Robert Ludlum Books: What Reading Order Is Best?

Robert Ludlum (1927–2001) was an American author who also went by the pen names of Michael Shepard and Jonathan Ryder.

Robert published 27 novels that last one being published five years after his death.

I propose the following order when reading Robert Ludlum novels:

  1. Jason Bourne Series
  2. Covert-One Series
  3. Paul Jason Series
  4. Stand-Alone Novels

Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne Series

What’s special about this series of books is that Ludlum wrote the first 3 books in the series himself (which became 3 fantastic movies starring Matt Damon), and then Eric Van Lustbader took over the series following his death.

Lustbader has done an outstanding job of honouring the characters that Ludlum created and writing in the same action-packed style.

  1. The Bourne Identity (1980) [Amazon]
  2. The Bourne Supremacy (1986) [Amazon]
  3. The Bourne Ultimatum (1990) [Amazon]
  4. The Bourne Legacy (2004) [Amazon]
    • Written by Eric Van Lustbader
  5. The Bourne Betrayal (2007) [Amazon]
    • Written by Eric Van Lustbader
  6. The Bourne Sanction (2008) [Amazon]
    • Written by Eric Van Lustbader
  7. The Bourne Deception (2009) [Amazon]
    • Written by Eric Van Lustbader
  8. The Bourne Objective (2010) [Amazon]
    • Written by Eric Van Lustbader
  9. The Bourne Dominion (2011) [Amazon]
    • Written by Eric Van Lustbader
  10. The Bourne Imperative (2012) [Amazon]
    • Written by Eric Van Lustbader
  11. The Bourne Retribution (2013) [Amazon]
    • Written by Eric Van Lustbader
  12. The Bourne Ascendancy (2014) [Amazon]
    • Written by Eric Van Lustbader
  13. The Bourne Enigma (2016) [Amazon]
    • Written by Eric Van Lustbader
  14. The Bourne Initiative (2017) [Amazon]
    • Written by Eric Van Lustbader

Robert Ludlum’s “Covert-One” Series

The amazing thing about this series is that Ludlum developed the initial format and characters and then the series has taken on a life of its own after his death. Look at the variety of authors that have contributed!

  1. The Hades Factor (2000) [Amazon]
    • Written with Gayle Lynds
  2. The Cassandra Compact (2001) [Amazon]
    • Written with Philip Shelby
  3. The Paris Option (2002) [Amazon]
    • Written with Gayle Lynds
  4. The Altman Code (2003) [Amazon]
    • Written by Gayle Lynds
  5. The Lazarus Vendetta (2004) [Amazon]
    • Written by Patrick Larkin
  6. The Moscow Vector (2005) [Amazon]
    • Written by Patrick Larkin
  7. The Arctic Event (2007) [Amazon]
    • Written by James H. Cobb
  8. The Ares Decision (2011) [Amazon]
    • Written by Kyle Mills
  9. The Janus Reprisal (2012) [Amazon]
    • Written by Jamie Freveletti
  10. The Utopia Experiment (2013) [Amazon]
    • Written by Kyle Mills
  11. The Geneva Strategy (2015) [Amazon]
    • Written by Jamie Freveletti
  12. The Patriot Attack (2015) [Amazon]
    • Written by Kyle Mills

Robert Ludlum’s “Treadstone” Series

A new spin-off series written under the Ludlum brand.

  1. The Treadstone Resurrection (2020) [Amazon]
    • Written by Joshua Hood

Robert Ludlum’s “Paul Janson” Series

  1. The Janson Directive (2002) [Amazon]
  2. The Janson Command (2012) [Amazon]
    • Written by Paul Garrison
  3. The Janson Option (2014) [Amazon]
    • Written by Paul Garrison
  4. The Janson Equation (2015) [Amazon]
    • Written by Douglas Corleone

Robert Ludlum’s Novels With Sequals

  1. The Road to Gandolfo (1975) [Amazon]
    • Written as Michael Shepherd
  2. The Road to Omaha (1992) [Amazon]
    • Sequel to The Road to Gandolfo
  3. The Matarese Circle (1979) [Amazon]
  4. The Matarese Countdown (1997) [Amazon]
    • Sequel to The Matarese Circle

Robert Ludlum’s Stand-Alone Novels

  1. The Scarlatti Inheritance (1971) [Amazon]
  2. The Osterman Weekend (1972) [Amazon]
  3. The Matlock Paper (1973) [Amazon]
  4. Trevayne (1973) [Amazon]
  5. The Cry of the Halidon (1974) [Amazon]
    • Written as Jonathan Ryder
  6. The Rhinemann Exchange (1974) [Amazon]
  7. The Gemini Contenders (1976) [Amazon]
  8. The Chancellor Manuscript (1977) [Amazon]
  9. The Holcroft Covenant (1978) [Amazon]
  10. The Parsifal Mosaic (1982) [Amazon]
  11. The Aquitaine Progression (1984) [Amazon]
  12. The Icarus Agenda (1988) [Amazon]
  13. The Scorpio Illusion (1993) [Amazon]
  14. The Apocalypse Watch (1995) [Amazon]
  15. The Prometheus Deception (2000) [Amazon]
  16. The Sigma Protocol (2001) [Amazon]
  17. The Tristan Betrayal (2003) [Amazon]
  18. The Ambler Warning (2005) [Amazon]
  19. The Bancroft Strategy (2006) [Amazon]

Your thoughts?

What do you think of Robert Ludlum’s work?

Are you a seasoned veteran or completely new to his work?

Have your say in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “Robert Ludlum Books: What Reading Order Is Best?”

  1. I have all of his books he was one of the best writters and I
    keep looking for any of the new books that people are writing that is from his series. hoping that a new one will come out
    for the covert-one series also the paul janson series. What I like about the books and his writing is that you can read them
    over and over. I will keep looking for any new books. Marilyn

  2. I just read the Treadstone Transgression. Awesome read. Adam Hayes is a stud operator!

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