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Edward S. Aarons Books In Order

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Publication Order of Sam Durell Books

with Will B. Aarons
Assignment to Disaster (1955)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment, Treason (1956)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Suicide (1956)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Stell Marni (1957)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Budapest (1957)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Angelina (1958)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Madeleine (1958)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Carlotta Cortez (1959)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Helene (1959)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Lili Lamaris (1959)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Zoraya (1960)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Mara Tirana (1960)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Lowlands (1961)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Burma Girl (1961)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment-Ankara (1961)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Karachi (1962)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Sorrento Siren (1963)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Manchurian Doll (1963)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment the Girl in the Gondola (1964)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Sulu Sea (1964)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment-Cairo Dancers (1965)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment School for Spies (1966)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Cong Hai Kill (1966)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Palermo (1966)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Black Viking (1967)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Moon Girl (1967)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Nuclear Nude (1968)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Peking (1969)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment White Rajah (1970)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Star Stealers (1970)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Tokyo (1971)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Golden Girl (1972)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Bangkok (1972)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Maltese Maiden (1972)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Silver Scorpion (1973)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Ceylon (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Amazon Queen (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Sumatra (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Quayle Question (1975)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Black Gold (1975)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Unicorn (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment-Afghan Dragon (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Sheba (By: Will B. Aarons) (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Tiger Devil (By: Will B. Aarons) (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment 13th Princess (By: Will B. Aarons) (1979)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Mermaid (By: Will B. Aarons) (1979)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Tyrant's Bride (By: Will B. Aarons) (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Death Ship (By: Will B. Aarons) (1983)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

No Place to Live/ Lady, The Guy Is Dead (1947)Description / Buy at Amazon
Terror in the Town (1947)Description / Buy at Amazon
Gift of Death (1948)Description / Buy at Amazon
Nightmare (1948)Description / Buy at Amazon
State Department Murders (1950)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dead Heat (1950)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Art Studio Murders (1950)Description / Buy at Amazon
I Can't Stop Running (1951)Description / Buy at Amazon
Come Back, My Love (1953)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Sinners (1953)Description / Buy at Amazon
Girl On The Run (1954)Description / Buy at Amazon
They All Ran Away (As: Edward Ronns) (1955)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death Is My Shadow (1957)Description / Buy at Amazon
Gang Rumble (1958)Description / Buy at Amazon
Hell To Eternity (1960)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Defenders (1962)Description / Buy at Amazon
Say it with Murder (1968)Description / Buy at Amazon
Escape to Love (1982)Description / Buy at Amazon
Million Dollar Murder (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon

Edward S. Aarons was an American novelist best known for writing the “Assignment” series of novels. He also wrote under the pseudonyms Edward Ronns and Paul Ayres and under his real name publishing more than 80 novels of which about half were in the assignment series over nearly four decades of writing. He also penned several numerous short stories for “Scarab” and “Detective Story Magazine”. While he wrote other short stories over the years, his “Assignment” series was his most popular work as they were published across the world and translated into nearly twenty languages. S. Aarons’ series of novels featured Sam Durell, a CIA agent and the lead protagonist that made his first appearance in “Assignment to Disaste”r that was published in 1955. Aaron continued to publish the Assignment series of novels until his death in 1975.

Edward was born in Philadelphia and went to Columbia University, from where he got his degree in Literature and History. He put himself through university working various jobs that included fisherman, and newspaper reporter. He displayed his writing prowess as a student when he won a short story contest in 1933. After graduating from college, he went to the US where he joined the United States Coast Guard during World War II. He quit the military in 1945 having risen in rank to become Chief Petty Officer.

For much of his early career, he set his novels on the cities on the eastern seaboard, where he had lived before moving to Washington Connecticut. For instance, his intimate knowledge of Philadelphia was gained over his time working as a journalist in the city, and this knowledge often finds itself in the novels. Later in his career he moved much of his novels to an international setting moving away from the domestic. The move saw the popularity of the series soar across the globe as it gained many new fans and sold more than 23 million copies. It also received critical acclaim and was one time referred to as one of the best international intrigue and espionage novels of the modern era.

Edward S. Aarons Assignment series of novels has Sam Durell a fictional CIA agent as the lead protagonist through all the forty-plus novels of the series. Durell is a Yale educated CIA agent code named Cajun, given that he was brought up on the values of the Cajun people that taught him to be independent and self-reliant. He once served in the OSS during World War II before he moved to the United States to become a highly valued member of the CIA. Sam is a tall man standing at more than six feet with a lean waist, and heavy set shoulders. He has dark thick hair that complement his deep blue eyes that often turn black when he is contemplating some dangerous plan or he is simply angry. Given his Cajun upbringing he loves to work independently and many who work with him find him hot-tempered. As one of the best the CIA, has he is assigned to a secretive branch of the NSA with offices in a nondescript residential area of Washington D.C. for complete anonymity. Given his many accomplishments, he is on the radar of many foreign intelligence services across the world, most of which are red tagged with kill on sight. Sam became such a beloved character that it is believed that he forms the basis for the James Bond character so popular in later contemporary movies. The series is also known as the “Sam Durell” series even though the official name listed as Assignment series and later editions referred to the novels simply as Sam Durell. While they can be listed in alphabetical or numerical order of when they were published, each novel in the series may be read as a standalone. Most of the novels have their own plot lines though some incidents and characters from previous novels may recur. Most of the novels will typically have the lead protagonist in a foreign country where he faces up to a series of challenges, best the shadowy villain, and wins a lady’s heart.

“Assignment to Disaster” the first novel of the series is an exciting thriller of espionage novel that came out just after the publication of “Casino Royale”. The lead is an American version of James Bond named Sam Durell of the CIA. Given that the novels were published over a long period of time, some of them have cultural references to earlier times and attitudes that may not be so politically correct in the modern age. Similar to the Bond novels, they have what would be considered a chauvinist streak that in the 1950s and 60s was deemed chivalry. The novel is set in the aftermath of World War II, where the world is more concerned with a mad man getting hold nuclear power or rockets that may be unleashed on the world. Durell is a man tracking down an American scientist that had suddenly gone missing. Finding the scientist is critical given that he is in charge of the blueprints and controls for what may be deemed a gigantic bomb, the Cyclops man made satellite. Durell has only a few hours to track down the man before he launches one of the most destructive weapons of the post-World War II era.

“Assignment Suicide” the third novel of the series opens to Sam Durell parachuting into Russia on an assignment to stop “Comrade Z”, a rogue member of the Politburo from launching a cruise missile against the United States. There is no time to waste as Sam has a fast approaching deadline before May Day, when Z will be launching his missile potentially starting World War III. The novel that was published in the fifties offers an interesting dynamic of the relationship between Russia and the US during the Cold War. The novel comes with full on action minus the jargon on spy craft, which makes for quite a good person to person story. There is the rare mistaken identity and the typical bad guy versus good guy struggles that often end with the lead beating the villain to accomplish his mission. To complete it, there is the refined, intelligent, and strong woman that ends up as Durell’s girl in an explosive climax to the novel.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Edward S. Aarons

One Response to “Edward S. Aarons”

  1. Lawrence Maddox: 6 years ago

    Thanks for the ordered book listing and the Aarons bio. Did the Assignment books really go into the 80s? Anyway, this is one of my favorite thriller series, second only to Bond. I think Sulu Sea (’64) is my personal fav of the lot.


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