The second book in the original trilogy of Jason Bourne deviates a lot from the first one. Once solved the dilemma about the identity of the protagonist, Ludlum offers new scenarios, threats, and challenges to our secret super-agent.
For the reader, finding the old characters mixes up with the need to remain attentive while reading, in order to understand the tangled plot. Ludlum takes us to China in the 80s and tells us about the socio-political mechanisms of that period, of which he shows a deep understanding. Maybe we don’t catch them all, but we gain an overall picture that fascinates and worries, and that no doubt makes the happiness of any spy story fan (like me!).
In addition, there’s the timeless charm of Webb/Bourne, the damaged hero, on the brink of madness (a word that Ludlum uses very often!), crazy and fragile, not infallible, who can be cold, but also love with depth. Next to him the character of Marie (my favourite after Bourne), as well as those of Alex and Mo, are equally central in the story and engaging. And they are especially essential to call the protagonist back to the reality, so that he can put aside the Bourne that is in him and go back to being David Webb.
The only negative aspect is the presence of some passages that are a little slow and some unnecessary repetition of what happened in the first book.
A trivia about Ludlum’s writing: there isn’t any kind of foul language in his books, he prefers to use euphemisms and metaphors, and yet, strangely, there are a lot of profanities. All the characters, from first to last, at least once invoke God, or Jesus Christ (or variants), but don’t say a single f-word!
The Bourne Supremacy on Amazon.