HOME    -     CHARACTERS    -     AUTHORS    -     ARTICLES

SAM DURELL

Full Name: Samuel Cullen Durell
Codename: Cajun
Nationality: American
Organization: CIA
Occupation: Agent

Creator:Edward S. Aarons
Actual Time Span: 1955-1983
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Sam Durell is an agent with the CIA.
       Born in southern Louisiana and raised by his grandfather, Jonathan, down in Bayou Peche Rouge 'in the bayou below New Orleans', Durell was taught the self-reliance of the Cajun people. Jonathan had been one of the last of the old-time Mississippi riverboat gamblers, a man 'with shoulders and back as straight as a ramrod, with keen eyes and a unique way of looking at the world'.
       Leaving the lush but dangerous swampland of the Bayou, Durell moves to the New England area where he attends and graduates from Yale. It was during his time there that he gained many friends he would meet later. He also lost his thick Cajun accent and acquired fluency in several foreign languages.
       After serving in Europe with the OSS during World War II, he transferred to the G-2 of the Pentagon and then for the State Department before being recruited in the newly formed CIA. His rank in that espionage organization is that of sub-chief in K Section.
       As stated in Assignment Suicide, Durell is 'a tall man, well over six feet, with heavy shoulders and a lean waist and the delicate, long-fingered hands of a born gambler. His hair was thick and dark, and his eyes were a deep blue that sometimes looked black when he was angry or contemplating something dangerous. He had a small, neatly trimmed, thin mustache. His Cajun blood made him hot-tempered and game him a tendency toward independent action.' After many assignments, the thin mustache was deemed too distinct a characteristic and it was removed but its loss was lamented for many jobs to come.
       Durell, the Cajun, works for the CIA but is assigned to a little known secret branch which also works closely with the National Security Agency. This group has its own offices at Number 20 Annapolis Street in Washington, D.C.'s residential area just off Rock Creek Parkway.
       A sub-chief with the organization, he has survived countless assignments and earned the ire of many foreign intelligence agencies. As is noted often in the books, his dossiers have been long ago 'red-tagged' in the files of both the KGB at Number 2 Dzerzhinsky Square and the Communist Chinese Security Center in Peking, this designation indicating a 'kill at all cost' sentence.
       Edward Aarons wrote the first 42 of the Durell novels, from 1955 to 1976. After the death of Edward Aarons, Fawcett Publications and Aarons' son decided to continue the series with new assignments under the son's name, Will B. Aarons, though other sources consider that just a house name.

BOOKS

Number of Books:48
First Appearance:1955
Last Appearance:1983

1 Assignment To Disaster Assignment To Disaster      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1955
Durell is on the lookout for a missing American scientist, one of the brains behind the world's first man-made satellite, named Cyclops, a bomb of dramatic proportions. With just a few hours to go before launch, it is vital that Durell find the man and put an end to the sabotage.

2 Assignment - Suicide Assignment - Suicide      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1956
Deep in the Soviet Union, a member of the Politburo has a mad plan to launch one of the first ICBM's that country has. Known only as Comrade Z, this mysterious leader has marked May Day as the date the missile will head towards the U.S. unless Durell can stop him.

3 Assignment - Treason Assignment - Treason      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1956
Someone has been stealing secrets straight out of K Section's files and passing that information on to the Soviets. The result is the death of several covert agents in Europe. Even more unfortunately, one of the murdered turns out to be the love of a highly skilled assassin.

4 Assignment - Stella Marni Assignment - Stella Marni      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1957
She was one of the most beautiful women Durell had ever met and she was in danger. At Deirdre's request, he agrees to try and help Stella, an Hungarian refugee who is danger of being forced to return behind the Iron Curtain.

5 Assignment - Budapest Assignment - Budapest      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1957
An Hungarian scientist working in the U.S. on an important government project has disappeared and is feared to have been forcibly returned to Hungary. When Durell's boss decides to handle the case, he leaves Durell in charge.

6 Assignment - Angelina Assignment - Angelina      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1958
She holds that answer to a perplexing question, even if she doesn't know it. When several men across the country from different walks of life are cruelly murdered, the search for a common thread leads back to the last days of World War II and a secret project that Durell was a part of.

7 Assignment - Madeleine Assignment - Madeleine      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1958
Sent to Paris to start the search for his friend and fellow agent, Durell learns quickly that a compatriot has killed the object of his search. Now he must switch gears to seek out the murderer and to do that, he needs the help of the alluring Madeleine Sardelle.

8 Assignment - Carlotta Cortez Assignment - Carlotta Cortez      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1959
Duncan had two things going against him. He was married to the evil Carlotta and he flew U.S. Air Force bombers with the nuclear bombs that Carlotta wanted. Unable to deny her anything, he agreed to fake a malfunction and land the plane where Carlotta and her team could hijack the nukes.

9 Assignment - Lili Lamaris Assignment - Lili Lamaris      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1959
The previous agent of the assignment has been killed and Durell, not knowing yet what the mission is, has to fly to Rome to take the slain agent's place. He may be ignorant of the true nature of the job, however, he is not ignorant of the fact that he is being followed by the killer.

10 Assignment - Helene Assignment - Helene      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1959
In the newly created country Salangap, deep in the Indochina region, General Trang is leading the Xu Bhien in a revolt to take over the nascent nation. An American seems to be a major player in the action and Durell's job is to find out who he or she is and eliminate the problem.

11 Assignment - Mara Tirana Assignment - Mara Tirana      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1960
It had been a year since Sam told Deirdre that there would be no marriage and they had said their goodbyes. In that time, she had met and become engaged to the U.S.'s first astronaut, Adam Stepanic. Then his spacecraft malfunctions upon reentry and lands in the mountain of Romania.

12 Assignment - Zoraya Assignment - Zoraya      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1960
The man called the Q'adi was a religious zealot who wanted to start a jihad to drive the infidels out of his beloved country of Jidrat. Colonel Ta-arife was a leader who wanted to become the leader of more than just a small Emirate. Together they could tear the Middle East apart.

13 Assignment - Lowlands Assignment - Lowlands      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1961
The first notes to arrive were ignored. The next batch were filed away. The latest group talked of things that only a few could know and suddenly the powers that be were worried. Someone named Cassandra holds a secret that can destroy half a world.

14 Assignment - Burma Girl Assignment - Burma Girl      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1961
In the outer region of Burma, a new movement called the Lahpet Hao is plaguing the existing regime, threatening to take over the territory, creating a connection between China and Laos and Cambodia, making subversion and gun trafficking easier.

15 Assignment - Ankara Assignment - Ankara      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1961
Base Four is a radar installation along the Black Sea tasked with monitoring Soviet launch capabilities. Its leading researcher has a set of radar tapes that must be transported to the U.S. but an earthquake has made that difficult.

16 Assignment - Karachi Assignment - Karachi      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1962
The beautiful, and rich, Sarah Standish, is determined to travel to the mountains of Pakistan and nothing will stop her - not the men already killed, not the saboteur who keeps trying slowing the trip down, and not the attempts on her own life. Durell's job is to keep her alive.

17 Assignment - Manchurian Doll + Assignment - Manchurian Doll      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1963
Soviet spy Colonel Alexi Kaminov has worked too many years in the dark, dangerous field of espionage and now, stationed in Manchuria, he wants three things. First, he wants out. Second, he wants his love, Nadja Osmanovna, to be taken with him. And, third, he wants Durell to lead him out.

18 Assignment - Sorrento Siren Assignment - Sorrento Siren      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1963
Ellen Armbridge is a CIA agent stationed in Geneva. She iss also in love with a man named Jack Talbot. Talbot in turn is in love with Francesca, the Contessa d'Apollio. He also is suspected of stealing a set of ancient scrolls in order to sell them to Francesca's husband.

19 Assignment - The Girl In The Gondola Assignment - The Girl In The Gondola      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1964
The girl in the gondola is Lisette Pollini, widow of the Italian general who was killed because of what he knew was happening in Albania. Or he was killed by Albanian refugees still filled with hatred from the war.

20 Assignment - Sulu Sea Assignment - Sulu Sea      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1964
Willi Panapura is a beautiful Polynesian woman he encounters in his room in a Hawaiian hotel who amazes him with the matter of fact statement that he is a CIA agent. Moreover, she knows an amazing amount about him and then asks for help in investigating a strange death on her island.

21 Assignment - The Cairo Dancers Assignment - The Cairo Dancers      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1965
Despite the image of beautiful, scantily clad women dancing seductively while lustful men lounge on cushions eating dates, the Cairo Dancers are a powerful, deadly organization determined to take control of the entire Middle East, even if they have to bring destruction to the rest of the world to do it.

22 Assignment - School For Spies Assignment - School For Spies      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1966
Recovering in Athens from wounds, Durell learns but refuses to believe the astonishing news that his long love, Deirdre Padgett, had met an East German agent, married him, and defected behind the Iron Curtain.

23 Assignment - Cong Hai Kill Assignment - Cong Hai Kill      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1966
Anne-Marie Danat is a wealthy French plantation owner in Thailand, in love with Orris Lantern, an American Special Forces deserter. Orris had become a major leader in the Cong Hai, a Communist rebel group operating with the Viet Cong. Now Orris wants out and has secrets to bargain with.

24 Assignment - Palermo Assignment - Palermo      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1966
They are the Fratelli della Notte, the Brotherhood of the Night, a Sicilian organization almost as powerful as the Mafia. Their reach has been as tremendous as their goals have been secretive. At least until now.

25 Assignment - Black Viking Assignment - Black Viking      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1967
Durell is sent to fight a mad scientist who has the ability to control the weather. The danger is real for the entire northern regions of Europe and Asia are in the grip of an unprecedented, unrelenting blizzard.

26 Assignment - Moon Girl Assignment - Moon Girl      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1967
'Mynameistanyaouspanayaandihavebeenonthemoon'. That is the one line that the beautiful naked young woman repeats. But until Durell arrives to rescue her, the only one who might have heard was the young tiger male with whom she was forced to share a cage.

27 Assignment - Nuclear Nude Assignment - Nuclear Nude      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1968
A painter of nondescript value has painted a good but unremarkable painting named the Nuclear Nude. It was bought for a few hundred dollars by an extremely wealthy American industrialist who had many more important works in his collection. And of all the paintings he had, the Nude was the one stolen.

28 Assignment - Peking Assignment - Peking      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1969
He was Sam Durell, Caucasian master spy for K Section. Now he is Major San Tze Peng, Occidental master spy for the Black House of L-5 in Peking. Surgically altered to look like the tall Chinese, he must sneak his way into the People's Republic of China and find out who are the Sentinels.

29 Assignment - White Rajah Assignment - White Rajah      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1970
Someone was stealing American fighter planes. Not one at a time once in a while but in groups. More than a dozen Thrashers were missing from Southeast Asia and Durell is sent in to find out who and direct American forces in to recover them.

30 Assignment - Star Stealers Assignment - Star Stealers      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1970
The U.S., the Soviets, and the Red Chinese are all facing the same unbelievable problem. Someone is stealing the intelligence gathered by each country's satellites, wiping their memory banks, and selling the secrets to the opposition.

31 Assignment - Tokyo Assignment - Tokyo      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1971
Someone's canister washed up on the shore of a northern Japanese. Whose canister it was remained a mystery even but not the deadliness of its contents. When the fisherman who found it opened it, he and his entire village died. The Soviets send their best agent, Comrade Skoll, a former nemesis of Durell.

32 Assignment - Golden Girl Assignment - Golden Girl      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1971
She called herself Sally. He called himself Prince Mujilikaka. She had only recently met Durell. He had known Durell years ago. She was someone Durell liked immensely. He was someone Durell regretted knowing. Both were legal claimants to the Elephant Throne of Pakuru. And the Red Chinese want both dead.

33 Assignment - Bangkok Assignment - Bangkok      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1972
It was a simple assignment; find out what is causing two Thai tribes to be at war again after so many years. But from the moment he arrived in Bangkok, it has been nothing but trouble, starting with being thrown into a small cell in the back streets, left to die for no apparent reason.

34 Assignment - Maltese Maiden Assignment - Maltese Maiden      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1972
Twice Durell has crossed the path of the deadly Madame Hung, the last time he was certain he had killed her. Now she is back and she had kidnapped General McFee, Durell's boss at K Section. The question is whether she is after McFee, or is she using him as bait to get Durell.

35 Assignment - Silver Scorpion Assignment - Silver Scorpion      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1973
$300,000,000 was missing. The money had been given by the U.S. to the East African nation of Boganda to help bring that fragile nation into the 20th Century but it had disappeared. Durell's job was to find out where it was and get it back.

36 Assignment - Ceylon Assignment - Ceylon      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1973
Ira Sanderson had gotten himself kidnapped. The Tamil rebels of Ceylon had taken the American and were making strong demands for his release. Durell's mission was to get Sanderson released and, if possible, eliminate the Naga, or head of the Tamil fighters.

37 Assignment - Amazon Queen Assignment - Amazon Queen      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1974
Deep in the rain forest of Brazil they had a formula for poisoning the entire world and they were using that fear to blackmail the world's richest nations. So far the crime was kept from the public but it wouldn't keep for long if Durell can't lead a small band up the Amazon to find and destroy the plotters.

38 Assignment - Sumatra Assignment - Sumatra      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1974
Lydia Morgan was a member of the CIA's 'sanitation squad' working for Eli Plowman and rated with the rare 'Q' clearance, the authority to kill as necessary. She, unfortunately, liked her work too much, which made Durell, forced to be her partner on this assignment, very nervous.

39 Assignment - Quayle Question Assignment - Quayle Question      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1975
It was a mixed alphabet soup assignment. Durell from the CIA, a man from the FBI, and two from the DIA, all working to stop a team of assassins from removing those on a list, one of whom is Sam's great love, Deirdre.

40 Assignment - Black Gold Assignment - Black Gold      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1975
Cotton and Forchette were two old friends from Durell's young Cajun days who had found success in the oil business and were working on an oil rig in Lubinda when Cotton, also a part-time agent for the CIA, goes missing. The culprit was a man named Madragata, leader of a rebellion on the heels of a total victory.

41 Assignment - Unicorn Assignment - Unicorn      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1961
When a friend of Sam's and the premier of the Indochina island nation of Palingpon are brutally murdered, the mystery is not only why they were so viciously killed but how the attackers possessed such super-human strength.

42 Assignment - Afghan Dragon Assignment - Afghan Dragon      written by Edward S. Aarons     copyright 1976
A national treasure of Afghanistan worth in the neighborhood of $5,000,000 has gone missing and somehow the American government is catching flack. Durell is sent in to find, retrieve, and return the figurine which places him directly between agents from China and the Soviet Union, both of whom had no love for the Cajun.

43 Assignment - Sheba Assignment - Sheba      written by Will B. Aarons     copyright 1976
With General McFee convinced that Durell had pushed his luck one too many times, he nevertheless volunteers for the assignment that would take him to Ethiopia to investigate a mysterious atomic blast in the back country of that African nation.

44 Assignment - 13th Princess Assignment - 13th Princess      written by Will B. Aarons     copyright 1977
The old Emir of Dhubar, a Middle Eastern country, had been assassinated. With the country in turmoil, the only chance for calm rests with the victim's brother, a former playboy who is ready to step in and fight those who killed the former emir but wants his wife protected.

45 Assignment - Tiger Devil Assignment - Tiger Devil      written by Will B. Aarons     copyright 1977
When a good friend of Sam is shot in the back in the capital of Guyana, the explanation pointed to a overanxious journalist writing about CIA involvement in that South American nation. Upon arriving there to check out the facts, Sam discovers that there is far more going on than just eliminating a spy.

46 Assignment - Mermaid Assignment - Mermaid      written by Will B. Aarons     copyright 1979
Aleksei Kazeishvili, Russian nuclear researcher and, more prominently, head of the dissident movement in the Soviet Union, wanted out and was close to getting there when he disappeared. Not just him, however, the whole ship on which he was traveling.

47 Assignment - Tyrant's Bride Assignment - Tyrant's Bride      written by Will B. Aarons     copyright 1980
The African Princess Teresa was beautiful, intelligent, and in much demand. Too much demand, actually. Someone has kidnapped her and the entire region of Mobundu is in an uproar. Getting her free won't be enough, however. Durell must transport her over deadly jungles past mercenaries paid to stop them.

48 Assignment - Death Ship Assignment - Death Ship      written by Will B. Aarons     copyright 1983
When the ocean liner Sun Rover collided with the Coast Guard ship the Henry, there were plenty of dead bodies to go around. Unfortunately for Durell and possibly the rest of the Caribbean area, they were likely to have died before the crash, victims of a horrific microscopic killer that got loose.

MY COMMENTS

       For nearly thirty years, the assignments of Sam Durell thrilled readers and made the author a major player in Fawcett's Gold Medal stable of excellent writers.
       Mr. Aarons' character possessed a nice balance that readers wanted in a hero. He was desirable by women but had no overwhelming urge to bed each that he met, though he did enjoy the company of several throughout the series. He was a man of action but was definitely human and subject to normal frailties as his many scars indicated. He was also a patriot who loved his country but who often had few good words for the bureaucrats who ran it.
       The career of Durell took him to many exotic places and many fantastic climates, all of whom were excellently brought to the readers. Although Mr. Aarons did not spend a great deal of time on descriptions, his few words were more than enough to capture the feel. Whether roasting in a desert, freezing in a blizzard, sweating in a jungle, or skulking in a Berlin back alley, his writing style put you there in short but effective sentences that read fast and let the action flow.
       As you can tell, I am an enormous fan of both Edward S. Aarons and his durable, admirable creation, Samuel Durell, the Cajun.

GRADE

My Grade:   A

Your Average Grade:   A++


YOUR OPINIONS
zulutimeA++1/24/2013

Have followed Durell since the early 60's. Fast reads but always action. Though, as you say, not overly descriptive but I can tell you from my years in Europe, I could easily find the places AArons did describe down to the street corner.


dragnflysA++2/10/2013

These were the first books I read that were not related to school. I truely enjoyed the whole series when I first started reading them back in the 60's, and even more so now, 50 years later, as I am rereading and putting the series into digital format. I don't know about anyone else, but the books I have are falling apart. These books introduced me to the world more than anything else.


tomjohnsonA++2/19/2014

I've only recently started reading the series. I find it much better than James Bond, only second to Modesty Blaise. Very gritty and sometimes very violent.


Tell us what you think of the series. Give your grade and comments.

Your Grade:
Your Comments:

To give your opinion, you must be logged in.



site search by freefind advanced

Back To Top
Contact Me   About Me