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The Bourne Identity (Jason Bourne #1)

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  308,709 Ratings  ·  3,512 Reviews
He was dragged from the sea, his body riddled with bullets. There are a few clues: a frame of microfilm surgically implanted beneath the skin of his hip; evidence that plastic surgery has altered his face; strange things he says in his delirium, which could be code words. And a number on the film negative that leads to a bank account in Zurich, four million dollars, and a ...more
Paperback, 544 pages
Published May 6th 2004 by Orion Books (first published 1980)
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Toni My suggestion would be to read the "Jet" series by Russell Blake. Jet is a former Masod agent who just wants to live a normal life but keeps getting…moreMy suggestion would be to read the "Jet" series by Russell Blake. Jet is a former Masod agent who just wants to live a normal life but keeps getting pulled back into her former life for various reasons. She's like the female Jason Bourne.

Another really good series by Russell Blake is the "Assassin" series. The first book is "King of Swords".(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mike (the Paladin)
First of all let me say...the recent movie with Matt Damon, I hated it. They butchered the story. I understand shortening for time (as in The Lord of the Rings) I understand combining characters...but why take a book's title then completely rewrite the story?

I like this book and its sequels. I hate the movie and its sequels.

Please try reading the books and finding out what the plot actually is. The book is well plotted, thought out, with complex characters. I believe you'll like it.

A man wakes
Seth T.
Sep 17, 2009 Seth T. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: someone who likes thriller-y stuff
I loved the movie and heard that I the book was comparatively awesome. And it was.

The thing is: I haven't the faintest idea how the movie came out of the book. Beyond the premise of a man fished from the sea with no memory but incredible ingrained abilities and talents that make it look like he's really probably and assassin with no amnesia, and the fact that the first act after the prologue occurs in Zürich and deals with a Swiss bank, nothing is the same.

Sure, there's a girl named Marie, but s
Jul 18, 2012 Duckie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: daoban, biblio-bile
I don't remember how this ended because I had to buy myself a Jack-and-Coke to get through the last chapter. Ludlum belongs in a very small, elite group of authors who don't know what words mean. To illustrate this, here are some passages from the book followed by the first image that came to mind when I read them:

"'If I scream, Monsieur?' The powdered mask was cracked with lines of venom now, the bright red lipstick defining the snarl of an aging, cornered rodent."

"Himself. The chameleon. The c
Dec 21, 2012 woody rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sorry if you loved this book, I HATED it. Maybe it was above my reading level. There were just too many "alpha, bravo,cain, delta...Cain is for Charlie, Delta is for Cain!" This book put me to sleep so many nights it is surprising that I finished it. I just kept hoping that jason bourne would die...Good thing I shop at Goodwill and it only cost me 50 cents! Everyone tells me that I should give the movie a chance and that it is better than the book, but I ask, won't it remind me of the book and b ...more
Aug 18, 2010 Bagtree rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book caused me pain. Intense boredom, odd moments of indignation, and pain. It's poorly-paced. The prose is a clunky, redundant, pointlessly vague affront to all that is good in the English language. The dialogue is stilted and horrid. The characters are so robotic I begin to question whether Ludlum ever met a human being, and the "romance" is not only horribly oversold BUT PREDICATED ON BOURNE USING HIS LOVE INTEREST AS A HUMAN SHIELD. I don't care how many rapists a man rescues you from; ...more
Aug 07, 2010 Danaja rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was my introduction to spy novels and its still the best I've read in that area. Incredibly detailed and full of suspense. My favorite spy and one of my favorite villains rolled in to one in to exhilarating package with fast pace action.If you like authentic tooch in what you read you'll love this! Must note that the movie is completely different from the book. In my opinion the book is a much better experience.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 09, 2008 Victoria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of the movie, 16 and up
Shelves: adventure, mystery
This book was so different from the movie ! ( But then again when are they ever the same ? ) I really enjoyed the story , I now wish the movie had kept a few more things in it. I thought marie was a much better character. I love the way it ended.
HOWEVER : There is a TON of swearing ! And I do mean a TON !
That was very disapointing . :( but, I now have a fully edited book if someone wants to swap/sell with me. :)
I just got a black pin coverd the words. I would have given this story a 5 if it wer
Aug 03, 2015 Rade rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I loved the movie (Matt Damon one), I like the book, but I did not love the book. My biggest complaint is that in this espionage thriller there were a lot of political twists and turns that sometimes bored me or became too hard to fully understand. Another thing is the whole Stockholm syndrome thing that did not work too well for me. It left me asking way too many questions.

I love Ludlum's style of writing. He's the kind of writer that explains concepts and action well without being too wor
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Nov 03, 2011 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Someone Braindead
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
Wow, by the end of chapter one I was already thinking this was one of the most ludicrous novels I've ever read. And given that I've been reading through a suspense novel recommendation list, with such doozies as Vince Flynn's Term Limits, Brad Thor's The Lions of Lucerne and Matthew Reilly's Ice Station that means Ludlum is setting a really low, low.

OK, there weren't any giant mutant seals at least, but right in the first pages our hero, later to be known as Jason Bourne, is shot multiple times
The scenario is absolutely excellent and probably one of the best I ever read in terms of complexity and continuous action and/or new discoveries. What an imagination ! The story and the characters are slightly different from the movie; I should say the storyline is way much more complex in the book; the characters could do with a bit more substance.
The major drawback which explains my rather poor quotation of this book is indeed the writing quality, or lack thereof. Some sentences simply do no
After finishing the book, I can totally understand why The Bourne Identity has attained such a cult-status among it's readers. In fact out of my 32 friends who have the book in their shelves in GR, 18 have given it a 4/5 star rating. To begin with, it is a pretty decent thriller. It has an amazing start, a couple of interesting characters, a protagonist you can root for, fast twists and turns and some powerful action sequences.

The premise really impressed me. A nameless man with highly unusual s
Dirk Grobbelaar
This novel was published in 1980, and the primary antagonist (who just happens to be a real life person) was left out of the 2002 film, no doubt because he was apprehended and, to some extent, demystified, in the 1990s. The fact that this person is central to the plot of the novel, but does not appear in the film, inevitably drives a contextual wedge between the two mediums, even though the central amnesia theme remains the same. There is also a 1988 TV-film, which I haven’t seen.

All in all, it’
Apr 23, 2009 Phoenix rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Robert Ludlum is a terrible terrible writer of dialogue and had a terrible style.

The man can, however, tell a story. That is why his books are translated very well into great action movies.

but if i have to read one more line of the "oh john! oh marsha' bullcrap in his novels, i swear i will stab my eyes out with a fork. man on man, if that woman goes on anymore in her inner monologue about "that poor man! he couldn't stand it! not knowing who he was! and now he was . . . . blah blah bippity bla
Pradnya K.
Mar 05, 2016 Pradnya K. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone, especially who say reading is not my cup of tea.
That was the winter of 2011. It had been harsh, cloudy and too foggy. I lived on the outskirts of my city then for few months and apart from the luxurious noon sunlight and biting cold, there wasn't much happening around. I ran to my sacred haven. There I met Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne. The winter will be always remembered fondly!

I liked everything about this book. Since I opened it without much knowledge (yup, I was too ignorant then) so it turned out to be colorful firecrackers in the small
Matt Garcia
Jan 23, 2015 Matt Garcia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terrific pulse-pounding thriller that has its fair share of twists and turns. Who is Jason Bourne? Who can you trust? Ludlum does a fabulous job of creating a mystery that weaves it's way through various points in time and in several locales. The characters are also top notch. This is action and intrigue at its finest
I saw and enjoyed the movie years ago but the story never gripped me enough to make me hurry to read the book. Now that I have, I'm glad that I did.

First, its a great story. It's fast paced and has that energy common to techno-thrillers. Ludlam can certainly hold his own in an arena I'd previously thought of as populated by Tom Clancy alone. The locales and the situations are captivating and the action and tension are riveting.

This book's strength (and perhaps its weakness) is the amnesia/myste
Feb 10, 2008 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first book of the Bourne trilogy series, The Bourne Identity begins the tale of Jason Bourne, one of the US government's greatest assassin creations, rescued by fishermen off the French coast. The only problem is that the incident that put him adrift in the water, bullet-ridden and unconscious, had resulted in amnesia. He does not know his name nor his profession. He only knows what his body has been trained to do. The adventure starts, and can only start, with the only piece of information ...more
Warren Watts
Apr 15, 2009 Warren Watts rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While perusing the library shelves for something new to read, I came across The Bourne Identity, a 1980’s era Cold War espionage novel by Robert Ludlum. I'm not usually a reader of this genre of fiction, but based on what I felt had been an excellent film, I borrowed the book.

The 1980 novel (which spawned the 2002 film) opens with a man barely clinging to life being discovered by fishermen, nearly frozen to death in the cold French Mediterranean sea. He has sustained several gunshot wounds inc
Benjamin Stahl

The Bourne Identity? More like the Bored Identity. Am I right?


Anybody? That’s funny right?

Oh, well that’s just fine then. Don’t all fucking laugh at once. Though I'll stay true to my word. This shit was pretty goddamned boring.
Let me take you back to 2002. When rock-music still existed on the charts. Myspace had not yet reached its prime; Facebook was a half-developed foetus in the head of some backstabbing nerd in New Hampshire. The going trend was jeans that looked
C. Lorion
Oct 06, 2014 C. Lorion rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you've seen The Bourne Identiy movies starring Matt Damon, but you've not read the book by Robert Ludlum upon which the movies are loosely based, you owe it to yourself to read this early 80s spy-thriller.

The original premise: a man wakes up in the Mediterranean with amnesia. He's an undercover US operative with the name Jason Bourne, yet he doesn't remember that his mission was to expose and kill the world's deadliest assassin, Carlos the Jackal (a historical figure from the 70s). Because h
Thomas Waite
"The Bourne Identity" is the first book by Robert Ludlum that spawned the very successful Jason Bourne series, and in my mind it is his best. The novel begins as a half-dead man with his body bloodied and riddled with bullets is dragged from the sea onto trawler in the middle of a storm. Less than three hours earlier he was shot and thrown into the sea by people intent on killing him for reasons he does not know or remember. Their mistake is in believing him to be dead. The man eventually finds ...more
Lance Charnes
Aug 11, 2012 Lance Charnes rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lulum fans; fans of 1970s spy thrillers
I had reason to read this again after a loooong time, not really remembering much about it.

First, forget the movie. The only things the book and movie have in common are the title and the names of the main characters. This can be both good and bad. The good part is that you don’t know what’s going to happen based on Matt Damon’s adventures; the bad part is that it’s not nearly as much fun.

This is about as close as Ludlum gets to a semi-realistic espionage thriller. He’ll never be mentioned in th
May 15, 2016 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to James by: Colin Taylor
I'd kinda ignored the original three Bourne novels as I'd already seen and enjoyed the movies, but it had always nagged at me that the later Lustbader novels sat at odds with the story I new from the films. Having finally gone back to read the originals I understand why - the movies and the novels are not the same, not even close. It's the same characters and the same premise of amnesia, but pretty much everything else is different - especially the plot. Suddenly, some of the things in the later ...more
Feb 17, 2016 J.M. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: misogynists
Okay, people, let's be real. Are we all prepared to be real?

This joins other books on my 'the movie is better' shelf. It actually joined that shelf when I was only about 100 pages in, and I'll soon explain why. I'm not such a bibliophile that I always universally declare that the book is better. Specifically, sometimes the movie is a better example of a movie than the book is an example of a book. See also: The Godfather. The story itself may be improved or degraded by the adaptation. In this ca
Erin Cataldi
May 25, 2016 Erin Cataldi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, books-to-movies
I'm ashamed to admit that I have never seen any of the Bourne movies. Not one. So I really didn't know what I was getting myself into. The Bourne Identity basically reads like Ian Fleming on steroids. Intricate plots, double crosses, misinformation, kick ass fighting moves, and espionage. It was pretty awesome, especially since it was written four decades ago! This story still holds up and doesn't seem all that dated. Granted they use telephone booths and don't have easy access to Google, but th ...more
Apr 10, 2015 scrillllaaa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers
Ah the Bourne Identity. Yes, I finally read it.

A book starring Jason Bourne, ex CIA operative or something like that, who wakes up on an old drunk doctor's little island with serious memory loss. Not even knowing what his name is, after he heals, he plans to go on a huge excursion to discover who he is. He does however have a few clues. While unconscious, Bourne would mutter numbers and places in his sleep. The doctor has a suspicion that these are places he's been, a lot. The doctor also found
Dec 22, 2012 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Admittedly, it has been a while since I have seen the first Bourne movie. With that in mind, my memory is strong enough to remember that the movie is nothing like the book, both in character development and storyline. If I had to judge, I would lean towards the book (name me a movie that outdid a book, eh?), with its detail and its thoroughness, as well as its character presentation. The plot, though not as overarching in Ludlum’s first Bourne creation as Hollywood presented, is much more ‘spy w ...more
Sep 13, 2015 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cain is for Charlie and Delta is for Cain

Classic old school 80’s spy novel packed with action, drama and suspense. Written by Ludlum and not the grave digging wannabes.

Fishermen in the Mediterranean Sea rescue a barely alive man floating in the water. The man has no memory of who he is or how he got there. His rescuers take him to a doctor who finds the man has information of a Zurich bank account surgically implanted in his hip. Desperate to find out who he is, the man travels to the Zurich ba
Noor Jahangir
Jul 23, 2010 Noor Jahangir rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whilst Robert Ludlum isn't on my reading list, I managed to download this book for free on the Android version of the Laputa Book Reader. Obviously, I was interested in the book because of the fantastic Bourne films. I've read quite a number of books that have been made into films, but for some reason I was surprised at how different this book is from the film adaptation. Surprised in a good way. It is much more substantial in plot.

The Jason Bourne of the books is a much more sympathetic charact
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • The Bourne Deception (Jason Bourne, #7)
  • The Hunt for Red October (Jack Ryan Universe, #4)
  • The Day of the Jackal
  • The Brotherhood of the Rose (Mortalis, #1)
  • Consent to Kill (Mitch Rapp, #8)
  • Ice Station Zebra
  • Flight of the Intruder (Jake Grafton #1)
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 13 books)
  • The Bourne Supremacy (Jason Bourne, #2)
  • The Bourne Ultimatum (Jason Bourne, #3)
  • 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)

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“I mean, we're all trying to find out who the hell we are, aren't we?” 151 likes
“The success of any trap lies in its fundamental simplicity. The reverse trap by the nature of its single complication must be swift and simpler still.” 70 likes
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