Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Book of the Month
THE BOURNE IDENTITY
By Robert Ludlum
After having seen all of the Bourne films starring Matt Damon, I decided to see what the source material was like. While very, very different from the onscreen adventures, the first book in the Bourne saga was still a very gripping, action packed and fun to read. The book is a product of its time, and one can see why the films did not follow the story of the books, but that does not mean that Ludlum's Bourne is not as compelling as Damon's.
The plot is very complicated and has many twists and turns, so I will not explain them here. I will say that the hook that gets you into the story is good and is one of the few elements that is the same as the movie. A man is discovered by a trawler in the Mediterranean Sea, almost dead and suffering from amnesia. The story follows him as he tries to discover who he is and why there is information about a bank account in Zurich embedded in his hip. Once in Zurich he discovers that his name is Jason Bourne and that he has money and knows how to fight and kill. These skills come in handy as he is hunted throughout the course of the novel.
Who is hunting him, Bourne does not know, but evidence points to the assassin, Carlos the Jackal, an expert killer whose trademark is a bullet to the throat. Along the way, the reader and Bourne pick up clues as to his true identity and the larger game being played. Ludlum does an expert job of dropping crumbs along the reader's path as the story meanders through heart pumping action and exotic locales. This book is half mystery, half spy/military story. I did find myself to be confused at points because of the complexity of the plot, but thankfully Ludlum masterfully exposes all the various strands by the end. I haven't picked up The Bourne Supremacy yet, but you can bet that I will.