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robert ludlum

Date first published1986Bourne supremacy cover
ISBN Number0-586-06454-0
Page Count695 p/b
h/b= hardback : p/b= paperback

The Bourne Supremacy


Jason Bourne has returned to Asia, and is again for hire. The only problem being Bourne the killer does not exist, and his alter ego, David Webb is living happily in Maine.

The US and British governments spooked by a threat from the Chinese, decide that the only unattributable way to solve the problem is use the real Jason Bourne to smoke out his impersonator. However the powers that be know that Bourne will not willingly help them, so they do the only thing they can. Kidnap Bournes wife. In return for the imposter, Webb will get his wife back.

Jason goes back to hunting the unknown assassin in the steamy backwaters of Hong Kongs underbelly, and then into the depths of China itself to find the man called Jason Bourne. The death toll mounts as Bourne tracks his opponent, can he find the killer before he loses his wife and his sanity?

To add to the confusion, Marie manages to escape from her captors, which throws the whole operation into doubt, after all if Bourne succeeds and can't speak to his wife as agreed, then what will he do?



The Aquitaine Progression, was a long book with a very long fuse. This is just the opposite, a long book with a very short fuse. A few short chapters to give you a sense of life with David Webb, and introduce you to the lead protagonists. Once done the book hurtles off to Hong Kong as Bourne seeks the truth and his wife.

Bourne is back to his violent best, yet it is tempered, a number of adversaries, are merely disabled and not killed, as David Webb tries to control his violent alter ego.

The story ebbs and flows as he re-emerges into his old stomping ground, and the memories of Paris come flooding back. The story is in some ways simpler than the Bourne Identity, in that he is only facing one foe, who is will stop at nothing to see him dead.

The second story is the one that follows Marie, she has also learnt and remembered the tricks of evasion from her time in Paris, and the story unfolds, a penniless occidental woman in the Orient. Marie is not without allies, especially when Mo Panov and Alex Conklin arrive on the scene. Death also stalks her every move.

The book is very economical with it's words, the story is very fast moving, with short breaks to allow the reader to rest. The reader knowing the whole set up can only hope that Bourne will exact his revenge, and I won't spoil the surprise.

In the book Ludlum concentrates purely on the action, and not a lot of the pseudo legal stuff that spoiled the Aquitaine Progression. When the pace breaks it's usually because Bourne is following up leads or is waiting for someone or something to happen.

A picture of the tortured mind that is David Webb is also starting to appear, and you realise that life has moved on since the Bourne Identity, he has a life, and real friends who are not going to sit back and watch Webb go back through the ringer. A big change from the loan man with only one friend in the world.

Amongst all the testosterone, is Marie, as wily as Bourne and just as courageous, she to is unwilling to simply remain captive, and using the tricks learned in Paris eludes her captors until the very end. Again, that unusual beast, a strong woman, in a book written by a man.

To some up. A fantastic book, written by an author on top form. The two Bourne books outshine all of his other works.

To those who have watched the film, beware. The story is very different to the book. In fact the only thing they have in common is the character Jason Bourne, the rest is the usual Hollywood mish-mash!

4.5 out of 5

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