The Bourne Identity | Study Guide

Robert Ludlum

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The Bourne Identity | Book 3, Chapter 31 | Summary



Marie St. Jacques and Jason Bourne are back together. He tells her he is Delta and Cain but he's not Jason Bourne. D'Anjou told him "Bourne" was a man Delta killed. Marie urges him to call the Americans to explain what happened to him. He doesn't know if the truth will work. Is he worth more dead than alive? There is only one way to find out.

An attaché at the American embassy in Paris tells the First Secretary that the man they did not know they have been searching for has called in. Bourne did indeed call into the U.S. embassy in Paris, providing key code words. When the representatives at the embassy do not know who he is, they know to call Alexander Conklin at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. He is one of the last survivors of Treadstone Seventy-One.

Conklin is certain this man is Delta/Bourne/Cain. He doesn't think the former Medusa operative is behaving as he should. His responses to code words are incomplete. What of the fingerprint found among the bodies at Treadstone Seventy-One? Conklin is sure Delta turned, which means Carlos infiltrated Treadstone, which means Conklin, the old spook, wants Bourne to go down.

He instructs the attaché at the American embassy in Paris to stall Bourne, who he explains is a Soviet agent trying to reengage in operations with the United States in a double cross. Let Bourne know D.C. is coming. It's what he'll want to hear. The American in Paris agrees. Finally, Conklin makes a call to another man in Paris, a hired gun eager to go after anyone who betrays the United States.


Now Jason Bourne is the target of an assassination plan. Alexander Conklin thinks Bourne's betrayed his country. These plot twists have become no easier to follow. Interestingly, the Phoenix Program, one of the models for Operation Medusa, was at least as complex in its secrecy and the inherent twists of its ultimate discovery. The Phoenix Program's torture techniques were so brutal they must have driven its operatives insane. Conklin is an example of a sort of Dr. Strangelove (character from a 1964 Stanley Kubrick film of the same name) power gone ever more mad. The cost of the cover-up has already been so many bodies deep. What is he not willing to do to stop Bourne? It's also not clear if Conklin's main motivation for Bourne's murder is to stop him or to keep him quiet. While Ludlum's writing seems quite politically conservative on the surface, the deeper it goes the more it is possible to see that the most powerful Americans are also the most morally suspect.

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