February 19, 2017

Robert Ludlum

About Robert Ludlum

Robert Ludlum wrote American thrillers. Their violent and fast paced action, caused them to sell worldwide, to the tune of an amazing 290 million copies. Ludlum began his literary career fairly late, working first as an actor and a producer in the theater. His special skills were in capturing his readers’ imaginations right from the first page, and keeping them absorbed in his story to the end. While critics thought his style a bit melodramatic, and the plots a little far-fetched, he often times would use material from the current events of international politics at that time.

The characteristic of Ludlum’s stories will be best described as a ‘paranoid world view’. A world where global corporations along with shady military and government organizations, are undermining the status quo. His heroes are thrown into various webs of intrigue, so they aren’t able to tell friend from foe. Then finally, bucking all the odds, they end up defeating what seemed to be superior adversaries.

New York City born, Robert Ludlum’s grew up in New Jersey. His father’s name was George Harford Ludlum, a businessman who died in 1934. Ludlum was privately educated, and attended ‘Cheshire Academy’ in Connecticut. Before he acted on Broadway in a comedy called ‘Junior Miss’ when he was 16, he’d already been appearing in school theatrics. His main ambition though was to play quarterback in football. He tried to join the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II, but failed, winding up serving as infantryman in the Marin Corps. from 1945-1947. He was stationed in the South Pacific, and this is where he wrote a 200 page manuscript of his impressions there. After studying at Wesleyan university, in Middletown, He received a BA in 1951. That same year he was married to an actress named Mary Ryducha, with whom he had three children.

From mid-70′s, Ludlum was writing full time. He moved his family from Leonia, New Jersey to Long Island, and bought a 200 year old clapboard farmhouse. They had their second home in Florida. He traveled extensively collecting background material to put in his novels. Soon Paris became his most beloved city. The Bourne identity (1980), started off as a whole series of novels, where an American counter-assassin, with a near superhuman enemy (Carlos), have confrontations in various places all over the world. The Carlos character is based partly on Ramirez Sanchez, a Venezuelan born terrorist, who was captured in real life in Sudan in 1994.

Famous Robert Ludlum Books

Notable Works of the Famous Robert Ludlum Books

Robert Ludlum, who was born on the 25th day of May 1927 in the City of New York, and later died on 12th March of 2001 in Naples Florida, is a renowned novelist and American author whose legacy has lived on years after his death. This highly esteemed author has authored 29 thriller novels so far, with over 210 million copies of books available in print, books which have been translated into more than 32 languages so far.

After his death back in 2001, it was alleged that he had left behind many unpublished scripts and rough-copy sketches, which, with the assistance of ghostwriters, are progressively dusted off and get published one at a time, a further testament to his sustained popularity even after death. A onetime theatrical producer and actor, Ludlum exhibited an unexplained intimate comprehension of the escapism, energy, and action that general public was looking for in a novel.

This is what formed the basis of all his stories and the story line of all his novels. Basically, his artwork features a man or a group of individuals who stand up against strong enemies who have the ability to use economic and political machinery and ability in ways that are not only frightening but also life-threatening. His vision of the world at large is one where indistinguishable military forces, global corporations, and government organizations all work towards undermining and destabilizing the status quo.

Apart from the intermittent gaps in his extensive knowledge of the firearms, Ludlum’s novels are carefully and thoroughly researched, abounding with physical, technical, and biological facts and details as is evidenced on the extensive and thorough research work on amnesia in the famous Bourne Identity.

Even with such success, it is sad to note that Robert Ludlum is yet to reach the same level of acclamation that his fellow writers under the same genre, like the famous John Le Carré, have received. Those against Ludlum’s artwork pose the use of italicized short sentences, the use of dashes and exclamation marks among other techniques as not so ‘good’. They have also found fault with his extensive melodrama, use of simplistic characters, and they also cite very limited development psychologically.

It is however to be noted that Ludlum was the man who introduced the thriller that has come to be known to man today. Never before was such a style of writing seen in the market, setting the stage and benchmark for writers such as Gayle Lynds and David Morrell. It is Ludlum who made popular the idea of the American and Soviet Intelligence bodies working hand in hand, the Crime Investigation Authorities carrying illegal and unacceptable operations right on American soil. Although both of these and many other premises that Ludlum highlighted were once seen as fictional, today they are largely accepted as facts.

Notable Robert Ludlum’s novels that have found their way into the screens include the Holcroft Covenant, the Osterman Weekend, The Bourne Identity, Apocalypse Watch, and the Bourne Supremacy.

Bourne Identity Novel

The author, Robert Ludlum, is someone who can really paint a vivid picture of anywhere in the world he wants to take you. In this story there are lots of places involved. He is an exceptional writer with a great attention to detail, unlike any I’ve ever experienced before. He packs a load of information onto each and every page. This makes it a not so easy read, but if you can stay with it, the rewards are well worth it.

This story starts off with a floating body in the ocean waters just off the beautiful coast of Marseille. The a trawler comes by and rescues the man, who is also shot, and hasn’t much hope of living. He’s been in the water for 12 long hours, freezing.

So once they hit the coast, the man is taken to a doctor. He finally comes to and suffers from amnesia, and has no idea who he is. The only thing he has is a fiche, which has been implanted into his hip, with the number and the name from some Swiss bank account. It’s the only clue to his identity, aside from that, he could be just about anyone.

The doctor continues his work with the man, but gradually realizes that this man is not an average man, but a very highly trained professional of some kind, and believes him to be an assassin. The story move ahead to a deadly chase with the man trying to find out his true identity. No matter where he goes, people are wanting to kill him. He begins to realize that he is very capable in dealing with these situations, more than just an average joe. He strives to discover his connection and identity with the Swiss bank, and to find out who he really is. But he has to do it before Carlos (Europe’s most lethal hit man), or the American authorities can do away with him.

While Bourne is trained as a killer, responsible for many deaths, you still find yourself rooting for him. You realize that you only know him since the amnesia, and aren’t sure what he was before that. He could be someone totally different from what’s being revealed at this time.

The whole character of Bourne is indeed quite interesting. It’s a very clever concept, and you are contantly discovering new things as the story unfolds, at the same time as the man himself. And you have no guarantee that everything is as it seems, so you find yourself trying to figure things out and make assumptions as you stay glued to every detail.

The Bourne Supremacy and the Bourne Ultimatum are the two sequels that dig deeper into his past. There’s also one called the Bourne Legacy, written by Eric Van Lustbader as our Robert Ludlum.

Other Ludlum Novels

The Scarlatti Inheritance (1971)
The Osterman Weekend (1972)
The Matlock Paper (1973)
Trevayne (1973, writing under the pen-name Jonathan Ryder)
The Cry of the Halidon (1974, writing under the pen-name Jonathan Ryder)
The Rhinemann Exchange (1974)
The Road to Gandolfo (1975, writing under the pen-name Michael Shephard)
The Gemini Contenders (1976)
The Chancellor Manuscript (1977)
The Holcroft Covenant (1978)
The Matarese Circle (1979)
The Bourne Identity (1980)
The Parsifal Mosaic (1982)
The Aquitaine Progression (1984)
The Bourne Supremacy (1986)
The Icarus Agenda (1988)
The Bourne Ultimatum (1990)
The Road to Omaha (1992)
The Scorpio Illusion (1993)
The Apocalypse Watch (1995)
The Matarese Countdown (1997)
The Prometheus Deception (2000)

Covert One Books

Covert-One series
Written by other authors, supposedly based on unpublished material by Robert Ludlum.

The Hades Factor (by Gayle Lynds) (2000)
The Cassandra Compact (by Phillip Shelby) (2001)
The Paris Option (by Gayle Lynds) (2002)
The Altman Code (by Gayle Lynds) (2003)
The Lazarus Vendetta (by Patrick Larkin) (2004)
The Moscow Vector (by Patrick Larkin) (2005)
The Arctic Event (by James H. Cobb) (2007)

Covert One

The Covert One series is a series of thriller novels authored by various acclaimed authors in partnership with the famous late Robert Ludlum. This series of books feature a political and technical team of experts from a leading top-secret agency in the US known as Covert-One, who work hard to find conspiracy and corruption at the highest, most feared and most dangerous levels in the society.

The Plot Synopsis of the Covert One Series

The Hades Factor

The first main crisis that hits the life of Jon Smith is the Hades project, a very evil and at the same time deadly viral experiment. This virus was first tested on 6 Iraqi soldiers and 6 US soldiers in the First Gulf War to hit the world. Several years later, 3 people, a young teenage girl, a Vietnam Veteran, and a Gulf War Army Major all died of unnatural but very disturbing causes.

In this Robert Ludlum novel which he co-authored with Gayle Lynds, he explains that the virus, even though it cannot be easily transmitted, gradually spreads across different parts of the world, killing almost half a million of the population. Jon’s Smith Fiancé and co-worker, Miss Sophia Rusells easily identifies the symptoms and associates them with some similar to a deadly Monkey Blood Virus that she encountered back in Peru when working together with Victor Tremont. After discussing with Tremont, Rusells starts to develop the virus’ symptoms.

In the meantime, Jon Smith is going back to Fort Detrick after a successful assignment but on the way he is attacked by several rascal goons, whom he overpowers after several close shaves, which sends their team leader, Mr. Nadal al-Hassan in shock and disbelief. After getting back, he finds his dear Sophia terribly sick and regardless of all the efforts he puts forth to treat and resuscitate her, Sophia succumbs and passes on within 3 hours of his arrival. After an autopsy is done and much exploration on the results, it is finally established that Sophia died of a lethal injection that was directed to her ankle by Nadal al-Hassan.

Infuriated by the loss of his loved one, Jon Smith swears revenge on the killer, and joins hands with Randi Russell, A CIA operative who happens to be the sister of the late Sophia, and Peter Howell who happens to be a former M16 agent of the British to uncover and take revenge on whoever was behind the virus that murdered Sophia.

Notwithstanding his desperate efforts and calls for action, Jon is assumed to be a villain by the US government so for him to be able to uncover Sophia’s murderer, it will mean he has to keep away from the US government by all means possible. Working together with Marty Zellerbach, a computer whiz with Asperger syndrome, they both discover that someone by the name Victor Tremont, who is the deputy director of an established medical company, has been infecting the population with the deadly virus via its widespread distribution in antibiotics. Jon Smith reveals the whole truth to the whole world before the US president, Samuel Adams Castilla, and then goes ahead to capture Victor Tremont and hold him captive until he is officially arrested.

Despite the fact that all charges against him were dropped, Jon voluntarily quits the USAMRIID. In the meantime, Nathaniel Fredrick Klein, an enigmatic man approaches Jon and requests his honor to join the Covert-One. This gives Jon a new reason to live, and he voluntarily agrees.