Back in the old days, when we were in the spring of our lives we greatly enjoyed Robert Ludlum’s books.
We read most if not all his spy thrillers.
If memory serves us right, the Chancellor Manuscript was our first Ludlum thriller, a novel we picked up sometime in the 1970s from a neighborhood circulating library when we still lived in India.
Over the years, as we grew older the interest in Ludlum waned a bit although we still dutifully read the books.
Lately, we watched the Bourne movies too where we saw Matt Damon performing all those wild stunts.
As the Ludlum fans know, Jason Bourne is perhaps the author’s best known character.
So, the other day when we espied The Bourne Legacy (2004) by Erich Van Lustbader in the New Arrivals section of our local library we greedily picked it up. Why the 2004 book was kept in the New Arrivals section of our library, we have no idea.
A writer of crime fiction/spy thrillers, Erich Van Lustbader is not an unknown name to us. In the early or mid 1980s, we read a few of his books including Ninja. They were not bad books but nothing to get terribly excited about either.
Erich Van Lustbader takes charge of the Jason Bourne character in the novel The Bourne Legacy under a contract with the late Robert Ludlum’s estate.
Like most books of this genre, the the 453-page novel is an easy read and we finished it earlier today.
Bourne Legacy is a mediocre piece of shit.
There’s none of the excitement, thrill or the tension you anticipate in a spy thriller involving the extraordinary former CIA agent and ace assassin Jason Bourne.
With his spy days behind him, Bourne is now a professor of linguistics at Georgetown University working under the name David Webb when he comes under attack, first from a mysterious guy named Khan and later from other unsavory characters in Budapest, Hungary.
Within a few pages, we correctly guessed the identity of Khan.
Subsequently, even after Khan’s identity is disclosed there’s none of the great tension and clash you expect between Bourne and Khan except for a few fights between the two.
Once again, Bourne becomes the fall guy and even his ex-employer the CIA orders that he be killed on sight. So, from Washington DC to Paris to Budapest and finally to Reykjavik we travel in the company of Bourne.
But the journey is more than a tad boring given the amateurish plot development.
Also, even for a spy thriller with suspension of disbelief etched invisibly on every page the way the bad guys and the two spies manage to effortlessly infiltrate the venue of a Super-Summit on Terrorism at Reykjavik with the U.S. President, the Russian president and a bunch of Arab leaders in attendance seemed silly to say the least. And the bad guys manage to do it with some deadly biological weapons too.
Of course, the world is safe at the end, thanks once more in no small measure to Jason Bourne!
Following Bourne Legacy, Erich Van Lustbader has written four more Bourne novels including one earlier this year.
It’s safe to say that we won’t be reading any of them after our disappointing experience with Bourne Legacy.
Thank God, Shakespeare’s estate did not get the bright idea of hiring some fella to write new books involving some of the memorable characters the Bard created.