A Book Spy Review: ‘The Bourne Initiative’ By Eric Van Lustbader

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Following last year’s The Bourne Enigma, Jason Bourne is once again forced out of hiding to clear his name–and kill those hunting him down.

Picking up not far from where the last book ended, General Boris Karpov, the leader of Russia’s FSB, is dead. Readers may remember that exact scene from Enigma; now it’s time to deal with the fallout.

It turns out that prior to his death, Karpov made an elaborate plan to reach beyond the grave and launch a cyber attack on the United States. Centered around stealing the president’s nuclear launch codes, should Karpov’s plan succeed, it would be a serious blow to America–something that must be stopped at all costs.

The big question the NSA must figure out, though, is who’s running things now that Karpov is gone. Russia is ruled out early on based on information obtained from a trusted analyst, making the secret player harder to identify.

The cyber weapon, described as “something so sophisticated that it’s far beyond anything the NSA has seen–or dreamed of–before,” was found accidentally when the NSA was sifting through the dark web tracking arms dealers. Immediately, it becomes the agency’s top priority.

Arthur MacQuerrie, head of the NSA’s top-secret Meme program, is convinced that Jason Bourne–the only man whom Karpov truly trusted–is the one who is implementing his friend’s plan. If true, that would mean that Bourne is committing treason, and must be dealt with immediately.

Flush with cash, Meme boasts “bleeding-edge technology to the point where all their equipment was upgraded twice a year,” and MacQuerrie unleashes those resources to track down and eliminate Bourne once and for all.

Eric Van Lustbader quickly recaps last year’s novel before settling into a groove, developing the plot and introducing characters–some new, some old. But the real fun begins when MacQuerrie sends assassins after Bourne, who once again proves to be the last person in the world anyone should ever try to kill.

Where last year’s The Bourne Enigma felt stiff and, at times, contrived, Van Lustbader brings his A-game this year. The Bourne Initiative is just the type of explosive, fast-paced thriller that Robert Ludlum’s fans crave.

Book Details

Author: Eric Van Lustbader
Series: Jason Bourne #14
Pages: 383 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1455597988
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Book Spy Rating: 7/10
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