When Robert Ludlum died in March of 2001, millions of fans mourned the passing of a brilliant and prolific storyteller and the loss of future novels featuring his most popular character, CIA operative Jason Bourne.

But after the tremendous international success of the 2002 film adaptation of The Bourne Identity starring Matt Damon (its sequel, The Bourne Supremacy, is scheduled to hit theaters July 23) and the ever-increasing demand worldwide for a new installment in the Bourne saga, the Ludlum estate turned to Eric Van Lustbader, author of best-selling thrillers like The Ninja and Black Heart and one of Ludlum's friends. Lustbader, a longtime admirer of Ludlum's Bourne sequence, says he "jumped at the chance, because the estate promised I could do my own story and write in my own style." The result, he says, surprised even him. "In many ways it's the best novel I've ever written."

The Bourne Legacy begins with David Webb (aka Jason Bourne) retired from the CIA and teaching linguistics at Georgetown University. But when an assassin almost kills him on campus and he is framed for the murder of his two closest friends, Webb is forced to revert to his deadly Bourne persona. With the full force of the CIA and a relentless assassin closing in on him, Bourne must stay alive long enough to figure out who set him up, and why. His desperate quest, which takes him to Paris, Crete, Budapest and Iceland, also leads him to the last place he wants to go his past. Lustbader was right: The Bourne Legacy is arguably his best work to date. (And the shocking bombshells that he drops regarding the character of Jason Bourne will have fans of this series talking for months.) Powered by highly volatile, raw-edged emotion, and dozens of complex characters, each with their own intriguing history, The Bourne Legacy will leave readers furiously turning pages until its breathtaking (and heart-wrenching) conclusion.

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