Excerpt from The Prophet by Michael Koryta, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Prophet

By Michael Koryta

The Prophet
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Aug 2012,
    416 pages.
    Paperback: Aug 2013,
    432 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Matt was in the midst of an explanation of how the team's performance apparently demonstrated that the players were not only pussy sons of bitches but also lacking in so much as a shred of respect for their fans, parents, state, and country when Kent rose from his chair. This was the signal, and this was where they'd had their greatest clashes. When Kent stood, Byers was to shut up and sit down. Immediately. He stopped in mid-tirade, which always distressed him, and said, "Listen to the head coach, now. Damn it, listen."

Kent stood and faced his team, let them all sit in silence, hoping they'd absorb two things from him: calmness and disappointment.

"Who thinks I'm upset with the numbers on that scoreboard?" he said eventually. His voice was low enough that those in the back leaned forward to hear.

Nobody raised a hand. They knew better; it was not a game of points to him, it was a game of execution. The points were a product of proper execution, and proper execution was a product of proper focus. He turned to Damon Ritter and said, "What am I upset with, Damon?"

"We're giving them their points."

"Correct. I want you boys to be generous, but not with the football." He swiveled to look at Colin Mears. "Colin, are you afraid of losing tonight?"

"No, sir."

"You ought to be," Kent said. "Tell me why that's true, Colin. Tell me why."

His star receiver said, "Because we aren't getting beat, we're losing the game."

This difference was critical; this difference was the focus of their season.

"Do me a favor, Colin. Read that poster on the wall behind me. Read it out loud."

The poster said, THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ACCEPTING A LOSS AND EARNING ONE. The boys were sick of hearing that little slogan. Kent watched while they heard it one more time.

"You've earned ten wins this year," he said. "Haven't earned a loss yet. If we have to accept one, we will. But, boys? Let's not earn it. Let's not do that."

He was looking at Colin, who nodded emphatically. There was something off with him, though. Something wrong with his focus. Of all the players to have playoff jitters, Colin was the most surprising. Kent decided they'd feed him the ball early in the second half, see if they could settle him down through repetition and ritual.

"We're going to run a lot of thirty-one flood at them," he began, and from then on their focus was on the technical details. He hoped.

If you focused on your individual responsibilities, good things happened as a team. Early in the third quarter, the Chambers safeties no longer biting on that play-action fake, Spencer Heights threw an interception. Then the offense finally got going, with Lorell and Colin connecting up the seam for a quick touchdown. They also scored at the start of the fourth, and when they got the ball back, it was a tie game with six minutes left. Lorell marched them down the field patiently, taking what was offered, letting the defense chase frantically after Colin on the vertical routes and then throwing into the windows underneath. They had first and goal from the three, and Kent looked at the field and thought, What the heck, we practiced it, and called for the bootleg. Lorell jogged in without a hand on him.

That was how it finished: 21–14. Kids and parents alike came streaming down out of the stands and onto the field and the band boomed away and Kent spoke to the opposing players, telling them all the reasons they might find victory in defeat. Through it all, he could already feel the squeeze in his chest. He knew the teams that awaited would be better, each week they would be better, and four teams and four weeks stood between Chambers and a trophy.

He was going to get it this year. He was going to get it.

Excerpted from The Prophet by Michael Koryta. Copyright © 2012 by Michael Koryta. Excerpted by permission of Little Brown & Company. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: A Man Called Ove
    A Man Called Ove
    by Fredrik Backman
    Reading A Man Called Ove was like having Christmas arrive early. Set in Sweden, this debut novel is ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Search
    by Geoff Dyer
    All hail the independent publisher! In May 2014, Graywolf Press brought two of long-revered British ...
  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Tomlinson Hill
by Chris Tomlinson

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  33The Arsonist:
    Sue Miller
  2.  171The City:
    Dean Koontz

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist


Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.