Review: The Bourne Initiative – Eric Van Lustbader

5 of 5 stars

Series: Jason Bourne 14

My version: Hardback
Fiction Thriller
Head of Zeus

Jason Bourne is on the run. His old friend, General Boris Karpov, is dead. But Karpov, once head of the feared Russian FSB, lives on in the cyber weapon he devised before his death, capable of penetrating the heart of America’s final defence: nuclear launch codes.

Both the NSA and Meme LLC, a black off-site cyber operation, believe Bourne has taken over the enterprise, and a kill team is sent to terminate him for committing treason against the US.

Flushed from cover, hunted by assassins, wounded and nearly killed, Bourne is forced to join forces with his bitterest enemy, a Somali magus named Keyre, whose terrorist organisation Bourne once decimated. Now Keyre is more powerful than ever and he might help Bourne, but to what end?

From the Greek island of Skyros to Somalia and the underbelly of Moscow, Bourne must unravel the mystery of Boris Karpov’s last legacy, a weaponised code that could incite the unthinkable: a violent end to America.

Well, from not realising it had been published, to realising this is the best of the latter Bourne books, what a fun, thrilling ride.

I was thinking, Bourne has, I most will surely agree, always – films as well – been more European than American. Most of most of the films are set in Europe and in the books that Eric Van Lustbader has written after Robert Ludlum, Bourne hardly ever sets foot back in America. The nitty-gritty all takes place in Europe, the ‘anything goes’ stuff in the middle and far east. I think that, especially in the USA where the shaved Baboon is in charge, for added realism, added not through the looking glass-ism, Eric Van Lustbader is absolutely right to concentrate Bourne outside of the USA. It gives the whole enterprise much, much more relevance, realism and good old-fashioned nuance.

Not crazy about the US cover this time

It’s hard to put a finger on, but it just feels like there is something more to this one. More depth, less surface gloss. We even get into Vince Flynn’s strong area (you ask me), the American politiking. Then, Bourne is also back in Robert Ludlum territory as well – being looked for.  As I remember, ‘they’ were always looking for him, while he was looking for answers and looking for himself; who, how, why. Then, in Initiative, as the plot and characters swirl around Bourne, no one is who they say they are, no one is who they seem – except Bourne. He, his character is the one stable, the one who knows, and is, who he is. His stability comes in part from love. Love for Sarah, the Israeli Mossad agent. Not an ideal combination maybe, but in this story, the anchor for Bourne’s world.

It’s as sharp as a razor-blade, as up to date as tomorrow’s news and just generally full of more of everything there should be. There are, of course, the to be expected double-crossings a-plenty – I’m not sure if there isn’t a triple-cross somewhere or other – and enough to keep you on your toes at all times. Complicated? You bet. Worth it? Absolutely!

You can buy The Bourne Initiative at

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2 thoughts on “Review: The Bourne Initiative – Eric Van Lustbader

  1. Just wondering what has happened to Jason Bourne’s son that he discovered in The Bourne Legacy. No books, after that book, mentioned his son or that he found out that he had a son buy a Vietnamese wife. That plot seem to have gotten lost somewhere in the storyline. also in one book he found out about his brother who worked in Washington DC. I believe the brother had died by the time he found out about his brother.


    1. Spot on. As far as I can remember, absolutely nothing about the son or a brother. Not in the latest EVL books anyway. I have thought about re-reading the series from the start – I’ve read the early ones, but before I started the blog, so they’re not reviewed – maybe something will surface.


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