The Bourne Supremacy

Black background directs focus of The Bourne Supremacy to man, woman in gun scope
Bourne and Marie are targets

The Bourne Supremacy is Robert Ludlum’s sequel to his 1980 bestseller The Bourne Identity.

Here David Webb is pulled from university teaching to return to being Jason Webb, an assassin working for the U.S. government.

The U.S. government secures Webb’s cooperation by kidnapping his wife.

While Webb has been recovering from the physical and mental trauma of his former life, someone in the Far East hired an assassin to impersonate him.

Highly placed American diplomats fear assassinations of highly-placed individuals will trigger an invasion of Hong Kong by mainland China, disrupting economies worldwide.

Most of the novel’s action takes place in Hong Kong’s crowded streets and back alleys, where men change their allegiance for a $20 bill.

Readers need to pay close attention as Ludlum constructs stories within stories.

In the Orient — and in American political life — things are often not what they seem and it’s assumed that every assertion is a lie.

While Ludnum’s characters are not, one hopes, the sort of folk readers rub shoulders with every day, they are believable in their context.

It’s not necessary to read Ludlum’s 1980 and 1986 bestsellers as a set—Ludlum’s too good a writer for that—but doing so gives The Bourne Supremacy greater impact.

The Bourne Supremacy by Robert Ludlum
Random House, ©1986. 597 p.
1986 bestseller #4; my grade: B+

©2019 Linda G. Aragoni

The Eagle Has Landed

German SS is central to The Eagle Has Landed.

The Eagle Has Landed is a World War II novel that manages to be both exciting and nuanced.

The novel is about a 1943 German plot to kidnap Winston Churchill in a commando operation, which Himmler thinks might make Hitler happy.

Himmler selects Colonel Max Radl, a terminally ill officer, to coordinate the top secret mission.

By coincidence, a spy living on a remote, unprotected stretch of English coastline reports that Churchill will be staying overnight nearby on November 6.

Radl pulls together an unlikely team led by Kurt Steiner, a German officer in disgrace for helping a Jew, with aid from Irish Republican Army operative Liam Devlin and hindrance from Harvey Preston, a captured English soldier who defected to the SS.

Steiner’s dozen commandos parachute in to join Devlin, who had already secured the necessary equipment for the snatch.

Then things start going wrong.

Novelist Jack Higgins’ characters are puzzling, contradictory personalities, not your typical war novel stereotypes. In fact, the Eagle’s battle-hardened German soldiers are too nice. Joseph Wambaugh’s Choirboys would be more believable. They’d fit in with American Colonel Shafto, who thinks nobody can run a war as well as he.

Despite that highly intriguing flaw, The Eagle lives up to his book jacket blurbs.

The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins
Pocket Books ©1975 [paper] 1st ed. 390 p.
1975 bestseller #6. My grade: A-

© 2018 Linda Gorton Aragoni