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robert ludlum

Date first published21 June 2007Bourne Betrayal Cover
ISBN Number0 752 88513 8
Page Count464 h/b
h/b= hardback : p/b= paperback

The Bourne Betrayal


Jason Bourne, a man alone, truly alone. Marie has died, and his best friend in CI kidnapped by Islamic militants. Jason agrees to track down Martin Lindros and bring him back whether dead or alive. However old enmities resurface, and Bourne is faced with killers on both sides.

Can Jason find Lindros, stop the Islamic plot and stay alive?



On one level, I quite liked the story, on another it irked. If you read it as purely escapist fiction, without the Bourne character I think it works, in a pulp fiction sort of way. As a Bourne story I'm not so sure. If it is a Bourne story then it is one based on the film franchise and not the original trilogy. This book is light years away from the quality of those novels.

Why doesn't it work? Well, reading the book the character would appear to be in the mid 40's age range, yet if you go back to the original books, Bourne served in Vietnam, some 35 years ago, and if I'm correct he was in his early 30's then. That puts him at 60 years old at the time the book is set. So the time frame doesn't fit with the novels, although it does fit in with the films - based on Matt Damon's age.

The book tries to capture the earlier pace and frantic chase of the original books, but it doesn't come off, why I'm not altogether sure, perhaps it is just the way the fights are staged the pure grit of a fight to the death doesn't come across, and Bourne seems to shrug off some of the combatants with great ease.

The other problem is between Bourne finding the secret base and entering it he seems to have made a remarkable recovery from a very serious knife wound, which had happened only 2-3 days earlier, yet he fights Fadi with little or no effort. This sort of lapse is inexcusable. He then has another fight with Kamil again with no ill effects.

Quite what Bourne is doing now is unclear, he seems to be a part of CI, or Typhoon, I did get a bit confused about a clandestine government agency seemingly inside another clandestine organisation.

Logic also seems to be another weakness. Lindros is seized by Arab militants, kept for a period of weeks and is then allowed straight back to work following a few hours of assessment. I think not, any agency that would allow that deserves to be blown up! The other issue is the creation of a virus within CI that can attack the entire system forcing a shutdown. The creation of the code seemed to take a few minutes. It is highly unlikely that a senior manager would have the access level to create code, compile it and run within a secure environment. Mind you if they are running Microsoft Windows then they probably latched onto a loophole!

I am not sure that an imposter, even with a retinal implant could get himself into place and maintain the cover for long. Whilst some allowance might be made for his period in captivity the small things that make us human would let him down, whether it be mannerisms or contradictory thoughts and ideas. It was touched upon briefly when Kamil tried to investigate the virus attack.

Another issue was when the Old Man and Anne had been killed, there disappearance would have been noticed. To say that they were with the President for an indefinite period is just plain stupid.

An attempt is made at political manoeuvring, but it doesn't have the same style that Ludlum would have used. It is very half hearted, and the whole plot just collapses when the false Lindros appears.

That covers the poorer points what are the good points. The book has a certain style, I can see Matt Damon playing the role, and as a simple chase movie it works. Strip out the politics and the terrorist element the book boils down to one of revenge, and if it had been handled as a revenge story - without Bourne I think it would have worked better. I get the feeling this is one of Ludlums other stories with Bourne pasted in to make more money.

It is not the greatest story, but it is far better than the likes of Road to Omaha (shudder). Read it if you just want a bit of escapist reading.

3 out of 5

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