The Bourne Ultimatum: 08/04/06
I was looking forward to reading the final book in the Jason Bourne trilogy but after having suffered through it, I wish I had stopped after The Bourne Supremacy.
The book fails in every way that the first two books succeed. The quick pace here is unnecessary and silly; Bourne is out of character; the political arena has changed too much to make the plot possible.
The original book and the one that followed were written at the height of the cold war. They take place in a time were the superpowers were suspicious and paranoid of each other. Espionage was big business for all of the big countries and many of the small ones. It was a time when communication was more difficult due to the lack of cell phones and the modern day internet. Yes; the precursors of both technologies existed but they were not being put to use in the ways that they are now. It was easier for spies to hide and countries to cover their tracks with misinformation and subterfuge.
Here is my BookCrossing review:
The Bourne Ultimatum takes place more than a decade later from the The Bourne Identity. This length of time between events makes the story unbelievable. After successfully being in hiding for so long and with Bourne clearly not active, there is no reason for the Jackal to resurface. Nor is there any reason for Bourne to go into a blind panic and race around the world drawing attention to himself and his family.
By the time of the third book, the cold war was ending. Germany was reunifying, the USSR was on the brink of collapse and mobile communication was becoming more ubiquitous with early cell phones. This environment is not one where Jason Bourne or Carlos could function using the tricks they had perfected after Vietnam. First of all, they'd be too old for chasing after each other. Second, the nations that had backed them were under new leadership and different foreign policy. What had been political maneuvering was now a silly personal cat and mouse game that is out of character for both major players!