The Bourne Ultimatum: a novel

A conch shell with spike through it superimposed on photo of US capitalThe Bourne Ultimatum is Robert Ludlum’s spellbinding end to the contest between good and evil, represented respectively by a man called Jason Bourne and another called Carlos or “the Jackal.”

The only two men who know Jason Bourne’s true identity are summoned by telegram to witness a bizarre killing, which tells them David Webb’s cover is blown.

Unless Carlos is killed, Webb knows his family will never be safe. He decides to lure Carlos into a trap using Medusa, a Mafia-like operation that has grown out of a gang of killers that sprang up in the 1960s to terrorize the North Vietnamese.

Both men are past their prime. Each needs to mentally put himself in the other’s place, figure out what that man will do, and then find a way to thwart the plan with a minimum of physical effort. Webb senses Carlos wants his native Russia to view him as an organizational mastermind, not as just a thug, and uses that insight against him.

What makes this and the earlier “Bourne” novels fascinating is the complexity of his characters. The Bourne Ultimatum is a thriller you can read and reread.

It’s that good.

The Bourne Ultimatum by Robert Ludlum
Random House. ©1990. 611 p.
1990 bestseller #5; my grade: A

©2020 Linda G. Aragoni

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Linda Aragoni

I read. I write. I think. I make big ideas simple for learners. I help teachers teach expository writing to teens and adults. In my free time, I read and review old novels.

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