Robert Ludlum (May 25, 1927 – March 12, 2001) was an American author of 27 thriller novels. The number of copies of his books in print is estimated between 290 million and 500 million.[2][3][4] They have been published in 33 languages and 40 countries. Ludlum also published books under the pseudonyms Jonathan Ryder and Michael Shepherd.[5]


 [hide*1 Life and career

Life and career[edit]Edit

Ludlum was born in New York City, the son of Margaret (née Wadsworth) and George Hartford Ludlum.[6] His maternal grandparents were English.[7] He was educated at The Rectory Schoolthen Cheshire Academy and Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. While at Wesleyan, Ludlum joined the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity. After becoming an author later in life, Ludlum would set his mystery novel Matlock Paper at the fictitious Carlyle University in Connecticut, a thinly-disguised Wesleyan.[8][9]

Prior to becoming an author, he had been a United States Marine,[10][11] 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."[12] Many of Ludlum's novels have been made into films and mini-series, including The Osterman WeekendThe Holcroft CovenantThe Apocalypse WatchThe Bourne IdentityThe Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne UltimatumCovert One: The Hades Factor, a book co-written with Gayle Lynds, was originally conceived as a mini-series; the book evolved from a short treatment Ludlum wrote for NBC. The Bourne movies, starring Matt Damon in the title role, have been commercially and critically successful (The Bourne Ultimatum won three Academy Awards in 2008), although the story lines depart significantly from the source material.

During the 1970s, Ludlum lived in Leonia, New Jersey, where he spent hours each day writing in his home.[13]

Ludlum died on March 12, 2001, at his home in Naples, Florida, whilst recovering from severe burns caused by a mysterious fire which occurred on February 10.[14][15][16]

Writing analysis and criticism[edit]Edit

Ludlum's novels typically feature one heroic man, or a small group of crusading individuals, in a struggle against powerful adversaries whose intentions and motivations are evil and who are capable of using political and economic mechanisms in frightening ways. The world in his writings is one where global corporations, shadowy military forces and government organizations all conspire to preserve (if it is good) or undermine (if it is evil) the status quo.

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, rather than being merely isolated bands of ideologically motivated extremists, are actually pawns of governments or private organizations who are using them to facilitate the establishment of authoritarian rule.

Ludlum used the same fixed titling pattern of The [Proper Noun] [Noun] (where the proper noun functions as a noun adjunct) for most of his books. Subsequent to his death, books written by other authors have carried the phrase Robert LudlumTM on their covers, thus asserting the name Robert Ludlum as a trademark.[citation needed] The actual author (not technically a ghost writer) is identified inside.[citation needed]

Selected bibliography[edit]Edit

By Ludlum, published during the author's lifetime[edit]Edit

Credited to Ludlum, published posthumously[edit]Edit

Covert-One series[edit]Edit

Main article: Covert-One series

Written by other authors.

  1. The Hades Factor (by Gayle Lynds) (2000)
  2. The Cassandra Compact (by Philip Shelby) (2001)
  3. The Paris Option (by Gayle Lynds) (2002)
  4. The Altman Code (by Gayle Lynds) (2003)
  5. The Lazarus Vendetta (by Patrick Larkin) (2004)
  6. The Moscow Vector (by Patrick Larkin) (2005)
  7. The Arctic Event (by James H. Cobb) (2007)
  8. The Ares Decision (by Kyle Mills) (2011)
  9. The Janus Reprisal (by Jamie Freveletti) (2012)
  10. The Utopia Experiment (by Kyle Mills) (2013)

Janson series[edit]Edit

Sequels to Ludlum books[edit]Edit


Some of Ludlum's novels have been made into films and mini-series, although the story lines might depart significantly from the source material. In general, a miniseries is more faithful to the original novel on which it is based.

1 announced/in development

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