Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Ambler Warning

The Ambler WarningRobert Ludlum passed away in 2001. He's probably best known for his "Bourne" series that have recently turned into Matt Damon movies. I LOVED the "Bourne" books... tolerated the movies. In 2005, his estate releases a new book: The Ambler Warning. It's unclear to me whether this was a completely ghostwritten book or if it was an unfinished (or unpolished) book that was completed after his death.

The book opens with Hal Ambler in a high security government phsycho ward. He doesn't remember how or why he got there, he just knows he has to get out...

So... he escapes.

As he tries to learn about what happened to him, he sees that his life is disappearing in front of him (or behind him, depending on how you look at it). His apartment was never his. His private fishing hole never existed. Old friends never heard of him. But, at every turn someone was there to kill him or capture him.

Ambler gets recruited by a non-government covert operations group that seems to be hiring his old Consular Ops buddies. He decides to work with them to see if he can exposed what happened to him and try to determine if he actually is crazy (like doctors said) or if he's being played. The mission he's sent on ends up having world-wide effects and he has to stop the bad guys.

Much like the Bourne before him, Ambler does some very unbelievable things. He can sneak past anyone, defeat any foe, has eyes in the back of his head, ... But, I did like him as a character. The events leading to the end are exciting, but I found the ending to be very predictable.

A friend said he felt that it read as if Ludlum wrote most or all of the book before his passing and his editors had to tweak it. I don't think it had the same feeling that the Bourne books gave. Ludlum had a very recognizable style and I don't think this book had it.

If you're looking for a faintly familiar spy novel to read, borrow this from the library. If you're looking for something to read after finishing the Bourne series, check out The Chancellor Manuscript or The Scorpio Illusion.

Image taken from Amazon.