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Publisher pulls debut novel

NEW YORK (AP) — A debut spy novel, Q.R. Markham’s “Assassin of Secrets,” was pulled Tuesday after its publisher said it discovered that numerous passages had allegedly 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. Little, Brown had signed Markham to a two-book deal and said the second novel has been canceled.

According to a Little, Brown spokeswoman, Nicole Dewey, “Assassin of Secrets” borrowed from Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels and fiction by Robert Ludlum and Christopher McCrary. Dewey declined to offer examples of passages in question and would not say how the publisher learned of the similarities.

Markham’s novel was published by Little, Brown’s Mulholland Books, which specializes in “suspense fiction.” As of Tuesday afternoon, “Assassin on Secrets” ranked No. 43,966 on Amazon.com.

The novel tells of top CIA operative Jonathan Chase and his battle against “Zero Directorate,” which captures and kills agents. Publishers Weekly had praised the book as “quirky” and “entertaining,” and noted that the “obvious Ian Fleming influence just adds to the appeal.”

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