"Tom!"It's not a novel, but "Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres" from Caesar's Gallic War is a pretty famous opening.
—I finished my review of Ursula Schattner Rieser's L'araméen des manuscrits de la mer Morte. I am told that it will appear in the August 2006 issue of Journal for the Study of Judaism.
—I wanted to give a shout-out to Danny Zacharias for producing a nifty Unicode keyboard for Hebrew transliteration, available here. I used it in producing the review mentioned above; worked like a charm. Thanks, Danny.