The Bourne Identity – Review

Cover of "The Bourne Identity"

Cover of The Bourne Identity

A half-dead man full of bullet holes is found floating in the Mediterranean Sea.  Fishermen bring him to Dr. Geoffrey Washburn of Ile de Port Noir off the coast of France.  This man is an amnesiac, having no idea who he is or where he’s from. 

While recuperating he is found to have a Zurich bank account number surgically implanted on microfilm in his hip.  Convinced that going to Zurich holds the secrets to his identity, the man makes plans to go there.  He feels as if he will go mad with the seemingly random flashes of memory that plague him and he is anxious to discover who he really is.

What he does come to realize is that he knows weapons and how to kill.  At the same time, there are mysterious men trying to kill him!  He is an expert in disguise, speaks English and French and an oriental tongue, as well.

This is an intriguing book.  The settings of Paris, Zurich, Marseilles, New York and Washington, DC, among others, make for interesting locales for the sometimes frantic action of the participants.  There are many characters throughout the novel but primarily Jason Bourne aka Cain (the amnesiac), Marie St. Jacques, the woman he kidnaps and later develops a relationship with and Carlos, the international assassin.  Many of those principally involved in the story are murdered with predictable regularity.

The Bourne Identity is an excellent read if you like political intrigue, money, secrets and mistaken identities.  The plot wavers between detailed, deliberate delays and frenetic conflict.  Agencies involved in all the action include the CIA, Interpol, the FBI and Army Intelligence. The phrases in French are a bit difficult to decipher but doable. 

Of course there is a surprise ending but I won’t give it away.  It is enough said that Bourne discovers that he is not who he thinks he is.

Now I’ll have to see the movie!


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