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Peter O'Donnell (1920–2010)

Author of Modesty Blaise

312+ Works 7,340 Members 206 Reviews 14 Favorited

About the Author

Peter O'Donnell was born in London on April 11, 1920. During World War II, he served in a signal regiment in the British Army, assigned to France, Persia (now Iran), Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Italy and Greece. He began drawing comic strips for children as a teenager, and after the war he wrote a show more number of different strips including Dr. No, Garth, and Romeo Brown on a freelance basis. He created the Modesty Blaise comic strip, which was published in The London Evening Standard from 1963 to 2001. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 20 Modesty Blaise novels including Sabre-Tooth, A Taste for Death and The Night of the Morningstar, two short stories collections, and a play entitled Mr. Fothergill's Murder. He wrote a series of 19th-century romance novels under the pseudonym Madeleine Brent. He also wrote for television, film, women's magazines and children's papers. He died on May 3, 2010 at the age of 90. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Disambiguation Notice:

Peter O'Donnell also wrote as Madeleine Brent.

Image credit: Peter O'Donnell = Madeleine Brent

Works by Peter O'Donnell

Modesty Blaise (1965) 586 copies
Moonraker's Bride (1973) 343 copies
Sabre-Tooth (1966) 314 copies
A Taste for Death (1969) 299 copies
Tregaron's Daughter (1971) 285 copies
I, Lucifer (1967) 281 copies
The Silver Mistress (1973) 271 copies
Merlin's Keep (1977) 270 copies
The Impossible Virgin (1971) 253 copies
The Xanadu Talisman (1981) 243 copies
Last Day in Limbo (1976) 243 copies
Golden Urchin (1986) 230 copies
Dragon's Claw (1978) 213 copies
Dead Man's Handle (1985) 212 copies
The Night of Morningstar (1982) 204 copies
Pieces of Modesty (1972) 202 copies
Cobra Trap (1996) 170 copies
Stormswift (1984) 170 copies
The Capricorn Stone (1979) 155 copies
The Long Masquerade (1981) 125 copies
A Heritage of Shadows (1983) 115 copies
Modesty Blaise: Mister Sun (1964) 68 copies
Modesty Blaise: Bad Suki (1968) 60 copies
Modesty Blaise: Top Traitor (1965) 60 copies
Modesty Blaise: Cry Wolf (1974) 50 copies
Modesty Blaise: Death Trap (2007) 39 copies
Modesty Blaise: Green Cobra (1979) 33 copies
Modesty Blaise: Live Bait (2012) 29 copies
Modesty Blaise (1994) 28 copies
Modesty Blaise: Ripper Jax (2016) 21 copies
Death of a Jester (1987) 18 copies
The Warlords of Phoenix (1987) 17 copies
The Iron God (1989) 14 copies
Uncle Happy (1990) 12 copies
Modesty Blaise. 2 (2005) 10 copies
Live Bait (2002) 10 copies
Lady in the Dark (2003) 10 copies
Bellman [short story] (1996) 5 copies
Jernguden [14] (1988) 4 copies
Forræderen [4] (1990) 4 copies
Ulven kommer [16] (1988) 3 copies
Vapauden tyttäret (2014) 3 copies
An Afternoon Walk (1971) 3 copies
Ostříží panství (1994) 3 copies
Die Tochter des Fischers (1900) 2 copies
Drama i Himalaya (1978) 2 copies
Heksen [15] (1988) 2 copies
Hofnarrens død (1988) 2 copies
Modesty Blaise (1991) 1 copy
Modesty blaise, tome 1 (1996) 1 copy
Dødsfælden (2000) 1 copy
Gladiatorerne (1988) 1 copy
Kunsten at dræbe (1988) 1 copy
Farlige juveler (1980) 1 copy
De franse erfenis (1979) 1 copy
Tvilsom arv 1 copy
Sokole gniazdo (1998) 1 copy
Podvržené dítě (2004) 1 copy
Arvingen 1 copy
Dědictví stínů (1995) 1 copy
Moonraker 1 copy
Villkatt 1 copy

Associated Works

2nd Culprit: A Crime Writers' Association Annual (1993) — Contributor — 66 copies
Baker's Dozen: 13 Short Espionage Stories (1969) — Contributor — 35 copies


2010 (74) 2010g (68) action (103) Action/Adventure Stories (45) adventure (279) British (56) caper (52) comic strips (53) comics (299) crime (209) Crime Stories (41) Drama/Family Stories (46) ebook (52) England (40) espionage (93) fiction (904) G (48) gothic (75) graphic novel (180) graphic sf reader (75) hardcover (48) historical (40) historical fiction (87) historical romance (64) isbn (46) Modesty Blaise (627) mystery (186) O'Donnell (46) PB (40) read (102) romance (162) romantic suspense (47) series (72) short stories (92) spy (93) strip (55) suspense (82) thriller (429) Thriller/Suspense Stories (43) to-read (142)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
O'Donnell, Peter
Legal name
O'Donnell, Peter
Other names
Brent, Madeleine
O'Donnell, Peter
Date of death
Burial location
Lawn Memorial Cemetery, Warren Road, Woodingdean, Brighton, Sussex, England, UK
London, England, UK
Place of death
Brighton, Sussex, England, UK
Places of residence
London, England, UK
British Army (WWII)
Awards and honors
Romantic Novel of the Year Award (1978)
Disambiguation notice
Peter O'Donnell also wrote as Madeleine Brent.




It’s a romantic adventure story about young Lucy, abandoned in an orphanage in China, who finds herself sucked into a bizarre English feud between two neighbouring families over lost Chinese treasure. There are some vey effective fish-out-of-water moments for Lucy when she first arrives in England. The plot twists are pretty absurd, as hidden relatives turn up everywhere and Lucy returns to China to skip through the Boxer Rebellion, and yet I kept on being sucked back into it to find out what would happen next. I’m sure that the Chinese details are as wobbly as I know the English historical details are; but I admit that I was entertained anyway.… (more)
nwhyte | 5 other reviews | Mar 24, 2024 |
2nd, 3rd or 4th reading? Not sure. I read this book back when I was a teenager when I was first discovering romantic fiction.
I came to Madeleine Brent via Merlin's Keep, which I loved so much I immediately devoured the rest of her books. Imagine my surprise when I learned decades later that Madeleine Brent was a pseudonym for Peter O'Donnell. He wrote such strong female leads, young women who weren't afraid to break the rules and who saved the day - and often their male love interests.
Moonraker's Bride is my second favorite of his romance novels (second to Merlin's Keep). A young English woman, born and raised in China at the turn of the 20th century, is burdened with running a mission orphanage. She meets two dashing young Englishmen, desperate rivals in pursuit of a hidden treasure, and her life is turned upside down. The story includes mystery, intrigue, and adventure, and is an utterly compelling read.
… (more)
sooze55 | 5 other reviews | Dec 22, 2023 |
3rd or 4th reading? Not sure, but the first time in many, many years. I first read this book as a teenager when I first discovered romantic fiction. I absolutely loved it then, and my opinion hasn't changed over the decades. I became an instant fan of the author Madeleine Brent, and devoured all of her books.
I was very surprised to learn some years ago that Madeleine Brent was a pseudonym for Peter O'Donnell. He had an amazing gift for writing strong female characters, women who find strength through their suffering and overcome the obstacles thrown their way - and oftentimes they even rescue their own male love interests.
All of the books follow the same basic pattern: Young girl grows up in some disadvantaged environment but where she finds her strength, meets her love interest (typically at an early age, but not always), stumbles upon a patron of sorts who changes her circumstances for the better, then some event happens that brings her back to her roots where she proves her bravery and rescues one or more people, including her love interest.
Merlin's Keep is my favorite of Madeleine Brent's novels. While it adheres to the above pattern, it includes additional elements which have made it stand out to me: the supernatural, the mysteries of the East, a radiant best friend (whom the main character must rescue), the best friend's love interest (who is also a dear friend), the most evil of all of Brent's villains, the scrappy main character who can talk to animals (and who ends up being an actual princess), and the charismatic man she falls in love with.
There are some things about this book, published in 1977, that modern readers may find offensive, e.g., the way natives in Nepal and India are spoken of by the English. While unfortunate, Brent is merely staying true to the period in which the narrative takes place, which is the turn of the 20th century; the British Empire was at its height, the Great War was still ten to fifteen years off, and Europeans in general considered themselves vastly superior to the rest of the world's inhabitants. It would be anachronistic to present the British (in general) in any other way.
I'm really glad I made the effort to rediscover this book after so many years.
… (more)
sooze55 | 2 other reviews | Dec 22, 2023 |



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