The Bourne Identity | Study Guide

Robert Ludlum

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The Bourne Identity | Book 2, Chapter 11 | Summary

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Summary

Marie St. Jacques and Jason Bourne fly to Paris separately, planning to meet at a cafe near the Sorbonne. First, Bourne will go to the University's library to read newspapers. He is thinking of the fat man's words in Zurich: six months earlier, a man was killed. Who is this man and how does his death relate to him? In the course of his research, Bourne deduces that the man must be Ambassador Howard Leland, who was assassinated in Marseille. This information sears Jason Bourne, causing intense pain in his head. He knows details about Howard Leland and can even remember his face. A former admiral of the U.S. Navy, Leland's mission was to persuade the French government not to sell arms to Africa and the Middle East. He'd been successful and was killed for his success.

Bourne knows Leland's assassination must have paid his killer a massive fortune. Was he the assassin? Is that how he ended up in the ocean six months earlier? He decides his feelings are too intense for any other explanation. Therefore, he will not meet Marie. He does not deserve her.

Then he has a realization. Leland was killed on August 26th, but Bourne was pulled from the Mediterranean on August 24th. He cannot be the killer! He runs to Marie for a joyous reunion. Waiting on the steps, St. Jacques is terrified Jason is dead. When he appears, her relief is intense. Don't worry, he reassures her. He'll dye his hair so his attackers won't be able to recognize him so easily. He feels he must be a chameleon, with an instinct for the art of disguise.

Jason Bourne and Marie St. Jacques discuss how and if his memory will return. She has heard him talking in his sleep about jumping out of a plane; he wonders if he ever had a wife and children. When she suggests he see a psychiatrist, he responds with an emphatic negative. He wants only enough information to know what to do next. Otherwise, he'll drive himself insane. Marie protests this doesn't exactly leave room for her, but they decide to stop talking and get dinner. After dinner, she will finally call Peter in Canada. Bourne also wants to find a telephone booth across from his bank on the rue Madeleine.

It's the next afternoon, and a newly blond Jason Bourne enters the aforementioned telephone booth. Marie St. Jacques calls him, as, apparently, they have planned, from inside the bank. He then calls the bank himself, explaining he has transferred funds from Switzerland and he'd like to talk to an officer. Transferred to Vice-President Antoine d'Amacourt, Jason identifies himself and explains he made a transfer of 4.5 million francs eight days earlier. D'Amacourt is unable to confirm the success of the transfer over the phone. Bourne responds that he'll be there as soon as possible and asks d'Amacourt to please ready the necessary paperwork. When he hangs up, Marie calls back on the pay phone and Jason gives her d'Amacourt's information. Jason then calls the bank VP again, saying he'll be there in half of an hour. All of this is a ruse for Marie and Jason to discover if the name Jason Bourne triggers the police—or less savory characters.

The narration switches to Marie St. Jacques's point of view inside the bank. She waits for d'Amacourt to emerge from his office, so she will be able to identify him. A man comes from a higher floor of the bank carrying a black case, and d'Amacourt's secretary greets him with relief. This is Jason's money. With incredible cool, Marie spies on the receptionist and deduces that the bank VP is making an outside call. Therefore, a request from Bourne's account must have, indeed, triggered a signal.

Meanwhile, Jason watches the outside of the bank from the phone booth. Soon enough, he sees a man approaching. The man is Johann, a Zurich thug who knows Bourne's face. Two other men are with him. Bourne calls Antoine d'Amacourt a final time, canceling his appointment. He has to take a shuttle to London, he explains, and then he watches as the three goons leave the bank and get into a cab, presumably "following" him to Orly airport. Marie leaves the bank and tells Jason, "D'Amacourt's your man." That is, d'Amacourt must be in communication with the informer at the bank in Zurich, who, in turn, called the bad guys.

Analysis

This is the beginning of an increasingly complicated chess game between Jason Bourne and Marie St. Jacque and Carlos's gang. Warning: it is not easy to follow at all times. There are banks and thugs and phone calls. Part of the difficulty is contemporary readers are not accustomed to a technology-free world. In current time these communications would be taking place with smartphones and social media. There would be CCTV cameras and GPS tracking devices. The low-tech of phone booths and lit-up private phone lines is confusing! However, this also makes reading The Bourne Identity retro fun. If readers can follow the many characters and messages, it feels like solving a puzzle, with similar satisfaction.

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