The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum

The Bourne Identity

Alternate cover for this ISBN can be found hereWho is Jason Bourne? Is he an assassin, a terrorist, a thief? Why has he got four million dollars in a Swiss bank account? Why has someone tried to murder him?...Jason Bourne does not know the answer to any of these questions. Suffering from amnesia, he does not even know that he is Jason Bourne. What manner of man is he? What...

Title:The Bourne Identity
Author:
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Edition Language:English

The Bourne Identity Reviews

  • Seth T.

    I loved the movie and heard that I the book was comparatively awesome. And it was.

    The thing is: I haven't the faintest idea how the movie came out of the book. Beyond the premise of a man fished from the sea with no memory but incredible ingrained abilities and talents that make it look like he's really probably and assassin with no amnesia, and the fact that the first act after the prologue occurs in Zürich and deals with a Swiss bank, nothing is the same.

    Sure, there's a girl named Marie, but s

    I loved the movie and heard that I the book was comparatively awesome. And it was.

    The thing is: I haven't the faintest idea how the movie came out of the book. Beyond the premise of a man fished from the sea with no memory but incredible ingrained abilities and talents that make it look like he's really probably and assassin with no amnesia, and the fact that the first act after the prologue occurs in Zürich and deals with a Swiss bank, nothing is the same.

    Sure, there's a girl named Marie, but she's an entirely different character. Sure, there are people trying to kill the man named Jason Bourne, but they're entirely different men. Sure, there's an American government-run company called Treadstone Seventy-One that is looking for Bourne, but for entirely different reasons. But are all these differences a bad thing?

    No. They are not.

    I really think the first Bourne movie is among the best action films ever created. That said, for most of its running time, Ludlum's 1980 novel is better than the movie. The premise is so much more intriguing and Bourne's turmoil better perceived. Instead of an enemy as doughy and effeminate as cloak and dagger U.S. senators and secret servicemen, the novel pits Bourne against the unbeatable assassin, Carlos the Jackal (though Ludlum refrains from the colourful animamorphism), and his vast array of human resources. The book is action-packed, one of those thrillaminnut rides that refuses, for the most part, to let up. I don't read cheap thrillers often, but

    was worth my time.

    And I like to think that my time is valuable.

    This is not to say that Ludlum's thriller is not without fault. The book's requisite romance is rushed and artificial. We know that Bourne and his interest are in love solely because Ludlum tells us that this is the case, not because we see any evidence that this should be the case. And, actually, there is a far greater problem. The climax is poorly wrought and much more difficult to follow than anything previous encountered in the book. The ending is not satisfying in that by the time it comes, emotional resonance has long-since evaporated.

    But still. I was in love with the book until the last forty pages or so.

  • woody

    Sorry if you loved this book, I HATED it. Maybe it was above my reading level. There were just too many "alpha, bravo,cain, delta...Cain is for Charlie, Delta is for Cain!" This book put me to sleep so many nights it is surprising that I finished it. I just kept hoping that jason bourne would die...Good thing I shop at Goodwill and it only cost me 50 cents! Everyone tells me that I should give the movie a chance and that it is better than the book, but I ask, won't it remind me of the book and b

    Sorry if you loved this book, I HATED it. Maybe it was above my reading level. There were just too many "alpha, bravo,cain, delta...Cain is for Charlie, Delta is for Cain!" This book put me to sleep so many nights it is surprising that I finished it. I just kept hoping that jason bourne would die...Good thing I shop at Goodwill and it only cost me 50 cents! Everyone tells me that I should give the movie a chance and that it is better than the book, but I ask, won't it remind me of the book and bring all those bad memories back?

  • Mike (the Paladin)

    First of all let me say...the recent movie with Matt Damon, I hated it. They butchered the story. I understand shortening for time (as in The Lord of the Rings) I understand combining characters...but why take a book's title then completely rewrite the story?

    I like this book and its sequels. I hate the movie and its sequels.

    Please try reading the books and finding out what the plot actually is. The book is well plotted, thought out, with complex characters. I believe you'll like it.

    A man wakes

    First of all let me say...the recent movie with Matt Damon, I hated it. They butchered the story. I understand shortening for time (as in The Lord of the Rings) I understand combining characters...but why take a book's title then completely rewrite the story?

    I like this book and its sequels. I hate the movie and its sequels.

    Please try reading the books and finding out what the plot actually is. The book is well plotted, thought out, with complex characters. I believe you'll like it.

    A man wakes up with amnesia...not a unique plot even then...and has to put together who he is and what's going on from few clues. This can be difficult in the best of times. If people are trying to kill you that can sometimes add to the...stress.

    Microfilm, competing assassins, double and triple identities and of course a love story. As noted, this is a great read and it's much better than the movie by the same name in my opinion. (Although back in 1988 there was a miniseries staring Richard Chamberlain and Jaclyn Smith that stayed very close to the book. The special effects are dated and so on, but it's better story-wise if you care to look it up.)

    If all you know about the

    is the Matt Damon movie you don't know the story. Really, do yourself a favor and read the novel.

  • Duckie

    I don't remember how this ended because I had to buy myself a Jack-and-Coke to get through the last chapter. Ludlum belongs in a very small, elite group of authors who don't know what words mean. To illustrate this, here are some passages from the book followed by the first image that came to mind when I read them:

    "'If I scream, Monsieur?' The powdered mask was cracked with lines of venom now, the bright red lipstick defining the snarl of an aging, cornered rodent."

    "Himself. The chameleon. The c

    I don't remember how this ended because I had to buy myself a Jack-and-Coke to get through the last chapter. Ludlum belongs in a very small, elite group of authors who don't know what words mean. To illustrate this, here are some passages from the book followed by the first image that came to mind when I read them:

    "'If I scream, Monsieur?' The powdered mask was cracked with lines of venom now, the bright red lipstick defining the snarl of an aging, cornered rodent."

    "Himself. The chameleon. The charade had worked...He had done such things before, experienced the feeling of a similar accomplishment before. He was a man running through an unfamiliar jungle, yet somehow instinctively knowing his way, sure of where the traps were and how to avoid them. The chameleon was an expert."

    Aaaand this last one was basically my face the whole time I was reading this:

  • Danaja

    This book was my introduction to spy novels and its still the best I've read in that area. Incredibly detailed and full of suspense. My favorite spy and one of my favorite villains rolled in to one in to exhilarating package with fast pace action.If you like authentic tooch in what you read you'll love this! Must note that the movie is completely different from the book. In my opinion the book is a much better experience.

  • Bagtree

    This book caused me pain. Intense boredom, odd moments of indignation, and pain. It's poorly-paced. The prose is a clunky, redundant, pointlessly vague affront to all that is good in the English language. The dialogue is stilted and horrid. The characters are so robotic I begin to question whether Ludlum ever met a human being, and the "romance" is not only horribly oversold BUT PREDICATED ON BOURNE USING HIS LOVE INTEREST AS A HUMAN SHIELD. I don't care how many rapists a man rescues you from;

    This book caused me pain. Intense boredom, odd moments of indignation, and pain. It's poorly-paced. The prose is a clunky, redundant, pointlessly vague affront to all that is good in the English language. The dialogue is stilted and horrid. The characters are so robotic I begin to question whether Ludlum ever met a human being, and the "romance" is not only horribly oversold BUT PREDICATED ON BOURNE USING HIS LOVE INTEREST AS A HUMAN SHIELD. I don't care how many rapists a man rescues you from; if he introduces himself by slapping, shaking, and threatening to shoot you, HE IS NOT BOYFRIEND MATERIAL and that relationship SHOULD NOT BE SHOWN AS LOVING AND WONDERFUL.

    And seriously, the prose is awful.

    - people will what? I can't even begin to think of a rationale for that.

    And I want my afternoon back.

  • Jonathan

    I decided to finally jump on the Robert Ludlum train and read this. I'd recently also jumped on the Mat Damon train and watched the film trilogy. Yes, where had I been the past few years? Well being a teenager of course and living in places where these trains didn't run. Humour aside I'm going to use the next few paragraphs to convince you of why I enjoyed this novel so much and to assure you why you should read this book (or re-read or re-re-read it or re-re-re-read it... or re-re-re-re-re-read

    I decided to finally jump on the Robert Ludlum train and read this. I'd recently also jumped on the Mat Damon train and watched the film trilogy. Yes, where had I been the past few years? Well being a teenager of course and living in places where these trains didn't run. Humour aside I'm going to use the next few paragraphs to convince you of why I enjoyed this novel so much and to assure you why you should read this book (or re-read or re-re-read it or re-re-re-read it... or re-re-re-re-re-read...or...).

    Many people know the premise of this story but for those who don't

    The Bourne Identity begins with the discovery of a man shot and left floating in the water. He gets rescued and nursed back to health. But he's lost his memory. (collective gasp from the audience) Well head trauma is not meant to be good for your memories. The only thing he knows is that he has had facial surgery, he has deadly fighting skills and...oh yeah there's a bank account number for a bank in Zurich.

    That's the basic plot synopsis. What happens next is much more complicated. It involves a man discovering his identity, losing his identity and getting caught up in the hunt for a terrorist which happens to coincide with his past. The plot is clever - brilliant in fact - and worthy of its renown. I found myself drawn into a shadowy world with multiple twists and turns. In fact I would go so far as to label this a psychologically laced thriller of epic proportions. Yes that is what The Bourne Identity is. It is a smart, thriller, a kind of entertaining book that is intelligent at the same time.

    I must however sadly announce that the end of this book was unfulfilling. It tasted sour, as if the author was simply setting me up to go and read the second book. Which I cannot obtain with ease from my library. So I'm simply left thinking to myself: what happens next? I hate cliff-hangers of this kind which force me to read on. In fact I think I can hear Ludlum laughing at me from the grave.

    However I do recommend this as a fine example of thriller writing. Amongst the best I've read. Although for classic thrilling writing I still cannot go past Edgar Allan Poe the man who really started it all off with his tales... Well they were thrillers in some aspects. But yes compared to some of the very few other 'thriller' thrillers I've read this is a very fine example (much better than the few snippets I've seen of Lee Child and plot-wise better than Matthew Reilly - although he has good plots nonetheless and his writing style is more accessible). Still read this if you like clever plots, quality writing (well apart from some coarse language I considered inappropriate - with religious connotations) and are gritty. This may be your train to jump on.

  • LaFleurBleue

    The scenario is absolutely excellent and probably one of the best I ever read in terms of complexity and continuous action and/or new discoveries. What an imagination ! The story and the characters are slightly different from the movie; I should say the storyline is way much more complex in the book; the characters could do with a bit more substance.

    The major drawback which explains my rather poor quotation of this book is indeed the writing quality, or lack thereof. Some sentences simply do no

    The scenario is absolutely excellent and probably one of the best I ever read in terms of complexity and continuous action and/or new discoveries. What an imagination ! The story and the characters are slightly different from the movie; I should say the storyline is way much more complex in the book; the characters could do with a bit more substance.

    The major drawback which explains my rather poor quotation of this book is indeed the writing quality, or lack thereof. Some sentences simply do not make any sense (even when read 3 or 4 times, on their own and within the paragraph); some images are not relevant;wording is usually poor and quite inadequate; there are mistakes in grammar and conjugation. So much actually of all of this that I really had trouble to open the book again, even though I knew the story was so compelling I would not put it down so easily.

    Ludlum, to my opinion, is the worst writer I've ever read, but with one of the best story-lining and imagination. Indeed I believe Ludlum should not have worked on his own but teamed with a skilled writer who would have put that into right words and made this book into the 5-star winner it really should be.

    This has been my first and probably my last book from this author.

  • Bodosika Bodosika

    A marvelous book.

  • Brian

    I watched this movie around nine years ago, I think. I just remember this guy walking around and kicking ass with dramatic music in the background. I didn’t get the plot. I still don’t understand the intricacies of the plot, but I get the overall gist.

    Ludlum writes with amazing skill; I mean, literary skill, in my opinion. He writes poetic, dramatic excerpts, particularly concerning Bourne’s mental struggles. He weaves a double plot line. On one, Bourne faces PHYSICAL enemies he doesn’t unders

    I watched this movie around nine years ago, I think. I just remember this guy walking around and kicking ass with dramatic music in the background. I didn’t get the plot. I still don’t understand the intricacies of the plot, but I get the overall gist.

    Ludlum writes with amazing skill; I mean, literary skill, in my opinion. He writes poetic, dramatic excerpts, particularly concerning Bourne’s mental struggles. He weaves a double plot line. On one, Bourne faces PHYSICAL enemies he doesn’t understand, both on good and bad sides of the law. On the other, he struggles with his MENTAL disability, amnesia.

    Ludlum creates a marvelous love story throughout. The action and violence didn’t exceed the plot or the storyline, as most action movies may make readers roll eyes. Plot twists abound; in fact, plot twists form the plot, because the plot unfolds to Bourne, and to us, as discoveries are made.

    Who is this legend named Jason Bourne?

    I believe most people know the story, so I won’t go into it. I read this because a strong majority of my friends on Goodreads gave this high-ratings. Ludlum earns a spot near Grisham and Dan Brown on my favorites list. His book goes into my favorites of favorites. Superb writing!

    Highly recommended, especially if you like action, have an interest in military history and suspense, and may not have seen the movie yet. Keep in mind, Ludlum wrote this in 1975, so he refers to Vietnam, where Jason Bourne began.


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