The Bourne Identity | Study Guide

Robert Ludlum

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The Bourne Identity | Book 2, Chapter 12 | Summary

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Summary

Marie St. Jacques and Jason Bourne browse in a shop across from the bank on the rue Madeleine. Finally, Antoine d'Amacourt emerges. Jason follows him, telling Marie he will meet her back at the hotel. After a few blocks, he approaches the banker, introducing himself and pulling him into a cafe. D'Amacourt protests he was only following the protocol on the account by alerting Johann and his men. He is innocent. Jason disagrees and presses him for information.

The upshot: Jason must talk to the president of the bank. Both this and the Gemeinschaft in Zurich are private banks with specific rules and regulations. Jason agrees to give d'Amacourt a "gratuity" for information. The account has a condition, d'Amacourt explains. When funds are released from Zurich, a "fiche confidentielle"—sealed instructions to be followed when the account is activated—accompanies the pouch. In this case the instructions are for the banker to call an unlisted number. At first, the number to call was a New York number, but someone changed it to a Paris line. When d'Amacourt called, an anxious woman answered. Her instructions were to delay Bourne in his office and then identify him to a man—presumably Johann—who would arrive as soon as possible.

Bourne wants the original New York number listed on the fiche. D'Amacourt assures him this is impossible. The number was "cut out." Meanwhile, Bourne wants to know how to withdraw money without activating the phone call instruction. D'Amacourt recommends Bourne hire a specific attorney who can file various forms to allow a courier to take the money in the form of cashier's checks.

Back at the hotel Marie St. Jacques is shocked by the fiche and its conditions. It's an archaic instrument of financial control, and, she thinks, whoever changed the New York number would have to have been extremely motivated by financial reward. It all must come back to Carlos.

Jason Bourne becomes instinctively anxious and angry at the mention of Carlos's name. St. Jacques suggests they research him, and Bourne reluctantly agrees. First, however, he wants her to call Dennis Corbelier, her connection at the Canadian embassy in Paris. Hoping to withdraw all 4.5 million francs of his money, Marie suggests bonds rather than cashier's checks. D'Amacourt's suggestion is traceable, she explains, but bonds will be secure. Once Jason withdraws the funds, he hopes the people behind Treadstone Seventy-One will surface, and he'll finally be able to understand his history.

They enjoy a fine dinner. Then, when Marie goes to call Peter, she drops the phone in horror as soon as she hears the voice on the other line. Peter has been found dead, shot in the neck. After receiving two phone calls, from Washington and New York, he had rushed to the airport. He was killed on his way there.

With no explanation the narrative shifts back to Carlos in his confessional booth. This time his messenger, the old man in a black beret, explains the doings in Zurich. Carlos is interested in Marie St. Jacques, in getting her and getting to Jason Bourne through her. She will lead them to the mysterious "Cain."

Analysis

The financial insight here is becoming more interesting. In a time before electronic transfers and sophisticated identification systems, cashier's checks and bonds are options. With the murder of Marie St. Jacques's friend Peter, it is also apparent that their danger is not restricted to Europe. This story is also no longer simply about Jason Bourne. It has reached Marie, the "innocent bystander," as well.

The fiche is confusing, but the plot hinges on understanding its restrictions. Again, methods of verification were complex before fingerprint recognition on the iPhone. It's also a time before identity theft—or at least the all-too-common identity theft that is part of international cybercrime as current readers know it. By the way, fiche is a now archaic word meaning "slip" or "card" in French. Anyone who has experienced French bureaucracy in action knows the significance of the many cards and slips a person needs to do so much as mail a package, let alone gain access to millions of francs.

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