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The Bourne Identity
The Bourne Identity is a spy fiction thriller by Robert Ludlum about an amnesiac who must discover who he is and why several different groups, including an assassin and the CIA, are trying to kill him.
The Bourne Identity has been made into a 1988 television mini-series starring Richard Chamberlain and Jaclyn Smith, and a 2002 movie starring Matt Damon, Franka Potente, and Brian Cox; see The Bourne Identity (movie).
- For a more in-depth background of the character Bourne, see Jason Bourne.
The protagonist is found floating in the Mediterranean Sea with several bullet wounds, including a head wound which has given him amnesia. The doctor treating him finds a message surgically embedded in his hip, containing details of a Swiss bank account.
In Zurich, the protagonist learns that his name is Jason Bourne - and, while attempting to retrace his steps on his previous visit to the city, attracts the attention of several people who either fear him, warn him of danger, or try to kill him (but all unhelpfully assume that he already knows why). He also meets a woman named Marie St.Jacques in Zurich and uses her as a hostage to escape. He is forced to take her with him when he flees after it becomes clear that by associating with her he has put her life in danger as well.
As the evidence and the double-crosses mount up, it appears that Jason Bourne is an associate of the infamous terrorist Carlos (based on the real-life Carlos the Jackal).
In the end, however, it is revealed that the protagonist is actually a CIA agent in deep cover as a fictional assassin, Cain a.k.a Jason Bourne, in order to get close to Carlos, and that he received his injuries after blowing his cover trying to prevent an assassination. In a dramatic finalé, he faces Carlos (alone and unaided, because the CIA believe, due to his recent erratic behaviour, that he's gone rogue), but Carlos escapes, to return in a sequel.
The 1988 miniseries is reasonably true to the plot of the novel, but the film was changed to exclude the subplot about assassin "Carlos."
Ludlum penned two sequels, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. In addition, after the death of Ludlum, Eric Van Lustbader picked up on the story of Jason Bourne and wrote a sequel titled The Bourne Legacy.
- XIII is Belgian comic series that has many similarities to the character of Jason Bourne as well as the novel The Bourne Identity.
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