher can hardly be expected to recognise plagiarism like that straight off the bat - especially when Rowan's agent had already fallen for it. Most agents are already known to publishing houses.

#89 Jim

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 09:14 AM

Then that low expectation - which I accept may be absolutely the case - was being manipulated.

#90 Captain Tightpants

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 09:29 AM

I still doubt Rowan thought of it as manipulating or taking advantage of them.

And the publishing house he went through was an imprint of a much larger house. Who knows how many people the manuscript went through from the time the agent got the manuscript to the time the decision to publish it was finalised?




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