cover image Robert Ludlum’s the Bourne Defiance

Robert Ludlum’s the Bourne Defiance

Brian Freeman. Putnam, $29 (384p) ISBN 978-0-5934-1988-5

In Freeman’s breakneck fourth Jason Bourne thriller (after 2022’s The Bourne Sacrifice)—the 18th overall—the Treadstone secret agent remains locked in combat against his nemesis, Russian mole Lennon. Bourne’s former lover, Nova, is sent by Bourne’s longtime handler, Nash Rollins, to tell him someone is killing Treadstone agents around the world. Six are already dead, and Bourne and Nova are in the crosshairs, though no one’s sure exactly who’s responsible. Nat mentions the killings may have links to Defiance, a long-buried Treadstone operation whose details have died with the agents who planned it. As Bourne follows the trail of bodies left in the wake of Defiance, he learns of its connection to a mysterious, unsolved plane disappearance from a decade ago. Digging deeper, he discovers that bioweapons and political tensions involving Iran and high-level U.S. officials swirled around the downed plane—leaving Bourne determined to learn the details, hoping they’ll point the way to his own survival. As he investigates, the battles stack up steadily until he reaches a long-awaited final confrontation with Lennon. The action is relentless but expertly rendered, and Bourne remains a fascinating creation more than 40 years into his life on the page. Series fans will leave this entry exhausted, satisfied, and hungry for more. (July)