I read "The Bourne Identity" after seeing the film and I enjoyed both though the book was better. In modernizing the time of the story for the film, new technologies come into play making Bourne's flight through Europe almost impossible because he could be tracked via cell phone signals, satellite imagery, email and the Internet. In the book there are none of these modern devices, allowing Bourne and his female companion more time to plan and act. I also prefer Maria in the book because she actually has useful skills. In the film she is just there as a convenient ride away from the initial confrontation and later hangs onto Bourne out of Stockholm syndrome. It was refreshing to see her have useful skills and a more robust personality than she does in the film.
Dare I say it? This is one of the very cases in which I preferred the movie to the book. I picked up the novel after having seen the film starring Matt Damon, thinking to find a similar plot (though, of course, we all know movie plots always are changed). However, the book is extremely different. Honestly, I found Jason Bourne to be more of a "thinker" than a "doer" in the novel. Which, therefore, made it a far more boring read for me. Again, this is simply my opinion. It was still a decent book and I don't necessarily discourage one from reading it - just a warning that it is quite, quite different from the movie and I found it difficult to be fully absorbed by the novel.
Unlike the movie, Ludlum engages Robert Bourne in an unbelievable series of events that draw him all across Europe. It's one of those reads that until you finish the novel you don't realize just how bizarre the trip is because you are so caught up in the events. This is one book you won't put down once you start reading it.
Published in 1980, The Bourne Identity tells part of the story of Jason Bourne, a man who, well... this gets a bit complicated.
First of all, the book and the movie of the same name, while related, tell very different stories. I have a fascination with the conversions of novels into movies, and it was only after I watched the movie (9 years after it was released) that I bothered to track down and read the book, mostly to see how it had been converted into a movie.
Both the movie and the book center around an individual suffering severe amnesia who gradually discovers his past. Some of the other characters share names between the book and the movie, but the story arcs are very different.
In the book we learn that Jason Bourne is part of a plot to remove a master assassin named Carlos. He has to figure that out of course, thanks to the amnesia. As in the movie there is a woman, Marie, who helps him, though in the book she's an expert in international finance instead of a student.
Oddly - and rarely, in my experience - the movie may actually be better than the book, though it's a close thing. In the book I didn't buy the relationship between Bourne and Marie. She fell for him too easily given their "introduction" and nothing in his character made me think he loved her, even though those words were used. Early chapters bogs down in needless detail about certain financial transactions. Later chapters moved along better, but the details of some of Bourne's history got hazy, so things weren't perfect there either. And, frankly, Carlos seemed too good - and too powerful - to be true.
That being said, Bourne himself has a less nasty past in the book than he does in the movie. He feels a bit cleaner here, and possibly a bit more likable. The movie, while being more up to date in many ways, gives Bourne an uglier background, one where his motivations and origin are a lot more gray than white. It then promptly sugar coats it, though, leaving the audience happy and probably not thinking about it too much.
I guess the book is worth reading. Ludlum did get some things right, but it's not perfect.
Warning to Movie Watchers: Do not expect it to be the same as the movie although of the three in the series I think this one the movie followed the closest. It was a good book as a stand alone and sets the book series up well.
I hate that I saw the movie before reading this book. I loved the movie (Matt Damon, how could I not?). But I LOVE this book. However, I kept getting confused at first while reading because my head was stuck in the movie. The movie is, at best, a loose representation. If you've seen the movie, try to forget about it while reading this book.
This isn't a one day read, but you definately won't want to put it down. It took me some time to get through it but I was really proud of myself for getting through it. I have read part of The Bourne Supremacy but with 4 kids I haven't been able to devote proper attention to it. I'm waiting for summer to hit so I can read it pool side.
I was extremely pleased with The Bourne Identity. I have wanted to read this book for years and finally decided to do so after picking up a few of the sequels, not written by Robert Ludlum, during a closing sale at a bookstore. The story is very fast paced and keeps the reader on the edge of his/her seat; I had a difficult time putting this book down. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good thriller.
Typically, I prefer the book over the movie. In this case, I liked the movie better. Although the book is good, I ofter found myself a bit lost, especially when returning to the book after an extended absence (more than 24 hours).
I bought "The Bourne identity" mostly because I didn't want to lose the opportunity of reading Ludlum's book before the release of a film based on it. I really wasn't a fan of the author (and I am not one now), but I loved this book.
To start with, the plot is remarkably good. "The Bourne identity" is the story of a man without a past, rescued from the Mediterranean Sea by some fishermen. He is very ill, and his body has suffered the impact of many bullets. The man is taken by the fishermen to a doctor in a nearby island, who helps him to recover physically and mentally. Our protagonist doesn't remember who he is, but with the help of the doctor he finds some clues he doesn't like too much. He only knows for certain some things, for instance that his face has been altered by plastic surgery, that he knows a lot about firearms and that he carried on him a microfilm that contains the code to an account of four million dollars.
In the Swiss bank where the account is he also finds a name: Jason Bourne. But... is he Jason Bourne?. He cannot remember, and if it were for quite a few people, he won't. From the moment he leaves the island onwards, our man without a past will be followed, and attacked. He doesn't understand why, but he reacts in order to stay alive. Add to this already interesting mixture a woman he takes as a hostage, Marie, a number of assasins (including the most famous assassin in the world, Carlos), and the possibility that he is, as a matter of fact, also an assassin, and you will understand why this book is so good. The main character will be hunted all throughout the book not only by the "bad guys", but also by the "good" ones (mainly agents from the USA Government). You won't be able to stop reading this book, and you will find yourself asking aloud to nobody in particular "who on earth is this man?" and "what started this whole mess"?.
All in all, I highly recommend this book to those who appreciate a good thriller, and to those who don't usually read this kind of book but are open to new experiences. I belong to the last category, as I only read "The Bourne identity" because I was interested in watching the movie of the same name.
Jason Bourne. He has no past, and he may have no future. His memory is a blank. His bullet-ridden body was fished from the Mediterranean Sea. His face has been altered by plastic surgery. A frame of microfilm has been surgically implanted in his hip. Even his name is a mystery. Marked for death, he is racing for survival through a bizarre world of murerous conspirators--led by Carlos, the world's most dangerous assassin. Who is he, the answer may kill him.
His memory is blank. His bullet-ridden body was fished from the Mediterranean sea. His face has been altered by plastic surgery. A frame of microfilm has been surgically implanted in his hip. Even his name is a mystery. Marked for death, he is racing for survival through a bizarre world of murderous conspirators - led by Carlos, the world's most dangerous assassin. Who is Jason Bourne? The answer may kill him?
HE HAS NO PAST.
AND HE MAY HAVE NO FUTURE>
His memory is blank. His bullet-ridden body was fished from the Mediterranean Sea. His face has been altered by plastic surgery. A frame of microfilm has been surgically implanted in his hip. Even his name is a mystery. Marked for death, he is racing for survival through a bizarre world of murderous conspirators-led by Carlos, the world's most dangerous assassin. Who is Jason Bourne? The answer may kill him.
I know the movie was really good so I can only imagine what this book is packed with :)
Robert Ludlum will keep you up at night.This is the very first book about his hero Jason Bourne and the books should be read in order of publication.Ludlum keeps the suspence right up to the last page.
He was running for his life. A man with an unkown past and an uncertain future. A man dragged from the sea -and loved by the woman he had used as a shied, a woman who refuses to belive he is a killer. Until words from his past spill out. One of the words is CARLOS, world's most dangerous assassin.
His memory is a blank. His bullet-ridden body was fished from the Mediterranean Sea. His face has been altered by plastic surgery. A frame of microflilm has been surgically implanted in his hip. Even his name is a mystery. Marked for death, he is racing for survival.
"His memory is a blank. His bullet-ridden body was fished from the Miduterranean Sea. His face has been altered by plastic surgery. A frame of microfilm has been surgically implanted in his hip. Even his name is a mystery. Marked for death, he is racing for survival through bizzare world of murderous conspirators-led by Carlos, the world's most dangerous assassin. Who is Jason Bourne? The answer may kill him."*
He has no past. And he may have no future. His memory is blank. He only knows that he was flushed out of the Mediterranean Sea, his body riddled with bullets.
There are a few clues. A frame of microfilm surgically implanted beneath the flesh of his hip. Evidence that plastic surgery has altered his face. Strange things that he says in his delirium -- maybe code words. Initial: "J.B." And a number on the film negative that leads to a Swiss bank account, a fortune of four million dollars, and, at last, a name: Jason Bourne.
But now he is marked for death, caught in a maddening puzzle, racing for survival through the deep layers of his buried past into a bizarre world of murderous conspirators -- led by Carlos, the world's most dangerous assassin. And no one can help Jason Bourne but the woman who once wanted to escape him.