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Sam Durell / Assignment Books In Order

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Publication Order of Sam Durell Books

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 (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Tiger Devil (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment 13th Princess (1979)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Mermaid (1979)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Tyrant's Bride (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Death Ship (1983)Description / Buy at Amazon

“Sam Durell/Assignment” is a series of detective mysteries by Edward S. Aarons, who penned more than eighty novels between 1936 and 1975. The prolific Aarons wrote some of the novels under other pseudonyms that included Edward Ronns and Paul Ayres. In addition to his many short stories and novels, he was also an active author that penned stories featured in “Scarab” and “Detective Story Magazine”. While Aarons wrote novels in several genres, he is for the most part known for the writing of spy thrillers for which the “Assignment” series is the most known and most popular. The Assignment series are set on location across tens of countries around the globe and have been translated into almost twenty languages. The star character of the Assignment series is Sam Durell, a CIA agent that made his first appearance in the 1955 published “Assignment to Disaster”. Edward S. Aarons wrote the series right up until his death in 1975.

Aarons was born in 1916 Philadelphia and was named Edward Sidney. For college, he went to Columbia University and then went on to work a variety of jobs that included fisherman, salesman, reporter among other jobs. He first decided to try his hand at writing when he got into a collegiate short story contest in 1933, which he won. He published his first ever novel “Death in a Lighthouse” in 1938, which became one of around 30 titles of thrillers and hard-boiled mysteries that he published under the pseudonym Edward Ronns. Many of the novels had Jerry Benedict the newspaper editorial cartoonist as the lead protagonist. In 1941, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Aarons joined the US military and served in the Coast Guard. After the end of the war, he went back to civilian life going back to Columbia from where he graduated with a bachelors in history and literature. Soon after, he was back to publishing the Edward Ronn novels that he did at a good clip of about two to three novels a year until 1962. From 1955, he started penning the Assignment series under his own name and increased the number of works published a year, with up to three novels featuring Sam Durrell published every year until his death.

The lead of the Assignment/Sam Durell series is CIA Agent Sam Durell, a southern Louisianan brought up by his grandfather under the code of the Cajun people, that had taught him the value of self-reliance. His grandfather prided himself as being among the last of the riverboat gamblers that looked at the world with unique keen eyes. Durell went to Yale in his late teens and from there joined the intelligence services, having already become fluent in several languages. He went on to serve in World War II under the OSS, then to the Pentagon, the State Department and lastly to the CIA, where he rose to K Section sub chief. Sam Durell is an imposing man at more than six feet tall with a lean waist, heavy shoulders, and long fingers that showed him a good gambler. His dark and thick hair and blue-black eyes gave him a black look, especially when he was thinking of something dangerous or when he was angry, which he often is. His Cajun upbringing gave him an independent streak and a hot temper that surprisingly makee him more effective in his assignments. While he is said to work for the CIA, technically he does not. His real organization is a highly secretive branch under the NSA that is headquartered in some nondescript offices in a residential area of Washington. He has risen to high rank within the organization as a survivor of countless assignments that have made him the enemy of countless foreign intelligence agencies. The dossiers with his name have for a long time been red tagged by the Chinese Security Center in Peking and the KGB of Dzerzhinsky Square, often with a designation to kill on sight. Following the death of Aarons, his son was contacted by Fawcett Publication to publish more titles under his name. There were thus several more titles following the elder Aarons death which have been attributed to Will B. Aarons, though many sources assert that that is merely a house name.

“Assignment to Disaster” the debut novel of the Sam Durell/Assignment is an excellent thriller that has often been referred to as the novel version of Casino Royale. In fact, Sam Durell the lead in the series had a lot of similarities to James Bond, which made the novel even more popular with its pop and culture references. Like many of the James Bond films and novels, the novels have something of a chauvinist streak that would be sneered at in the modern context. These aspects though may have been deemed the ultimate of chivalry in the 50s and 60s. Set a few years post World War II, the novels are influenced by the major issue of the time- nuclear proliferation. Everyone was terrified that a mad man similar to the likes of Hitler could get their hands on a nuclear weapon and unleash nuclear war on a world still recovering from a devastating war. Durell is on the trail of an expert American scientist that had suddenly disappeared. It is important that he finds the man, given that he has in his possession the blueprints of one of the biggest bombs known as the “Cyclops”. Having already threatened to unleash the weapon, Sam needs to find and disarm the weapon before it is too late.

“Assignment Suicide” is another excellent novel in the series that sees Sam going into one of the most dangerous of missions. A mad only known as “Comrade Z” of the Russian Politburo has gone rogue and is threatening to fire a cruise missile into the United States. May Day is fast approaching and Sam has to act fast, if he is to stop the deranged man that is determined to start World War III if his demands are not met. The novel that came out at the height of the height of the Cold War makes for some interesting reading regarding the relationship between the US and Russia. It is similar to a Tom Clancy novel but without the jargon on military hardware, which makes for quite a fleshing out of the characters and personalities of the story. Given its roots as a James Bond type of novel, it has the typical good guy versus bad guy intrigues and struggles that often end with Sam coming out on top. Aarons then tops it off with Durell getting the strong refined intelligent woman in one of the most explosive finishes of the Sam Durell series.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Sam Durell / Assignment

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