Title: The Bourne Identity
Author: Robert Ludlum
Ludlum, Robert (1980). The Bourne Identity . New York: R. Marek Publishers
- Carlos, the Jackal–Fiction.
- United States. Central Intelligence Agency–Fiction.
- Bourne, Jason (Fictitious character)–Fiction.
Date Updated: November 10, 2015
Another dizzily preposterous Ludlum comic-strip full of hyperventilating characters, pell-mell intrigue, and barbarous prose. Amid a storm at sea, a man is shot in the head and washes overboard—but he grabs onto a piece of wood, eventually is picked up by Greek fishermen, and is nursed back to health by a dipsomaniac doctor. The head wound has left amnesia, but the doctor points out that subtle surgical scars show a completely revamped face: the patient had been on the run. What’s more, embedded on the patient’s thigh is a microfiche of a numbered account at a Swiss bank. The patient eventually makes his way to Zurich, gets a look into his strange account, and finds that his name is Jason Bourne—and that he is associated with a phantom American corporation, Treadstone Seventy-One. Bourne is also a marked man—he’s shot at before he even gets out of the bank—so once more he’s on the lam. Hiding out in a hotel he kidnaps a lady doctor from Canada, then saves her from rape-death by his enemies; she falls for him hard. Meanwhile, flashes of deja-vu keep Bourne in relative darkness. . . until it at last becomes clear that he is being pursued by the infamous Carlos, the world’s most notorious wanted assassin. Why? Because he is the only living man who knows Carlo’s face: Bourne was once part of MEDUSA in the Mekong Delta, was programmed by a top-secret U.S. intelligence group into becoming a paper rival to Carlos to suck Carlos out of hiding through jealousy. Bourne’s code name is Cain, but his real name is Webb, and his Thai wife and kids were once strafed to death. . . . Showdowns, chases, and more exclamation points and italics than most writers use in a lifetime—shamelessly dumb entertainment in the pre-sold, proven Ludlum mold.