What happens when an author dies and a new author is brought in to write the continuing adventures of an existing hero? Change. Change happens.

The Bourne Trilogy of books was this very interesting psychological thriller kind of story. It starts with the hero with no memory slowly learning that he’s an excellent killer and picking up bits of pieces of clues that he is Jason Bourne, assassin for hire in Asia and now Europe. He doesn’t like that.

It turns out that his story is much more interesting, and it takes other people to convince him that he is not that killer, whatever he remembers. Because he isn’t. Jason Bourne was a role a man named David Webb took on as part of a government program he volunteered for, but when he lost his memory the role became him. The books revolve around the physiological battle between Bourne and Webb as the two personalities fight for control of their shared body. Helping him are old friends, a devoted physiatrist, a loving wife, and a secret agent man who considers him the son he never had. They will all risk their lives to help him, whether he is Bourne or Webb, and do so again and again.

Webb has a conscious. He was a good man once. He still could be if people would just stop trying to kill him. He is a family man who doesn’t want to hurt people. Bourne is a killer without remorse who will do anything to live. He is a chameleon who can change personalities and appearance in seconds to walk past even the most alert sentries. The balance between Bourne and Webb makes the books a constant windmill of emotions and actions as the hero tries to make it through one day after another. His goal, the goal to both of his personalities actually, is to go home at the end. To live in peace. To disappear again.

We saw none of this in the movies. We saw a deadly secret agent betrayed by his country who fights a lonely war with a succession of short-term helpers to uncover those who betrayed him. And we don’t see much of his chameleon aspects either. And then the Bourne Legacy movie brought in a new character who did well, but was not Bourne. The Bourne Legacy novel is about the Jason Bourne character we see in the movies. There seems little other than a common past between him and the man I saw in the novels.

It’s a good book. Don’t get me wrong. But the Jason Bourne of the Bourne Legacy is not the same Jason Bourne in the original three books. He isn’t the chameleon. He doesn’t have a loving wife and friends to support him and bring him through. And Jason Bourne and David Webb are not fighting for control of their shared body. It is a different kind of book than the original books were. It is a change.

I am not yet used to the differences. I keep on seeing situations and think Jason Bourne would have done that differently. But then I think a second time and realize that this is supposed to be familiar to those who see the Jason Bourne of the movies and it makes sense again. It is a good book, written by a good author, who does a good job of channeling the modern movie ideal of Jason Bourne into book form.