After a few pages, it's clear that it's a Bourne book because of the action and foreshadowing involved. '"It's as they say: On Bali time stands still, and in that stillness lie many lifetimes,"' says Bourne's latest girl, Moira, while they relax on the island. But soon enough, you meet the next guy trying to kill Bourne - Leonid Danilovich Arkadin. He is very good at what he does, clearly. Arkadin plans well and yet, he stays out of the limelight. Quickly four other characters come into view, as well, but van Lustbader does a good job of helping the reader keep the story lines straight by putting the characters' names in the first sentence of each new paragraph/section.
This takes place in Munich, Germany; Bali, Indonesia' the Swiss Alps, Azerbaijan, Egypt and Washington, D.C. in the first hundred pages. Moira has her new and literally risky business in D.C. and Bourne's action is in Bali while Arkadin travels to Azerbaijan after Bali. Van Lustbader sets up the details of each place very well so that the reader always knows where he or she is. Munich has "The newborn morning ... drowsing, barely awake, and utterly silent. The trees, well manicured and leafy, dappled the sidewalks in inky shade. The air was soft and cool, as yet innocent of the harsh sun that would turn the sky white in a few hours' time" (33). That clashes with Egypt, described as "hotter than Hades."
The description is one part of the book that I love. He uses precise color words for each new thing, whether it's "ultramarine blue," "sea-blue," or "icy blue," showing that he knows how to paint a picture in your head. The verbs, adverbs, and phrases are all descriptive and well-said, too. The only problem I have is small; there are errors that might be considered if this were not written in a literary sense but needing to be grammatically correct. Double negatives like "not unsympathetically" or "with no little sarcasm" and repetitive phrases like "Soraya herself" momentarily detract from the story but arguably could be appropriate.
I'm about 1/4 of the way into the book, and I find it interesting and something I would recommend to action lovers. Once you have seen a Bourne movie, you can imagine the characters and how The Bourne Deception would play out perfectly in another film.