Robert Ludlum passed away in March 2001, but his most famous character continues to remain unstoppable and impossible to kill. In the very able hands of Eric Van Lustbader, Bourne has been resurrected for eight more novels that include the most recent release, THE BOURNE RETRIBUTION.
Throughout the series, as well as the movies in which the character is portrayed, there are a couple of things that remain consistent. The first is the resiliency of Bourne and how he continues to get out of the worst jams on an international basis. The other is the constant identity crisis he has gone through when he was turned into a superspy by his former agency, Treadstone.
In 2012’s THE BOURNE IMPERATIVE, Bourne traveled between the UK, the Middle East and Mexico. His mission was to take down a deadly drug cartel that was a literal three-headed monster with representation in all three of the locations previously mentioned. Among the many players permanently removed are one of the few people Bourne ever cared about --- the Mossad agent Rebeka.
"Eric Van Lustbader has once again taken the Bourne saga to another level of greatness, as THE BOURNE RETRIBUTION is filled with non-stop action. Fans of the superspy will find themselves rooting for him right up until the last page is turned."
Bourne learns that Rebeka’s murder was ordered by Ouyang Jidan, a senior member of China’s Politburo. When Bourne’s friend, Eli Yadin, who is the head of Mossad, reaches out to have both Jidan and a Mexican drug cartel investigated, he knows Bourne is one of the few people capable of bringing them down. The rumor is that something far deadlier than drugs may have been trafficked, and Mossad needs confirmation of this.
Bourne is stepping up not because his friend needs him, but rather due to the fact that this assignment may allow him to achieve the number one thing on his personal agenda: retribution for Rebeka’s murder. The prologue describes a meeting in Mexico by Bourne and Mossad anti-terrorist specialist Eden Mazar. Without warning, the two of them are attacked, and Bourne wakes up in the nearby sea next to Mazar’s lifeless body. The symbolic use of Bourne awakening in water with no immediate idea of how he got there --- or sometimes with a case of complete amnesia --- has become a regular occurrence in the series.
Ten days after the initial incident in Mexico, Bourne is moving full steam ahead under the direction of Yadin to infiltrate this extremely deadly criminal enterprise that will stop at nothing to get what it wants. As his mission takes him across the globe, Bourne discovers that his Chinese archenemy may be in league with the Russians as well. How can one man hope to take down a group with allegiances reaching from China to Russia to Mexico? Pursued on all sides and being set up for a trap in China that is the turning point of this novel, Bourne will need more than his usual brand of training to survive this dangerous mission.
Seeing Jason Bourne reduced to near-human emotions like revenge brings him closer to readers but also reveals a personal weakness his enemies are sure to exploit. Eric Van Lustbader has once again taken the Bourne saga to another level of greatness, as THE BOURNE RETRIBUTION is filled with non-stop action. Fans of the superspy will find themselves rooting for him right up until the last page is turned.
Reviewed by Ray Palen on December 6, 2013