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

Creator: Edward S. Aarons
Time Span: 1955 - 1983


       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.


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


Number of Stories:1
First Appearance:1960
Last Appearance:1960

1 Passport To Peril Passport To Peril

Copyright: 1960

Adaptation of Assignment - Helene - 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.


       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.


My Grade: A

Your Average Grade:   A+


zulutime A+ 1/24/2013 9:34:28 AM

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.

dragnflys A+ 2/10/2013 10:14:50 PM

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.

tomjohnson A+ 2/19/2014 12:49:01 PM

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.

Lricks A+ 8/12/2015 1:51:23 PM

I have "Discovered" Sam Durrell in 1964 right after reading all (13) Ian Flemming James Bond novellas. I still have all but 5 of the "Assignment" books and have read all of Edward S. Aaaron's collection. I just couldn't get into the Wil B. Aaaron collection - it was like night and day.

dragnflys A+ 1/16/2016 12:23:52 PM

I now have most of the series in Kindle format!

Lokisgodhi A++- 2020-07-10

Loved the series. Started reading them in the late 70s early 80s. Had the whole series. But lost them to an accident at a famly member''s house. Jut acquired the whole series again. Look forwards to rereadinbg them thirty five years later.

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