Nick Petrie Series

Edward S. Aarons Books In Order

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Publication Order of Sam Durell Books

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

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

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

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: 5 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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