The Bourne Ultimatum

Robert Ludlum, Author Random House (NY) $21.95 (611p) ISBN 978-0-394-58408-9
The literary faults and stylistic excesses that characterized The Icarus Agenda , The Gemini Contenders and other of Ludlum's works are present in his latest mammoth thriller, but fans will nonetheless cheer the return of his most popular character, David Webb, aka Jason Bourne, the assassin who never was. When the international terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal penetrates his civilian identity, Webb must again assume the Bourne persona to protect his wife and small children. In their renewed struggle, the two master assassins uncover the revived existence of Medusa, the sinister alliance that originally led to the establishment of the Bourne identity. In action that moves from the U.S. to Montserrat to Paris before concluding in Moscow, Bourne and his allies prove incredibly inept, barely escaping the Jackal's traps and failing in their repeated attempts to ambush him. The Ludlum trademarks are present: improbable bloodbaths, repetitive action, stilted and off-the-point conversations and--most annoying--the use of italicized words or entire paragraphs to simulate passion. This is formula writing that delivers even less than its meager promise. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/30/1990
Release date: 02/01/1990
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