Peter O’Donnell Books In Order

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

Pieces of Modesty (1972) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Cobra Trap (1996) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Tregaron's Daughter (1971) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Moonraker's Bride (1973) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Stranger at Wildings (1975) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Merlin's Keep (1977) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Capricorn Stone (1979) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Long Masquerade (1981) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Heritage of Shadows (1983) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Stormswift (1984) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Golden Urchin (1986) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

British writer Peter O’Donnell was born on April 11, 1920 in Lewisham, London. He started writing professionally at the age of sixteen, after the second world war. In 1938 he joined the British army, where he served as an NCO in mobile radio detachment of Royal Corps in the eighth army. He saw active duty in Persia in 1942, and then was moved to Syria, Egypt, the Western Desert and Italy. He was also with the forces that went into Greece in October of 1944.

After the war and his re-entry to civil life, O’Donnell began writing comic strips, including an adaptation of Dr. No (the James Bond novel) for the Daily Express. From 1953-1966 , he wrote for “Garth” and from 1956- 1962 he penned “Romeo Brown”.

Peter O’Donnell wrote twenty novels and two collections of short stories, in addition to his comic strips and graphic novels. He also wrote a play, “Mr. Fothergill’s Murder” which was widely performed in the 1980’s, and wrote for television and film as well, as well as children’s papers and women’s magazines early in his career. His most famous creation was “Modesty Blaise,” which was first published in comic strip-form in 1963 and ended in 2001. In 1965, O’ Donnell adapted his screenplay into a novel, which debuted in 1966 under the name of “Modesty Blaise.” This was a huge success and was followed by a string of published novels and short stories until 1996. In 2001, he retired from writing the “Modesty Blaise” comic strip, and was also rumored to have retired from full-time writing, as well. Over the years he published reprints of his comic strip and allowed his latest illustrator, Enrique Badia Romero, to produce an adaptation of his short story, “The Dark Angels”, into a graphic novel in 2002. This was initially published only in Europe but was later released in the United States.

Peter O’Donnell also wrote gothic historical romance and adventure novels under the pen name Madeleine Brent, at the insistence of his publisher, Ernest Hecht. He did not write s series under this pseudonym, but wrote many single novels with a strong female lead, set in the late Victorian era. Each of the women in these stories were linked to England, but the books took place all over the world.

Peter O’Donnell died in Brighton, Sussex, at the age of 90, and was rumored to have suffered from Parkinson’s disease in his later years.

O’ Donnell’s most famous work, “Modesty Blaise”, follows Willie Garvin, who has worked for Modesty Blaise and her criminal network for six years as her right hand man before Blaise disbanded the Network and retired, leaving Willie unemployed. After a half-hearted attempt at being a mercenary in South America, Willie was captured and imprisoned, where he sat waiting hopelessly to be executed. He is saved when the head of the Secret Service organization, Sir Gerald Tarrant, hires Willie and Modesty for a special mission and Modesty agrees to help if Tarrant helps to rescue Willie. The mission is to intercept the heist of a large amount of diamonds by criminal mastermind Gabriel, which leads to great danger for the daring team. The action of the novel carries the reader from the south of France ( where they cause one of Gabriel’s footmen to lose his head) to Egypt, where they are captured by Gabriel’s team,and finally to a small Mediterranean island, where Modesty becomes locked in unarmed combat with Mrs. Fothergill. It’s a thrilling chase which English novelist Kingsley Amis compared to the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson.

Yet another book penned by Peter O’ Donnell is “Sabre Tooth”, published in 1966; his second novel to feature Modesty Blaise. In this novel, Modesty and Willie are hired by Sir Gerald Tarrant again, this time to investigate the disappearances of many mercenaries. What they do not know is that the man hiring these mercenaries is a man named Karz, who is building an army to invade Kuwait, and he needs two lieutenants to command his army. Karz decides that he needs Modesty and Willie; however, they are not for hire, so Karz kidnaps a child that is dear to both of them to force them to come and work for him. Torn between their mission to stop the invasion of Kuwait and save the young girl, Modesty is forced into battle with the Twins, a pair of men joined at the shoulders.

As Madeleine Brent, Peter O’ Donnell wrote nine novels. The first, “Tregaron’s Daughter” was published in 1971 and tells the story of Cadi, a young woman who lives with her father. One day she looks out the window and sees a man in a boat in the most dangerous part of the bay. Cadi deduces that the man is new and is in danger, and runs through town to find somebody to help save him. Cadi, her father and a man from the town (who turns out to be the stranger’s nephew) row out to the man to save him, and when they reach shore, the man in the boat tells her that is she ever needs him for anything, he will help her. Later, Cadi asks him for financial help, and he agrees to take her under his wing and turn her from a fisherman’s daughter into an Upper Class English lady.

With the support of her financial backer, Cadi unravels a mystery involving the heritage of her Italian grandmother, which takes her to Venice where she could possibly be an heiress, and she may not live to inherit her fortune. The book leads the way for the other books written by Madeleine Brent, featuring strong female power-houses as leads that must survive after being yanked out of their world and into a new one.

In 1966, “Modesty Blaise” was made into a motion picture by director Joseph Losey and starred Monica Vitti as Modesty Blaise and Terrence Stamp as Willie Garvin. The movie received a nomination for a BAFTA award in 1967 and for an award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1966. There is another movie based on the early years of the detective called “My Name Is Modesty,” which takes place slightly before the events of the comic strip and does not include the character of Willie Garvin. The movie was released in 2004, directed by Scott Spiegel and produced by Quentin Tarantino. Alexandra Staden played the roll of Modesty Blaise.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Peter O’Donnell