With 27 thriller novels under his belt, 500 million copies sold, books written in 33 languages and sold in over 40 countries, Robert Ludlum was a force in his day. An American, Ludlum served in the US Marine Corps, was a theatrical actor and producer in addition to being one of the best thriller writers of all time. He once remarked: “I equate suspense and good theatre in a very similar way. I think it’s all suspense and what-happens-next. From that point of view, yes, I guess, I am theatrical.”
Ludlum wasn’t too shy of pseudonyms as well, Jonathon Ryder and Michael Shepherd being his two. His work is typically marked by a hero or a group of crusading individuals. Most famous for creating the character of Jason Bourne, his legacy continues in spite of his death. Jason Bourne (and Robert Ludlum) became a household name during the 80’s. His books involve the protagonist in a struggle against powerful adversaries who are capable of using economic and political techniques in intimidating ways. With his gripping and comprehensive writing, Ludlum became popular and loved during his time as a fabled writer. He was a fictional whistle-blower if not anything more. His novels were often based on conspiracy theories both historical and contemporary. He wrote that The Matarese Circle was inspired by rumours about the Trilateral Commission, and it was published only a few years after the commission was founded. His depictions of terrorism in books such as The Holcroft Covenant and The Matarese Circle reflected the theory that terrorists, rather than being merely isolated bands of ideologically motivated extremists, are actually pawns of governments or private organizations that are using them to facilitate the establishment of authoritarian rule.
His larger than life stories entertained millions and amused some. Critics often noted that his work was too dramatic and highly cinematic. Nothing stopped him from writing epic thrillers about people who took on the world and came out on top! Even after his death novels with Jason Bourne continue to be published under the name of Eric Van Lustbader. His legacy and his creations will be a part of folklore till eternity.