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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 26 November 2002
Scenario...you are on holiday to California, from London Heathrow, and your literary resources are exhausted! What do you do?
Buy this of course! It's awesome!!! I'd never heard of Robert Ludlum before this, so I wrote it off as another boring novel produced by some obscure author, as soonas my dad handed over the money.
I think that two thankyous are in order - one to my dad for buying me the book in the first place, and two, to Robert Ludlum for writing this engrossing masterpeice!
If you're a fan of Tom Clancy, you won't be dissapointed! Being a teenager, who plays lots of PC games, you could probably imagine it. I'm one of those that loves stories to do with assassination, complicated political plots, and plenty of action! Robert Ludlum is so descriptive about what goes on when David Webb's wife, Marie, is kidnapped in Hong Kong. Being an assassin, he must fight to find out where his wife is, and who brutally murdered the Chinese Vice-Premier in a Kowloon restaurant!
The book is well written, and I wished that I had read its prequel, The Bourne Identity, which is now a very good film.
If action, politics and conspiracies are your thing, then this is a definite addition to your christmas wish list. I, for one, am adding the other two books, before and after, to mine, and the chances are, that i'll end up getiing a whole lot more of Robert Ludlum's books.
For all of the Tom Clancy fans out there, this is guaranteed to impress you, as well as many others.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Robert Ludlum's classic trilogy of novels about the legendary spy Jason Bourne and the Matt Damon films adapted from them stand slightly independent of each other. Ludlum started writing them in 1980 with Vietnam still fresh in the memory and the cold war still frostily raging. The films wisely updated the details to the twenty-first century, but retained Bourne's lethal nature and fractured memory, as well as the breathless intensity of the novels. The Bourne Identity novel and film still have relatively similar plot lines; by comparison, the novel and film of The Bourne Supremacy are totally different stories. This adds to the pleasure if you're a fan of the films trying out the books - you are in for no end of surprises, and a hell of a lot of thrills and entertainment.

It is the mid 1980s and after the events of The Bourne Identity, the man who was Jason Bourne is living under his real name of David Webb, in quiet anonymity with a job at a university. He is gradually healing from the mental and physical trauma of the past and married to Marie, the woman he met in the course of the first novel. We know that he was a highly dangerous covert operative during Vietnam, and later adopted the role of Jason Bourne to counter the lethal enemy assassin Carlos The Jackal (the real version of whom was still at large when this book was released). In the background, The People's Republic of China is making its first moves to secure control of the capitalist markets of Hong Kong, under the camouflage of its Communist regime. And a man posing as Jason Bourne is carrying out daring assassinations in Asia, where Bourne was first seen and is still feared. Bourne's wife Marie is kidnapped, the Chinese authorities are involved in some kind of murky business, and the US intelligence community - someone the "real" Bourne still hates and distrusts - want him back to fight the dangerous forces emerging in the east. To get Marie back, David Webb will do anything, even risk his own life and sanity by becoming Jason Bourne again.

This kicks off an extremly complex, not to say convoluted story of spies, counter spies and global power struggles, conducted by very violent people. Bourne goes to Hong Kong, Macao, the Chinese mainland and beyond and is even more of a force of nature than you'll remember from the films. What's striking about this novel, as with much of Ludlum's work, is the sheer pace and ferocity of the book. He skilfully keeps the massively complicated story under control, while propelling the reader relentlessly on a rollercoaster of action and danger. Bourne is on the ragged edge at all times, his enemies completely ruthless. The character of Marie is also much better than that in the films, a woman of genuine substance and depth.

No one does this better than Robert Ludlum. This novel is a real white-knuckle ride, alternating between unbearable tension and thrilling action, international intrigue and personal struggle. It reads like the newspaper headlines you'll never get to read, because the world's intelligence people are terrified of the truth getting out. It's not very often you read a novel that provides the same visceral response as the best action films while still giving you a great story to get your teeth into. This is one of the very few that pull it off this brilliantly. The Bourne Supremacy has been voted the best spy thriller of all time, and it thoroughly deserves that title.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 November 2012
When I picked up my copy of 'The Bourne Supremacy' I was surprised to learn it was written back in the 80s. I suppose I assumed it was more contemporary based on the namesake films but if I was worried the story had dated, well I soon got over that. The action kicks off from the very start and scarcely lets up, but Ludlum doesn't skimp on detail where it supports the narrative. There's plenty of humour too, and the book fairly raced along. The plot is simple enough to be accessible without too much head scratching over who and why, and although the secondary characters being their lives thinly written, there's time as the story unfolds to flesh them out a tad. If you can suspend your disbelief and lose yourself in the action you will enjoy this.
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on 11 August 2015
If you saw the movie(s), don't let that stop you from reading the book(s). Apart from the title, this has as little to do with the film as it's possible for a film to be. It is much more complex and far less shallow. The film was lots of fun and delivered hugely in terms of fast moving action and thrills galore. The book follows different lines, different places, with a fairly different cast. This book would have been very difficult indeed to shoot unmodified - only they took the modification process so far that you could read this and if the title had been different you'd be unaware that the book you'd just read was the source of the movie (which it wasn't, not really)

This is a good deep read but you better pay attention, all the time - or the plot's curlicues and twists could easily lose you. Been a long while since I read this, am just about to do it again on my Kindle this time.

And the above applies to all three of the books - perhaps less so with the first one, but the second and third are very "out-there" indeed - and desperately complex at times. So - apply the above advice to pay heed, or it might just lose you. Indeed its complexity makes it hard enough work that despite being a class act I've deducted one of the five stars it might otherwise have had.
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on 28 June 2011
An exquisite follow-up to The Bourne Identity, this sequal takes David Webb to Hong Kong and China in a bid to find his missing wife. The full plot couldn't possibly be summed up in one paragraph though. It's even an more complicated story than the first one (but still ultimately very satisfying).

The oriental setting makes a great change from the European imagery of the original. Ludlum also makes a very bold decision in regards to the continued use of Carlos, which I won't spoil here.

Throughout the book there are several very memorable passages. These include a game of cat and mouse in a museum, an infiltration of a guard-strewn fish market, and my personal favourite, Bourne's utterly ingenius tactics inside a bird sanctuary. And yet, as bizaare as these sequences may sound, the action is always kept realistic. Nothing ever seems 'hollywood' or over-the-top.

The character of Marie definitely isn't as effective as she was in the first book, mainly due to her being constantly separated from Bourne. The upside to this however is that Bourne gets to do plenty of sleuthing on his own, a hark back to the first few chapters of The Bourne Identity before he even met Marie.

For my money this is the last truly great Bourne novel before the standards started to slip a little.
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on 23 November 2013
I've just read Bourne 1 and followed it up soon after with 2.....which I found quite tedious going from about halfway through. This is more of the same as book 1 and the character's superhuman ability to take out any number of baddies, regardless of their weapon of choice, starts to stretch your credulity after a while.

I also like this one less because of the way David Webb was treated by his Govt. I won't go into plot details but if there's a %age of truth in the way these diplomats behave...then we should all be concerned. I found it hard to tell how much was fiction and where reality started. I know it's meant to be entertainment....but it wasn't grabbing me.

I also found, once again, there were times when I'd no idea who a new character was who'd just entered the chapter. While I have to take my hat off to the author for the vast amount of research he must have done - it's all a bit much by the time you get to book 2.

And it puzzles me the way the characters use "Good Christ". I've never heard anyone use that combo....it threw me every time I read it as it just seemed to jar. I think I'm being pick now.

I've got book 3 to start - but I'm not fancying it now.
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on 8 December 2009
I read this after being recommended it by my sister. The only background I knew about Bourne was through the movies. So first off, I have to say that this book is very different and more involved than the movies... The story itself is based pre-Hong Kong hand-over, and is full of (far-fetched) paranoia. Sometimes you wonder why the characters don't behave "normally"...

The first one hundred or so pages are quite tedious, but it does pick up once his wife escapes and there's less of the character's inner voice to read, which was very annoying. There are sometimes patches where Robert's writing is appalling (IMO) - there's unnecessary repetition (used to reinforce ideas), confusing dialogue (sometimes you don't know who's talking to who and what exactly they mean), and the use of Mandarin phonetically doesn't actually help the reader (I understood some of the words, but couldn't see how it actually helped tell the story...).

So apart from that and a rather disappointing ending, a good chunk (75%) of the book is a very good read - I think I'll read other books in the series!
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on 17 April 2009
I must admit that it's been a couple of years since I read the first of the Bourne series, and as such found it quite difficult to get into this one. There's not much of a synopsis of the first book, and I had to resort to Google-ing for a plot summary to remember what had happened and who the characters were. The first third of the book takes a great deal of patience to get through. It suffers from some Clancy-esque long-windedness, but I think the fundamental problem is that it has dated somewhat, making some of the plot seem somewhat foolish to a modern reader. It took me a lot longer to get through the first part of the book than normal as I couldn't read more than a chapter or two without getting bored. However, as the plot progresses it becomes an enjoyable and much easier read, building to an exciting climax. If you enjoyed the first book I would recommend it, but not sure if I will now progress to the third in the series.
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on 28 February 2010
The book isn't very much like the film, but it continues from the first book (I recommend reading that before this) The book starts with a gripping piece of action, and the plot as a whole has many twists and turns throughout; a lot of guessing and second guessing. Ludlum, has created a man with a Dual identity, sometimes this the monologue can get confusing, however the confusion adds to the atmosphere of the scenes. There is a real empathy for the characters...until the books hasty conclusion. For me, and hence the 4* review, the end let this book down. It was over far too quick. After spending 650 pages (or there abouts in the build up) having the crowning moment of the book over in a couple of sides was a little bit of a let down. That aside, it was a fufilling read. I sure did love it. And i will be returning to this book at some point in the future.
Worth reading

:)
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 11 August 2004
The Bourne Supremacy continues in the rich vein of high quality international espionage/spy/thriller stories of which Robert Ludlum is a master. Its prequel, the Bourne Identity, was sheer class and introduced us to the delightfully intricate and complex character of Jason Bourne, and the Bourne Supremacy continues where that left off.
Just as with its prequel, this is page turning, high octane, explosive stuff, which you simply can't put down. As other reviewers have mentioned, get all three in the Bourne trilogy, take some time off work and get read for the ride - buy them all, as they are all superb!
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