Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Bourne Legacy, by Eric Van Lustbader

The Bourne Legacy, by Eric Van Lustbader

I loved the original trilogy by Ludlum, so when I saw this I picked it up. While not as bad as the books that were released after he died, it wasn’t fantastic either. When a author scripts someone else’s characters, comparisons are always invited. Van Lustbader neatly avoids this by either killing off or sending into hiding the regulars we’ve met in the preceding books except for Jason Bourne himself. While understandable, it was a bummer—I liked many of those guys.

A central theme of all the Bourne books has been mistaken or missing identity, and this one follows suit. A bit clichéd here, though; Bourne is framed for murders he didn’t commit and then encounters another assassin who claims to be his son. There was no mystery or surprise about the filial revelation which took a lot of the fun out of it. Other minor identity questions pop up throughout as well; Bourne meets a couple of different people that he recognizes but due to his fragmented memory doesn’t know why. Of course, all is eventually explained and every mystery is tied up with a bow.

The plot was interesting, but had holes through which you could drive a truck. For instance, at one point Bourne had narrowly escaped detection and his pursuers were leaving the apartment building where he’d been hiding. Instead of waiting five minutes for them to drive off, he roars out of the garage on a motorcycle, is spotted, and the chase is on. This from someone that is usually smarter than everyone else on the planet? Hmmm. All in all, this read more like an action movie than a novel. It didn’t suck, but is wasn’t up to par with the other Bourne books.

First Sentence:
David Webb, professor of linguistics at Georgetown University, was buried beneath a stack of ungraded term papers.

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