He was dragged from the sea, his body riddled with bullets. There are a few clues: a frame of microfilm surgically implanted beneath the skin of his hip; evidence that plastic surgery has altered his face; strange things he says in his delirium, which could be code words. And a number on the film negative that leads to a bank account in Zurich, four million dollars and a name for the amnesiac: Jason Bourne. Now he is running for his life. A man with an unknown past and an uncertain future, the target of assassins and at the heart of a deadly puzzle. He's fighting for survival and no one can help him - except the one woman who once wanted to escape him...
The Bourne Identity
This summer I was taken on a literary roller coaster while I was reading The Bourne Identity. I have had the pleasure of seeing the movies, but I must say that this is one of those cases where the book is infinitely times better. Robert Ludlum has a true mastery of how to create a novel with everything that your typical action craving guy needs. He has kung fu fighting, incredible car chases, and intense gun battles. After reading this novel I could only imagine what it would be like to actually be Jason Bourne.
The main character in the novel is a man, who actually to start off has no idea who he is. He suffers from amnesia due to a head trauma. He later decides that his true identity is Jason Bourne, an ex- United States military operative turned renegade assassin. Bourne’s character is goal driven; always moving to the next objective, always moving to the next clue to find his true identity. He suspects that there is much more to him than a renegade assassin. To help him along the way in his the search for his identity is the brilliant accountant Marie St. Jaques. Through their adventures, Jason and Marie begin to fall in love. Marie is a brilliant woman who works for the Canadian embassy. She is incredibly smart, and along with Jason’s mind, they are able to work together to piece together plans and further courses of action. The third most principal character is Carlos, widely known as the world’s deadliest assassin. He is almost more myth than real man, but he is also constantly hunting Bourne. We do not learn to many details of his character, but he is known to be very austere and suave, unlike Bourne who tends to be a little more rugged.
What I really love the most about these characters is how vividly I can imagine their actions. Ludlum uses such brilliant words and adjectives all the time to help the reader understand what these characters are going through. As I flip through the pages of the novel, the first words that leap out at me are statuesque, remarkable, and owl like. This is a mere sampling of the descriptive arsenal that Ludlum uses.
The various settings of this book include some of the world’s biggest cities. These include Zurich, Paris, and New York. However, the city with the most importance and the city that also holds most of the action is Paris. This summer I had the opportunity to go on a trip to Paris, and I must say that being in the city where Bourne was for almost he entire novel was incredible. It helped me get an even better picture in my head of what was going on.
The main theme of this book is the quest for identity and truth. Bourne is a amnesiac; he remembers the skills of his trade but has no idea who he is and if he ever led a relatively normal life. He, with the help of his lover, will do whatever it takes to find his true identity. Every action he makes is done to try and figure out who he is.
The Bourne Identity is one of those books that you really truly enjoy. It is written fantastically, and I have never read such a great action adventure book in my life. I look forward to reading the rest of the Bourne series, and I would also like to clarify that Jason Bourne is infinitely times better than James Bond. If you are looking for a thrilling read, than read The Bourne Identity.
OK, there weren't any giant mutant seals at least, but right in the first pages our hero, later to be known as Jason Bourne, is shot multiple times. With one of those shots his "skull is ripped open." Not merely cracked, mind you, but ripped open. Bourne falls into the sea...and survives. But wait, it gets better! The fishermen who pick him up take him to this alcoholic doctor. Taking lots of liquids and starches to sober up, this doctor does brain surgery on Bourne! At his home! (Oh, and btw, if my use of italics and exclamation points irritate you--you're not going to last long with Ludlum--he uses them as if he's paid for each use.)
And then? Bourne wakes up with amnesia. But wait! Somehow in the midst of his solo brain surgery, the good doctor noticed the microchip in Bourne's hip with clues to his identity!
All I can say is, if after a first chapter like that one you continued reading, you got what you deserved. Several hours of your life you're going to wish you could get back.
This book follows Jason Bourne, amnesiac from severe trauma, as he is chased across Europe and the Americas by assassin Carlos "the Jackal". This story is started with the shooting of Bourne in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, and his recovery in the small French town of Port Noir aided by the town's only doctor, an alcoholic surgeon named Geoffrey Washburn. From there heh heads to Zurich and Paris where he discovers a secret bank account worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and that one of his greatest allies is one of his greatest enemies.
The plot line of this book may seem like an amazing thriller when in fact Robert LUdlum does a terrible job of actually writing this story. First of all he includes way too much information in small periods of time, for example the first three pages of a chapter will be crammed with all the information while the rest will just be filled with gun fights and violence.
Ludlum, Being a retired Marine you would expect an amazing display of accuracy when describing weaponry and fighting, however this is perhaps where Ludlum Lacks most, in my opinion he inadequately describes and enriches most if not all of his writing or exaggerates to such an extent his writing, fiction though is, is non-believable and almost laughable.
RobertLudlum's Ideas for this book however are incredible and interesting, developing an amnesiac super spy to battle a world famous assassin, therefore I must rate this book a 2.5 out of 5.
Say what you want about his prose, he knew how to spin a good yarn.
Robert Ludlum is still one of the masters, despite his death. His books are still relevant even after all of this time, most of them at least.
From Robert Ludlum, Jason Bourne, the hero is brought to life. The author has a gift to bring this character to a stage that you can almost live his life with him, feel his distress and his agony. The story was very captivating and it was a thrilling read.
When it comes to the "spy" novel, there are few writers that exceed Robert Ludlum's talents. When I finished reading this book I came to this conclusion that most "thriller" writers fall way short.
The book is fairly long, so set back and enjoy several evenings of an exciting, wonderful story. Highly recommend.
But that's not necessarily a bad thing. I felt Ludlum's plot iwas more interesting than that of the movie, and it certainly was much more intricate. Overall it was a good book; however, the man is terribly long-winded at times and the book went on for much longer than it really needed to. His characters were mostly of the stock variety, but it wasn't overly jarring.
What annoyed me the most, I'd say, is Ludlum's narrative style in general. His words were a sledge hammer repeatedly hitting me over the head, beating into my skull the fact that Bourne was conflicted and confused and was desperately struggling to figure out who he was and what happened to him. I got it after the first 100 pages, didn't need to have it repeated ad nauseum for the remaining 400.
All that being said, however, it was still an entertaining read. I didn't race through the book as is sometimes the case with a truly engaging read, however Ludlum still managed to keep me turning the pages.
Some of the characters are pretty weak - especially with Marie, it's hard to understand how and why she makes the decisions and draws the conclusions she does. She's almost an afterthought. The dialogue is not very believable either, and I did wish he'd stop using italics for emphasis!
I don't want to spoil the whole thing, suffice to say that if you saw the movie you have no idea how the real story will end. I highly suggest reading this book. If you like this type of novel, you'll probably like Ted Bell's Hawke novels also.