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The Bourne Ultimatum (Bourne Trilogy, Book 3) Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 1991

166 customer reviews
Book 3 of 12 in the Jason Bourne Series

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Mass Market Paperback, February 1, 1991
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The literary faults and stylistic excesses that characterized The Icarus Agenda , The Gemini Contenders and other of Ludlum's works are present in his latest mammoth thriller, but fans will nonetheless cheer the return of his most popular character, David Webb, aka Jason Bourne, the assassin who never was. When the international terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal penetrates his civilian identity, Webb must again assume the Bourne persona to protect his wife and small children. In their renewed struggle, the two master assassins uncover the revived existence of Medusa, the sinister alliance that originally led to the establishment of the Bourne identity. In action that moves from the U.S. to Montserrat to Paris before concluding in Moscow, Bourne and his allies prove incredibly inept, barely escaping the Jackal's traps and failing in their repeated attempts to ambush him. The Ludlum trademarks are present: improbable bloodbaths, repetitive action, stilted and off-the-point conversations and--most annoying--the use of italicized words or entire paragraphs to simulate passion. This is formula writing that delivers even less than its meager promise.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“Vintage Ludlum.”—The Plain Dealer


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (February 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553287737
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553287738
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (166 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #886,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Ludlum was the author of twenty-seven novels, each one a New York Times bestseller. There are more than 225 million of his books in print, and they have been translated into thirty-two languages. He is the author of The Scarlatti Inheritance, The Chancellor Manuscript, and the Jason Bourne series--The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatum--among others. Mr. Ludlum passed away in March, 2001.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

124 of 142 people found the following review helpful By William Ding on December 28, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ludlum is better than this. Filled to the brim with expositional dialogue and ridiculous plot twists, "The Bourne Ultimatum" is half a good novel. The good part is pure Ludlum; the abliity to weave a good yarn of intrigue and suspense. But the bad is a Jason Bourne who makes one elementary mistake after another; mistakes of judgement that your auntie wouldn't make if she had even the smallest iota of common sense. Bourne does not. Neither does his wife. Nor does his secret agent friends. Heck, you or I could have killed Carlos the Jackel five times in the course of this book, but Jason Bourne can't get it done. I finally assumed that Bourne's primary objective was to inflate Ludlum's page count, and the FUNDAMENTAL mistakes he made regarding his family had me rooting for the bad guy to off them just to make Bourne pay for his bone-headedness.
With an entire world in which to hide, Bourne sends his kids to an island that even the worst private detective could find in a day, and you know what, that's exactly what happens. In addition to the "trail of crumbs" method of concealment he employs, just about everyone Bourne knows jumps on a jet and follows him to Paris so even blind people can follow them to the gifted Jason. His own dimwit wife follows him there, and darn it, it just made me want her dead. Sorry.
I love the Bourne character, but this foolish person makes you cringe every time he says, "It's him. The Jackel," and believe you me, he says it about fifty thousand times. Bottom line, a cat has nine lives, but if this version of Jason Bourne were hunting him, he'd have a hundred and nine.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Rohan Krishnamurti on August 22, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Bourne Ultimatum pits Jason Bourne against his main nemesis, Carlos the Jackal. The scene that this book sets up feels very exciting as you pick up this book, especially with the thought of Bourne v/s Carlos.
Well, the book is very good, not outstanding, but very well written. Its got plenty of action, and is much more fast paced than the previous two books. Some of the confrontations that Bourne has with Carlos are quite tense and exciting. There's also a sub-plot regarding the old Medusa that Bourne was a part of but the plots get entangled pretty soon, and its down to a massive game of cat and mouse played between two of the world's most feared assasins.
Ludlum once again manages to keep the book engrossing throughout. His main character is almost 15 years older than what he was in the first part of the series. The ageing factor is handled well and reminds us that Jason Bourne is human after all.
Once gets a nice peek into Carlos's life too, especially about the ways in which he works and how he's hell bent on killing the only man who has seen his face. Marie St Jaques's character is wonderful as always, together with Conklin and Mo, they make up the rest of the known cast. David Webb has had children as well, but sadly there's no interaction between Daddy and his kids. (thank god Ludlum writes Thrillers!)
This is a good book, but the reason I said it wasn't outstanding, was due to one thing only. That was the climax. It was too weak, especially after three long books, Jason Bourne deserved something much more. Well perhaps, Carlos and Bourne have so many confrontations that Ludlum seemed too tired to make another one for the climax.
All in all, this series of three books are all great in their own way and are clearly three of the best books Ludlum has ever written, and quite possibly three of the best thrillers ever.
So be it, as JB always says.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 18, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you have read any of the other Bourne books (Identity, Supremacy) you have to read this. Not saying it's the best out of the series, but it's neccessary for closure. It's vintage Ludlum with all of the plot twists and global conspiracies, but as someone said before, the Bourne books introduce a new view on things. You can relate to David Webb and Ludlum does an excellent job building layer upon layer of psych complexity that makes this character seem so real.
Take a break between books. I went straight from one to the other in a matter of days. I truly feel I would've enjoyed them (especially this one) 10x better if I would have taken a break.
So do yourself a favor. They are good books.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By fizzman on May 14, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is seriously flawed. Utterly implausible plot, unconvincing dialogue, seriously stupid characters. The writing was so tedious I had to skip entire pages of drivel just to get through it. The book was so badly written, I threw the book down several times from sheer frustration. I forced myself to finish the book, but never again. Ludlum is on my "Avoid" list.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Robert M. on November 19, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the 4th Robert Ludlum book I've read, and I think it exhibits a marked decline from some of his earlier work. The plot is simply not very believable. Carlos the Jackal is simply unbelievable as a villain - there's no way he could maintain such a far-flung empire of informants, thugs, and hit-men, all willing to die for him, no questions asked, while he stays totally untouchable, masquerading as a priest. The most believable scene in the book is when he shows up in Moscow and his people there laugh at him because he is so ridiculous. Seriously, how many times can Carlos run misdirections where he escapes out the back door or sends a fake van somewhere while his thugs get gunned down? Come on, who would ever work for this guy?

He seems like a very different villain now than in the original "Bourne Identity". There, Bourne was able to track him down fairly easily - a random contact here or there dropping a name, whatever. Now, nobody can touch him, and there's a ridiculously long section where Bourne tries to woo Sancho into giving him a fake phone number, and Sancho gets killed. What a waste of paper!

And don't even get me started on the Mafia hit men. Ludlum went way too far with the Italian stereotypes there, to the point that they were just goofy. And the whole Medusa conspiracy thing is just very half-baked. Maybe there was something cool there, but Ludlum spends a lot of time building it up for very little payoff. The body count just gets silly too. I guess that's typical with Ludlum. But the plotting in this book is a lot more repetitious, and all the killing doesn't amount to much.

Anyway, I much preferred the Bourne Identity and Supremacy. It was like Ludlum was writing this one on autopilot.
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