Publication Order of Modesty Blaise Books
|Modesty Blaise||(1965)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Sabre-Tooth||(1966)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|I, Lucifer||(1967)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|A Taste for Death||(1969)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Impossible Virgin||(1971)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Silver Mistress||(1973)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Last Day in Limbo||(1976)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Dragon's Claw||(1978)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Xanadu Talisman||(1981)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Night of the Morning Star||(1982)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Dead Man's Handle||(1985)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
Publication Order of Modesty Blaise Collections
Modesty Blaise is a British comic strip featuring a fictional character of the same name, created by author Peter O’Donnell and illustrator Jim Holdaway in 1963. This comic strip follows the life of Modesty Blaise, who’s a remarkable young woman who’s very talented but has a criminal history. Ms Blaise also has a trusted sidekick who goes by the name of Willie Garvin, and together, they manage to outsmart their adversaries. The first episodes of the comic strip were published in the Evening Standard in 1963, and we learn the story of a young girl who was born a few months before World War 2. The success of the comic strip saw it turned into a spy film in 1966, and many more films would follow after that.
In 1945, Modesty Blaise was barely 6 years old when she found herself all alone and with no means to support herself in war-torn Europe. She was homeless and didn’t have any friends and so she wandered around the place barefoot, and she didn’t remember anything about her past. She had just escaped from a camp for displaced persons in Kalyros, Greece, and being all alone in this cold and cruel world, she learns how to survive, and she even thrives in her brutal and unwelcoming environment. However, runs into trouble in Syria when a criminal gang briefly captures her before she manages to escape before she could be turned into a sex slave.
Her luck finally runs out when an evil man manages to have his way with her, but she is lucky that the incident didn’t turn he r into a man hater because by that time, she had learnt to trust, even if grudgingly. Things turned around when she met Lob, who was also a wandering refugee, and he took her in and tutored and schooled her. Lob also gave the homeless girl her name, Modesty, and his goodness towards her made her realize that not everyone in the world is cruel. Lob taught her how to read, write, and speak several languages. As a result of these teachings, she gave herself the last name, Blaise.
Modesty Blaise saw her life change once more when Lob died. Like a lingering shadow, it seemed like opportunity and trouble followed her everywhere she went. Fortunately, she was clever enough to take advantage of each opportunity that came her way. One such opportunity was when she unwittingly became entangled with a vicious criminal gang, and using her survival skills and sharp mind, she manages to take over after gang members waged war against each other.
She knew the mind of a hard man and how she could control him, and she also knew criminals were just happy to continue with their criminal activities, especially when they were making money. Being hardened and needing money, Modesty Blaise and the criminals had something in common, and so they joined forces for their mutual benefit. However, she was not your ordinary criminal because she had style and principles. Therefore, she formed an organization called “The Network”, whose aim was simply to steal but not engage in vices. So when there was something to steal, nothing was off limits, and her organization would steal art, expensive jewelry and even industrial secrets.
Her criminal gang had a sense of corporate identity and it would protect its own. Anyone who got injured during a heist would be taken care of. If outsiders threatened any member of the gang, they were either threatened off or eliminated. The Network would only venture outside their areas of expertise when people who run vices affected a member of their gang. During such times, the people running such vices had better run for the hills because Modesty Blaise didn’t take too kindly to those who preyed on weak and helpless members of the society.
During her reign as the queen of The Network, Modesty Blaise meets Willie Garvin, who was a hard and bitter man with a sad story to tell. Despite his shortcomings, Blaise sees the potential in him and gives him some work. Inspired by this trust in him, Garvin pulls through and becomes her most loyal and trusted friend. Their relationship is strictly platonic, and it’s based on shared interests and mutual respect for each other. Due to their closeness, Garvin starts calling her “Princess” and it’s only him who’s allowed to address her that way.
The other gang members would refer to Modesty Blaise as “Mam’selle”, which is a French term for Miss. Even though there isn’t any sexual element in their relationship, it’s Modesty’s numerous lovers who are jealous of Willie Garvin, but he isn’t the slightest bit jealous of her lovers. By the exact token, we also find Willie’s girlfriends initially being jealous of Blaise, but Lady Janet is an exception because she came to understand the dynamics that worked between Garvin and Modesty.
Since Modesty Blaise didn’t have the greed that you would find in your typical criminal, one day she decided that enough is enough, and so she dissolves the network. Each gang member receives a token of appreciation for their good service and sent on his way. Some of them start their own criminal enterprises, with some attaining a decent level of success while others fell by the wayside. When she leaves it all behind, she trusts that her former gang members had learnt something from her style of organization, and she hopes that they can find success in their new ventures.
Modesty Blaise gains British nationality when she marries and divorces an Englishman called James Turner, who dies after one year due to alcoholism. Since she had made it a point not to deal in secrets that belonged to Her Majesty’s Government, she decides to retire and settle in England, with Willie Garvin following suit. However, the two of them start to get bored of living among the upper crust of English society, and so they jump at the first opportunity to get back in the game. Sir Gerald Tarrant is a high-ranking officer in Britain’s secret service, and he approaches Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin for some assistance, and that’s where the real story begins.Book Series In Order » Characters » Modesty Blaise