Who really wrote the world's great novels ?
It's a question the novel Phantom Author answers with irreverence, wit and mischievous intent
"Take a look at the bestseller lists: you would be amazed how much of it is the work of ghosts, novels as well as fiction. We are the phantom operatives who keep publishing going ... preserving the seamless illusion of the Magic Kingdom."
- From The Ghost, by Robert Harris
SYNOPSIS AT A GLANCE
Alexandre Maquet is an obsessive, enterprising and fearless literary
journalist who specializes in famous books and authors. His investigations into the shadow world of secret ghostwriting convince him that hundreds of the greatest novels in history have been ghost written.
Maquet plans to reveal his hypothesis, and supporting reasoning, in a published exposé titled Who Really Wrote It? He knows will cause outrage and condemnation in the global book industry. What he doesn’t know is that someone will be outraged enough to go to any lengths to prevent him publishing his exposé.
A literary satire
The novel Phantom Author shines a brazen light on the shadow world of secret ghostwriting. It illuminates the fiction publishing industry, which considers ghostwriters of famous novels as pariahs - some who in turn regard publishers as denizens of the 'Kingdom of Illusion".
17th century portrait painting by Pietro Paolini
Arab historian and author, Cide Hamete Benegeli, has the dubious distinction of being the first person in the world to ghost write a famous novel - and not just any novel. In 1603 he ghosted the biggest selling novel in history, and the first modern novel ever written – The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes. The novel, Phantom Author, tells the tale of a secret centuries-old ghost writing dynasty that began with Cide Hamete Benengeli and continues to this day.
"Part of a novelist's job is to turn a slight, even false rumour into a glitteringly certain reality."
- Julian Barnes
‘You’re suggesting Ernest Hemingway didn’t write The Old Man and the Sea … that it was ghostwritten for him?!’ Alexandre Maquet’s sister, Simone Corvier, gasped.
‘Yes,’ Maquet replied, calmly.
‘Ridiculous! Impossible!’ Corvier cried. ‘It’s recognized as Hemingway’s greatest work … it won him a Nobel Prize for God’s sake!’
‘That doesn’t prove he wrote it – ghostwriters work in secret,’ Maquet retorted. ‘It just proves it was a good book. How would the Nobel Committee know who wrote it? Even a book’s publisher wouldn’t know if the person handing them a manuscript had actually written it or not. If the client-author and the ghostwriter keep the secret, how could a publisher possibly know one way or the other?’
Phantom Author is an outrageous and preposterous novel."
- World Publishers Club
© 2020 Roger McAuliffe. All rights reserved. Quixote Books is a subsidiary of McAuliffe Creative Enterprises