Perfect prose

So how bad does it have to be before you give up? Here is the opening paragraph of a thriller I picked up today: “The archbishop’s men fled into the shadows of the lower valley. Behind them, atop the winter pass, horses screamed, arrow-bit and cleaved. Men shouted, cried, and roared. The clash of steel rang as silvery as a chapel’s bells.” Can it possibly get worse? Atop the Cite de l’Ecrit I too could be arrow-bit and cleaved for suggesting that this is truly terrible. Admittedly it is from a book that sounds from the blurb as if it is another Dan Brown type yawn. Personally I blame Umberto Eco who’s Name of the Rose started the whole thing off – but he could at least write and the rest really are pale imitations.


Written by glasskey

I am a secondhand and antiquarian bookseller living in France. I have a bookshop in the Cité de l'Ecrit, Montmorillon, near Poitiers. I also sell books on-line through my own website and through various open sites like Abe books, Amazon and Biblio.


  1. I thought I was being kind by not mentioning the author or title but you, young man, have told the world. Why am I not surprised at a multi-million dollar deal for bad prose

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