The Bourne Ultimatum

by Robert Ludlum

Hardcover, 1990



Fiction. Suspense. Thriller. HTML:#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER   At a small-town carnival, two men, each mysteriously summoned by telegram, witness a bizarre killing. The telegrams are signed ā??Jason Bourne.ā? Only they know Bourneā??s true identity and understand that the telegrams are really a message from Bourneā??s mortal enemy, Carlos, known also as the Jackal, the worldā??s deadliest and most elusive terrorist. And furthermore, they know what the Jackal wants: a final confrontation with Bourne. Now David Webb, professor of Oriental studies, husband, and father, must do what he hoped never to do againā??assume the terrible identity of Jason Bourne. His plan is simple: to infiltrate the politically and economically omnipotent Medusan group and use himself as bait to lure the cunning Jackal into a deadly trapā??a trap from which only one… (more)


½ (894 ratings; 3.6)


User reviews

LibraryThing member delta61
Disliked this book. Dialogue always seems like it's between two drunks at a bar. You could omit a lot of the pages and not change the story.
LibraryThing member jeffome
Tenants Harbor 2022 #1 - This was a dreadfully long slog for me. I started this on my July 4th camping trip, and have finally finished it 6+months later. This does not sound like the encouraging intro to a positive review.....and it is not meant to be. I do usually love Ludlum, albeit they
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sometimes tend to be a bit convoluted. But this one convoluted into near destruction. My life was such that every time i picked the book up, I could not figure out or recall what the hell was going on.....a steady cacophony of names, from not only this book, but the previous books (which i read eons ago!), kept me in a near-permanent state of fog. Not to mention we have 2 enemies in this tale, 1 so complicated it was hard to follow. If i went back and re-read 3 or 4 pages, i could typically recover and move forward......but by then, often, my limited reading time had passed......WARNING!!!!! - this is not a 5-10 page at a time book (unless you want it to take 1/2 a year!)
So the premise of David Webb vs. Jason Bourne had it heyday in the first and second book.....but the number of times there was a heart-tugging lament of the pain and struggle with his wife Marie, or within his own psyche between these 2 alter egos was positively embarrassing. I GET IT!!! HE IS 2 PEOPLE.....ITS HARD.....BUT FOR GODS SAKE, LET HIM DO WHAT HE NEEDS TO DO AND STOP WHINING ABOUT IT!!!! The touchy-feely quotient here almost led me to do what i have never done.....give up on a book before finishing it! But then i would be unauthorized to write an honest review.....thus, i slogged on.
Is there excitement? Most, and there.............ooooo, i found some here, too........but scattered helter skelter. And each bit of it seemed like this might finally be what we have been waiting for......Bourne vs. the Jackal final closure......but the 2" plus of book still unread meant it was not yet to be.......over and over and over we are lead to the brink.......only to be disappointed. Eventually, you are just anxious to plow through quickly, because you know it is not what you are hoping for.....& thus i was less interested in the specifics.....because i knew there were likely 3 or 4 more yet to come......just frustrating.
And Marie.....come on......she knows he has to do what he needs to do for them to have a safe existence.....and she does not want him to be in jeopardy......but he has to be. Marie consistently balled up the works and made his job even more difficult over and over.....continuing to add to the emotional struggle roller-coaster of David/Jason/David/Jason...........oh please......not the book's best quality in my humble opinion. Had she not flown to Europe when she was not supposed to, i might have finished this in maybe 3 months. Enough said.....sorry for the rambling.....I'll stop. I will watch the movie just because......and i will read more of my Ludlum......but it won't be soon.....
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LibraryThing member mmyoung
did absolutely nothing for me.
LibraryThing member TadAD
I should have stopped with the Bourne book, which was good. I really should have stopped with the second, which wasn't. But no, I read the third...
LibraryThing member jwcooper3
I thought this book would never end. Yes it's well written and kept me turning pages but the story ran out of steam. The ending is wholly unsatisfying.Oh, and outside of a character named Jason Bourne, the book has absolutely nothing to do with the film.
LibraryThing member AuntieClio
I am done with Jason Bourne and with Robert Ludlum. Ultimatum was only slightly less convoluted than its predecessors and had the payoff of finally killing off Carlos the Jackal, supposedly the ultimate goal of Jason Bourne in all three books. How Ludlum and his estate expect to keep David
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Webb/Jason Bourne going for another several books is beyond me. Several times, quite pointedly, Bourne says he is almost 51. Equally pointedly are the times his aches and pains are commented on, as if to reinforce the fact that Bourne is aging. Iā€™m getting off this merry-go-round here, I have better written and more interesting things to read.
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LibraryThing member moukayedr
The last of this series. It started out better than #2 but lost steam towards the end. The wrap up was really bad: Insane villain, cover up and a somewhat psychologically damaged (and aging) hero, the latter is at least a plausible outcome.
I hated how minor people helping had to be killed off to
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save the precious hero, but I guess it is the nature of the this thriller genre.
I liked it, but the formula is getting a bit too predictable for me. I do not have Ludlum on my priority reading list anymore.
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LibraryThing member JeBr0497
The Bourne Ultimatum is one of the greatest books I've ever read,I thought Robert Ludlum did an unbelievable job throughout the entire Bourne series and I can safely say that this is one of the few series that had a satisfactory ending for me. I can't believe the average rating for this book was
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only 3 and a half stars.
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LibraryThing member ctmsalve
Many books have been written about secret agents and international terrorists. Most of these books end up being bland and very similar to a thousand books you've read before, people are in danger so the hero comes to the rescue and saves the civilians. Every once in a while however one comes along
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and surprises and enthralls you with the writers creativity and competency, sadly though The Bourne Ultimatum, is not one of these amazing reads and as a matter of fact bored me considerably.

Robert Ludlum's Bourne Ultimatum follows David Webb, formerly Jason Bourne, and his family as they are chased and attacked by Carlos The Jackal, a long time enemy of Bourne's. It describes the measures one man will go through to protect the people he loves most while also unearthing deep and terrible secrets from his past.

While this summary portrays an amazing novel full of action, love, and deceit, this being the reason I began reading it, Mr. Ludlums follow through fell far short of my expectations. My main problem with this book was how it became gradually more complicated to follow with new characters being introduced without a proper description of how they fit into the story, new settings further throwing the reader of, from Boston to Europe to a tropical island in the Caribbean. The use of past topics and missions of Bourne's complicating the plot line even more by bringing up the Jackal's and Bourne's past together partially but leaving large chunks of the story out leaving the reader feeling like he or she is missing a substantial part of the story. This however was not my only disgruntlement with The Bourne Ultimatum the use of description being severely lacking throughout the book.

Robert Ludlum ineptly describes most parts of this story by giving it a one dimensional perspective and frequently using childish and quite frankly pathetic excuses for adjectives and adverbs, such as saying bad instead of abominable or atrocious. He also tries using onomatopoeia, very poorly in my opinion, to mask his misuse of adjectives and adverbs. Ludlum himself being a US marine, I would expect a greater use of description especially in an action filled thriller, such as this was meant to be, since he has fought in times of war and has first hand experience with high powered weaponry, therefore I rate The Bourne Ultimatum a 1 out of 5 stars.
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LibraryThing member ChromiumDomium
Not as exciting as the first two in the trilogy, I found this story a little too predictable and a struggle to finish. I also found myself geting bored with the whole premis of the storyline. I suspect it would have benefited from some editing to remove a great deal of superfluous narrative and
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perhaps inject some pace. I also think that the ending was way too "cheesy" for the series. I almost thought we were going to get a re-affirmation of wedding vows on a paradise island beach the way the story was completed, or did they cut that bit?
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LibraryThing member mashley
Ridiculously endless chase. How many times can the Jackal and the Chameleon miss? Way different ending from the movie.
LibraryThing member ballfresno
Enjoyed it overall. I would have liked to know more about what Bourne's wife was feeling etc throughout, however.
LibraryThing member Speesh
It's good, not great. It's probably too long, all in all, and can't keep up the tension at a consistent level. Possibly would have been better to have condensed a couple of the possible endings into one almighty, cataclysmic ending.
I'd still recommend it and I look forward to reading others in the
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LibraryThing member fothpaul
Oh my word, this was a long book. It started off quite good, I was once again back in Jason Bourne's world running around and kicking backsides. It didn't half go on though and really lost its way with sub plots and twists which all got a bit confusing and distracting. The denouement was also a bit
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of a let down, as was the twee tying up of a loose plot or two in about 2 pages. I enjoyed the trilogy overall, but this wasn't the strongest of the books by a long chalk.
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LibraryThing member Hae-Yu
This book - this whole series, in fact - is one of the very few instances where I can say the movie is better (by far) than the books. There is almost nothing in common with the movies, rarely even settings or plot. This isn't that uncommon these days, but be forewarned.

My wife had them laying
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around and I was in a spy mode for a while, gobbling up some of the spy books we've collected. It's odd that Matt Damon can portray a cold killer better than a writer, but I found the books' Jason Bourne to be overwrought and melodramatic. This third book I found the most tedious of the lot.

On the positive side, the advice on a bloody nose that Bourne's psychologist friend received from the trucker outside Virginia (?) somewhere is 100% spot on!! I can't remember which book it's in; probably the second one.
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LibraryThing member ajlewis2
The story is very good and engaging and I would have given it a 4-star rating if not for it being just a bit too wordy for me.
LibraryThing member HeidiAngell
Okay, You cannot read one Bourne book without reading the rest. It is a crime. Warning: The book is a MILLION times better than those crappy movies! I see the spy world in a whole new way after this series!!!
LibraryThing member capiam1234
Not as great as the first. Still like the characters a lot, but it felt like the same thing revisited.
LibraryThing member Alera
This is not the best of the series, which is slightly sad considering it is the end of the trilogy, but I don't think it's a completely inappropriate send off. I didn't finish this one as quickly as I did the other two, and that was sadly largely due to a few failings. This book was just not nearly
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as exciting for me. Saying that though, I really thought David/Jason came across really well...even in all his slip ups. He's struggling to be two different people at the same time without killing one in order to make use of the skills of the other. And he's not young anymore. He's 50, with a family, and is more than a touch mentally unhinged. A lot of people found fault with Jason's inability to take down Carlos when he should have, I'm not disagreeing completely but I still felt it as oddly in character. However....I do find it an incredible let down to not end it with one killing the other. It just feels wrong in some way. In the same way that those helping him constantly died to save him. Which just leads back to my theory. By the end...I think David was just acting off of Jason's remembered skill than actually acting as Jason...which I feel explains his lack of well complete skill. And it was just slowly driving him mad, which if anything is completely clear in the epilogue. The Bourne series did come full circle in the fact that in the manner David had to be broken down to become Jason...Jason had to be dismantled completely in order to return David. So again, not the best of the series but I did enjoy it on various levels....and I felt comfortable with the characters and I liked coming back to them. And a small part of me still wishes the them as I do...had stuck a bit closer to the books in some ways. If only so I could keep Marie around.
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LibraryThing member Lcmcsr
Great description of events and place but too wordy during important scenes.


Random House (1990), Edition: 1st, 611 pages

Original publication date





0394584082 / 9780394584089


Original language

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