The Bourne Identity | Study Guide

Robert Ludlum

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The Bourne Identity | Book 3, Chapter 34 | Summary



The old man in a black beret, who is currently in his beggar's disguise, brings Carlos Jason Bourne's letter confessing to Angélique Villiers's murder. Carlos makes his plan: murder Cain, finally.

In Langley, Virginia, Alexander Conklin receives a phone call. A George Washburn is on a flight from Paris to New York. He was pre-cleared with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) diplomatic status. Alexander Conklin realizes Bourne must be sending him a message: meet in New York if you dare. Conklin realizes it is March 24, which is the date in the Medusa File corresponding with the day "Jason Bourne" came into being.

Alexander Conklin calls Dr. Morris Panov, a psychiatrist at a naval medical center in Bethesda, Maryland. Conklin knows Panov as his patient. Now he asks him to respond to the highest level of security risk, acting as a consultant. Conklin wants to know if it is possible that Bourne has lost his identity and "become" Cain? Well yes, the doctor says, but he would be schizophrenic with multiple personality disorder. He cannot responsibly diagnose such a case from a mere description. He'd need to see the patient in question. Conklin asks about the significance to such a person of a date or an anniversary. What if it is the anniversary of his "birth"? Is he more likely to commit violence then? Oh yes, the doctor responds, against himself.

Conklin hangs up the phone and feels ... guilty. He almost killed Jason Bourne in Paris. Was it right to almost kill a man who is so out of his own psychological control? He thinks a new name: David. He goes on, "We were friends once, David ... Delta. I knew your wife and your children ... few of us become animals. You did, Delta." He knows what he has to do. David/Delta/Cain/Bourne must die. He's outlived his usefulness.

In Paris André François Villiers and Marie St. Jacques sit in a cafe. Marie knows Jason lied to her. She is sure he is headed to his own death in New York. When Marie tells General Villiers the truth about Jason Bourne's amnesia and what he has been through, Villiers is distraught. He will contact the American embassy immediately, he says.

Back in Washington, D.C., the secretary of state realizes there has been a "global deception." Now he has to clean up the mess. He dumps the mess on the director of Cons-Op in the office of Consular Operations, telling him, "There's a man walking around who doesn't know who he is, but with more classified information in his head than ten intelligence computers!" The secretary of state instructs the director of Cons-Op to find the right people to deal with this dirty problem even if it means staying up all night.

The director of Cons-Op digs and finds a link to Alexander Conklin, but he cannot get hold of him—which is strange since Conklin is CIA and should be reachable. Getting clearance and reading the past five weeks of Conklin's logs leads the director of Cons-Op to General Crawford. He calls Brigadier General Irwin Arthur "Iron Ass" Crawford and says one word: Treadstone.

Crawford tells the director that Alexander Conklin knows Jason Bourne is in New York, and the secretary of state is flying Marie St. Jacques in as soon as possible. Conklin and Crawford are worried that Bourne's instability makes his violence insatiable. The director of Cons-Op disagrees. He thinks it is insanity that General Crawford believes Bourne is schizophrenic based on secondhand information and a secondhand diagnosis. The director has listened to tapes of Marie St. Jacques speaking about the amnesia and what Jason Bourne has been through.

Meanwhile, Alexander Conklin has gone underground. His mission is to kill Jason Bourne. General Crawford insists that he must see Marie St. Jacques. She is the only one who knows what Jason currently looks like. She is also the only hope General Crawford has that Bourne can be called off this suicide mission before Conklin and his killers get to him. General Crawford's mission becomes to clear Bourne.


This is one of the most intricately plotted chapters since the original attacks in Zurich at the beginning of the novel. One of the key points of confusion: Crawford and Conklin are both U.S. officials, their names both begin with the letter "C," and they're on opposing sides of the hunt for Bourne. While Alexander Conklin wants to kill the amnesiac hero, General Crawford will be coordinating with Marie St. Jacques to save him. The significance of the upcoming anniversary is important. Carlos wants to kill his nemesis on the day he "became" Jason Bourne. Readers will never know much about the original Jason—just that he was a traitor, enough to justify his being executed. They may still wonder why, then, is the anniversary so important. Was this the kill that put Delta over the edge, into potential madness? Why did he choose "Bourne" as his alias? Perhaps it doesn't matter, or perhaps Ludlum was already thinking ahead to a sequel.

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