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VINE VOICEon 16 December 2004
Following the successful Matt Damon films, based loosely on the first 2 novels, we have a reissue of the third. Do not expect the story that appeared in the films. They have been updated and reinvented and only loosely follow the books.
This third book finds Bourne again on the trail of the Jackal and follows him from the Caribbean to France and to Russia. It introduces the new Medusa organisation that has known mutated from a Vietnam assassination squad to a corporate octopus taking over companies across the world. The two strands are intertwined to add to the basic storyline.
The book does run out of steam. You get the idea that good editing could have removed about a third of the book. Carlos makes escapes that are clearly there to extend the story. You get the feeling that Ludlum was being paid by the page or word in some respects.
However this is still a good, if over long, thriller that does hit the right spots. However, compared to the other books, you do come away feeling unfulfilled. As his career progressed you felt that Ludlum sometimes revisited previous stories and wrote sequels to satisfy the fans. Sometimes this was not the wisest move and this is one on them.
Definitely one for the fans but new readers should read the first two.
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on 20 July 2006
This was not a great book and at times I found it to be fairly tedious. The plot is an ideal example of the term "half baked".

I hate skipping passages but this book encouraged the practice. I think it is unnecessarily long and could have been edited, to both benefit the book and the reader, by at least a one third reduction. And a little more effort into some original plot pieces wouldn't go amiss while the editor was at it.

I also felt the author was "going through the motions" by squeezing a bit more out of his Jason Bourne character. A final showdown with "The Jackal" that became more than a little preposterous. It was predictable, drudgery and I just wanted it to end in the way we all knew it would - just for it to come quicker!

I must say that there were some interesting and likeable characters - I was taken by the ex-Deuxieme Bureau character in Paris and the KGB character that helped our hero in Moscow. However, to counter this observation, I could have cheerfully strangled the brother-in-law and I do not think there would be a short queue for the honour. What an annoying waste of space. Talking of which there were a number of characters introduced that really didn't seem to help the story.

I have read better books by this author and believe me this one took some time to read - all in all - I cannot recommend it, sorry.
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on 24 August 2001
Well, what can I say. I thought that perhaps after Identity and Supremacy, this might be taking the format of Bourne too far, but Ludlum has outdone himself with this one. The plot grabs you by the throat and drags you along at breakneck speed, and the twists and turns in the novel are enough to keep even the most experienced thriller readers guessing. One word of warning though; it would be advisable to read The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy first - if you don't you will still understand the book, and enjoy it, but to enhance your enjoyment I would recommend that you read these two books first.
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on 27 February 2000
Bourne has settled down when he is dragged out of retirement by a seemingly random killing. As friend turns to foe he must put together the peices quickly, as the Jackal is still alive and wants revenge. From America to Cuba to Moscow the chase continues, and Medusa still exists, and has an agenda of its own. As the Jackal and the creation designed to kill him battle it out, there can only be one winner. If you have read either "the bourne identity" or "the bourne supremacy" then you must read this. If you haven't then read it anyway, the plot will still make sense.
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on 9 June 2015
Just a bit long after reading the first 2 just before this one, made it feel a little repetitive....
On the other hand, it's absolutely great. A thriller that makes you want to sit for hours and finish it.
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on 10 November 2007
The first book of the trilogy (Identity) is by far the best, and the associated films a disappointment with little to do with the books. This book is good if you enjoyed the first two books, and is a better read than the second. Medusa comes back to life in a new form, and the plots and twists take us to Paris to meet the Jackal, the States and islands to fight off the Mafia, plus most of Europe finally to Russia to the KGB and the "birthplace" of the Jackal. Conklin, Panov are very much part of the Webb family. If anything the story is a bit far fetched, but quite fun and a bit of a send up in a James Bond type style of latter films. The first book was much more worrying and realistic in terms of what the USA intelligence service could get up compared to this book which is more obviously in a fantasy world. I did enjoy it but would find it difficult to understand the background without reading the first novel. Worth reading if you have read the first two, and interest maintained through out the 700+ pages.
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on 6 July 2006
What can I say about this book??????

Mr Ludlum must have been really bored out of his mind when he sat down to write this, because just from reading it you can tell he never put his heart and soul into it like the two previous books.

Not to say it is a bad story (there are ALOT worse Robert Ludlum books out there!!!) but you know what is coming three pages before it happens.

Not as slow to read as Supremacy (took me 1/4 of the time to read), but not as thrilling as Identity.

Thankfully the movie will be NOTHING like this book!!!
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on 28 June 2011
The final Bourne novel in the Ludlum trilogy is a disappointing effort considering how great the first two were. If, like me, you're a die hard fan, then Ultimatum is still readable. Anyone else though will likely get bored before the end.

It starts off okay. In fact the entire first half is probably as good as anything that's gone before. The scenes in Montserrat are excellent; I particularly enjoyed the Angel of Death character. There are several layers of intriguing plot elements brewing all over the world in these early stages, from Carlos' resurfacing to the new Treadstone branch. All is flowing well. Then, just as the bulk of the action moves away from the Carribbean, the wheels come off.

Ludlum just seems to run out of ideas. The absurd length of the book doesn't help matters. What should have been a 500 page story is dragged out to almost 750 and it's too long. I didn't see any real need for the Russian segment either. Or the whole Morris Panov subplot. All unnecessary.

The treatment of Marie St Jacques is another sore point. What was once an spunky, adorable character in The Bourne Identity has by The Bourne Ultimatum become a whiny, whinging nuisance. It wouldn't have bothered me if she'd gone the same away as the movie Marie, to be frank. Her brother isn't much better.

So to sum up then, not a great novel. I wouldn't recommend it if you haven't previously read a Bourne. If you have read Identity and Supremacy, you might as well read this just to see how the trilogy ends. I'll warn you now though - it's not up to previous standards by quite a distance. Eric Lustbader would take over the writing reigns after this and in hindsight it was probably a good time for a change.
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on 9 June 2014
To be honest I was disappointed with this one. I felt like finishing it - and the original trilogy - was an obligation after only a few pages.

The dialogue is ridiculous - nobody (and while I'm not familiar with American government institutions and their employees I'm pretty sure this covers them too) speaks in such a manner. Every conversation is overly convoluted and then - as if for the sake of an uneducated audience - explained again as part of the same dialogue. Not only that but the way in which the characters speak to each other with regard to their feelings toward the other.. I used the word 'ridiculous' already but it applies.

The plot isn't too bad. It's actually something that could make a really good novel - revenge mixed in with international conspiracy and psychological trauma was, indeed, the stuff that made the first two novels good reads. However, when you mix in the poor dialogue and easy fixes (seriously, everything that could be a problem from CIA equipment, millions of dollars in funds, incognito international travel, is so easily sorted out and available) it just lacks anything resembling substance.

The Bourne character - really the only reason I stuck with it to see it's original conclusion - has sadly become a poor imitation of itself in this book. Predictable, trite and, frankly, a bit of a let down.

A shame, a real shame.
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on 10 December 2013
I enjoyed the first book, really disliked the 2nd and was not looking forward to the 3rd. But I got into this one quicker than the 2nd one and did find it gripping in parts.

But I agree with a lot of the other reviewers: way too long, overly wordy, not plausible (but then again neither is a book about Superman or Vampires and we enjoy those too).

Considering it's not a genre of books that I'd normally gravitate towards (do I sound like the author with all my BIG words or do I need more adjectives?) I did enjoy it. But wouldn't read any of them again.
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