The Bourne Identity | Study Guide

Robert Ludlum

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The Bourne Identity | Book 2, Chapter 10 | Summary



Jason Bourne and Marie St. Jacques are involved. Not physically—yet—but their emotional attachment to each other is immediate and powerful. Holed up in their inn in Lenzburg, they talk and talk.

Marie tells Jason her life story. Born on a farm in Calgary, she is French-speaking in a country where English is preferred. She went to McGill University, on to Oxford, and then into government service. Years passed and she gained a staff and power. She loves her work, but it didn't leave much time or space for home, children, and a husband.

Bourne asks her about Peter, the man from whom she received the cable the first time Bourne saw her at the hotel. Marie is rueful. They'd been in love, but it didn't work out. Meanwhile, he's risen in government, with a cabinet position imminent. He still expects to meet her at the airport in a few days.

Bourne is not able to tell stories of his past. Instead of listening to getting-to-know-you reminiscences, Marie drills him on what he can recall. The politics and power in newspaper stories make sense to him. Yet, he doesn't think he was a diplomat. Maps also have meaning for him. He has a feeling he traveled, walked down streets in different cities, met "faces." He recalls telephone calls, cables, appointments, and hotels, though only in the most general terms. When he tells her he has given up hope of discovering the origin of Treadstone Seventy-One, Marie urges him to persist. Many businesses are unlisted for various reasons, she says.

Marie thinks Jason could have been a "roving negotiator for American financial interests." Bourne protests. His bank account showed deposits, not withdrawals. The economist thinks otherwise. Perhaps a financial mistake is the cause of so many people wanting to kill him? Bourne doesn't think his past is so innocuous, and he urges her to leave him. He will go on to Paris. Somehow, he knows that is where his path leads. Marie agrees, and then suddenly ... they are making love.

It's the next morning. Marie tells Bourne she's not going back to Canada. Convinced there is a reason they're together, she must help him. She was at the Zurich conference in order to make alliances for her government. Perhaps she can use this power and knowledge to help her new lover.

They have been in Lenzburg for a week. Every day they search the newspapers for news of their experience in Zurich. The police report an investigation into the watchman's death is in progress. After much pestering, Jason finally agrees to allow Marie to call Peter and make discrete inquiries about Treadstone Seventy-One. She doesn't think any corporation would leave millions of dollars untouched in an account. Perhaps Treadstone Seventy-One's directors think Jason has involved them in arms deals or something illegal.

When, in the course of their conversation, Jason mentions the name Carlos, Marie goes pale. Apparently, Carlos is infamous. Known as the assassin of Europe, he's killed scores of political and military figures. Paris is the center of his operation. It's decided: Marie St. Jacques and Jason Bourne will go to Paris, together.

As if Carlos himself has heard their conversation, the narrator's point of view switches abruptly. An old man walks down a country lane outside of Paris, heading for a church where Carlos, disguised as a priest, meets his people. His connections are all old men past their prime. One such messenger arrives, an old man in a black beret. They exchange information and Carlos issues orders from a confessional booth.

Carlos asks the old man for news of Zurich. Cain escaped with a woman, the messenger says. They will catch Cain in Paris, they decide, but first, the old man should send word to their connection in New York.


Marie's expertise on money—how it moves and who it moves to, internationally—is significant. As a woman, she is unusually accomplished for her time and place. However, the burgeoning love affair between her and Jason is probably less believable to a modern reader. It feels cinematic and clichéd and ignores the repercussions of Marie's sexual assault mere days earlier.

This chapter is also the first time the reader sees Carlos, and the first time a character says the name "Cain." It's an interesting choice for a character. Cain was the "bad" brother in the Bible, Abel's betrayer. The word also doubles as a drug and an item of assault and support.

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