Donovan_James1 Donovan_James2 Donovan_James3
Full Name: James Donovan
Series Name: Donovan's Devils
Nationality: American
Organization: Presidential Agent
Occupation Agent

Creator: Lee Parker
Time Span: 1974 - 1975


Donovan's Devils is an elite group working for the American President.

This series would not have been included in the compendium were it not for the fact that the soldiers in the small detachment were made answerable to the Oval Office, making them his private team going into places he wouldn't want the world to know about.

James Donovan was a captain in the Army, planning to resign his commission to enter the private sector when his former commanding officer, General Blaine, asked him to take a very special assignment. The task was to put together a group, made up of some of the biggest "mistakes" the army had made. And then to take that team into areas they wouldn't normally go to accomplish the impossible. Donovan was not very responsive to the idea, especially since it would put his upcoming marriage to a beautiful heiress in jeopardy but he did reluctantly accept.

The concept is hardly new. Lee Marvin did it seven years before in the Dirty Dozen, though Donovan's men are just misfits, not criminals; hard cases with attitude but with unique skills Donovan needs. Of interest is the oddity of the concept in the context it is used. If the purpose behind the group was secrecy in the actions, picking a group of "mistakes" seems an strange decision.

The men that make up the "Savage Six", as they are also referenced, are:

Arthur "Houdini" Gibbs - an escape artist,

Irvin "The Bear" Randolph - the muscle/strongman of the team,

Joseph Teal - the driver and mechanic

Francis Quinn - weapons master

Oliver Bogan - lethal killer.

Nathan Carey - grifter and conman.


Number of Books:3
First Appearance:1974
Last Appearance:1975

1 The Assassination Is Set For July 4 The Assassination Is Set For July 4
Written by Lee Parker
Copyright: 1974

El Tigre is either a freedom fighter or a terrorist, depending on who you ask. To the President, he is the latter, holding three important Americans hostage in Paraguay. Refusing to give in, he orders Donovan and his team to do the rescuing.

2 Blueprint For Execution Blueprint For Execution
Written by Lee Parker
Copyright: 1974

The terrorists had blown up the U.S. envoy in his plane and slit the throat of the CIA agent who got too close. Now the President sends in his personal team to get revenge.

3 The Guns Of Mazatlan The Guns Of Mazatlan
Written by Lee Parker
Copyright: 1975

When a Texas millionaire with power issues combines with a South American rebel to take over the government of Mexico, the President asks Donovan to take his team in to stop the plot.


This series suffers as many group series do with too little time to get to know any one character. The action is alright but it is too much a "bang-the-gun_spat-a-bullet" variety to make it memorable. Soldier-goes-spy does not work that often and soldiers-go-spy almost never works at all. This series proves that idea.

If it had been a lot more of Donovan, I think the series would have been more interesting. Trying to keep it an ensemble work spread the character-development, what little there was, too thin.

The plots are routine. Interesting but just barely so. Bad guys are totally bad but as cardboard-ish as possible.


My Grade: C-


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