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3.2 out of 5 stars
Robert Ludlum's (TM) The Bourne Betrayal (Jason Bourne series)
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101 of 107 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2007
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I'm a big Bourne fan and have read all the books. This one, I am sorry to report, is dreadful.
You expect to have to suspend reality a bit when reading books in this genre, but I felt my intelligence was really being insulted this time. Things occur all through the book that go beyond stretching reality to ignoring it altogether. Furthermore, I feel a book has really failed when it's long on description and short on atmosphere. This one dives into long detailed descriptions almost seeming like 'padding' but fails to involve the reader emotionally at all. It feels like it was a writing assignment rather than an inspired book. What a shame to end the Bourne series on a low note.
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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Just as I was beginning to think a book with Ludlum's name on it would be a winner, along comes this piece of mindless, technically inept drivel. Ludlum's "estate" had better take a closer look at what is being written in his name. Indeed, Robert must be spinning in his grave over the trite plot(?), ridiculous situations, and technical errors. Most disappointing!
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58 of 63 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
The Bourne Betrayal is a bloated book with one significant plot development surprise in it. Be careful you don't find a spoiler with that surprise described in it or you will find this book to be very boring from beginning to end as the results you expect occur.

Under Deputy Director Martin Lindros, Central Intelligence has been reforming itself to become more effective in combating terrorists. But not everyone is happy about that progress, including the terrorists. Based on a lead that suggests a risk of nuclear terror, Lindros returns to the field. Meanwhile everyone else wants to play politics to advance their own self interests. Jason Bourne is naturally concerned because Lindros is his only friendly ally.

Meanwhile, Bourne is struggling with recurring images of a young woman dying in his arms that he associates with the death of his wife. What's worse than amnesia?: being tortured by the thought that he may bear enormous guilt for the deaths of others. How can he clear his mind? The methods he tries have unexpected consequences.

Soon, Bourne is brought into the search for the terrorist threat . . . but he's curiously ineffective at what he does. He stumbles as he travels a road into lots of hostile territory to stop the threat. Naturally, each stop on the road is filled with violent confrontations that often wound Bourne.

If you are a Lustbader fan, you'll find this book hews closer to the Lustbader type of action thriller than to the Ludlum style. I suspect that after The Bourne Betrayal there will be so little of the Ludlum story line left that it will be like starting up a new thriller series.

The book's biggest weaknesses come in two areas: The technology employed is science fiction rather than being plausible and the characters are merely names that have an emotion or two attached to them.

The book's biggest strength comes in its realistic portrayal of how underground facilities might be stormed and subdued by small hostile forces. Whenever the book moves underground, the story brightens a bit.

For my taste the book could have been 200 pages shorter and it would have been more appealing. The extra length didn't do much to add either suspense or excitement to the story.

Unless you feel compelled to know everything possible about Jason Bourne, you could skip this book. Its impact on the character can be captured in a few short sentences in the next book in the series.

If you haven't read The Bourne Legacy, you'll probably like this book even less than I did.

If you decide to read this book, consider how appearances can be deceiving and how you can look past such false appearances to get at the inner truth.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Omar, the humble and innocent Pakistani waiter is sitting bound to a chair in a bathroom of the Washington hotel where he works, knowing he's about to be executed by terrorists. Does this terrified man beg for mercy? Does he hurl abuse at his captors? Not a bit of it. He lectures them calmly and collectedly on the merits of the Israeli nation: "Israelis themselves are Nobel laureates in physics, economics, chemistry, literature; prize-winners in quantum computing, black-hole thermodynamics, string theory. Israelis were founders of Packard Bell, Oracle SanDisk, Akami, Mercury Interactive, Check Point, Amdocs, ICQ."

I was trying to picture Mr Van Lustbader sitting at his computer reviewing this little passage. Did he ask himself: Would your average waiter (of any nationality) have this kind of information in his head? Even if he did, would the horror of his situation allow him to list all these facts so comprehensively? Would a Pakistani Muslim be so enchanted with Israel? Is Omar actually a Pakistani name?

Clearly satisfied on all these counts and that this would be the normal reaction of anyone about to die gruesomely at the hands of Islamic fanatics, Mr Van Lustbader then lets Omar get into his stride, expounding his beliefs on how Israel should be the model for them to follow.

Perhaps understandably, the terrorist leader slices Omar's throat, telling him: "This is gibberish." Mr Van Lustbader go that bit right. What a perfect epitaph, not only to this ludicrous scenario, but to the whole book.

I give it one star because I actually finished this ridiculous tale. And I only did that because I'd paid good money.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Being a big fan of Ludlum's Bourne books, and being pleasantly surprised by Van Lustbader's first Bourne novel - The Bourne Legacy, I was looking forward to this new episode in Bourne's life.

How greatly disappointed I was. The only resemblance between this and the previous 4 books is the main characters name - Jason Bourne. Nothing else even remotely provides the feeling of the previous novels. Typically Lustbader, this novel is sketchy, full of plot holes, and alluding to plot scenarios and backgrounds that are never explained. This plot has more holes than Swiss cheese!

Absolutely the worst Bourne book yet, with nothing to tie it to the previous novels and no redeeming factors. If the Ludlum Foundation has any credibility at all with regard to Ludlum's legacy, they will never licence Lustbader with another Bourne novel again.

A thorough waste of money and time. Greatly disappointing.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2007
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I've got almost every book he's ever published in my library. He's been fun to read for years now. This, however, is easily the worst thing he's ever done. The action scenes are obviously written with a movie in mind. The activities inside his "CI" don't relate to any kind of real world organization. In a high profile intelligence operation like CI one simply cannot accept the overnight changes brought about by one of the characters. Our hero suffering from debilitating mental instabilities still miraculously operates at higher-than-Bond levels whilst simultaneously speaking Amharic, Arabic, etc., etc. I'm about to attempt to return the book to Amazon.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I bought this book to read on a trip. I threw it away after reading about a third, and felt like I had been robbed. Fiction requires a 'suspension of disbelief,' but from the start this book demanded more, a 'suspension of intelligence.'

What drove me over the edge was when - after using a low res photo to determine that someone was wearing an almost perfect disguise, he was unable to recognize that someone was impersonating his best friend while spending days together with him. Oh yeah, this was made possible in part because the impersonator performed an eye transplant under primitive conditions in a remote cave in the mountains of Africa.

I cannot express my disappointment that this book is now part of the Bourne legacy.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Bourne Betrayal betrays more than the lead character. We the readers are betrayed by a poorly researched and edited novel. Mr Lustbader needs to find someone to read his manuscript for flaws, which are frequent in this book. The medical scenes, of which there are several, have numerous errors. The editor should have picked this up, too, when looking for inconsistencies.

Mr Ludlum was betrayed as his character is put through paces poorly constructed. He would have never allowed such a thing.

Mr Lustbader has been a fine novelist. I have enjoyed most of his work. This is a great disappointment. I know he can do better.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Absurd, unbelievable plot elements at every turn make this book a major disappointment. I did not throw the book away in disgust like some other reviewers. But, if I had, I wouldn't have missed much.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I know we're talking about fiction, but this is comic book stuff. I finally stopped reading when the main terrorist character "became" Bourne's good friend Martin Lindross, fooling Bourne and everyone else whi knows Lindross into believing it was really him. Please. Until then I was able to keep going, hoping that the many logical inconsistencies and improbabilities would subside into a good solid story. I have rarely stopped reading a book only a quarter of the way into it, but this book is rare in its awfulness. I'm as willing to suspend disbelief as the next guy, but don't insult the readers' intelligence. Can I have my money back?
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