4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
One of the greatest ever thriller novels.,
This review is from: The Bourne Identity (Bourne 1) (Paperback)
The original and best Jason Bourne novel, although if you're expecting it to follow the events of the film you'll be disappointed. The only similarity between this and the film is the plot device of Bourne waking up in the sea with amnesia. After that it's a nigh on a completely differently tale. Not that this is a bad thing. Ludlum's version is hands down the best of the two.
In such places as Marseille, Zurich, and Paris, Bourne races around trying to find out if he was a bad guy in previous life or a good one. Along the way he's hounded mercilessly by terrorists and also people from his own government, and he has to juggle all this with his blossoming `friendship' with economist Marie St Jacques (a character who gets much better treatment here than in the movie).
The book is simplistic at first but gradually becomes very complex. It's brilliantly woven together by the author though. You can read the book several times over and still find yourself unable to remember which part of the plot comes next. Dud chapters are non-existent. It's gripping all the way through.
It also has a terrific bad guy in the guise of the mysterious `Carlos', not to mention a whole bunch of other intriguing characters who pop up throughout the story. I refer to the likes of the unnamed `man with the gold spectacles', Johann, and my personal favourite, Rene the fashion designer.
Although set in the early eighties - near enough - this never detracts from the enjoyment. If anything, the lack of modern technology available to the principal characters only adds to the suspense. It's brilliantly refreshing to read something like this where mobile phones and the like don't yet exist.
Of all the books I've ever read, and I've read a LOT, this is my second favourite of all time. It's just a fantastic example of how to write a suspenseful thriller. Even if the film versions weren't to your liking, you might want to give this a try.