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THE BOURNE SUPREMACY by Robert Ludlum Kirkus Star

THE BOURNE SUPREMACY

By Robert Ludlum

Pub Date: March 15th, 1986
Publisher: Random House

Great Christian Jesus!. . .He's come back. The assassin has come back to Asia! Jason Bourne! He's come back!"" So it seems--when that legendary killer Jason Bourne apparently hits Hong Kong, killing (among others) the visiting Vice-Premier of China. But is this the real ""Jason Bourne,"" amnesiac US commando David Webb (a.k.a Delta), who (mostly against his will) posed as a super-assassin in order to trap the true-life assassin Carlos (a.k.a. the Jackal) in The Bourne Identity? No, it isn't! It's a fake Jason Bourne, a mercenary psycho employed by the evil Sheng, a Peking minister-of-state with secret right-wing takeover plans--plans that will lead to Armageddon in the Far East!! What can the US spymasters do to foil these vile schemes? Well, ruthless weirdos that they are, they decide to use the real Bourne, poor old David Webb (happily retired), to hunt down the fake Bourne and Sheng himself. And since Webb won't do any of this willingly, the spymasters (in disguise, of course) kidnap Webb's beloved wife Marie to Hong Kong, threatening to kill her unless Webb captures the fake Bourne. So, for the next 500 repetitious pages, Webb trails the psycho-killer from Hong Kong to Macao to Peking, sprinkling cash and blood and exclamation points as he gets Bourne-ier and Bourne-ier (""Good God!. . .Good Lord!. . .Oh, Christ!""). Meanwhile, Marie escapes with dubious ease from her US captors, becoming a Hong Kong fugitive with help from a Canadian diplomat (""Christ in Calgary, I don't need this!""). Eventually, with help from an old French ally (""Mon Dieu!""), Webb does nab the fake Bourne: ""It was the commando! The impostor! The assassin!"" But, after a bloody shootout and a feverish reunion with Marie in H.K., Webb voluntarily heads back into China to assassinate Sheng--because he has now learned just how evil Sheng really is: ""He's Auschwitz, Dachau, and Bergen-Belsen all rolled into one. . . He's Hitler and Mengele and Genghis Khan. . .the chain-saw killer--whatever--but he has to go."" Here and there Ludlum supplies chunks of crudely effective derringdo: border-crossings by parachute, a chase through Mao's mausoleum, hand-to-hand combat with flashing knives. Heavy slatherings of Far Eastern local color are mildly diverting. Otherwise, however, Ludlum remains the most garishly inept of suspense storytellers, the most ludicrous and lumbering of unexplainable best-sellers. And readers who keep returning for more of the same--tediously implausible, convolutions, fatuous non-stop dialogue, comic-book narration--will get exactly what they deserve in this headache-inducing sequel.