©William C. Minarich
On May 25, 1927, Robert Ludlum was born in New York City. He spent time in the theater as both an actor and a producer, and he made a pretty good living doing voice-overs for TV commercials. But it was his writing that helped him achieve world-wide acclaim.
The books in the store describe him as “The Master of the Super-thriller”. I don’t know if that’s strictly true, or if there is a list of Super-thriller Masters somewhere which he heads, but I do know that he could write some really exciting books. Before his death in 2001, he published nearly 2 dozen novels, including a handful under the pseudonyms Michael Shepherd and Jonathan Ryder. Since Ludlum’s passing, several more manuscripts have been published, and several more have been completed by a ghost writer and published under his name.
Nearly all his books feature a 3-word title (“The Chancellor Manuscript“, “The Apocalypse Watch“, etc.). And many of his books feature a person who, finding himself in the middle of some high-level conspiracy, hunted by all sides, and totally overmatched, must rely on his wits and quick thinking to survive. There are usually secret organizations at work, such as Inver Brass, or large plots to be exposed, like the Sonnenkinder and the Fourth Reich, or government corruption. Abuse of power was something Ludlum despised, and it showed in his books.
Nearly all of his books are blessed with non-stop action almost from the first page, some level of violence (though never gratuitous), and multi-layered plots that require you to think like the character and pay attention to detail. And nearly all of his books have been best-sellers, both domestically and abroad. Ludlum’s books have been translated into numerous languages and sales are somewhere in the range of 300 million copies.
Robert’s one of my favorite authors. I’ve read almost every book he’s written…most of them two or three times, and I love them. I would have to say my favorites are “The Holcroft Covenant“, “The Acquitaine Progression“, “The Parsifal Mosaic” (which may have the most complex plot), and of course, the Jason Bourne trilogy.
Happy Birthday, Robert Ludlum!!
Recommended Reading: The Robert Ludlum Companion – Get to know the man himself, his thought process, and his inspiration. Plus it’s got a place-name concordance that’s pretty handy. Also, read one of his works…”The Acquitaine Progression“.