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For David Webb live has started to calm down after a life spent working undercover for the CIA. Still unsure of his past before being fished out of the sea off the coast of Marseille he now lives a relatively normal life. This all changes when someone attempts to kill him on the University grounds. Webb once again becomes Jason Bourne and his survival instinct kicks in. He heads to his friend and mentor Alex Conklins house only to find him dead, shot in the head and the police on the way. Now Bourne must run as he has been framed as the prime suspect and he needs to find out by whom before the CIA get their hands on him.
After the success and popularity of Ludlums first 3 novels in the Bourne series it was I guess, inevitable that someone would try to cash in on it. Now following Ludlums death, Eric Van Lustbader has picked up on Ludlums characters. Whether this would work or not is something Ive been putting off for a while. I am a big fan of Ludlum and the thought of someone else taking on one of my favourite characters didnt fill me with confidence. Once I actually started to read the book I realised that my trepidation about Van Lustbaders take on Ludlums characters was quite a genuine one.
Of course by using Ludlums original trilogy as a starting point he does have decent characters that people will know and love. It is important however that the story and the writing is also up to the high standard of the original books. This is where I found Van Lustbader failed dramatically. The story didnt have the addictive pull that the previous novels had. It felt slightly flat to read and this meant that it took me far longer to read. Like any book once it starts to build towards the climax it picked up, but it took far too long and Id imagine people would have given up on unimaginative start to the book.
It isnt just the speed of the plot, as in places it does pick up nicely but it just didnt feel like a Bourne novel. He was far too over descriptive and it didnt really help the story to flow and make for a thrilling read. He has put a lot of action into the story, but it almost felt like too much. Cramming a lot of events into a short space of time. It just didnt feel like a Bourne novel and unfortunately for me it doesnt fit into the series and this novel really isnt worth the time or effort it takes to read it.
The characters were ready made for Van Lustbader and of course Bourne is still taken from the same mould that Ludlum created him. The fatal mistake I felt Van Lustbader made though was getting rid of Alex Conklin and Mo Panov so early in the story. They have been quite important throughout the series and it almost feels that he got rid of them so he didnt have to remain too true to Ludlums characters. He also gets rid of the need to write about Marie, Bournes wife, early in the story by sending her to a secure location and leaving her to one side.
Overall this isnt a very good book. While it is the continuation of a decent series of books the change of author doesnt work for me. The Bourne character is something from the imagination of Ludlum and personally I dont feel anyone else can do it justice. The side lining of Ludlums characters gives a feeling that Van Lustbader wanted a lead character without having to come up with one of his own. It doesnt work very well and while I bought this as a huge fan of the Bourne novels I wont be wasting my money on the second one Van Lustbader has written.
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