Robert Lublum (May 25, 1927 New York City March 12, 2001 Naples, Florida) was an American author of 29 thriller novels. There are more than 210 million copies of his books in print, and they have been translated into 32 languages. Ludlum also published books under the pseudonyms Jonathan Ryder and Michael Shepherd.
Some of Ludlum's novels have been made into films and mini-series, including The Osterman Weekend, The Holcroft Covenant, The Apocalypse Watch, The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. A non-Ludlum book supposedly inspired by his unused notes, Covert One: The Hades Factor, has also been made into a mini-series. The Bourne movies, starring Matt Damon in the title role, have been commercially successful, although the story lines depart significantly from the source material.
Ludlum was educated at Cheshire Academy and Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Prior to becoming an author he had been a theatrical actor and producer. His theatrical experience may have contributed to his understanding of the energy, escapism and action that the public wanted in a novel. He once remarked: "I equate suspense and good theater 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Ludlum died in 2001, reportedly leaving behind several unpublished manuscripts and rough outlines, which continue to be dusted off and published with the help of ghostwriters.·
Writing analysis and criticism
Ludlum's novels typically featured one heroic man, or a small group of crusading individuals, in a struggle against powerful adversaries whose intentions and motivations are evil, adversaries capable of using political and economic mechanisms in frightening ways. His vision of the world was one where global corporations, shadowy military forces and government organizations all conspired to preserve (if it was evil) or undermine (if it was good) the status quo. With the exception of occasional gaps in his knowledge of firearms, his novels are meticulously researched, replete with technical, physical and biological details, including research on amnesia for The Bourne Identity.
Ludlum's novels were often inspired by conspiracy theories, both historical and contemporary. He wrote that The Matarese Circle was inspired by rumors 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 were only pawns of governments or private organizations that wished to use terror as a pretext for establishing authoritarian rule, not the isolated bands of ideologically motivated extremists they were so often made out to be.
Ludlum has also received very minor criticism for the title choices of his novels based on his fanaticism with the word "The" followed by one colorful adjective and a noun (see Trivia). The bibliography contains evidence of this. (It is popularly believed that "Trevayne" was written under a pen name in order for Ludlum to continue his obsessive titling style.)
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