Refuge in Audacity/Literature

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  • In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Malfoy tries to tattletale on Harry and Hermione for smuggling a dragon through Hogwarts. The idea is so ridiculous that McGonagall flat out disbelieves him. They still get caught out of bed, though.
  • Older Than Feudalism examples in The Bible:
    • In Habakkuk 1:5 "Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told."
  • Douglas Adams messes with this a lot.
    • Dirk Gently fuses it with Bavarian Fire Drill in Dirk Gentlys Holistic Detective Agency when he walks into a police-packed crime scene, then simply orders one cop to disassemble a wastebasket and another to guard the sofa stuck halfway up the stairs (which the cop in question had been ordered to saw up and remove).
    • Dirk Gently tries to employ this trope in The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul, when he steals a cup of coffee off a woman's table in a cafe, believing the act will be so shocking to her that she would let it go without comment. It doesn't work.
    • In So Long And Thanks For All The Fish, Arthur Dent ends up sharing a small package of biscuits[1] with a complete stranger sitting next to him at a train station. It starts out as this trope, with Arthur indeed being so shocked that he does not comment at the audacity of the man who has just opened his biscuits and eaten one. Instead he escalates it into a battle of wills, each man taking turns eating a biscuit until they're all gone, with nary a word spoken. After the other man leaves, Arthur finds his own packet of biscuits - they were underneath his newspaper the whole time. This actually happened to the author. To pitch this story to a new level of Refuge in Audacity, Adams related this story to discredited politician and convicted liar Jeffrey Archer, who promptly used it in one of his own books and claimed he'd thought of it first. Adams was inclined to be generous, putting it down to a misunderstanding, although other writers have also complained about Archer allegedly stealing their plot bunnies. ("Allegedly" used as a legal disclaimer here in the Have I Got News for You sense.) Satirical magazine Private Eye related the tale of Archer sitting on a judging panel for new short fiction by unpublished writers and using it as a chance to steal their best ideas to use himself - then, in the days before his own downfall for fraud and lying on oath, using his lawyers to threaten those who complained at this breach of trust with actions for defaming his character, in daring to allege he'd do such a thing.
    • Hitchhiker's series is full of this, the Krikkit wars being the worst offender (they destroy entire worlds, killing 2 grillion people, and then their attorney pulls this trope again by saying that they believed it was the right thing.)
  • The commander of the medieval English assault on an interstellar empire in Poul Anderson's The High Crusade... well, that speaks for itself.
  • Two words: Miles Vorkosigan. Perhaps the best is in The Vor Game, in which he has to get back a hostage from the villain before she kills the hostage. At the appointed meeting place, he and his men burst in, guns drawn, and threaten to shoot the hostage if she doesn't give in to Miles's demands. The villain has no idea what to do when faced with the very threat she was about to make, and so Miles gains the upper hand.
    • Gregor (the hostage) doesn't do so badly himself: saying, "No, he's bluffing. Watch!" and then walking right up to the muzzle of a plasma cannon held by one of Miles's people, allowing Miles to slam the blast doors behind him.
  • Roald Dahl's Matilda explicitly states that the monstrous headmistress Agatha Trunchbull would not get away with being cruel and abusive anywhere else, but she gets away with using a girl for human hammer throwing, flinging kids out of windows and locking them in a torture device because no parent would believe a child trying to tell on her. Dahl knew his stuff -- his intended audience (elementary-school kids) were perfectly capable of buying that explanation.
    • To some extent, this kind of cruelty to children by their teachers was Truth in Television in the British system of public schools (note: a British "public school" is what Americans would call a "private school") back when Dahl went to school in the 1920s and 1930s. Ms. Trunchbull would have been utterly horrible even by that standard, but the idea that parents would stand by and let teachers abuse their children was all too well established. By the 1980s when Matilda was written, things weren't nearly as bad as they used to be, but the memory was still there.
      • It is Truthintelevision . The Trunchbull was based on Dahl's personal abuse in the British school system. A full account can be read in "Boy" - apparently St. Peter's was not a happy place and the matron was an inventive taskmaster.
  • In David Gemmel's "Legend". Staring down an impossibly massive horde of Mongel expys who hold his castle under siege, with most of their walls having already fallen, no sign of help on the horizon, only a few hundred troops and their most powerful warrior dead, Rek could have surrendered or fled with honor. In fact, he had already given his troops that option. So, what does he do? Flee? Surrender? Never. In fact, he kits himself out in full battle rattle and invites his officers to DINNER. Inside the enemy camp. Where they happen to be giving Druss a magnificent sendoff worth of a hero. Not only does it WORK, but Rek ends up spending the night talking to their leader Ulrik about their respective visions for the future and their pasts. That takes cast iron balls, clad in even bigger balls made of PURE ADAMANTIUM!
  • Francis Crawford of Lymond does this all the time in Dorothy Dunnett's "Lymond Chronicles." One of his better moments is chasing away an English army by dressing several thousand Scottish sheep in metal helmets on a foggy day. The English just see the reflections from the helmets and assume the Scottish have a bigger army, even though there's really only a few Scottish soldiers. He also pulls off a lot of disguises because they're so outrageous that no one would guess they're him, including a tearful Scottish whore, a flamboyant Spanish nobleman, a drunken Irish bard, and a French falsetto singer.
  • In Joseph Heller's Catch-22, Milo Minderbinder corners the market in Egyptian cotton. Unfortunately for him, he discovers he can't find a buyer for it. Yossarian tells him to bribe the US government into buying it. When he asks how, Yossarian replies that if he makes the bribe big enough and just spreads the word, the right person will contact him. If questioned, just tell people that the national security of the USA depends on a strong Egyptian cotton industry. Just be straightforward and act like you are doing nothing wrong and it will work. Sadly, this has also worked in Real Life.
    • This quote by Colonel Korn, spoken in justification of awarding bombardier Yossarian a medal for going over his target twice after failing to drop his bombs the first time, sums up the trope pretty well: "You know, that might be the answer - to act boastfully about something we ought to be ashamed of. That's a trick that never seems to fail."
  • Rupert of Hentzau, a debauched murderer, seducer, traitor, and rapist who caused his own mother to die of grief and shame, from Anthony Hope's The Prisoner of Zenda is this trope on legs. Let's see, he stabs The Hero in the middle of an overture of friendship. And a day or two later he flirts with the Love Interest under the hero's nose. He's the Dragon to the Big Bad; this doesn't last long. You see, when he tries to rape the Big Bad's mistress, and the Big Bad tries to intervene, he kills him.
  • Moist von Lipwig from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series does this all the time. If I am going to fail, I would rather fail spectacularly, he claims.

Tolliver Groat: You've got to learn to walk before you try to run, sir!
Moist: No! Never say that, Tolliver! Never! Run before you walk! Fly before you crawl!...All or nothing, Mr. Groat!

    • Even Moist admitted to himself (numerous times) the mastery of Going Postal's antagonist, Reacher Gilt. Gilt deliberately made himself resemble a pirate (complete with talking cockatoo shouting "twelve and a half percent"), essentially advertising he was a Corrupt Corporate Executive.
    • Making Money featured the most gloriously audacious moment of his entire career, just to screw over a blackmailer. Said blackmailer is threatening to expose the fact that Moist was a crook, so what does he do? He gets on the stand in front of the entire city and admits it.

Moist von Lipwig: "You get a wonderful view from the point of no return."

  • Pick a Night Watch book, any book with the Watch and you'll find this, usually committed by Carrot or Vimes:
    • Carrot gets away with this a lot by simply being, well, Carrot. You can't help but do what he wants, and like him anyway.

Carrot brushed the dust off his hands and smiled at everyone. The trolls looked puzzled. In theory, Carrot was just a thin film of grease on the street, but somehow it didn't seem to be happening ...
Angua: "He just called a hundred trolls 'good chaps.' Some of them are just down off the mountains! Some of them have still got lichen on them!"
Nobby: "Funny, that. If we was to try it, we'd be little bits of mince. But it seems to work for him."

    • Vimes' disarming of a riot in Night Watch: He goes outside the watch house, unarmed, with a Powder Keg Crowd forming... And sits down on the front porch drinking cocoa and smoking a cigar. Making very sure everyone can see that both his hands are full and neither hand has a weapon.
    • Guards! Guards!. The 4 Night Watch members manage to get a long way into the Shades, a district of Ankh-Morpork so dangerous that assassins are afraid of going in, and avoid death by simply being, well... loudly drunk, confusing the criminals tailing them.
      • And they later arrest someone for committing murder with a blunt instrument. Said blunt instrument was a forty-foot dragon. In fact, the dragon is also arrested.
      • Their attempt to abuse the fact that million-to-one chances happen nine times out of ten by deliberately handicapping themselves when aiming an arrow at the dragon in hopes of killing it. It doesn't work. However, their chances of surviving the dragon's retaliation were in fact a million-to-one, so they were fine
      • Carrot's very good at taking laws literally. He accuses someone trying to dismiss a golem of littering.
    • Vimes lampshades his own use of this trope in Thud!:

Vetinari: What would you do if I asked you an outright question, Vimes?
Vimes: I'd tell you a downright lie, sir.

    • In Carpe Jugulum, Count de Magpyr (an evil vampire) confronts the peasant mob with critical appraisal of their weapons, and promises to send out snacks later. Then he goes back into the castle trailed by "the puzzled mumbling of players who have had their ball confiscated."
    • In Jingo, two armies are about to fight a battle. When Commander Vimes protests that they can't be arrested, Carrot does not see why not. They could charge them with Action Likely to Cause a Breach of Peace.
      • He then does it. Successfully.
      • Among the other charges: Loitering with Intent, and Loitering within Tent, and one count of offensive language for the commanding general who protests this. That last is the commanding officer of Vimes' own city by the way. And Carrying Concealed Weapons because he isn't looking at the weapons at the time.
    • Also in Jingo, Vimes insults a member of the nobility loudly, repeatedly and to his face, because he knows Lord Rust's worldview does not admit the possibility of such a thing and Rust, therefore, will not notice.

"Rust's brain erased the sounds that his ears could not possibly have heard."

      • Sergeant Colon as well;

Colon: Nossir! You can put it where the sun does not shine, sir!

    • Finally, in The Last Hero, Commander Vimes sends him to arrest Cohen the Barbarian and his Silver Horde, who may well accidentally blow up the world. The charge? Conspiracy to cause an affray.
      • The thing about Captain Carrot is that he has no clue that he's taking advantage of this phenomenon... or at least he acts that way. He just acts like a truly decent person who lives in a simple world where people follow the rules, and everyone around him unconsciously plays along to see where this is going.
    • At one point, during a search, Carrot had been ordered to leave as soon as Dr. Whiteface, the head of the Fools' Guild, told him to. When Whiteface confronted him: "If you tell me to leave, I'm going to have to follow the order I was given. Isn't that right, Sergeant? I really don't want to have to follow that order. *leans in closer to Whiteface* If it will make you feel better, I shall probably feel a little ashamed afterward." When Dr. Whiteface threatens that he can have a dozen men in there in moments, Carrot tells him that doing so would only make it easier for him to obey his orders. In the process, Carrot manages to utterly astonish Sergeant Colon, who has himself attempted some fairly audacious plans (such as guarding a bridge in case people tried to steal it, and then justifying this): "Sergeant Colon was lost in admiration. He'd seen people bluff on a bad hand, but he'd never seen anyone bluff with no cards."
    • He also managed to arrest the head of the (perfectly legal) Thieves' Guild by simply walking inside and taking him away.
    • Susan Sto Helit, grand-daughter of Death does it too. When employed as a nanny, she quells her charges' fear of a monster in the darkness by taking an iron poker and beating it stupid. The children's parents assume she's putting on a show. The monsters know better.
    • Cohen qualifies, too. At one point, he explains to a group of soldiers that they aren't being as scary as they could be, and then reminds them of "the element of SURPRISE!" before slaughtering them all in five seconds.
      • Although Cohen's most famous plan involving Refuge in Audacity comes in Interesting Times where Cohen intends to steal the entire Agatean Empire. To his credit, the idea is so audacious that nobody had ever put much effort into defending against such a direct plan and it works flawlessly.
    • Rincewind exploits this trope in The Science Of Discworld III, when he must prevent Charles Darwin from being stung to death by wasps. Realizing he has to be visible if he's to distract the wasps, he dresses up in a green wig, a red clown's nose, and a pink tutu, knowing that Darwin will either refuse to believe his eyes, or will never admit to seeing something so outlandish.
    • The presence of Dr Hix, a necromancer, at Unseen University, despite the fact that necromancy is outlawed. If he skulked around the premises and tried to hide what he does, he would almost certainly be drummed out. Instead, he is openly there -- they just renamed the position the "Department of Post-Mortem Communications." He actually has an animated skeleton advising him. As a corollary, Dr Hix is contractually obligated to provide a modest and acceptable level of dissent and evil. At some point the whole thing is tipped over into Refuge in Audacity territory, much to the astonishment of visitors.
      • This also explains the Librarian's presence, along with him being "the best Librarian we've ever had."
  • Employed frequently by Patrick Bateman in American Psycho.
  • PG Wodehouse's popular character Psmith. Psmith becomes a socialist because he believes in the redistribution of property - his particular brand of socialism, as he explains, involves his redistributing other's property to himself. When he seeks employment, he offers to provide any service, including assassinating someone's aunt.
  • In one book in the Codex Alera series, Tavi, a captain in the Legion at the time, disobeys a direct order given by a commanding officer who would love to have an excuse to have Tavi removed from command, breaks into the strongest prison in the country to free the a leader of the enemy Canim, and brokers a truce with them, again against orders. How does he get out of it? He proposes to the First Lord ( his grandfather) an amnesty for his former countrymen who served the Canim in certain unusual circumstances, but it's phrased in such a way that it would apply to himself as well.
    • Later, he has to deal with the Icemen, a race of telepathic yetis living in the lands north of Alera. They've been at war with Alera for hundreds of years, as they constantly attempt to get control of the Shieldwall, a massive fortress stretching across the entire border which was created to keep them out. Tavi does not need this distracting him, since the Horde of Alien Locusts have eaten half the continent. His solution? Just give the Icemen the Shieldwall, then rent it back from them.
    • Stopping Ambassador Varg from visiting Gaius Sextus was a textbook example. How do you stop an 8-foot tall, 700-year-old wolfman from kicking your eldritch-deprived ass? Pull a knife on him.
    • Tavi does this so regularly that, in the finale, (in the heat of combat), Kitai finds him by assuming that he's trying to invoke this trope, and going wherever that may be.
  • Forgotten Realms being Gambit Pileup, it's no big wonder this trope re-emerges. In Silverfall by Ed Greenwood lady Qilue wanted to drop by on a costume party for little spying. She didn't care to disguise herself with magic, but arrived with her own face and in such a Pimped Out un-Dress everyone thought it's a drow princess costume. Add to this being extremely beautiful for a drow and the presence so impressive that once a drow seeing Qilue the first time fell on her knees convinced she met an avatar, even though she wasn't into religion at all. When resulting erotic nuke entered a room inflicting despair upon women and eyeball meltdown upon men, the only one who believed she's a real drow was a high-ranked Harper spy, and he almost fell for her anyway.
    • Liriel Baenre walked openly in Waterdeep simply by joining a host of masquerading nobles and relying on being viewed as yet another decadent reveler under a drow illusion.
        • Drizzt would be helped by the simple fact that he could KILL THE ENTIRE CITY! Maybe.
        • As could Jarlaxle, who is no slouch himself.
    • Tzigone from Counselors and Kings is the poster girl of this trope. She was wrongly accosted by one of the members of a martial Badass Abnormal order while wearing stolen clothes and medallion of said order about the behaviour inappropriate for them? She took offense, loudly--at being mistaken for one of them in the first place. And got away with this.
    • Lauzoril, Zulkir of Enchantment -- the only high-ranked Red Wizard who didn't even try to hide from scrying of their scourge The Simbul, later faced her (while not trying to kill, that is) and made a separate peace in the same encounter, all the while praising the trade rivalry it brings them. After waging war on her land and her agents for years and sending assassins after her sister--which is more than most Red Wizards she slain could claim.
  • In David Weber's Safehold series, Cayleb Ahrmahk is fond of using this to his advantage, such as chasing down an enemy fleet of ships in what should have been near impossible conditions purely for the added shock value their arrival would cause.
    • However, Cayleb is nothing compared to Madame Ahnzhelyk Phonda. Besides running a long standing spy network right under the nose of a Corrupt Church and its paranoid Grand Inquisitor there is her solution, in A Mighty Fortress, for smuggling more than two hundred potential Inquisition victims to safety: hide them in ships whose paperwork claims they're shipping items for that very same paranoid Grand Inquisitor to guarantee no one would dare examine things too closely. Cayleb is described as being "almost reverent" when he finds out about it.
  • In the Dale Brown novel Flight of the Old Dog, the heroes, running out of fuel for their Cool Plane, land at a semi-abandoned Soviet airbase to get fuel. They do something similar in Plan of Attack.
  • Harry Dresden almost invokes this in Dead Beat when he rides a polka-powered zombie tyrannosaurus through downtown Chicago into the eye of a necromantic hurricane. (Which, by the way, doesn't break the rules against necromancy, which specifically state human necromancy is illegal) And that's just one of the ridiculously amazing things he does. He's also killed a vampire with a surgical frozen turkey airstrike, marched into a vampire costume party dressed as a cheesy classical vampire, and defeated the deadliest assassin of the Summer Court of Faerie by asking for a doughnut.
      • However, the assassin in question could have mopped the floor with him, and only let Harry leave due to great personal respect and a loophole. The coffee was nice though.
    • He also was hired to guard against a cult of porn star sorceresses. When the incident is mentioned in front of Molly, she does a Double Take and a "Did you really just say that?"
    • In explaining the plan that got him into the mess he was debriefing Molly about; "it's not crazy... it's unpredictable".
    • In at least two cases, Harry's plans work because no one ever thought to protect against such an outlandish possibility. Harry exists within the margins of likelihood.
    • Challenging the White Council to a duel in Turn Coat counts. It allowed Harry to sneak his real gambit past, because everyone was so busy washing their pants.
  • Writing about a Starfleet-Klingon battle which happens to be a pie fight? Strange. Writing about a Starfleet-Klingon pie fight as the climactic battle of a Star Trek novel that is essentially a musical comedy in novel form? How Much For Just The Planet, one of the most awesome Star Trek Expanded Universe novels ever written.
  • Serge Storms, lead character of the Florida Roadkill novels, sometimes avoids attention by attracting attention to himself. In the first novel, he gets a dead woman out of his hotel room by dressing her up in a form-fitting kevlar bodysuit, a Spider-man mask, and a strap-on, and he and his friend just walk her out the door. Everyone assumes that they're taking a drunk friend home after a truly spectacular party.
  • In The Hound of the Baskervilles, a suspect is spotted spying on 221B Baker Street from a cab. Holmes and Watson unsuccessfully attempt to intercept it, then track down the cabdriver the next day to ask about his passenger. The cabman informs them that the rider had claimed to be a detective ... and had gone by the name of "Sherlock Holmes". Recognizing this trope at its finest, the real Holmes bursts out laughing when he hears this, and never does correct the cabman as to his own identity.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's, Prospero Lost, Astreus persuades Miranda to dance with him after he had publically insulted her by pointing out that if they dance, everyone will assume that she had rebuffed him, and be eager to dance with her to hear about the reconciliation. She points out that they didn't reconcile; he points out she doesn't have to tell them that.
  • Lampshaded in Hannibal. While preparing for the infamous dinner sequence (which is this trope to a tee), Hannibal thinks that he has too many flowers in the he adds more. Too many is too many, but way too many too many is just right.
  • Invoked in Neal Stephenson's Zodiac, when Sangamon notes that Gomez would never believe him if he said that Alkali Lane's pH of 13 is a hundred thousand times higher than is legal. So he tells Gomez it's "more than twice the legal limit", which is both technically true and credible.
  • Christopher Moore's Lamb the Gospel According To Biff, in its entirety. Only in Lamb does a scene where Jesus offers to heal a little girl's malformed hand so she can make obscene gestures at Pharisees make perfect sense.
    • Moore's note to readers at the end, where he says any historical accuracies are more than justified by the fact that they allowed him to address the age-old question, "What if Jesus had known kung fu?"
  • Lots of Warhammer 40,000 novels are fueled by this trope. Examples:
    • Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain novels. Point in case, at the beginning of For The Emperor Cain deliberately invokes this trope when confronted by a mess hall of rioting Guardsmen by leaping up onto a table, pointing at someone, and ordering them to get a mop. The bloodstains were deplorable. In Echoes of the Tomb, he runs into a portal to parts unknown because he believes possible death at the hands of whatever's on the other side is preferable to certain death due to the Necrons before him.
      • Though The Traitor's Hand proved this tactic only works for protaganists. When Cain is attacked by a horde of half-naked cultists who fight over who gets to die at his hands first and giggle as he cuts their limbs off, he merely notes the sheer insanity of it all as he continues to mow them down without pause. May be a subversion since that kind of behavior is actually expected of Chaos forces.
    • In Lee Lightner's Space Wolf novel Wolf's Honour, Ragnor realizes, fighting with Madox, that Madox will unquestionably wear him down with minor wounds that add up to mortally injured. So when Madox strikes at him, he doesn't defend himself. In fact, he drives the sword deeper in, and Madox can't pull it out and so can't parry when Ragnor strikes with the Spear of Russ.
    • In James Swallow's Horus Heresy novel The Flight of the Eisenstein, the title flight ends up with the ship in unknown space, with a dead Navigator, and so no way to leave. Garro orders them to jettison the warp drive, despite the danger to their own ship; it will serve as a signal. Voyen threatens him with a gun to try to get him to stop, until Garro talks him down. While the ship is damaged, the signal is noticed.
    • In James Swallow's novel Deus Encarmine, the Blood Angels are reduced to a small fraction of their number, facing a Last Stand, and on the verge of despair. Arkio proposes that they sneak into the port they had to abandon and turn its guns, not on the forces facing them, but on their spaceship.
    • In the Gaunts Ghosts novel The Guns of Tanith, Varl and Kolea run headlong into heavy enemy fire to penetrate a fortified position... and succeed.
  • Lady Cecilia from Elizabeth Moon's Heris Serrano series. An old lady who owns a space yacht called Sweet Delight, she at one point decides to impersonate a military officer. She does this by declaring herself to be a high-ranking agent on a mission too secret for the rank-and-file crew to know about, and responding to any requests for proof with a Death Glare and vaguely-worded threat. It's so outrageous that everyone assumes there's no way she could be just making it up...
    • It did help that the captain and most of the crew of Lady Cecelia's yacht actually were military personnel undercover on a top-secret mission... even if they all thought they'd been discharged.
  • Pulled off with disastrous effect in World War Z. China lied not about sweeping people up and killing them, but the reason they were doing it, claiming they were dissidents when they were actually zombies. The US was woefully unprepared for the reality because of it...
  • This is the entire plot of the short story "The Catbird Seat" by James Thurber: In order to get rid of an annoying coworker, a man well-known for never smoking, drinking or misbehaving in any way goes to the coworker's house and smokes, drinks whiskey and says he's plotting to kill his boss. Nobody believes a word of it the next day, and the coworker is fired.
  • The famous satirist Jonathan Swift wrote an essay titled "A Modest Proposal", wherein he advocates the eating of babies. Practical AND delicious.
    • Not just that, as the full title tells us. A Modest Proposal: For Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland from Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public.
  • In Plan B, a book from the Liaden Universe, our heroes plan to steal aircraft from the invading army. In the process they essentially reference this trope:

It was a plan somewhat short on detail, but Nelirikk never doubted it would succeed. It was much too audacious to fail.

    • In fact, this trope could be considered Clan Korval's entire way of life, as exemplified in the clan motto "I Dare."
  • Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth does this a few times, including Bishop-to-be Waleran getting Prior Philip to pledge support for his nomination when the current Bishop died, then casually announcing the death of the then-Bishop. Among Philip's reasons for never reporting this to anyone is that noone would believe a man of God would do something like that.
  • In Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Zhuge Liang was forced to defend Xicheng with 5000 troops, half of which had to be reassigned to help evacuate all of the goods from Xicheng. When a giant Wei army appears, there was no refuge left but audacity: he appeared over top of the open city gates playing an instrument, flanked by boys holding burning incense, while soldiers dressed as peasants opened all the gates of the wide open and started sweeping them out. Wei army commander Sima Yi, seeing this, orders a retreat. Sima's sons were convinced that it was a bluff, but Sima himself thought (from previous encounters) that Zhuge didn't take risks, and that there must be some deep strategem behind this display. To Sima's credit, Zhuge comments afterwards about how much he hated having to take a risk in this instance, but it simply couldn't be helped.
  • While not terribly audacious over all, the second Artemis Fowl book contains a line which was removed from US editions, in which Artemis thinks he'll probably be attracted to Holly Short when he reaches puberty. Secondary plots of the fifth and sixth books respectively? Artemis going through puberty and learning to cope with attraction, and the beginning of an Artemis/Holly Will They Or Won't They. Neither book would have even made sense cleaned up like the second.
  • In G. K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday, when Syme reveals to Gregory in the anarchist stronghold, that Syme is a policeman, this inspires Gregory to give a speech emphasizes the humanity of their motives. Syme, taking Refuge in Audacity (and trusting Gregory's word), leaps up to give a fire-breathing speech and win the post they were holding an election for, to infiltrate the society.
  • Fight Club practically runs on this trope. Such as when the Narrator beats himself up in the office of the manager from one of his waitering jobs. Seeing as there was no way it could be explained to security without sounding crazy, between this and some incriminating evidence, he manages to secure himself a constant paycheck to fund fight club.
  • The legendary Catullus 16, which has been cited for millennia afterwards as an example of how crudeness can be poetic. Ironically, he's (very rudely) defending the fact that his poems are so tender. He calls two of its (named!) critics "fags" and says that he will "bugger and face-fuck" them.
  • Invoked in Tomorrow When the War Began, in Ellie's plan to get Lee, who can't walk thanks to a gunshot wound to the leg, out of enemy-occupied Wirrawee. "Maybe we're going about this the wrong way. We're thinking of little, quiet, sneaky things. We could go to the other extreme, rock up in something so indestructable that we didn't give a damn who saw or heard us." They proceed to steal an excavator and escape hiding Lee in the shovel, hitting several cars and killing a few enemy soldiers on the way.
  • In the world of Atlas Shrugged every last move of every businessman is followed by Big Brother, so how could one of the most successful businessmen destroy his multinational enterprise? Become the most worthless playboy and invest millions of dollars in a project he admitted knowing was worthless and publicly announcing that he would enjoy watching the farce unroll.
  • Tyrion Lannister's list of "crimes" he admits to while imprisoned at the Eyrie.
    • Tyrion Lannister in general. At one point he outright threatens to kill one of the king's bodyguards, in the middle of court, in front of the king, and gets away with it.
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas essentially says this trope by name: "The only hope now, I felt, was the possibility that we’d gone to such excess, with our gig, that nobody in a position to bring the hammer down on us could possibly believe it." All of Hunter's work in fact, audacity was his stylistic signature. Memorably in his coverage of the '74 presidential campaign he devotes a solid half page to his desire to mace and cattle prod the first available politician while running them nude down main street with a bell around their neck.