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The Bourne Ultimatum (Jason Bourne #3)

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  41,863 ratings  ·  660 reviews
The world's two deadliest spies in the ultimate showdown. At a small-town carnival two men, each mysteriously summoned by telegram, witness a bizarre killing. The telegrams are signed Jason Bourne. Only they know Bourne's true identity and understand the telegram is really a message from Bourne's mortal enemy, Carlos, known also as the Jackal, the world's deadliest and mos ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 720 pages
Published May 6th 2004 by Orion (first published 1990)
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Stuart Wilton Yes I'd say so. If you jump in on this one you'll probably struggle to understand a lot of the references to his 'split personalities' and past events…moreYes I'd say so. If you jump in on this one you'll probably struggle to understand a lot of the references to his 'split personalities' and past events that play a big role in Ultimatum.
The books are very long though, it's quite a commitment. You might prefer to listen to the audio book read by Scott Brick. I had no intention of reading them again so I listened to it at work. Very high quality recording and Brick has an excellent reading voice. Would definitely recommend :)(less)
Forrest Gump by Winston GroomThe Devil Wears Prada by Lauren WeisbergerJurassic Park by Michael CrichtonJumanji by Chris Van AllsburgMary Poppins by P.L. Travers
I Only Watched the Movie!
68th out of 903 books — 5,234 voters
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le CarréThe Bourne Identity by Robert LudlumThe Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le CarréThe Hunt for Red October by Tom ClancyThe Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
Best Spy Novels
14th out of 771 books — 1,377 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kevin Michael
Apr 04, 2008 Kevin Michael rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: No one I know
After three grueling months I finally finished reading this book. You may ask yourself: "If it was so grueling, why did he finish it at all?" Good question! After reading the first two books in the Bourne trilogy, I felt compelled to finally see the final confrontation between Jason Bourne and Carlos the Jackal. Now I will admit that The Bourne Ultimatum was not nearly as boring and convoluted as its predecessor, The Bourne Supremacy. However, I'm fairly certain that Robert Ludlum took a class o ...more
Sean Randall
My rating is perhaps a little unusual for me,as it's not really based on literary merit. Indeed, I found myself, upon this reread, a little shocked at how often Bourne makes mistakes and is mentioned to be getting old. Still, it's one of the first adult novels I really read and got into, and for that, it has a special place in my heart. William Dufris's narration of this work so enthralled me at the time that I played the tapes several times over - no small thing considering they ran for over tw ...more
What can I say? It was intense - a little too intense for me. By about the middle of the book, I wanted to shoot Carlos myself just so that the insanity would end. The plot in this book seems even more complex than in the other two and is impossible to comprehend. Nevertheless, I cared about Jason Bourne enough as a character to stick out the whole grueling story with him, but I felt almost as beat up and emotionally raw as he did by the time it was over. Overall, not a pleasant reading experien ...more
As the Ludlum portion of the Bourne series comes to an end with this book, I must say that this is surely a very thick (in all its senses) book, filled with great nuances. Completing the original trilogy at a time when spy games were all about actual deception and sleight of hand (rather than technology and the information highway) makes these books stand out for me. That said, Ludlum is, as he is accused of being, overly verbose in some areas and really could have watered down the description a ...more
To be honest I was disappointed with this one. I felt like finishing it - and the original trilogy - was an obligation after only a few pages.

The dialogue is ridiculous - nobody (and while I'm not familiar with American government institutions and their employees I'm pretty sure this covers them too) speaks in such a manner. Every conversation is overly convoluted and then - as if for the sake of an uneducated audience - explained again as part of the same dialogue. Not only that but the way in
The gripping finale to the Bourne saga, well the Ludlum originals anyway. Seeing as this book clearly lays out that Bourne is now in his 50s, I really don't see how the Lustbader sequels can continue the story - Bourne out with his zimmer frame?

The Bourne Ultimatium is a good clean up of the Bourne vs. Carlos storyline from the first book. You know they have to meet up, you know they have to fight and you know Bourne has to win. Somehow. I just wish Ludlum could have utilised slightly fewer repe
Chris Lopez
The Bourne series is a great set of books to read in order starting with the Bourne Identity. Robert Ludlum does a great job of using military terms and using names of places and intelligence offices to make you think that this stuff is really happening. He may have a lot going on at one time, but if you follow along and read carefully, you should be able to keep up with the challenging writing. I tended to lose track of what was happening a few times but i still enjoyed reading it.

Jason Bourne
Mike (the Paladin)
The third (and last by Ludlum) entry in the story of "Jason Bourne". If your only exposure to Bourne are the Matt Damon movies, then you don't really have an idea of the story. This (as these cases usually do) ruined any enjoyment of the movie for me. I always wonder why bother to "buy" an authors title and then write a screen play that doesn't even resemble the novel?

Oh well, nothing I can do.

My suggestion? Get the first book and read all three. They may not be the best Ludlum ever wrote, but
Nov 07, 2007 Diane rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: No one
Well, I finished the series, just to finish it. It took me nearly 2 1/2 weeks to finish this book. I was motivated simply to finish it, not because I was interested, really. I was disappointed, once again, in the language, too thick of a plot, violence, and sexual innuendos. My husband bought me the first and third books of the series for my Birthday, before I'd read either of them. Now that I'm done, I'm donating them to the library. I know I'll never read these again.
Lisa Lap
Finally. Okay, so the book was good but I have to say it really could have been wrapped up in about 250 pages instead of the 663 it took. So many misses that were just frustrating. All the integral plot points tied up in the end and it definitely didn't leave any questionable loose ends. While I'm glad I read the books as they are SO different from the movies, I'm also glad that I'm done with the series.
Sep 11, 2007 Dana rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Idiots? Masochists?
Maybe it's not that bad, but Lord, it sure ain't good.
The third and final story of the trilogy takes place 5 years after the crazy saga in Hong Kong and 13 years after Bourne's first confrontation with Carlos The Jackal at Treadstone Seventy One.

In this final installment a message is sent cryptically supposedly from Bourne to Conklin and Panov to meet at a carnival, but the message ends up being from The Jackal, who has found Bourne and nowhere is safe. Bourne is forced to send his family to stay at Monserrat with Marie's brother Johnny. As we have
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
I remember reading the first Bourne story back in the 70s when it came out in paperback, and it was OK. Perhaps because I had measles and a high fever...but it kinda made sense.

I listened to this one on audio book, and seriously, by the time I got done with I was like, "Kill him! Kill him, already!" Jason Bourne is kind of like Indiana Jones; no matter how many holes, cuts, or bruises he has, he just keeps jumping, climbing, and doing impossible feats of derring-do. He never eats, he never sleep
Tim Dudek
A few years ago, having watched Bourne movies, I picked the Bourne Identity up from the library. It had almost no relation to the movie, but I enjoyed it in its own merit. Jason Bourne tries to deal with his amnesia while being hunted by and hunting a notorious assassin, Carlos the Jackal.
When I saw The Bourne Ultimatum at a used book sale for twenty-five cents, I picked it up. Ten years later, Jason Bourne at fifty is once again pitted against Carlos the Jackal in one final battle to the death
Of the three books so far, this one is the worst.

First off, it has nothing to do with the movie. So forget that. Second it has more twists and turns than a plate of spaghetti. And it is as improbable as any. The story takes place 13 years after the first book. Jason is 50, and is doing things and tasks that he couldn't have done when he was 37. The story is obviously the last book in the series, and you can tell by the way that it is constructed that it was meant to be the last. So I am a bit c
Jan 07, 2009 BoekenTrol rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all people who love thrillers / espionage
Shelves: books-i-own
How the author did it, I don't know, but he caught me with his story and the 'adventures' of David Webb / Jason Bourne. This last book in the trilogy I find good.
It shows the dilemma of the person David, that influences the person Jason, no matter how hard the latter is fighting it.
It shows a battle of a man, in his 50's, that is going 'to war' again with his oldest enemy Carlos, to protect himself and his family. He goes all around the globe again, finding old friends / allies to help him with
Nice conclusion to the Bourne Trilogy. Takes place on US, Caribbean, and Paris soil. The books have so much more depth in terms of character development, personality, and plot complexity than the movies even suggest. However, these are 300+ page books, and you just can't replicate that in a <2 hr movie.

Nonetheless, I really enjoyed reading this series, and I am a huge fan of the franchise it inspired, both in terms of films, but also music. The soundtracks to these films are excellent pieces
Vikas Khair
Wow what a Rollercoaster of a book. In this last part of the original Bourne Trilogy Jason again has to fight off The Jackal and a new foe all new Medusa, fighting two enemies and racing around the world in the search of finality and safety of his family, Bourne must come across all odds and despite his age has to win. It was a great read once again albeit a little slow in the beginning and a long book at 725 pages though I have read bigger books and intend to read more books but a big book is a ...more
Now you're talking! Ludlum steps it up a notch in this fast-paced novel. Wicked sick action and plot. Sexy spies and evil baddies.

Yes, the world is in danger. Yes our hero keeps living through untold bullet wounds and injuries. Yes, it's slightly predictable. No, you will not be able to peel your face away from this trilogy-ender. So different from the movie, but kind-of the same pacing and action.

I like this one much better than the second book.
Check it out(from your library, assuming those ha
Todd Stockslager
Ludlum's Long drone out ultimatum

In the first Bourne (0-553-26011-1) we meet the mysterious assissan Jason Bourne as he struggles to recover his memory and combat his arch enemy international terrorist Carlos the Jackal. In the second Bourne (0-553-26322-6) we learn more about Bourne's past as he recovers it upon his return to the Far East where we are introduced to Medusa, the secret American cabal of military and intelligence secrets and spies that drove Bourne to the edge of insanity. I rated
Great finish of Bourne Trilogy. And it is the best thriller book that I ever read and probably will read in foreseeable future.

The movies with Matt Damon are pretty good but the Ludlum's books are far better, with greater scope of events, more complex and believable story, more insight into characters and their actions and motivations and intense action scenes. If you liked the movies - read the books, you'll like them even more.
Shantanu Nanda
Every book on the Jason Bourne series is so different from each other, its difficult to create any comparison between the three. Taken together its like the life and times of Jason Bourne (David Webb). Among the three, this book definitely looks far too nearer to reality than the other two. But as it comes nearer to reality, sometimes it touches the border of boredom and irritation. May be its the impact of the first book in the series. The pitch of the story keeps constantly changing throughout ...more
I read this book about a dozen times whilst in jail, and then when transferred to another detention facility, learnt the library had another, fresh, spanking new copy! ha, it must be purchased through some sort of "prison library" discount program.

anyway the weird thing is when you have 18 hours a day to fill, you get to know a book REALLY WELL. and I think, man, this is DEFINITION THRILLER. Ludlum knows how to keep the action going, and if he has a tendency to use the exclamation point liberall
Dave Hornor
Every once in awhile I read a book like this. And then I wonder why I do.

Plot summary:


for i=1 to 39 {
{Jackal tries to kill Bourne. Fails.}
{Bourne tries to kill Jackal. Fails.}
{Bourne succeeds at killing Jackal.}

{Hornor kicks himself for reading such a stupid book.}

Ah boo. I'm a bit upset after reading the final part of the Bourne trilogy - one of the crowning glories of the first two was watching amnesiac Webb/Bourne switching between roles at a snap of the fingers and seeing him adapt to his surroundings as the ex-assassin hunting his prey to save himself and his loved ones. In this novel we pick up Webb as a Saga-holiday-eligible ex-assassin who's gone off-the-boil somewhat and acts quite lethargically (and error-prone) in his final hunt for the Jackal. ...more
Ayaz Khan
The Bourne series has been nothing short of exciting. I've enjoyed all three books thoroughly. If you love the Bourne movies--and who doesn't--you must absolutely read the three Bourne books by Ludlum. If the movies captivated you, the books will blow your mind away.
The plot is good, there is continuous action.
Some memorable phrases:

- Jason: You want compassion, go to a church and appeal to that God of yours who pisses on this planet! He's either got one hell of warped sense of humor or he's a sadist.

-Alex Conklin: I lost my faith, and now after years of proclaiming my spiritual independence, I wonder if I'm missing something.
- Jason: Like what?
- Alex: I don't know. Things I can't control, maybe.
- Jason: You mean you don't have the comfort of an excuse, a m
Id say this is more 3.5 stars.

Another hard book to rate.1st off-quite a few swears, mostly gd and sob, but many F's and S's.

Overall started really strong, faltered in the middle and ended pretty well. It felt too long and drawn out. Jason was portrayed as being much more aggressive and self centered in this one which made you feel more distant from him. I believe Ludlum was trying to show how motivated he was in protecting his family but it came off too harsh.

Ludlum has moments of pure writing
I had a nice, long, eloquent review typed out - but then Goodreads decided to eat it. So here's the highlight reel:

1) This book was far too long. I skimmed through the back quarter because I got so tired of the near-misses between Bourne and the Jackal. That in itself might not have been so bad if they weren't described in such meticulous detail. I get that Bourne notices things that might escape the untrained eye. But really.

2) I thoroughly enjoyed Bourne's newfound vulnerability. Most of this
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Robert Ludlum was the author of twenty-seven novels, each one a New York Times bestseller. There are more than 210 million of his books in print, and they have been translated into thirty-two languages. He is the author of The Scarlatti Inheritance, The Chancellor Manuscript, and the Jason Bourne series--The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatum--among others. Mr. Ludlum ...more
More about Robert Ludlum...

Other Books in the Series

Jason Bourne (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • The Bourne Identity (Jason Bourne, #1)
  • The Bourne Supremacy (Jason Bourne, #2)
  • The Bourne Legacy (Jason Bourne, #4)
  • The Bourne Betrayal (Jason Bourne, #5)
  • The Bourne Sanction (Jason Bourne, #6)
  • The Bourne Deception (Jason Bourne, #7)
  • The Bourne Objective (Jason Bourne, #8)
  • The Bourne Dominion (Jason Bourne, #9)
  • The Bourne Imperative (Jason Bourne, #10)
  • The Bourne Retribution (Jason Bourne, #11)
The Bourne Identity (Jason Bourne, #1) The Bourne Supremacy (Jason Bourne, #2) The Matarese Circle (Matarese #1) The Icarus Agenda The Aquitaine Progression

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“Well, let me tell you, gentlemen, the games of the devil are not restricted to those confined to hell. Others can play them.” 116 likes
“A man's weaknesses may intrude on his faith but they do not diminish it.” 32 likes
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