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484 pages

Grand Central Publishing (July 29, 2008)

The sixth book in the Jason Bourne saga, The Bourne Sanction, is written by Eric Van Lustbader. Van Lustbader has written 4 Bourne books with the permission of the Ludlum estate and has, in each case, proven himself to be up to the challenge of dealing with one of the most thrilling of thriller characters to have ever been created. Van Lustbader’s Bourne novels have a decided advantage over those of Robert Ludlum: Where Ludlum was a good story teller, Van Lustbader writes well in addition to telling a good story.

The Bourne Sanction continues with the current story arch of Jason Bourne being on the outs with the CIA but naturally enough the CIA desperately needs Bourne and his talents to hunt down a terrorist threat that has been picked up on by the ever reliable Soraya. When in doubt in these politically correct times bring on the Nazis, yes the Nazis, as the enemy. While the “Black Legion” may be farfetched as a threat to the U.S.A. it is no more so than any other perceived threat since the days of Matt Helm. Willing suspension of disbelief is a large component in reading any thriller novel and The Bourne Sanction is no exception.

At the core of the Bourne sequence of this multithreaded story is the inevitable crashing together of Jason Bourne and the superhuman hit man for the Black Legion: Leonid Arkadin. When it finally happens – and you know it is going to from the time you encounter Arkadin – it is a superbly written fight sequence.

What does ring true in the novel are the adventures stateside of Veronica Hart the new DCI of the CI as she does battle with the NSA. Luther LaValle and General Kendall are taking a run at taking over the CI in this installment of the Bourne saga and they are well organized to do the job. For her part in the defense of the CI Soraya recruits Tyrone and a hacker genius that helps her get inside the security of the NSA. In the meantime Veronica Hart, formerly of Blackwater, handles herself and her staff with aplomb in the shark infested waters of Washington. All in all the intrigue and infighting in the subplot of the story are more interesting at times than following the globetrotting of Leonid Arkadin on his collision course with the legendary Bourne.

This is a satisfying light read for Bourne fans. If you enjoy the movies you will enjoy the book. If on the other hand you are looking for the writing “style” of the late Robert Ludlum you will be disappointed. Everything else is there though and it is enjoyable.