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The Bourne Supremacy: Jason Bourne Book #2
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The Bourne Supremacy: Jason Bourne Book #2 [Format Kindle]

Robert Ludlum

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Chapter One

Kowloon. The teeming final extension of China that is no part of the north except in spirit--but the spirit runs deep and descends into the caverns of men's souls without regard for the harsh, irrelevant practicalities of political borders. The land and the water are one, and it is the will of the spirit that determines how man will use the land and the water--again without regard for such abstractions as useless freedom or escapable confinement. The concern is only with empty stomachs, with women's stomachs, children's stomachs. Survival. There is nothing else. All the rest is dung to be spread over the infertile fields.

It was sundown, and both in Kowloon and across Victoria Harbor on the island of Hong Kong an unseen blanket was gradually being lowered over the territory's daylight chaos. The screeching Aiyas! of the street merchants were muted with the shadows, and quiet negotiations in the upper regions of the cold, majestic structures of glass and steel that marked the colony's skyline were ending with nods and shrugs and brief smiles of silent accommodation. Night was coming, proclaimed by a blinding orange sun piercing an immense, jagged, fragmented wall of clouds in the west--sharply defined shafts of uncompromising energy about to plunge over the horizon, unwilling to let this part of the world forget the light.

Soon darkness would spread across the sky, but not below. Below, the blazing lights of human invention would garishly illuminate the earth--this part of the earth where the land and the water are anxious avenues of access and conflict. And with the never-ending, ever-strident nocturnal carnival, other games would begin, games the human race should have abandoned with the first light of Creation. But there was no human life then--so who recorded it? Who knew? Who cared? Death was not a commodity.

A small motorboat, its powerful engine belying its shabby exterior, sped through the Lamma Channel, heading around the coastline toward the harbor. To a disinterested observer it was merely one more xiao wanju, a legacy to a first son from a once unworthy fisherman who had struck minor riches--a crazy night of mahjongg, hashish from the Triangle, smuggled jewels out of Macao--who cared how? The son could cast his nets or run his merchandise more efficiently by using a fast propeller rather than the slow sail of a junk or the sluggish engine of a sampan. Even the Chinese border guards and the marine patrols on and off the shores of the Shenzen Wan did not fire on such insignificant transgressors; they were unimportant, and who knew what families beyond the New Territories on the Mainland might benefit? It could be one of their own. The sweet herbs from the hills still brought full stomachs--perhaps filling one of their own. Who cared? Let them come. Let them go.

The small craft with its Bimini canvas enveloping both sides of the forward cockpit cut its speed and cautiously zigzagged through the scattered flotilla of junks and sampans returning to their crowded berths in Aberdeen. One after another the boat people shrieked angry curses at the intruder, at its impudent engine and its more impudent wake. Then each became strangely silent as the rude interloper passed; something under the canvas quieted their sudden bursts of fury.

The boat raced into the harbor's corridor, a dark, watery path now bordered by the blazing lights of the island of Hong Kong on the right, Kowloon on the left. Three minutes later the outboard motor audibly sank into its lowest register as the hull swerved slowly past two filthy barges docked at the godown, and slid into an empty space on the west side of the Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon's crowded, dollar-conscious waterfront. The strident hordes of merchants, setting up their nightly tourist traps on the wharf, paid no attention; it was merely one more jigi coming in from the catch. Who cared?

Then, like the boat people out in the channel, the stalls on the waterfront nearest the insignificant intruder began to quiet down. Excited voices were silenced amid screeching commands and countercommands as eyes were drawn to a figure climbing up the black, oil-soaked ladder to the pier.

He was a holy man. His shrouded figure was draped in a pure white caftan that accentuated his tall slender body--very tall for a Zhongguo ren, nearly six feet in height, perhaps. Little could be seen of his face, however, as the cloth was loose and the breezes kept pressing the white fabric across his dark features, drawing out the whiteness of his eyes--determined eyes, zealous eyes. This was no ordinary priest, anyone could see that. He was a heshang, a chosen one selected by elders steeped in wisdom who could perceive the inner spiritual knowledge of a young monk destined for higher things. And it did not hurt that such a monk was tall and slender and had eyes of fire. Such holy men drew attention to themselves, to their personages--to their eyes--and generous contributions followed, both in fear and in awe; mostly fear. Perhaps this heshang came from one of the mystic sects that wandered through the hills and forests of the Guangze, or from a religious brotherhood in the mountains of far-off Qing Gaoyuan--descendants, it was said, of a people in the distant Himalayas--they were always quite ostentatious and generally to be feared the most, for few understood their obscure teachings. Teachings that were couched in gentleness, but with subtle hints of indescribable agony should their lessons go unheeded. There was too much agony on the land and the water--who needed more? So give to the spirits, to the eyes of fire. Perhaps it would be recorded. Somewhere.

The white-robed figure walked slowly through the parting crowds on the wharf, past the congested Star Ferry pier, and disappeared into the growing pandemonium of the Tsim Sha Tsui. The moment had passed; the stalls returned to their hysteria.

The priest headed east on Salisbury Road until he reached the Peninsula Hotel, whose subdued elegance was losing the battle with its surroundings. He then turned north into Nathan Road, to the base of the glittering Golden Mile, that strip of strips where opposing multitudes shrieked for attention. Both natives and tourists alike took notice of the stately holy man as he passed crowded storefronts and alleys bulging with merchandise, three-story discos and topless cafés where huge, amateurish billboards hawked Oriental charms above stalls offering the steamed delicacies of the noonday dim sum. He walked for nearly ten minutes through the garish carnival, now and then acknowledging glances with a slight bow of his head, and twice shaking it while issuing commands to the same short, muscular Zhongguo ren, who alternately followed him, then passed him with quick, dancelike steps, turning to search the intense eyes for a sign.

The sign came--two abrupt nods--as the priest turned and walked through the beaded entrance of a raucous cabaret. The Zhongguo ren remained outside, his hand unobtrusively under his loose tunic, his own eyes darting about the crazy street, a thoroughfare he could not understand. It was insane! Outrageous! But he was the tudi; he would protect the holy man with his life, no matter the assault on his own sensibilities.

Inside the cabaret the heavy layers of smoke were slashed by roving colored lights, most whirling in circles and directed toward a platform stage where a rock group ululated in deafening frenzy, a frantic admixture of punk and Far East. Shiny black, tight-fitting, ill-fitting trousers quivered maniacally on spindly legs below black leather jackets over soiled white silk shirts open to the waist, while each head was shaved around its skull at the temple line, each face grotesque, heavily made up to accentuate its essentially passive Oriental character. And as if to emphasize the conflict between East and West, the jarring music would occasionally, startlingly, come to a stop, as the plaintive strains of a simple Chinese melody emerged from a single instrument, while the figures remained rigid under the swirling bombardment of the spotlights.

The priest stood still for a moment surveying the huge crowded room. A number of customers in varying stages of drunkenness looked up at him from the tables. Several rolled coins in his direction before they turned away, while a few got out of their chairs, dropped Hong Kong dollars beside their drinks, and headed for the door. The heshang was having an effect, but not the effect desired by the obese, tuxedoed man who approached him.

"May I be of assistance, Holy One?" asked the cabaret's manager.

The priest leaned forward and spoke into the man's ear, whispering a name. The manager's eyes widened, then he bowed and gestured toward a small table by the wall. The priest nodded back in appreciation and walked behind the man to his chair as adjacent customers took uncomfortable notice.

The manager leaned down and spoke with a reverence he did not feel. "Would you care for refreshment, Holy One?"

"Goat's milk, if it is by chance available. If not, plain water will be more than sufficient. And I thank you."

"It is the privilege of the establishment," said the tuxedoed man, bowing and moving away, trying to place the slow, softly spoken dialect he could not recognize. It did not matter. This tall, white-robed priest had business with the laoban, and that was all that mattered. He had actually used the laoban's name, a name seldom spoken in the Golden Mile, and on this particular evening the powerful taipan was on the premises--in a room he would not publicly acknowledge knowing. But it was not the province of the manager to tell the laoban that the priest had arrived; the berobed one had made that clear. All was privacy this night, he had insisted. When the august taipan wished to see him, a man would come out to find him. So be it; it was the way of the secretive laoban, one of the wealthiest and most illustrious taipans in Hong Kong.

"Send a kitchen stick down the street for some fuck-fuck...

From Publishers Weekly

Ludlum has never come up with a more head-spinning, spine-jolting, intricately mystifying, Armageddonish, in short Ludlumesque, thriller than this. A Peking leader of seemingly irreproachable reputation, secretly a Kuomintang fanatic, has masterminded a plot to take over Hong Kong via political assassination, the result of which would be civil war in China and possibly global disaster. His principal agent is an assassin-for-hire masquerading as the legendary "Jason Bourne," a one-time secret U.S. agent now, under his real name David Webb, struggling with the aid of a psychiatrist and his loving wife Marie to recover from amnesia. Only one man can destroy the conspiracy: Webb, who must be persuaded to re-assume his Bourne identity, track down the impostor and through him lay a trap for the vile Shengthe "persuasion" to be by way of his abducted wife. The action jolts from the back alleys of Hong Kong and Kowloon to a secret government complex in the Colorado mountains to the seats of power in Peking and even the interior of Mao's tomb. Every chapter ends with a cliff-hanger; the story brims with assassination, torture, hand-to-hand combat, sudden surprise and intrigue within intrigue. It's a sure-fire bestseller. 650,000 first printing; $150,000 ad/promo; BOMC selection; Franklin Library limited edition.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 2232 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 690 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 034553820X
  • Editeur : Bantam; Édition : Reissue (14 août 2012)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B008XCLT5W
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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Commentaires en ligne 

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 3.9 étoiles sur 5  182 commentaires
53 internautes sur 57 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 This is the best Ludlum there is 11 février 2001
Par P. Elkin - Publié sur
If you've read more than a couple of Ludlum's books, you're probably thinking the same thing I am. After the 3rd or 4th one, you start to lose track of which betrayed and desperate agent is running from which evil and corrupted government agency. They sorta run together, don't they? It's Ludlum's formula and it has obviously served him very well.
"The Bourne Supremacy" is a different kettle of fish, though. There's no mistaking this one with anything else Ludlum, or anyone else, has written. This book kicks some serious posterior.
There were times in the middle of it that my head was spinning. What the heck was going on? If the action wasn't so insanely great, I might have bailed. But the action, my God, the action... Andy McNab is the only other writer that I'm aware of who can write action as well, but even his pales in comparison.
The plot eventually makes itself clear, and it's pretty cool when it does. And have I mentioned the action? There are so many absolutely great scenes that I'm not even going to bother listing them. Trust me, it's good stuff.
OK, so the scene on the grounds of the Embassy house is drawn out a bit too long, and some of the dialog in that same scene is a little silly, but that's nitpicky. This is BY FAR the best Ludlum has ever done, and it's in my Top 5 of all time. READ THIS BOOK!
19 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Not as good as "The Bourne Identity" 3 septembre 2003
Par Photopro - Publié sur
Ludlum had a heck of a lot to live up to when he decided to bring Jason Bourne back into action. I mean, it is pretty hard to top a book as thrilling and fun as "The Bourne Identity". Unfortunatly, I have to say that I feel he fell short of living up to all he created.
This book was good. I will say that much. I would not pass it by if you have read the first in the series, but Ludlum seemed to drag on way to much making a lot of the book a little dull. The beginning grabs you, and wont let go for a good 200 pages, but then things get slow, and I actually found myself wanting to stop reading. That is not like me at all. It is also the reason this book took me almost 3 months to read, between giving it a break for faster paced novels and me rather sleeping than staying up to read it.
After struggling through the middle 200 pages, I got hooked again, and ended up reading the rest of the book in a matter of days. I could not put it down.
So, I guess I can say that it is not a total flop, and I am still planning on reading the third in the Bourne series, but I only gave it three stars because of the slow middle.
You should at least pick this book up and read it for the awesome beginning and ending 200 pages.
24 internautes sur 30 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 good, but not as good as the first one 29 avril 2002
Par Tina Morris - Publié sur
Format:Poche|Achat vérifié
This is the second book of Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne trilogy, and it tears David Webb out of his new-found peaceful life with his wife in a quiet little town in Maine. Again the government needs his help as Jason Bourne or Delta, the man from Medusa and Threadstone 71. Knowing that he will not volunteer his help after all that CIA and State Department have done to him, a story is rigged and his wife is kidnapped. Webb snaps and in the desired effect is on his way to Asia to track a Bourne-impostor who is killing highly-placed officials in Kowloon and Hong Kong. Things run off the wire when Bourne's wife escapes her custody and finds help at the Canadian consulate from an old friend.
While the whole story is as action-packed and twisted as the first installment of the Bourne trilogy, it is a little bit harder to get into at the beginning and seems overall a bit more constured. Ludlum is a master of complicated scenarios and he moves about his many locations and characters with ease and skill. He storylines are well-drawn and compelling, but in direct comparison the book is no match to its pre-decessor.
8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Supremely mediocre 1 septembre 2004
Par Piety Hill Booksellers - Publié sur
As other reviews have been equally and accurately critical, I'll be brief:

- The dialog is almost always silly.
- The schizophrenic inner rantings of Bourne become tiresome after the third chapter.
+ The action is fairly well scripted, if a little beyond belief.
+ Ludlum manages to form a fairly intriguing premise for bringing Bourne back from the "dead".
- Readers of his first book will likely be dissapointed by the follow-up but then who hasn't been (Indiana Jone & the Temple of Doom?).
- Considering the genre, this book ranks among.....well it ranks among the genre, what can I say?

There, you've been forwarned.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Superb Sequel 22 août 2002
Par Rohan Krishnamurti - Publié sur
Its always been the case that when a sequel is released to a very successful movie, or a book or anything of that sort, it generally turns out to be a dud compared to the first part.
How about this for a change? A sequel to a highly successful book turns out to be just as exciting and even more intriguing than its predecessor. Well folks, thats Robert Ludlum for you. Only a writer like him can dish out something extraordinary like this.
The Bourne Supremacy is a treat for all Jason Bourne fans. Its packed with loads of action, great plot and some interesting new characters. The caption on the back cover says, This time Bourne must reign supreme, and he does in style.
I felt the plot of using Bourne this time to track down another Assasin who's supposed to be his clone, was quite well handled and pretty much flawless. Those who missed Carlos in this book, don't worry, he's waiting in the Bourne Ultimatum.
All in all, a fantastic book, brilliant read!
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