Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Imperative by Eric Van Lustbader

23rd July 2012

*I received this book from the publicist on behalf of the publisher Grand Central Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

When Bourne pulls an injured man from the freezing sea  in Sweden, he doesn’t realize the man is the victim of a botched interrogation. The man wakes with no memory of who he is or why he’s there, but he speaks in several different languages and knows the name of any firearm Bourne hands him. It’s six weeks since Bourne’s last entanglement and near escape with a Mossad agent, Rebeka, and when he meets back up with her, he realizes nothing is coincidence.

Back in D.C., Treadstone directors Peter Marks and Soraya Moore are on the trail of a legendary assassin known as Nicodemo. Much like Bourne’s own identity, the man is part myth and part reality, making his existence and reign of terror even more terrifying. Where is Nicodemo, and who is he hunting? If you’ve read any Bourne books or seen the films, you know the answer – Jason Bourne.

Every once in a while when I review certain books, I always think: my readers must think I’m nuts. I’ll be the first to admit my reading tastes are…ahem…eclectic. For the most part I read literary fiction or mysteries, but I’ll veer off into sci-fi, romance, or action now and again.

I absolutely, positively love the Jason Bourne movies. In fact, James Bond, Mission Impossible, any spy/action movie is right up my alley. I’d rather watch Ghost Protocol (bad as it was) than New Year’s Eve or any other rom-com. They’re fun and ridiculous and make my palms sweat. This novel was no different.

With these sorts of novels, keeping track of the plot is difficult, and though I follow it, I’m not the person who will be able to point out any flaws or holes unless they’re pretty obvious. No, with these novels, I’m along for the ride, and the ultimate test (for me) is the fun factor. I like the twists and turns and action scenes, and The Bourne Imperative supplied plenty on and off American soil, with the Treadstone team dealing with issues of its own in the form of a possible spy sent from the president.

The gadgets and double agents and international diplomacy make this another win in the Bourne oeuvre, and if you’re looking for a quick read and/or something suspenseful, pick up The Bourne Imperative.

Buy a copy for your Nook or Kindle.

P.S. Did anyone see the preview for the next Bourne move, minus Matt Damon? I really love these films but want Damon back as Bourne. I also don’t understand how you can get Rachel Weisz but not Damon? If it was just a cheaper version, eh, but there are some big names. My dad (who was with me in the theater when the preview played), made the point that Bourne is an identity not a person, so does it matter? It does to me. Anyone else?

  • David Fuller

    I loved the Bourne movies as well though I confess I haven’t read the books, Judging from the trailer from the new one with Jeremy Renner, they’re taking the secret-agent stuff into mildly science-fictional territory (weirdly enhanced abilities) — which gets away from the ruthlessly “realistic” tone of the earlier movies. I always loved the way the Bourne movie fights were brief and vicious — no goofy, flashy stuff. They always looked like they were life-and-death.
    I think if they can pull off a good story and expand the world a bit in the new movie, it could work without Damon. (I have to admit though that beyond his central dilemma to get his life back somehow, he wasn’t much of a sympathetic presence.)

    • Yes, I loved the sort of brutalistic take on the spy movie that I think the Bourne books/movies have been. The new film seems to be venturing into more typical spy*ish* territory. Which, ok, but call it something else. I know the Bourne trilogy isn’t pure gold, but I enjoyed it for what it was. Bourne an amnesiac trying to find answers and finding lies every which way he turned.

      This book is really just pure action fun. Not a whole lot more there. (though Van Lustbader does push the whole amnesia thing, having Bourne contemplate it again and again, which doesn’t really work).

  • steph_h

    Never read any of the “original source material”, but I have seen and enjoyed all of the Bourne movies. Not sure what to make of the new film, though, as while I like Jeremy Renner (and he appears to be playing a Bourne-like but not Bourne agent), I have heard so many bad things about the script that I do wonder how this one will stack up to all the others (like, I heard that Matt Damon refused to do this movie because the script was SO bad…). Still, it looks like fun, and sometimes you do want a book or a movie that just offers plenty of thrills, subtle nuances be damned!

    • Ahh, it helps to know this background info. It wasn’t clear in the trailer that he was supposed to be Bourne-like and not Bourne himself. Makes me feel a bit better because the rest of the cast looks great. I’ve only ever seen Renner in Ghost Protocol but quite liked him.

      And you’re right, just as right now I’m in the mood for a fun romance novel. It happens particularly when I’ve read a bunch of really serious stuff.

  • heidenkind

    I love the Bourne movies, too. I actually own the first one on DVD. But I never got into the books. I read the first one, and it was okay, but… meh. My movie and reading tastes tend to be very opposite.

    I do love Matt Damon as Bourne. It really helps to have excellent actors in action movies, which the Bourne films definitely have had so far. I just hope the new guy lives up to it!

    • That’s so funny about your reading/watching tastes. Usually if I enjoy reading it, I’ll enjoy watching it. And vice versa.

  • Namine

    OH my goodness I love the bourne movies! You would think I would know there are books too!!! I am so going to go read these now! I am not sure how I feel about the new bourne movie coming out without Matt Damon in it, he is BOURNE not this other guy… but I will probably still see it because they are way better than romances!!!

    • I’m so glad I’m not the only Bourne/Damon fan. I will probably still see it too. I can’t help myself!