One bizarre news story that's been making the rounds this week has been the discovery that Q.R. Markham's debut novel, Assassin of Secrets, contains significant plagiarized passages, and was recalled by Little, Brown. Stories like this are puzzling, because we all wonder: Why, in an age of Google, would anybody think they could get away with plagiarizing?

On The New Yorker's book blog, Macy Halford suggests the possibility that the author (his real name is Quentin Rowan) had planned an "elaborate ruse" all along. Halford quotes the review of Assassin of Secrets from Kirkus, which includes in the line:

“Containing elements of the 007 and Jason Bourne sagas, Graham Greene’s insular spy novels, William Gibson’s cyber thrillers, TV’s Burn Notice and Mad magazine’s classic Spy vs. Spy comic strip, this book is a narrative hall of mirrors in which nothing and no one are as they seem and emotion is a perilous thing to have.”

Did Rowan know he'd get caught—and was teasing critics? Did he leave clues to his plagiarism in the story itself? Did he think it would bring attention to his book, in a good way?

As one customer wrote on Amazon: "Get the book and compare it to the writers whose stuff he lifted; it's a fascinating exercise, and not a bad book. I bought 20 copies from my local bookstores and have then listed various places if you can't find one. Get them now while they're hot; they'll be worth quite a bit later on!"

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On a less serious note, NPR's MonkeySee blog has posted a funny piece called "How to Name Your First Novel." (Listen up, all you NaNoWrMo-ers!) Click over to the post to start filling in the blanks in this Mad Libs-style exercise. For example:

If Your First Novel Will Be A Workplace Satire
At Least They Left Us The
[A PIECE OF OFFICE MACHINERY]

(I like At Least They Left Us The Fax Machine.)

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We've already teased you with an excerpt from Christopher Paolini's Inheritance, but at least you can get your hands on the book now, if you want to. Paolini has given an interview in which he gives hints about his next project. UK book site TheBookseller.com interviewed Paolini. The author explained that his next project will most likely be in the science fiction genre—although he's not ruling out a return to the world of Eragon.

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Happy Friday! What literary links have you enjoyed this week? What are you reading this weekend?

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