A great first line can be the difference between choosing to read a book or put it back on the shelf. The Rogues share their favorite first lines from beloved books. See if you can match the line with the book cover. Then tell us your favorite first line. 


“It is cold at 6:40 in the morning of a March day in Paris, and seems even colder when a man is about to be executed by firing squad.” 
“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”
“It was a hell of a night to throw away a baby.” 
“James Bond, with two double Bourbons inside him, sat in the final departure lounge of Miami airport and thought about life and death.”
“I was ten years old when I first saw Penmarric and twenty years old when I first saw Janna Roslyn, but my reaction to both was identical.”

Chris GOFF
“The Germans were almost completely deceived—only Hitler guessed right, and he hesitated to back his hunch—AJP Taylor, English History 1914-1945.”
“In the year of our lord, 1355, three days after the Feast of the Epiphany, God put in my mind that I must write a book.” 
“Mr. Sherlock Holmes, who was usually very late in the morning, save for those not infrequent occasions when he was out all night, was seated at the breakfast table.” 
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

Have your own favorite first line from a novel you’ve read? Please share it with us in the comments below.

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  1. Lisa Black

    I've missed a few of these books–now I want to read them!

  2. Karna Bodman

    What a great list of intriguing first lines….I agree with Lisa – I have to go back and read many of these terrific stories. I wonder if our Rogue readers can match them up (?)

  3. Sue K

    I definitely recognized Pride and Prejudice. My mom’s favorite.
    “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

  4. Gayle Lynds

    Wow, what great opening lines. Reading each one made me want to read more of the book. What fun matching the openings to the correct novels. Sure did take me a while!

  5. Sherry Knowlton

    I knew a few of the books from the opening lines — but thanks for the cover clues so I could match the rest. Oh, to write that perfect opening line …

  6. Chris Goff

    It took me a few minutes, too! Some great books on the list.

  7. Jamie Freveletti

    So many great lines! A couple will join my to be read pile.