The Bourne Deception is the seventh Jason Bourne book, and the fourth Bourne novel written by Eric Van Lustbader. 

Below the publisher's summary is our synopsis of the Bourne Deception. You can read our summary, listen to a section read from the audio book, even read an excerpt from the book. You can also find links to the Bourne Deception book and audio book (both in CD and downloadable format). Enjoy!

Publisher's summary
After Bourne is ambushed and nearly killed while in Indonesia, he fakes his death to take on a new identity and mission- to find out who is trying to assassinate him. In the process, Bourne begins to question who he really is and what he would become if he no longer carried the Bourne identity.
Across the globe, an American passenger airliner is shot down over Egypt-apparently by an Iranian missile-leaving the world wondering if it was an accident or an act of aggression. A massive global team lead by Soraya Moore is assembled to investigate the attack before the situation escalates.
When Bourne's search for his would-be assassin intersects with Soraya's search for the group behind the airplane bombing, Bourne is thrust into a race to prevent a new world war. But it may already be too late.
The Bourne Deception Audio Book

The Bourne Deception, the seventh book in the Jason Bourne series, is also available as an audio book (both on CD and in downloadable format). This is Eric Van Lustbader's fourth Jason Bourne series book.

Here is the first part of the prologue of The Bourne Deception, as heard on the unabridged audio book (read by Jeremy Davidson).

01-01 Bourne Deception - Prologue.mp3



The Bourne Deception is a continuation of the 6th book, the Bourne Sanction. After the events of the last book, Jason Bourne and Moira Trevor are getting some much-needed rest in Bali, Indonesia. Bourne’s enemy Arkadin, who Bourne believes to be dead, has found Bourne and shoots him through the heart (or so he believes). Bourne, badly wounded but alive, asks Moira to tell everyone that he is dead, while he tries to recover. Jason then sets off on a mission to discover who wanted him dead (this time), and how they could have possibly found him.

While this is happening on Bali, an American commercial jet, full of passengers, is shot down over Egyptian airspace, with an Iranian ground-to-air missile, killing all passengers. Soraya Moore of the CIA is sent, along with an NSA team, to investigate.

Bourne’s personal investigation eventually overlaps with the international investigation. After determining that the Iranians shot down the American plane, elements of the U.S. Government are quick to assert that Iran has committed an act of war that must not go unpunished. It later turns out that the shooting down of the plane, and Bourne’s investigation, and part of an intricate web woven by the Secretary of Defense and Black River – the highly powerful, global reaching defense contractor.

Below you can find The Bourne Deception book in just about any format you could want: book (hard cover & paperback), CD audio book, even Kindle edition!

However, there are two wile cards that Black River and the Secretary of Defense did not take into account: Arkadin, and Jason Bourne. For his part, Arkadin deduces that Bourne is alive, and uses him as a pawn in his plan to take over the Eastern Brotherhood, as well as a vast oil field in Iran.

Bourne, racing to find out who was behind the attack on his life (and why), slowly comes to realize that he has once again been played by Arkadin, and tries to reverse the trap against his prodigious, half-crazed nemesis. At the same time, he must also do what he can do avert the threat of war, as U.S. forces contemplate an attack against Iran.

Read an excerpt from the Bourne Deception (Prologue):

Jason Bourne was at peace. At long last his grieving for Marie was over, the guilt lifted from his heart. He lay side by side with Moira, on a bale, a huge Balinese daybed with a thatched roof, supported by four carved wooden posts. The bale was set into a low stone wall to one side of a three-tiered infinity pool that overlooked the Lombok Strait in southeast Bali. Because the Balinese were aware of everything and forgot nothing, after the first day their bale was set up for them each morning when they arrived for their pre-breakfast swim, and their waitress would bring without being asked the drink that Moira loved most: a Bali Sunrise, consisting of chilled sour orange, mango, and passion fruit juices. 

“There is no time but time,” Moira said dreamily.

Bourne stirred. “Translation.”

“Do you know what time it is?”

“I don’t care.”

“My point,” she said. “We’ve been here ten days; it feels like ten months.” She laughed. “I mean that in the best way possible.”

Swifts darted like bats from tree to tree, or skimmed the surface of the highest pool. The muted crash of the surf lulled them from below. Moments ago two small Balinese girls had presented them with a handful of fresh blossoms in a bowl of palm leaves they had woven by hand. Now the air was perfumed with the exotic scents of frangipani and tuberose. 

Moira turned to him. “It’s as they say: On Bali time stands still, and in that stillness lie many lifetimes.”

Bourne, his eyes half closed, was dreaming of another life—his life—but the images were dark and murky, as if seen through a projector with a faulty bulb. He’d been here before, he knew it. There was a vibration from the wind, the restful sea, the smiling people, the island itself to which something inside him resonated. It was déjà-vu, yes, but it was also more. Something had called him back here, had drawn him like a magnet to true north, and now that he was here he could almost reach out and touch it. Yet still its secret eluded him. 

What had happened here? Something important, something he needed to remember. He sank deeper into his dream of a life lived on the edge of yesterday. In the dream he roamed across Bali until he came to the Indian Ocean. There, rising out of the creaming surf, was a pillar of fire. It rose up into the clear blue sky until its tip touched the sun. As a shadow he went across the sand, soft as talcum, to embrace the flames. 

He awoke, wanting to tell Moira about his dream, but for some reason he didn't.


That evening, on the way down to the beach club at the foot of the cliff on which the hotel was perched, Moira stopped at one of the many shrines strewn around the property. It was made of stone, its haunches draped with a checkered black-and-white cloth. A small yellow umbrella shaded the upper part; onto it had been laid a number of offerings of brightly colored flowers in woven palm leaf cups. The cloth and the umbrella were signs that the local spirit was in residence. The cloth’s pattern had a meaning also: White and black represented the Balinese duality of gods and demons, good and evil. 

Kicking off her sandals, Moira stepped onto the square stone in front of the shrine, put her palms together at forehead height, and bowed her head. 

“I didn’t know you were a practicing Hindu,” Bourne said when she was finished.

Moira picked her sandals up, swung them at her side. “I was thanking the spirit for our time here, for all the gifts Bali has to offer.” She gave him a wry smile. “And I was thanking the spirit of the suckling pig we ate yesterday for sacrificing himself for us.” 

They had booked the evening alone at the beach club. Towels were waiting for them, as well as frosty glasses of mango lassi, and pitchers of tropical juices and ice water. The attendants had discreetly tucked themselves away in the windowless auxiliary kitchen. 

They spent an hour in the ocean, swimming back and forth just beyond the curling surf line. The water was warm, as soft on the skin as velvet. Across the dark beach, hermit crabs went about their sideways business, and here and there bats could be seen winging in and out of a cave at the other end of the beach, just beyond a finger of rocks, part of the western half of the crescent cove. 

Afterward they drank their mango lassis in the pool, guarded by a huge grinning wooden pig with a medallioned collar and a crown behind its ears. 

“He’s smiling,” Moira said, “because I paid homage to our suckling pig.”

They swam laps, then came together at the end of the pool over-hung by a magnificent frangipani tree with its buttery white and yellow blossoms. Beneath its leafy branches, they held each other, watching the moon move in and out of gathering clouds. A gust of wind clattered the fronds of the thirty-foot palms that lined the beach side of the pool deck, and their legs went from pale to dark. 

“It’s almost over, Jason.”

“What is?”

“This.” Moira wriggled her hand under the water like a fish. “All of this. In a few days we’ll be gone.”

He watched the moon wink out, felt the first fat drops on his face. A moment later, rain goosefleshed the skin of the pool.

She put her head back against his shoulder, deeper into the shadow of the frangipani. “And what will become of us?”

He knew she didn’t want an answer, wanted only to taste the thought on her tongue. He could feel the weight of her, her warmth through the water, against his heart. It was a good weight; it made him drowsy. 

“Jason, what will you do when we get back?”

“I don’t know,” he said truthfully. “I haven’t thought about it.” But he wondered now whether he would leave with her. How could he when something from his past was waiting for him here, so close he could feel its breath on the back of his neck? He said nothing of this, however, because it would require an explanation, and he had none. Just a feeling. And how many times had this feeling saved his life? 

“I’m not going back to NextGen,” she said.

His attention returned fully to her. “When did you come to that decision?”

“While we were here.” She smiled. “Bali has a way of opening the path to decisions. I came here just before I joined Black River. It seems to be an island of transformations, at least for me.” 

“What will you do?”

“I want to start my own risk management firm.”

“Nice.” He smiled. “In direct competition with Black River.”

“If you want to look at it that way.”

“Other people will.”

It was raining harder now; the palm fronds clashed against one another, and it was impossible to see the sky.

“That could be dangerous,” he added.

“Life is dangerous, Jason, like anything governed by chaos.”

“I can’t argue with that. But there’s your old boss, Noah Petersen.”

“That’s his ops name. His real name is Perlis.”

Bourne glanced up at the white flowers, which now began to fall all around them like snow. The sweet scent of frangipani mingled with the fresh smell of the rain. 

“Perlis was none too happy with you when we ran into him in Munich two weeks ago.”

“Noah’s never happy.” Moira snuggled deeper into his arms. “I gave up trying to please him six months before I quit Black River. It was a fool’s game.” 

“The fact remains that we were right about the terrorist attack on the liquid natural gas tanker and he was wrong. I’m willing to bet he hasn’t forgotten. Now that you’re encroaching on his territory you’ll have made an enemy.” 

She laughed softly. “You should talk.”

“Arkadin’s dead,” Bourne said soberly. “He took a header off the LNG tanker into the Pacific off Long Beach. He didn’t survive; no one could.” 

“He was a product of Treadstone, isn’t that what Willard told you?”

“According to Willard, who was there, Arkadin was Alex Conklin’s first success—and his first failure. He was sent to Conklin by Semion Icoupov, the co-head of the Black Legion and the Eastern Brotherhood until Arkadin killed him for shooting his girlfriend.” 

“And his secret partner, Asher Sever, your former mentor, is in a permanent coma.”

“We all get what we deserve, in the end,” Bourne said bitterly.

Moira returned to the subject of Treadstone. “According to Willard, Conklin’s aim was to create a superior warrior—a fighting machine.” 

“That was Arkadin,” Bourne said, “but he escaped the Treadstone program back to Russia, where he got up to all sorts of mayhem, hiring himself out to the heads of various Moscow grupperovka.” 

“And you became his successor—Conklin’s success story.”

“Not if you poll CI’s directorate chiefs,” Bourne said. “They would shoot me dead as soon as look at me.”

“That hasn’t stopped them from coercing you into working for them when they needed you.”

“That’s all over with,” Bourne said.

Moira had just decided to change the subject when the power failed. The lights in the pool and within the open-air beach club itself winked out. The wind and the rain remained swirling in the darkness. Bourne tensed, tried to move her away so he could get up. She could sense him questing in the darkness for the source of the outage. 

“Jason,” she whispered, “it’s all right. We’re safe here.”

He moved them through the water from where they had been sitting to the other side of the pool. She could feel his accelerated heartbeat, his heightened sense of awareness, of waiting for something terrible to happen, and in that instant she was given an insight into his life she’d never had before. 

She wanted to tell him again not to worry, that power outages happened all the time on Bali, but now she knew it would be useless. He was hardwired for this kind of reaction; nothing she could say or do would change that. 

She listened to the wind and the rain, wondering if he heard anything that she didn’t. For an instant she felt a stab of anxiety: What if this wasn’t a simple power outage? What if they were being stalked by one of Jason’s enemies? 

All at once, power was restored, causing her to laugh at her foolishness. “I told you,” she said, pointing to the smiling carved pig spirit. “He’s protecting us.” 

Bourne lay back in the water. “There’s no escape,” he said. “Even here.”

“You don’t believe in spirits, good or evil, do you, Jason?”

“I can’t afford to,” he said. “I come across enough evil as it is.”

Picking up on his tone, Moira at last broached the subject closest to her heart. “I’m going to have to do some heavy recruiting right off the bat. It’s certain we’ll see a lot less of each other, at least until I set up my new shop.” 

“Is that a warning or a promise?”

He couldn’t help noting that her laughter had a brittle edge to it. “Okay, I was nervous about bringing it up.”


“You know how it is.”

“Tell me.”

She turned in his arms, sat straddling him in the dimpled water. The rush of the rain through the leaves was all they could hear. 

“Jason, neither of us are the kind of people… I mean, we both live the kind of life that makes it difficult to hold on to a steady anything, especially relationships, so—” 

He cut her off by kissing her. When they came up for air, he said in her ear, “It’s okay. We have this now. If we need more, we’ll come back.” 

Her heart was gripped by joy. She hugged him tight. “It’s a deal. Oh, yes, it is.” 

Leonid Arkadin’s flight from Singapore arrived on time. At customs, he paid for his entry visa, then walked quickly through the terminal until he found a men’s room. Inside, he went into a stall, shut the door, and latched it. From a shoulder pack he took out the bulbous latex nose, three pots of makeup, soft plastic cheek inserts, and gray contact lenses he’d used in Munich. Not more than eight minutes later, exiting the stall, he went to the line of sinks and stared at his altered appearance, which was once again the very image of Bourne’s friend, the FSB-2 colonel Boris Karpov. 

Packing up the case, he crossed the terminal, out into the heat and the dense texture of humanity. Climbing into the air-conditioned car he’d hired was a blessed relief. As the taxi exited Ngurah Rai International Airport, he leaned forward, said “Badung Market” to the driver. The young man nodded, grinned, and, along with an armada of kids on motor scooters, promptly got stuck behind an enormous truck lumbering toward the Lombok ferry. 

After a harrowing twenty-minute ride during which they overtook the truck by dodging oncoming traffic, played chicken with a pair of teenagers on motorbikes, and almost ran over one of the thousands of feral dogs on the island, they arrived on Jl. Gajah Mada, just across the Badung River. The taxi slowed to a crawl until the seething crowds made further forward progress impossible. Arkadin paid for the driver to hang around until he was ready to be picked up, exited, and went into the tented market. 

He was immediately seized by a score of pungent odors—black shrimp paste, chilies, garlic, karupuk, cinnamon, lemongrass, pandan leaf, galangal, kencur, Salam leaf—and raised voices selling everything from fighting cocks, their plumage dyed pink and orange, to live piglets trussed and tied to bamboo poles for easy transport. 

As he passed a stall filled with widemouthed baskets of spices, the proprietor, an old woman with no upper lip, dug her claw-like hand into a vat of roots, held a palmful out to him. 

“Kencur,” she said. “Kencur very good today.” 

The kencur, Arkadin saw, looked something like ginger, only smaller. Repelled by both the root and its hideous seller, he waved away the kencur and pressed on. 

It was to one of the pig stalls he headed. Halfway there, he was stopped by an insistent tapping on his arm, like the dry scratch of a chicken’s foot. He turned to see a young woman holding a baby in her arms, her eyes beseeching while her brown fingers continued to tap his arm as if it was all they were good for. Ignoring her, he pushed on through the crowd. Aware that if he gave her anything, he’d be immediately besieged by a multitude of others. 

The middle pig dealer was a wide man, squat as a frog, with glittering black eyes, a moon face, and a pronounced limp. After Arkadin spoke the specified phrase in Indonesian, the man led him back through the ranks of trussed piglets, their bodies quivering, their terrified eyes staring straight ahead. In the shadows at the rear of the tent were two stacks of hogs, gutted, skinned, ready for the spit. From the belly cavity of one the man drew out a Remington 700P, which he tried to palm off on Arkadin, until Arkadin refused enough times for him to go on to Plan B, which turned out to be precisely what Arkadin wanted: a Parker Hale M85, a super-accurate bolt-action, heavy-barreled rifle. It had a guaranteed first-round-hit capability up to seventy-eight yards. To this, the vendor added a Schmidt & Bender Police Marksman II 4-16x50 rifle scope. The price for both seemed a bit high even after some vigorous bargaining took it down from the stratosphere, but this close to his prey he wasn’t in any mood to nitpick. Besides, he was getting top-of-the-line product all the way. He got the pig man to throw in a box of full-metal-jacket .30-caliber M118 cartridges and called it a success. He paid and the dealer broke down the rifle, boxed it and the scope into a hard-sided case. 

On the way out, he bought himself a bunch of milk bananas, and ate them slowly and methodically as the taxi made its painfully slow way out of Denpasar. Once on the highway, their speed increased dramatically. The lack of heavy traffic made it easier to get around the trucks that clogged the road. 

In Gianyar he saw an open-air market on his left and told the driver to pull over. Despite the bananas—or perhaps because of them—his stomach was growling for some real food. At the market, he ordered a plate of babi guling, roast suckling pig, and, served on a broad vivid green banana leaf, lawar, coconut and strips of spiced turtle. Its sauce of un-cooked blood appealed to him particularly. He rent the succulent meat of the piglet between his teeth, swallowing quickly to take another bite. 

Because of the clamor of the market, he periodically checked his cell phone. The longer he waited, the greater his tension, but he needed to be patient because it would take some days for his man to be sure of Bourne’s comings and goings. Still, he was uncharacteristically on edge. He put it down to being this close to Bourne, but that only caused him more discomfort. There was something about Bourne that had gotten under his skin, that had become an itch he couldn’t scratch. 

In an effort to control himself, he turned his thoughts to the recent events that had led him here. Two weeks ago Bourne had thrown him off the side of the LNG tanker. It was a long way down into the Pacific, and he had prepared himself by turning his body into a spear, keeping it perfectly vertical so that when he hit the water he wouldn’t break his back or his neck. He went in feetfirst, the force of the fall pushing him so deep the world fell into twilight and he was gripped by a terrible chill that worked its way into his bones before he’d even begun his double-kick upward. 

By the time he broke the surface, the tanker was a blur, steaming toward the docks at Long Beach. Treading water, he swiveled his body around as a submarine captain might swivel his periscope to get the lay of the land, as it were. The vessel nearest to him was a fishing trawler, but until it was an emergency, he wanted no part of it. The captain would be bound to report rescuing a man overboard to the American Coast Guard, which was precisely what Arkadin didn’t want: Bourne was sure to check the records. 

He felt no panic, or even concern. He knew he wouldn’t drown. He was a powerful swimmer with great endurance, even after his exhausting hand-to-hand fight with Bourne aboard the tanker. The sky was blue, except where the brown haze hung over the shore, stretching inland to Los Angeles. The waves lifted him up and swept him into their valleys. He kicked to maintain his position. Now and again curious gulls wheeled overhead. 

After twenty minutes his patience was rewarded. A sixty-foot pleasure craft hove into view, moving at about four times the speed of the trawler. Soon it was near enough to him for him to begin waving. Almost immediately the boat altered course. 

Another fifteen minutes and he was on board, wrapped in two towels and a blanket because his core temperature had dropped below acceptable levels. His lips were blue and he was shivering. The owner, whose name was Manny, fed him some brandy and a chunk of Italian bread and cheese. 

“If you excuse me a minute, I’ll get on the horn with the Coast Guard, tell them I’ve picked you up. What’s your name?”

“Willy,” Arkadin lied. “But I wish you wouldn’t.”

Manny made an apologetic gesture with his meaty shoulders. He was of middle height, red-faced, balding. He was dressed casually but expensively. “Sorry, pal. Rules of the road.” 

“Wait, Manny, wait. It’s like this.” Arkadin was speaking English with a native’s Midwestern twang. His time in America had served him well on many fronts. “Are you married?” 

“Divorced. Twice.”

“See there? I knew you’d understand. See, I’d chartered a boat to take my wife out for a nice day, maybe head over to Catalina for drinks. Anyway, how was I to know my girlfriend stowed away on board. I’d told her I was going fishing with the guys so she thought she’d surprise me.” 

“She did surprise you.”

“Shit,” Arkadin said, “did she ever!” He finished off his brandy, shook his head. “Anyhoo, things got kinda wild. I mean all hell broke loose. You don’t know my wife, she can be a real queen bitch.” 

“I think I was married to her once.” Manny sat back down. “So what did you do?”

Arkadin shrugged. “What could I do? I jumped overboard.”

Manny threw his head back and laughed. He slapped his thigh. “Goddammit! Willy, you sonovabitch!”

“So you see why it’d be so much better if no one knows you picked me up.”

“Sure, sure, I understand, but still…”

“Manny, what’s your line of work, if I might ask?”

“I own a company that imports and sells high-end computer chips.”

“Well, now, isn’t that something?” Arkadin had said. “I think I might have a deal that could net both of us a boatload of money.” 

Arkadin, finishing the last of his lawar at the Gianyar market, laughed to himself. Manny got two hundred thousand dollars, and through one of his regular business shipments Arkadin received the Mexican drug lord Gustavo Moreno’s laptop in Los Angeles without either the FSB-2 or the Kazanskaya being any the wiser. 

He found a bed-and-breakfast—what the Balinese called a home stay—on the outskirts of Gianyar center. Before he settled down for the night he took out the rifle, put it together, loaded it, unloaded it, broke it down. He did this twelve times exactly. Then he pulled the mosquito netting closed, lay down on the bed, and stared unblinking at the ceiling. 

And there was Devra, pale, already a ghost, as he had found her in the artist’s apartment in Munich, shot by Semion Icoupov when her concentration was diverted by Bourne entering the room. Her eyes searched his, looking for something. If only he knew what. 

Even this evil demon of a man had his vanities: Since Devra’s death, he had convinced himself that she was the only woman he had loved or could have loved, because this fueled his desire for one thing: revenge. He had killed Icoupov, but Bourne was still alive. Not only had Bourne been complicit in Devra’s death, but he had also killed Mischa, Arkadin’s best friend. 

Now Bourne had given him a reason to live. His plan to take over the Black Legion—in order to complete his revenge against Icoupov and Sever—wasn’t enough, though his plans for it were large and far ranging, beyond anything either Icoupov or Sever could conceive. But he craved more: a specific target on which to vent his rage. 

Beneath the mosquito netting he periodically broke out into a cold sweat; his brain seemed to be alternately on fire or as sluggish as if it had been submerged in ice. Sleep, already barely known to him, was now out of the question. But he must have fallen asleep at some point because in the darkness he was gripped by a dream: Devra, holding out her slim, white arms to him. Yet when he entered their embrace, her mouth yawned wide, covering him with spewed black bile. She was dead, but he could not forget her, or what she caused in him: the tiniest fissure in the speckled granite of his soul, through which her mysterious light had begun to trickle, like the first snowmelt of spring.  

Moira awoke without the feel of Bourne beside her. Still half asleep, she rolled out of bed, crushing the flower petals they’d found strewn there on their return from their evening at the beach club. Padding across the cool tile floor, she slid open the glass doors. Bourne was sitting on the terrace that overlooked the Lombok Strait. Fingers of salmon-colored clouds drifted just above the eastern horizon. Though the sun had yet to appear, its light shone upward like a beacon beating back the tattered remnants of night. 

Opening the door, she went out onto the terrace. The air was rich with the scent of the potted tuberose sitting on the rattan desk. Bourne became aware of her the moment the door slid back, and he half turned. 

Moira put her hands on his shoulders. “What are you doing?”


She bent down, touched his ear with her lips. “About what?”

“About what a cipher I am. I’m a mystery to myself.”

Typical of him, there was no self-pity in his voice, only frustration. She thought a moment. “You know when you were born.”

“Of course, but that’s the beginning and the end of it.”

She came around in front of him. “Maybe there’s something we can do about that.”

“What d’you mean?”

“There’s a man who lives thirty minutes from here. I’ve heard stories about his amazing abilities.”

Bourne looked at her. “You’re kidding, right?”

She shrugged. “What have you got to lose?” 

The call came and, with an eagerness he hadn’t felt since before Devra was killed, Arkadin climbed onto the motorbike he had ordered the day before. He rechecked a local map and set off. Past the temple complex at Klungkung, right at Goa Lawah, the thruway dipped down closer to the ocean on their right. Then the modern four-lane highway vanished, leaving him back on a two-lane blacktop. Just east of Goa Lawah he turned north, heading along a narrow track into the mountains.  

To begin with,” Suparwita said, “what is the day of your birth?” 

“January fifteenth,” Bourne replied.

Suparwita stared at him for a very long time. He sat perfectly still on the hard-packed earth floor of his hut. Only his eyes moved, minutely, but very quickly, as if they were making complex mathematical calculations. At length, he shook his head. “The man I see before me does not exist—” 

“What do you mean?” Bourne said sharply.

“—therefore, you were not born on the fifteenth of January.”

“That’s what my birth certificate says.” Marie had researched it herself.

“You speak to me of a certificate of birth.” Suparwita spoke slowly and carefully, as if each word were precious. “Which is a piece of paper only.” He smiled, and his beautiful white teeth seemed to light up the dimness. “I know what I know.” 

Suparwita was a large man for a Balinese, with skin dark as mahogany, perfect, unblemished and unlined, making it impossible to guess his age. His hair was thick, black, and naturally wavy. It was pushed back from his forehead by what seemed to Bourne to be the same crown-like band the pig spirit wore. He had powerful-looking arms and shoulders without the usual Western over-muscled definition. His hairless body looked smooth as glass. He was naked from the waist up; below he wore a traditional Balinese sarong of white, brown, and black. His brown feet were bare. 

After breakfast, Moira and Bourne had mounted a rental motorbike and headed into the lush, green countryside, to a thatched-roof house at the end of a narrow dirt path in the jungle, the home of the Balinese holy man named Suparwita who, she claimed, could find out something of Bourne’s lost past. 

Suparwita had greeted them warmly and without surprise as they approached, as if he had been expecting them. Gesturing for them to come inside, he had served them small cups of Balinese coffee and freshly made fried banana fritters, both sweetened with palm sugar syrup. 

“If my birth certificate is wrong,” Bourne said now, “can you tell me when I was born?”

Suparwita’s expressive brown eyes had not stopped their mysterious calculations. “December thirty-one,” the holy man said without hesitation. “You know our universe is overseen by three gods: Brahma, the creator, Vishnu, the preserver, Shiva, the destroyer.” He pronounced Shiva as all Balinese did, so that it sounded like Siwa. He hesitated a moment, as if unsure whether to proceed. “After you leave here you will find yourself at Tenganan.” 

“Tenganan?” Moira said. “Why would we go there?”

Suparwita smiled at her indulgently. “The village is known for double ikat weaving. Double ikat is sacred, it provides protection from the demons of our universe. It is woven in three colors only, the colors of our gods. Blue for Brahma, red for Vishnu, yellow for Shiva.” He handed Moira a card. “You will buy a double ikat here, at the best weaver.” He gave her a hard look. “Please do not forget.” 

“Why would I forget?” Moira asked.

As if her question did not merit an answer, he returned his attention to Bourne. “So you understand completely, the month of December—your birth month—is ruled by Shiva, the god of destruction.” Suparwita paused here, as if out of breath. “But please remember that Shiva is also the god of transformation.” 

The holy man now turned to a low wooden table on which was set a series of small wooden bowls, which were variously filled with powders and what looked like nuts or perhaps dried seedpods. He chose one of these pods, ground it in another bowl with a stone pestle. Then he added a pinch of yellow powder and dumped the mixture into a small iron kettle, which he set over a small wood fire. A cloud of fragrant steam perfumed the room. 

Seven minutes of brewing passed before Suparwita took the kettle off the fire and poured the liquid into a coconut shell cup inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Without a word, he handed the cup to Bourne. When Bourne hesitated, he said, “Drink. Please.” His smile lit up the room again. “It is an elixir made of green coconut juice, cardamom, and kencur. Mainly, it is kencur. You know kencur? It is also called resurrection lily.” He gestured. “Please.” 

Bourne drank the mixture, which tasted of camphor.

“What can you tell me about the life I can’t remember?”

“Everything,” Suparwita said, “and nothing.”

Bourne frowned. “What does that mean?”

“I can tell you nothing more now.”

“Apart from my real birth date, you haven’t told me anything.”

“I have told you everything you need to know.” Suparwita cocked his head to one side. “You aren’t ready to hear more.”

Bourne was growing more impatient by the second. “What makes you say that?”

Suparwita’s eyes engaged Bourne’s. “Because you do not remember me.”

“I’ve met you before?”

“Have you?”

Bourne got to his feet, pent-up anger erupting from him. “I was brought here for answers, not more questions.”

The holy man looked up at him mildly. “You came here wanting to be told what you must discover for yourself.”

Bourne took Moira’s hand, pulled her up. “Come on,” he said. “Let’s go.”

As they were about to step out the door, the holy man said in a casual tone: “You know, all this has happened before. And it will happen again.”  
That was a waste of time,” Bourne said as he took the keys from Moira. 

She said nothing, climbed on the bike behind him.

As they were heading back down the narrow dirt path the way they had come, a compact Indonesian man with a weathered face the color of old mahogany on a souped-up motorbike broke out of the forest ahead of them, coming straight toward them. He drew a handgun and Bourne spun them around, then headed farther up into the hills. 

This was far from a perfect place for an ambush. He’d taken a look at the local map and knew that in a moment they’d break out of the trees onto the terraced rice paddies that surrounded the village of Tenganan. 

“There’s an irrigation system that runs above the paddies,” Moira said in his ear.

He nodded just as the terraced quilt of vivid emerald green appeared, sparkling in the brilliant sunlight. The sun blazed down on men and women with straw hats and long knives bent over the rice plants. Others walked behind teams of plodding cows, tilling sections of the paddies where the rice had been harvested, the remains burned off so that other crops—potatoes, chilies, or long beans—could be grown, ensuring that the rich, volcanic soil wouldn’t be depleted of minerals. Still other women, their posture ramrod-straight, transported large sacks balanced on their heads. They moved like tightrope walkers, negotiating the sinuous, narrow margins between the paddies, placing one foot carefully in front of the other. 

A sharp crack caused them to bend low over the motorbike, even as it brought the heads of the workers up. The Indonesian had shot at them as he’d broken through the last stand of trees bordering the paddies. 

Bourne veered off, treading the fine, serpentine line between the rice fields.

“What are you doing?” Moira shouted. “We’ll be entirely out in the open, nothing but sitting ducks!”

Bourne was nearing one of the paddies where the stalks were being burned off. Smoke, pungent and thick, rose up into the clear sky. 

“Grab a handful as we pass by!” he called back to her.

Immediately she understood. With her right arm tight around his waist, she leaned to her left, scooped up a handful of burning rice stalks, flung them backward. Released, they flew into the air, directly in front of their pursuer. 

While the Indonesian’s vision was momentarily obstructed, Bourne veered back to his right, following the winding edge through the labyrinth of the paddies. He had to be careful; the smallest miscalculation would plunge them down into muddy water and densely packed plants, rendering the motorbike useless. Then they really would be sitting ducks. 

The Indonesian took aim at them again, but a woman was in his way, and then a pair of cows, and he put his handgun away, needing both hands to negotiate the trickier path Bourne had chosen.

Cleaving to the outside of the paddies, Bourne took them up the hill, past terrace after terrace, some filled with brilliant green rice plants, others ashy brown following the harvest. A haze of aromatic smoke drifted over the hillside. 

“Here!” Moira said urgently. “Here!”

Bourne saw the abutment of the drainage system, a five-inch ribbon of concrete on which he needed to drive the motorbike. Waiting until the last moment, he turned sharply to the left, running parallel to the terraces, which were laid out below them in a dizzying pattern, like hieroglyphics, immense and mysterious, carved into the hillside. 

Due to his size and that of his motorbike, the Indonesian was able to close the gap between them. He was no more than two arm’s-lengths behind them when Bourne came upon a worker—an old man with spindly legs and eyes the size of raisins. In one hand he held one of the fat-bladed knives used to harvest the rice, in the other a clump of freshly sliced raw rice. Seeing the two motorbikes approaching, the man froze in astonishment. As he passed, Bourne snatched the knife out of his hand. 

Moments later Jason spied a rough wooden plank that crossed over the irrigation streamlet into the jungle on their right. He went over it, but as he did so the half-rotten board cracked, then splintered just as the front wheel bit into the dirt on the other side. The motor-bike slewed dangerously, almost spilling them into the densely packed trees. 

Their pursuer revved his motorbike, made the leap across the span left by the ruined bridge. He followed Bourne and Moira down a steeply sloping path, filled with rocks and half-buried tree roots. 

The way grew steeper, Moira held on tighter. He could feel her heart hammering in her chest, her accelerated breath against his cheek. Trees flashed by frighteningly close on either side. Rocks caused the motorbike to rear up like a bucking bronco, forcing Bourne to fight to keep it under control. One mistake would send them plummeting off the path, down into the forest of thick-boled trees. Just when it seemed as if the trail couldn’t get any steeper, it turned into a series of rock steps, down which they clattered and bumped with heart-stopping speed. Moira, risking a glance over her shoulder, saw the Indonesian, bent low over the handlebars of his motorbike, intent on overtaking them. 

All at once the natural stairs gave out and the path resumed, this time at a more bearable pitch. Their pursuer tried to aim his handgun, but Bourne slashed a stand of bamboo with the knife he’d taken from the old man, and the thin trees came crashing down across the path. The mahogany man was forced to jam the gun between his teeth. It took all his skill to keep from veering off into the looming forest. 

As the path flattened out, they whizzed past small shacks, men wielding axes or stirring pots over fires, women with babies in the crooks of their arms, and the ubiquitous feral dogs, thin and cowed, which shied away from the racing vehicles. Clearly they were on the outskirts of a village. Could it be Tenganan? Bourne wondered. Had Suparwita foreseen this chase? 

Soon thereafter they passed through a stone archway and entered the village proper. Children playing badminton outside the local school stopped and stared as the bikes flashed by. Chickens scattered, squawking, and huge fighting cocks dyed pink, orange, and blue were so agitated they overturned their wicker cages, in turn disturbing the cows and calves lying in the center of the village. The villagers themselves, emerging from the walled compounds of their houses, ran after their precious fighting cocks. 

Like all hill villages, this one was built on terraces, much like the rice paddies: swaths of packed earth and scraggly grass interspersed with stone ramps that led to the next level. Running down the center was a wall-less structure used by the elders for town meetings. On either side were shops, part of the living compounds, selling single and double ikat weavings. Catching sight of the first of the weaving shop signs through the chaos of running feet and animal sounds, Bourne felt a chill run down his spine. So this was, indeed, Tenganan, the village of Suparwita’s prediction. 

In the chaos that had erupted in the village, Bourne cut a line of washing, which undulated in the air like a scaled reptile, before fluttering in their wake. Skillfully guiding the motorbike through a narrow alley, he doubled back the way they had come. 

Risking a glance behind him, he saw he’d failed to lose the Indonesian; he came roaring at them unabated, unfazed by the downed laundry. Bourne with a burst of speed lengthened the distance between him and his pursuer enough to make a sharp U-turn, reversing course to make a run past the small man and out of the village. But once again, the Indonesian seemed unsurprised, almost as if he were expecting this tactic. He pulled up, drew his gun, and fired, forcing Bourne to whirl the motorbike back the way he had been going, even as a second shot passed just wide of his left shoulder. Bourne kept going in the only direction open to him, continued on over the bumpy packed dirt and stone ramps, away from his dogged pursuer.  

Leonid Arkadin, lost in the dappled shadows of the forest, heard the roar of the engines over the measured chanting that came from inside the walls of the temple over which, from his position, he had a perfect view. He raised the Parker Hale M85 so the stock fit comfortably to his shoulder and sighted down the Schmidt & Bender scope. 

He was calm now, his anxiety replaced by a curious and cunning fire that burned away all thought extraneous to his purpose, leaving his mind as clear as the sky above him, as still as the forest within which he was nestled like an adder in a tree, waiting patiently for its prey. He’d planned well, using the local Indonesian as a hunter will use a beater to stalk the prey, moving it ever closer to where the hunter has hidden himself. 

All at once a motorbike emerged into the temple clearing, and Arkadin breathed deeply as he centered Bourne in his sights. And in that moment the outline of Bourne’s body became keenly defined, like vapor condensing into the poisoned nectar of revenge.  

Bourne and Moira broke out into a perfectly still clearing in which were set three temples—a large one in the center, two smaller ones on either side. There was no sound except the rhythmic throb of the motorbike’s engine. Then, hearing chanting from inside the walls of the center temple, Bourne pulled up. 

In that moment Arkadin, settling himself on the nearly horizontal branch of a tree, pulled the trigger, and Bourne was blown backward off the motorbike. Moira screamed. 

Throwing aside the rifle and drawing a wicked-looking hunting knife with a serrated blade, Arkadin jumped to the ground and raced toward the kill site in order to slit Bourne’s throat and ensure his death. But his progress was impeded by a herd of cows. Following them were women with offerings of fruit and flowers on their heads, and behind them came the town’s children in a ceremonial procession, moving toward the temple. Arkadin tried to get around them, but one of the cows, disturbed by his frantic movements, turned in his direction. It shook its long, sharp horns and at once the procession froze as if in midstep. Heads turned and all eyes were on him, and with one last look at Bourne’s bloody body, he vanished back into the jungle. 

The celebrants rushed toward Bourne, spilling their offerings across the sparse grass where he lay on his back in the dirt. He tried to get up, failed. Moira knelt over him, and he pulled her down so her ear was against his mouth. Blood had soaked the front of his shirt, and now trickled darkly into the earth. 

Copyright 2009 by the Estate of Robert Ludlum.
Written by Eric Van Lustbader. Published by Grand Central Publishing.