The Bourne Identity | Study Guide

Robert Ludlum

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The Bourne Identity | Book 2, Chapter 13 | Summary

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Summary

Marie St. Jacques is hysterical. Jason Bourne tries to comfort her, but the only word he can offer is Carlos. They agree to go research the killer together. They find magazines with information in a bookstore on Saint-Germain. The deadly shot to Peter's neck is a Carlos signature. As Bourne continues to read about Carlos, he becomes more uncomfortable. He knows the information and is able to predict the details before he reads them. He tells Marie he's only read two paragraphs of the article. He wants her to read the whole article and then test whether or not he knows any of the rest of the information within it.

Ludlum inserts the article about Carlos in full. Carlos has connections to the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Baader-Meinhof—known terrorist organizations. The schisms within the organizations have caused members to spread information about Carlos. His full name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez. Venezuelan and the son of a devoted Marxist, Carlos was educated in Russia in killing and espionage. Moscow considered him too violent. He became an "apolitical assassin" with expertise in seemingly every kind of violence. Paris is his base of operations; he is between 35 and 40 years old. One shocking example of his prowess is subtitled "A Grassy Knoll in Dallas?" Possibly Carlos was the infamous "second gun" in John F. Kennedy's assassination.

At this Marie stops reading. Bourne wants her to quiz him now. She should say a word from Carlos's history, and he (Jason) will fill in the blanks. He answers nearly all of the answers correctly, from knowing Carlos killed eight people in Teheran to knowing about a CIA agent being gunned down in Beirut, but Bourne isn't certain where the Russian part of Carlos's name, Ilich, comes from. Marie protests that this is public information, but Jason disagrees. He is one of Carlos's people, but he must have "defected."

Marie St. Jacques continues to disagree. She thinks Treadstone Seventy-One killed her friend Peter. She and Jason should run—together. For the first time, she says, "I love you" to Jason. He refuses to flee, saying he has to stay in Paris and follow this course to its end. They agree they will stay together, no matter what happens.

Marie and Jason are in the attorney's office. The fiche stipulates that d'Amacourt will have to call the notification number when they withdraw bonds and cash, but he can delay, given the large payment Bourne will receive.

Back in the hotel Bourne cleans his gun while Marie talks to her Parisian Canadian connection, Dennis Corbelier. He doesn't know about Peter's death, which is odd. Why has his death not shown up in the papers or on the newswires? D'Amacourt's phone number—the one that's been cut out—from the fiche also seems useless. It connects to Les Classiques, a fashion house on the rue Saint-Honoré also known as the House of René, after its resident designer, René Bergeron. How could a dress shop lead to Carlos? Finally, Jason and Marie discuss the plan for the next day's money handoff with the bank's courier. Will there be a van? St. Jacques says Bourne should open a safe deposit box.

It is the next day. Jason sits in a taxi outside the bank. As he watches, an armored van pulls up and a courier in uniform enters the bank. He asks the taxi driver to "follow that truck" as the van pulls away. Soon, the van slows. Bourne asks the taxi driver to approach the van (he has been plying him with cash throughout the ride) and say to its driver, "'Herr Koenig. Greetings from Zurich ... The schedule's changed. There's a fare in my taxi who must see you.'" The traffic delay gives the van's driver enough time to alert Carlos's men of the rendezvous. As Bourne approaches the van, he hears voices inside. It's the goons, arguing. The courier steps out of the van, followed by a thug. Bourne meets both of them with all of his strength. Johann is there, and Bourne shoots him. He grabs the courier's attaché case, full of his own money, and runs.

Analysis

This is the first time the reader really learns about Carlos. Baader-Meinhof, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), and John F. Kennedy's assassination were all hot-button topics for conspiracy theorists and spy fans. A 1980s reader might or might not know much about international terrorism, but these names and suggestions would be the equivalent of a current-day plot about 9/11 or the group Anonymous.

The Kennedy assassination, in particular, has always been catnip to conspiracy buffs. Dallas's Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza devotes much of its exhibition space to theories about the second gunman. In the current era, people often think of conspiracy theorists as mentally unstable—or even dangerous. They've been known to commit crimes or deny the physical evidence of events. However, their ideas and notions inspire an entire genre of conspiracy literature and cinema. With the Internet and mass media, anyone can become obsessed with such mysteries and minutia. In the 70s, however, when Ludlum wrote The Bourne Identity, diagramming the Kennedy assassination involved hunting down specialized books, possibly even talking to actual people. The indication that Carlos could have been a Kennedy assassin, and printed in an actual newspaper, would have been worth Marie St. Jacques and Jason Bourne's serious consideration.

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