Robert Ludlum, considered the king of spy-stories, was born on May 25, 1927 in New York; he was an actor, producer and "voice" of dozens of commercials for commercial televisions before reaching, at the age of forty, writing.
He completed his studies at a renowned Methodist university that gave him a strict training, so much so that he soon integrated into the intellectual class of the country, the one that in America is called the "egg heads". After fighting during the Second World War in the Pacific against the Japanese, he devoted himself to politics working in the group of presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson.
After the electoral defeat Ludlum dedicated himself to the theater, establishing himself soon as both an actor and a director. Then switch to TV reaping great successes.
At the end of the '60s he decided to devote himself to literature, soon becoming one of the most acclaimed best-selling authors.
His first novel, "The legacy of Scarlatti", published in 1971, is immediately a success, followed by the titles "The leather strip", "The Matlock dossier", "The Matarese circle", "The mosaic of Parsifal", "Aquitaine".
The prolific activity of Ludlum, which from the point of view of sales successes has hardly ever known a decline, has led him to sell something like more than 230 million books in the world and to be translated into 33 languages.
Some of his espionage and action novels have been brought to the big screen: this is the case with the films "The Return of Eagles" and "Osterman Weekend". In essence, it can reasonably be said that throughout the 1980s Ludlum was the undisputed king of the spy genre in the United States.
Among the successes published between the mid-70s and 80s are "The illusions of Scorpio", "The guardians of the Apocalypse", up to "Laboratorio mortale", released in Italy at Rizzoli. The latest novel by Robert Ludlum, however, was published posthumously: it is "The Prometheus Deception", translated in our country with the title "The Prometheus of Prometheus".
Ludlum's best-selling title, however, was "The Return of the Jackal" (The Bourne Ultimatum, 1991), a thrilling plot thriller, the third installment of the Jason Bourne saga; the character was brought to the big screen (starring Matt Damon) with the transposition of "The Bourne Identity" (in Italian the book is titled "A name without a face"), and "The Bourne Supremacy" ("Double deception") .
This visionary writer, but also attentive to the chronicle and to the details of reality, has often foreshadowed situations that are apparently far from the truth but which later proved to be probable. It is precisely the case of his great success - "The Return of the Jackal" - in which, in an amusement park on the outskirts of Baltimore, a chilling crime takes place. The elusive red primrose of international terrorism, the most ruthless of the killers, Carlos, called "the Jackal", reappears on the scene, moved by an inextinguishable desire for personal revenge. Once again he will be confronted with his most direct opponent Professor David Webb, whose second identity is precisely that of the aforementioned Bourne.
"Often it happened to me - said Ludlum in one of his last interviews - to discover that he had devised, without knowing it, events that really happened: I never did the secret agent, but sometimes the spies envy my adventures if they compare them with their monotonous routine ".
Ludlum, who died at the age of 74 after a heart attack on March 12, 2001, said that to write a book took at least three or four months to complete the research and about a year and a half to get to the final draft.