Celebrated as a modern day James Bond, some suggest that the fictional character Jason Bourne has become more famous than his real-life creator, Robert Ludlum. One thing is for sure, Ludlum has written some of the bestselling books in the modern spy thriller genre. It is estimated that he has sold more than 400 million books around the world.
Ludlum’s plots focus on international conspiracies that are usually stopped by a crusading hero, or by an unlikely champion who finds himself embroiled in the adventure without his initial knowledge. They involve the classic “good versus evil” theme but with the addition of more complex sub-plots which include lies, double agents and manipulation from government. This results in the reader being swept along in the all action plots, to be interrupted only with another subtle revelation or plot twist.
The formula is one that has clearly worked, with many of his stories being adapted successfully for TV and film. Such is the desire to continue his work, nearly as many books have been published in his name after his death than during his life. Since passing away in 2001, more than twenty books have been written either from his original manuscripts or by other authors under the Ludlum name.
The majority of Ludlum’s books are standalone thrillers. Titles such as his debut work The Scarletti Inheritance in 1971 and The Icarus Agenda from 1988 sit alongside the original trilogy of Bourne books. For collectors, first editions of many of his books come on sale as partial collections. Prices are generally quite accessible with very few titles reaching more than a hundred dollars at auction.
With the fifth Bourne film released in 2016, the interest in the franchise continues to be high. While Ludlum is sadly no longer writing for his fans, the legacy he first created continues to give enjoyment to many. First editions of his books may yet start to enjoy even greater appeal.
Ludlum, Robert. The Matlock Paper. The Dial Press, New York (1973). Stated 1st printing on copyright page; Author's third novel
Ludlum, Robert. The Cry of the Halidon. Delacorte Press, New York (1974). $8.95 on front flap
Ludlum, Robert. The Rhinemann Exchange. Dial Press, New York (1974). original price of $8.95 on the front dustjacket flap; First Printing, 1974 stated on copyright page
Ludlum, Robert. The Road To Gandolfo. Dial, New York (1975). Stated First Printing; $7.95 price on DJ flap
Ludlum, Robert. The Holcroft Covenant. Richard Marek, New York (1978). price of $10.95 on front dustjacket flap
Ludlum, Robert. The Bourne Identity. Richard Marek Publishers, New York (1980). $12.95 price intact on dj flap and 8003 and SBN: 399-90070-5on the bottom of the flap; With Copyright 1980 and Printed in the United States ofAmerica at the bottom of the copyright page
Ludlum, Robert. The Aquitaine Progression. Random House, New York (1984). $17.95 on front dustjacket flap
Ludlum, Robert. The Bourne Ultimatum. Grafton, London (1990). First British edition.
Ludlum, Robert. The Bourne Ultimatum. Random House, New York (1990). First Random House Edition, stated, number line 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2; stated 1st Edition; 350 copies.
Ludlum, Robert. The Scarlatti Inheritance. Armchair Detective Library, New York (1990). 100 copies; 26 lettered copies; Signed Limited Edition
Ludlum, Robert. The Osterman Weekend. Armchair Detective Library, New York (1991). US First Edition; 100 copies; Signed Limited Edition
Ludlum, Robert. Apocalypse Watch. Bantam, New York (1995). price of $24.95
Ludlum, Robert. The Matarese Countdown. Bantam, New York (1997). price of $27.50 on front dustjacket flap;
Ludlum, Robert. The Janson Directive. St Martins Press, New York (2002). price of $27.95 on dustjacket flap