Ludlum has been hailed as the virtual originator of the Superthriller, and with these three books, it is difficult to aruge that fact. I'll review these books individually:
#1 The Holcroft Covenant takes the 'Nazi Conspiracy' to the next level. Although dated (just a bit) this novel sweeps you up after a slow beginning, but when the wheels finally hits the pavement, make sure to be belted in, 'cuz this is a fantastic ride. In the closing days of WWII the Nazi's forge a desperate plan which plants the seed of the rise of the Fourth Reich sometime in the 70's, and will be put into motion unwittingly, by a pawn who despises everything the Nazi's ever stood for. Scary and well worth the effort, 'the Holcroft Covenant' is one of Ludlum's best.
#2 The Materese Circle was my 1st Ludlum novel way back in the early 80's, and is still one of my all-time favorite novels. During the Cold War nobody -- NOBODY could write a more compelling spy story, and this one easily ranks (for me) as Ludlums all-time best spy story. But it is much more than just spy vs spy...in this novel, Ludlum pits rival spy vs. rival spy working together to take on an ancient Mob which is alive and well and ready to launch the unthinkable. Do NOT think that the sequel (the Materese Countdown) even comes CLOSE to this masterpice, 'cuz it just plain falls flat by comparison.
#3 The Bourne Identity has to be one of the most clever plot-driven stories that ANYONE has come up with in the past century.
An unknown man is fished out of the Mediterranean Sea riddled with bullets, barely alive. Nursed back to health by an alcoholic doctor, who notices that this mysterious man has had plastic surgery to alter his looks, has a small micro-film hidden under his skin and has also noted that he has NO IDEA who he is. Using the micro-film to guide him, he ends up in Switzerland where he is recognized by an angry man waving a gun in absolute fright claiming that he had been killed...and our poor protagonist begins the flight of his life fleeing from assassins who want him dead, but still suffering from amnesia, he can't understand the WHY...nor does he accept all the evidence that points to him as an international professional hired killer. Top notch entertainment and believe it or not, Ludlum's 2nd Bourne novel was just as good (if not a little better).
All in all these are three exceptional examples of Robert Ludlum at his absolute best...and for anyone who knows this author, you KNOW that Ludlum at his best puts all the rest to shame. While it is true that since the end of the Cold War Ludlum's novels have been, shall we say, less than up to his usual excellence, but his final two novels have been MUCH better (The Prometheus Deception & The Sigma Protocol). We who admire and love Ludlum so much realize that when he passed away, so did one of the finest authors of the 20th Century. He WILL be missed, especially when I pick up another spy novel and invariably compare it to the Master, who will no doubt surpass everything yet to come.
- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (1 January 1989)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007101740
- ISBN-13: 978-0007101740
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