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Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum

If you've seen the movie(s), you can probably forget most of it. Some of the names, places and a few events transfer from the book to the movie, but the novel is 100 times more complex, as it should be.

The book starts off with a gun battle that ends up with Bourne being nearly fatally injured. He is nursed by to health by a drunken physician in the Mediterranean and he starts on his trek to find out who he is...he has amnesia.

We follow him as he finds a name in Jason Bourne, finds money in a Swiss account and a finds an enemy, the assassin called Carlos. He falls in love with a woman named Marie St. Jacque, a Canadian economist.

The Bourne Identity is a solid espionage thriller with roots in the CIA, Vietnam, Swiss banks and the Soviet Union. Bourne, parallel to trying to find out who he really is, is also starting to remember his past and finds that in order to keep his own life, he must seek and destroy another, the assassin, Carlos.

The action is fast and furious with occasional sequels of long narratives to explain to the reader the background of the characters of Carlos and Bourne. For a novel written in 1980, there is a lot of still-impressive technology woven in the story. It's fun to read about the massive use of payphones as an anonymous way of communicating. Definitely before the use of cell phones.


Katie said...

did you find it a bit dated?

Anonymous said...

You know, there were a few very specific technical aspects that were dated, but overall, the way technology was approached was very modern. Payphones are HUGE in this series.