Though Jason Bourne hasn’t been seen since Eric Van Lustbader’s 2017 novel The Bourne Initiative, fans are about to get a heavy dose of the legendary character first made famous in the bestselling series from Robert Ludlum, before being immortalized on the big screen by Matt Damon in four feature films, most recently the 2016 action flick Jason Bourne.
Earlier this year, I reported exclusively that Lustbader, who had penned eleven books in the series, was ready to retire from the franchise. Prior to that, The Bourne Nemesis had been announced, with Lustbader telling me, “What I found, though, when I started to go back and work on polishing the draft, was that I just didn’t want to do it. Every time I would sit down to do it, I would start writing something else and that made me realize, finally, that I just didn’t want to do it anymore.”
According to the AP, author Brian Freeman was chosen by Putnam, who secured the rights to the Bourne franchise, to continue Ludlum’s series with The Bourne Conspiracy early next year. That, however, won’t be the only book related to the series hitting bookstores over the coming months, as Clear by Fire author Joshua Hood (who last published Warning Order back in 2016) will launch a new spinoff series centered around Treadstone operative Adam Hayes later this fall.
Hood, best known for his well-received Mason Kane series, graduated from the University of Memphis before joining the military and spending five years in the 82nd Airborne Division. He was a team leader in the 3-504 Parachute Infantry Regiment in Iraq from 2005-2006 where he conducted combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. From 2007-2008, Hood served as a squad leader with the 1-508th Parachute Infantry Regiment in Afghanistan where he was decorated for valor in Operation Furious Pursuit.
On his return to civilian life, he was a sniper team leader on a full-time SWAT team in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was awarded the lifesaving medal. Currently, he works as the Director of Veteran Outreach for the American Warrior Initiative.
Robert Ludlum’s The Treadstone Resurrection, set for publication on February 25, 2020, will introduce readers to Hayes, a man who desperately wants to get away from the organization that made him into one of the world’s premier assassins—a career path that cost him everything, including his family and any chance he had at living a normal life. Now living off the grid and working as a carpenter in Washington state, Hayes receives a mysterious email from a former colleague, and soon after is attacked by an unknown hit team at his job site—forcing him to go on the run in an effort to find out who’s after him, and why.
“I was actually halfway through the next Mason Kane book when I was approached with a great offer to ghostwrite the first two books in a new military thriller series,” said Hood, when I reached out to him to see what he’s been up to since Warning Order came out. “My wife and I had a son on the way and taking that offer allowed me to not only provide for my family, but also challenged me to take my craft to the next level.”
As for his reaction when he was offered the chance to kick off a new series in Bourne’s universe, Hood told me that he was surprised and excited.
“At first, I thought someone had made a mistake,” Hood joked. “I mean, we are talking about Robert Ludlum here, one of the pioneers of this genre. So, naturally, I figured they had called the wrong guy. For me, Jason Bourne is America’s James Bond, and even operating in the same universe is a humbling experience.”
Regarding what preparation went into framing the story for The Treadstone Resurrection, Hood said the first thing he had to do was revisit Ludlum’s work.
“The first step was to reread The Bourne Identity and try and see the role Treadstone played in the book and then compare that to the movies. Writing under a deadline is not an experience I suggest. Especially if you have a full-time job and a toddler who thinks anytime the laptop comes out it is an invitation to push buttons. It wasn’t until I started writing that I began to feel the pressure. For me, it felt like I was borrowing someone else’s car. Not just any car, but Robert Ludlum’s car, and my job is to bring it back to the garage without a scratch on it.
“In fact, my goal is to put a coat of wax on it. Maybe fill up the tank, add some air to the tires.”
As for the character and plot itself, Hood told me his past experience lent itself to the cause here, before touching on the creative process and what fans can expect from Adam Hayes.
“The hero is a former Treadstone Operative. Keep in mind, in both the books and the movies, Treadstone is a program that takes soldiers, subjects them to brainwashing, etc., and turns them into unfeeling killing machines. They are off-the-book assassins, not the kind of guys you would want to go have a beer with. So, how do you write a story around someone like that? I’d tried it with Mason Kane and thankfully learned a few things from that experience that I was able to use.
“My second question was, what would a guy like that do when he got out of Treadstone? It was something I never would have thought about with Mason Kane, but when you have a kid you start to think about things like: I wonder if Adam would have a 401k plan? What if he had a family, would they be on his insurance? What do you put on a resume after leaving Treadstone?
“I like the idea of Adam having a family. I think it humanized him and helped balance out what he used to do for a living. I hope readers will enjoy this book. I’m really happy with how it turned out.”
Tom Colgan, Berkley Editorial Director who is editing the series for Putnam, told The Real Book Spy, “Because of his background and his writing chops, Josh was the first person I thought of as soon as I knew we were doing the Treadstone book. He knows what it’s like to be downrange and he is a meticulous stylist when it comes to plotting and characters. I’m just glad that he was available and come February the readers will be as well.”
Fans excited to get their hands on Robert Ludlum’s The Treadstone Resurrection, the first book in an exciting new spinoff series from Joshua Hood, can now pre-order their copy here, or anywhere else books are sold.
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.