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The Bourne Identity: A Novel (Jason Bourne) Mass Market Paperback – January 5, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 2,064 customer reviews
Book 1 of 12 in the Jason Bourne Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Ludlum stuffs more surprises into his novels than any other six-pack of thriller writers combined.”—The New York Times

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Product Details

  • Series: Jason Bourne (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (January 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553593544
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553593549
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,064 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,333 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I bought "The Bourne identity" mostly because I didn't want to lose the opportunity of reading Ludlum's book before the release of a film based on it. I really wasn't a fan of the author (and I am not one now), but I loved this book.

To start with, the plot is remarkably good. "The Bourne identity" is the story of a man without a past, rescued from the Mediterranean Sea by some fishermen. He is very ill, and his body has suffered the impact of many bullets. The man is taken by the fishermen to a doctor in a nearby island, who helps him to recover physically and mentally. Our protagonist doesn't remember who he is, but with the help of the doctor he finds some clues he doesn't like too much. He only knows for certain some things, for instance that his face has been altered by plastic surgery, that he knows a lot about firearms and that he carried on him a microfilm that contains the code to an account of four million dollars.

In the Swiss bank where the account is he also finds a name: Jason Bourne. But... is he Jason Bourne?. He cannot remember, and if it were for quite a few people, he won't. From the moment he leaves the island onwards, our man without a past will be followed, and attacked. He doesn't understand why, but he reacts in order to stay alive. Add to this already interesting mixture a woman he takes as a hostage, Marie, a number of assasins (including the most famous assassin in the world, Carlos), and the possibility that he is, as a matter of fact, also an assassin, and you will understand why this book is so good. The main character will be hunted all throughout the book not only by the "bad guys", but also by the "good" ones (mainly agents from the USA Government).
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the book that proves that Robert Ludlum is the master of the spy genre. Always interested in plot lines that throw unsuspecting characters into the path of intrigue & danger, Ludlum takes the concept to new heights in this novel. Not only does the character not know what is going on, he doesn't even know who he is! What he does know is that he's a dead man if he doesn't figure it all out pretty soon. The first paragraph of this novel may be the most exciting opening lines of any story ever written, and Ludlum's pacing and style were never better. I often get bored with spy novels (LeCarre wears me out) because the characters are slow and stupid. Ludlum's protagonist (Jason Bourne) is tough, smart, and clever, but very realistic. He does not make stupid mistakes (as any believable spy would not), but when hit or shot, he suffers as much as any of us would. If you fancy yourself a lover of spy mysteries, you must read this book! It is the only such book I have ever truly found to be a "page-turner". (The first time I read it, I couldn't put it down until 4AM)
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Like many people I came to this book through the movies based on Robert Ludlum's Bourne novels. I read THE JANSON DIRECTIVE several years ago (blew through it on a 30-hour train ride between Kolkata and Chennai), and though it was entertaining enough to pass the time with, I felt like it was essentially literary packing foam. I wasn't looking for Les Miserables, mind you, but Ludlum's characters are pretty mechanical, operating basically to show off a hidden world of espionage, conspiracy, and cool gadgets. There's nothing essentially wrong with this kind of novel, but I prefer character-driven fiction, where I can see personalities of some complexity and depth grapple with challenges and come out changed somehow. As far as I can tell, Ludlum didn't write this kind of novel often.

But THE BOURNE IDENTITY is an attempt at this kind of novel. The main character, so-called "Jason Bourne," is not struggling against assassins and CIA operatives for some political agenda or even merely to save his own life. He is trying to understand himself, to learn who he is. As one character states (as an almost shameless declaration of the "moral of the story"), "In a way, [Bourne is] a functioning microcosm of us all. I mean, we're all trying to find out who the hell we are, aren't we?" Such internal conflict, however, is handled quite clumsily in Ludlum's hands, which seem unaccustomed to dealing with emotional subtleties. Credit should go to the makers of the Bourne movies (Matt Damon and the rest of the cast prominent among them) for breathing life and depth into these characters.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was my first Ludlum book -- and I was very impressed. For this genre, it is rare that you find yourself thinking about the details of the plot between the times you are able to read.
I really enjoyed how the author slowly revealed the main character to the audience. My only complaint is that the other characters seemed to be a little shallow (minus a star for this...)
The story is that a man is brought to a doctor with horrible injuries and no memory of who he is or was. The doctor only shows him a piece of microfilm surgically implanted into his body with the name "Jason Bourne" and a number of a bank account. This man must figure out who he is while he is being chased by the police and other assassins (who know him, but he doesn't know them...)
Great story -- You will probably figure out the ending towards the end of the book, but you won't be able to put it down regardless.
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