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The life and times of Patrick Burleson

“The Bourne Identity” by Robert Ludlum

Posted on by Patrick

The Bourne Identity CoverWhen Andy was up in October, he was in the middle of reading the Bourne series by Robert Ludlum. I really, really, liked the movies and I asked him how the books where. And his response was “They kick the sh*t out of the movies”. Needless to say, I was intrigued. I was in the middle of reading “The Dark Tower 7: The Dark Tower” by Stephen King (I’ll be getting to those later), but I put the Bourne series on my list, and I am very glad I did. Read on for my review of the book…which might contain some spoilers.

The book starts out just like the movie did. Well, almost exactly. Instead of being shot while jumping from a boat, our unknown character leaps off a boat that explodes. While on the boat, he had been shot.

He wakes up in a bed in the local doctor’s house. The doctor, Geoffrey Washburn, heals his mysterious patient, whom he gives the name Jean-Pierre, and at the same time tries to help the paitent with his amnesia. They learn that “Jean-Pierre” has an account at a bank in Zurich.

Dr. Washburn gets “Jean-Pierre” a job on a local fishing boat. This job turns out to be a nightmare because the crewmembers aren’t so keen on having “Jean-Pierre” on board since one of their kindred had to be let go for the time “Jean-Pierre” was on the boat. They make his life miserable and finally they try to hurt him. And in turn, he hurts every man on the ship to the point of broken bones. “Jean-Pierre” has no idea how he knows how to do what he did and it scares him.

After returning from the sea, Dr. Washburn tells “Jean-Pierre” he needs to leave because soon the people of the village will be there to beat the hell out of him. Dr. Washburn determines it’s time for “Jean-Pierre” to find out what’s in Zurich and gets “Jean-Pierre” passage on a boat on its way to Marseilles, but the captain of the ship won’t take the risk of actually dropping him off in port. So “Jean-Pierre” has to jump overboard and swim to the beach.

While in Marseilles, “Jean-Pierre” learns that he is “J. Bourne”. He gets a passport and makes his way to the bank in Zurich. While there he learns that he is Jason Bourne (or at least that’s the name the bank account is in).

Up until this point, this might sound exactly how the movie goes, but let me tell you, it’s here that the stories diverge. As Jason tries to leave the bank he is attacked by men he doesn’t know and from there he runs to a hotel where he is staying. It is here, when he has to escape again, that Jason takes Marie as a hostage.

The story then unfolds as Jason and Marie have to figure out what’s going on and who to trust, while at the same time trying to stay alive. Every page is filled with fear for the lives of the characters and had me turning pages well into the night. I highly recommend reading this entire series…my reviews of the other books are coming soon.

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