Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home






a tribute to LUDLUM

Historical records, surreptitious organizations, lost or secret manuscripts which if revealed to an unsuspecting world might change the course of history as we know it-most if not all of Robert Ludlum's novels focused around these concepts. In this ever changing world of thrillers where it doesn't take much for a writer to fade into oblivion Ludlum reigned over the world of espionage for more than two decades. For thirty years this emperor of thrillers kept on entertaining his numerous followers in ways which can never be expressed through written words. Everything was going on wonderfully. The readers had someone they knew would produce books they won't be able to put down, until 12th March 2001, when he died of heart attack at his home in Naples, Florida.

Ludlum penned many best sellers throughout his career as a writer, which spanned for thirty years but the most coveted of his novels would undoubtedly be the Bourne trilogy, the masterful saga of a man - Jason Bourne - trapped in a shadowy world from which he emerges only to be hunted by enemies, specifically the evil assassin Carlos. The first novel starts with Bourne, unaware of his identity and the last of the trilogy keeps the readers on the edge of their seats because only one assassin would emerge triumphant. And you can bet your last dollar that until the last chapter you never know just who will be victorious.

Enough about Bourne… if one looks at his other best sellers (again numerous in number), the "Matarese Circle" and the "Matarese Countdown" surely take the cake. Several years after writing "Matarese Circle" - in which two rival spies and a mysterious woman team up to stop an international circle of killers - he wrote the sequel "Matarese Countdown". Along with his realistic display of carnage and violence Ludlum proved that he could change to keep up with the modern world. Whereas his earlier books dealt with uzi machine guns, books like the "Prometeus Deception","Scorpio Illusion","Sigma Protocol" and the likes reached the apex of technological advancement. During the 1970's almost all his writings revolved around the cold war but his style did change afterwards. However, his display of extraordinary linguistic ability remained the same. No wonder he captivated readers all over the world his books being sold in 40 countries and in 32 languages.

Perhaps Ludlum was the only person who could write, "A most secret document reveals that Christ did not die on the cross but lived on" and make his readers believe it. Whatever he wrote, however he weaved his intricate tale of the underworld it did feel like he was describing the life of a real life agent and not of a fictional character.

Another approach which touched the heart was how spectacularly romance was interwoven with the bloodshed. In the worlds created by Ludlum where there was no one to trust, no place where a person could find solace the female characters were an extraordinary addition. Though placid and dormant in the beginning of his career ludlum's women's flourished over the three decades. From playing the dormant women supporting their man like Marie, he created genuine spies like Layla who were as efficient and ruthless as their male counterpart or women like Amaya Bajarat, rising from a war torn nation were full fledged villains were hell bent on destroying the future. Through his varied females Ludlum introduced a new genre of characters.

The romances, the intrigue in his novels were perhaps a reflection of his own life. Not many people would have had the guts to give up a career as an actor and a theatre producer to start writing at the age of forty.

A reviewer of the Washington post had once said, "it's a lousy book. So I stayed up until 3am to finish it"….if all the thriller writers could produce such "lousy" books then Ludlum would be just another writer and there would be nothing unique about his books. There would also be no reason for writing this tribute. But fortunately no matter how many tried no one has ever achieved Ludlum's status as a writer. He may not have won critical acclaim but he did win the heart of thousands of admirers. His death will deprive the world from the many amazing sagas that were yet to be born but his memory will never fade away.

By Ishita Rahman

An autobiography of a coconut tree

For quite some time I am feeling terribly ill because I am going through some psychological problems. These mental hazards have started after the death of my owner's wife. All the time I think of the past days when both my owner and his wife were alive and their children with their family lived together in his house happily and simultaneously when I conceive of now I feel bad as this beautiful family has broken into pieces.

I was brought to this house nearly eighty yours back by my owner and I was then a green coconut which was turning brownish. He uncovered me and found that I was too matured and the juice inside me had already dried. So he planted me infront of the house. After staying inside the earth for sometime. I could determine that the soil was not every suitable for my growth. But owing to my owner's regular watering the soil, my radical (root) first came out from my body by getting sufficient water, and using the stored food in my body, my shoot penetrated out of the soil and received sunlight to carry out photosynthesis.

A couple of days later I observed that I was not able to prepare sufficient food for my growth as the soil was supporting me enough. Cells of my body started dying and I could sense my death not for away. My vulnerable condition was remarked by my master. The next day he brought a digger and a rotten fish. He dug the soil from the side of my "roots and replaced some of the soil with the rotten fish round my roots I could not comprehend why was he doing that but I believed that whatever he would do for me, it must be for my good. Soon then I could find a radical charge, the fertility of the soil increased immensely and the cells of my body commended redevelopment rapidly. As time passed I germinated, I became enough matured and produce fruits. My fruits were liked specially by my owner and his youngest son.

A few years later after the death of my owner, one of his sons decided to erect a new erection in front of the old one. At that time the youngest son was not present in the country. I knew my life was in peril. The day in which I was going to be extirpated, the youngest son returned home and halted the men from unearthing the tree. The youngest son then proposed to his elder brothers to give him only the small land along with the coconut tree infront of their old house as a share of his father's property which he owned, and that he wanted nothing more than that. In that day, I felt that someone in this world cared for me and adored me, I had importance in someone's life. I was really proud of myself.

My notion regarding my owner's youngest son changed after his marriage. He then had three children and became so busy with his family that he could not bring out any time to visit me. By this time, his other brothers got separated with their family and in one day he too left the house and went to another city to lead his life happily with his family leaving me alone infront of a deadly house as it was entirely deserted.

It is very difficult to understand human psychology, I just can not comprehend why do they love something and then forget it. I think their mind can not work constantly or in other words they bear an impatient mind.
I do not know how long I am going to stay alive but recently I really miss my owner and most of the time pray to God to my lord who once has given me re-birth.

By Tahrim Hasan







home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

© 2003 The Daily Star