[By Nic Lindh on Monday, 29 March 2004]
Published in 1995, The Apocalypse Watch is one of Robert Ludlum’s later works, and it shows. Ludlum is tired. Nevertheless, he puts together a fast-moving plot with the usual twists and turns, and manages to turn in a solid effort. It’s far from earlier books like the inimitable Bourne Identity, but for fast-moving escapism, Ludlum’s still got it.
The great thing about Ludlum, and what carries him through the sometimes one-dimensional characterizations and stilted dialogue is his massive sense of craft. The rhythm and tone of his plots are dead-on, with a keen sense of when to turn on the mayhem and when to build suspense.
If your only contact with Ludlum has been through the Bourne Identity movies—whether the horrid Richard Chamberlain stinker or the decent-but-flawed Matt Damon effort–you really owe it to yourself to check out the novel the next time you’re going on a flight or plan some down time on the beach.