The Bourne Identity | Study Guide

Robert Ludlum

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The Bourne Identity | Book 3, Chapter 33 | Summary

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Summary

General André François Villiers tells Jason Bourne that he killed his wife, Angélique Villiers. It is a revenge killing, for his son and for her betrayal. Before André François Villiers strangled her, she told him Bourne (whom she knew as Cain) was "an insignificant gunman who wished to step into the shoes of a giant." General Villiers no longer cares about Carlos. His revenge has finished him. Jason Bourne begs him to reconsider, to keep fighting. If he claims to have been the one to kill Angélique Villiers, perhaps they can continue and finally trap Carlos.

At Parc Monceau, Jason hopes General Villiers's house is still under surveillance. For his plan to work, he requires surveillance and suspicion. Bourne spots two of Carlos's men. Their same sedan is parked on the street. He rips off his shirt, tears it into strips, and, draining a nearby motorbike of gas, creates a crude bomb with a cobblestone. Distracting the attention of the men in the car, Jason throws his flaming projectile through the window of a house across the street from Villiers's residence. Distracting chaos ensues. Carlos's men are attracted to the mayhem, and the fire brings three more of Carlos's men out of hiding. Jason Bourne watches them deliberate about what to do next. Two men leave on foot. Fire engines approach, and the other two men speed away in the sedan. Bourne overpowers the sole remaining thug and breaks into Villiers's house, unnoticed.

André François Villiers sits in the bedroom with his dead wife. Jason insists on taking credit for Angélique Villiers's death, explaining that it is the only way he will be able to square himself with Treadstone Seventy-One and the Americans. He asks Villiers to get him out of France on a false passport and to protect Marie. The old man finally agrees. It will be his last honorable act. Jason writes a note for Carlos: "I killed your bitch whore and I'll come back for you."

Analysis

This could very well be a very difficult chapter for a modern reader. The language used about Angélique Villiers is unpleasant in the extreme. Jason Bourne baits Carlos by calling his lover a "bitch whore." It seems unworthy of Bourne's character. As an interesting side note, over two decades after Ludlum wrote The Bourne Identity, he too married a much younger woman. Reportedly, she refused to sign a prenuptial agreement and attempted to alienate the increasingly frail Ludlum from his family and friends. Then she allegedly watched as he burned in a fire. After recovering from those wounds, he died soon after of a heart attack. She cremated his body before it was possible to have an autopsy. It's a horrifying story but almost irresistibly apt: the ghost of Madame Villiers exacting her revenge in her own coup de grâce.

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