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:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2012, 416 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2013, 432 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


All of those things scared him more than anything the opponent might do. Overconfidence was a killer.

So, knowing that their confidence would be a difficult thing to shake, knowing that they'd be looking ahead to the school's first state championship in twenty-two years—an undefeated championship, no less—he sought out drills that would show their weaknesses.

Colin Mears would be all-state at receiver for the second year in a row. The fastest kid Kent had ever coached at the position, and the most sure-handed, Colin would run routes all practice long with a smile on his face. Colin would not block long with a smile on his face. His lanky, lean frame made it difficult for him to get low enough quick enough to set the kind of block that contributed, and the Cardinal linebackers were happy to demonstrate that to him. Damon Ritter in particular, who ranked among Kent's all-time favorite players, a quiet black kid with an unmatched ability to transfer game video to on-field execution, as bright a player as Kent had ever had at middle linebacker. Lorell McCoy, likewise, would be all-state at quarterback for the second year in a row. He had the touch that you didn't see often in a high school quarterback, could zip it in like a dart when needed or float one up so soft in the corner of the end zone that his receiver always had time to gather his feet. What Lorell didn't have was Colin's speed. He had unusual pocket presence and read gaps well enough that he could gain yards up the middle consistently, but he had no burst. On a naked bootleg, then, taking the snap and sprinting around the end, he would nearly always be lacking the gear needed to make the play a success, and on the bootleg, Colin Mears had to block, his least favorite thing.

They ran the naked bootleg for the last twenty minutes of practice.

Kent didn't have any intention of beating Spencer Heights on Friday night with this play, but he did intend to beat Spencer Heights, and this reminder of the things that his boys couldn't do well was important. This unbeaten team needed to leave the practice field with a sense of fallibility. The attitude you needed to win football games was a difficult balance. Confidence was crucial; overconfidence killed. Success lived on the blade's edge between.

Up in the bleachers, thirty people were watching. It was cold and windy, but there they sat anyhow. Talents like Mears and Ritter and McCoy were on their way out of the program, and their like might not pass through Chambers again. This much Kent understood better than anyone. He'd been the head coach for thirteen seasons now and had reached the state championship game twice. He had never had a team like this.

Watching them now, he wanted the lights on and the ball in the air. Wanted game day. That was unusual. Like most coaches, he was always wishing for one more practice day. You were never prepared enough. This week, though, this season, this team? He found himself wanting to be under the game lights. Wanted it over, so he could begin wishing that it had never ended. Because if he couldn't close out that elusive state championship with this kind of talent?

It's a game played among boys, he reminded himself while Matt Byers, his defensive coordinator, walked into the middle of the field to make a point about leverage, and the reason you're here is to use this game to help these boys. You're not here to put a trophy in that case. Never were, never will be. That trophy's absence doesn't say a thing about your measure as a man, and its presence wouldn't, either.

This season, though? This season that was difficult to remember.

He let Byers say his piece and then he called them over, everyone circling around him, forty-seven players and six coaches, and told them they were done.

"Keep your heads down," he said, the same thing he said to end every practice and locker room talk until the season was finished. Then he'd tell them to lift their heads up and make sure they held them high. Only then.

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
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Stalin's Daughter
    by Rosemary Sullivan
    "There is something fatal about my life. You can't regret your fate, though I do regret my ...
  • Book Jacket: A Certain Age
    A Certain Age
    by Beatriz Williams
    Lovers of high-society gossip, there's a new set of players in town. A good 20 out of 23 of our...
  • Book Jacket: The Romanovs
    The Romanovs
    by Simon Sebag Montefiore
    The Romanovs chronicles the reigns of the 20 individuals who were considered members of that dynasty...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Imperial Wife
    by Irina Reyn

    A smart, engaging novel that parallels two fascinating worlds and two singular women.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Falling
    by Jane Green

    "Readers who enjoy a love story with heart will adore this tale of homecoming and transformation." - LJ

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Fair Fight
by Anna Freeman

A page-turning novel set in the world of 18th century female pugilists.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

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

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!