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|Author||Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir|
|Media type||Print (hardcover and paperback)<|
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|Author||Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir|
|Media type||Print (hardcover and paperback)<|
The Destroyer is a paperback series of novels created by Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir about a U.S. government operative named Remo Williams. The first novel was published in 1971, although the manuscript was completed on June 25, 1963. Along with Don Pendleton's The Executioner series, The Destroyer is one of the original and longest lasting men's adventure series. It was adapted into the 1985 feature film, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, starring Fred Ward as Williams.
The series was originally co-written by Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir. Their collaboration took the form of each separately writing a portion of each book. The usual process was for one of them to begin the book and for the other to finish it. In the late 1970s, the relationship between the two men became tense, and Sapir left the series. In the early 1980s, Murphy began using ghostwriters to help with the series, including his wife Molly Cochran. By the mid-1980s, Sapir returned to the series to write some more books.
In the late 1980s, Will Murray took over the sole responsibility of writing the series, after having written several previous books with either Murphy or Sapir. After Sapir died, Murray continued the series until the late 1990s. When Murray left after novel #107, three novels were written by interim ghostwriters (#108 & #110 by Mike Newton; #109 by Alan Philipson). Jim Mullaney took over for novels #111-#131, followed by two more by Newton. Tim Somheil was ghostwriter from #134 through #145.
On July 11, 2006, it was announced that The Destroyer would be moving to Tor Books, part of the St. Martin's publishing group. Along with the change of publisher, Somheil was dropped in favor of Mullaney, who co-wrote the new novels with Warren Murphy. The last novel published by Gold Eagle, Dragon Bones, came out in October 2006. The first Tor novel, The New Destroyer: Guardian Angel, was published in May 2007, accompanied by a re-release of three older novels collected as The Best of the Destroyer. The second novel, Choke Hold, was published October 31, followed by Dead Reckoning in April 2008 and Killer Ratings on July 28 of that year. Due to disagreements between the authors and the publisher, this fourth New Destroyer will remain the last one for the time being.
A few years ago,[when?] Murphy started his own publishing house, Ballybunion, as a vehicle for Destroyer spin-off books. Ballybunion has reprinted The Assassin's Handbook, as well as the original works Assassin's Handbook 2, The Movie That Never Was (a screenplay he and Richard Sapir wrote for a Destroyer movie that was never optioned), The Way of the Assassin (the wisdom of Chiun), and New Blood, a collection of short stories written by fans of the series.
In 2011 the rights to most of The Destroyer novels reverted to Warren Murphy. They are being released in E-book format for the Amazon Kindle. Warren Murphy has stated on his Facebook page that he's writing a new Destroyer story which will also be available for the Kindle.
The series is about Remo Williams, a Newark cop framed for a crime and sentenced to death. His death is faked by the government so he can be trained as an assassin for CURE, a secret organization set up by President Kennedy to defend the country by working outside the bounds of the Constitution. The sitting US President and the head of CURE were initially the only other people that know about the organization, though over the years this circle of people in the know has increased slightly. The head of CURE is Harold Smith, a man selected by the President because of his brilliant mind but more importantly, because of his integrity. Smith was a former law instructor at Yale and served in the Office of Strategic Services during World War II.
Remo's trainer is Chiun, a deadly assassin and the last Master of Sinanju. Over the years, Remo and Chiun's relationship has transformed from student-teacher to one more akin to a son and father. It's also been discovered over the years that Remo is the Avatar of Shiva, as prophesied in the legends of Sinanju. In 1985, a companion book entitled Inside Sinanju was published. This was a revised and updated book that was formerly titled The Assassin's Handbook. Most of the book is written in the first person, from Chiun's perspective. It covers anecdotes as well as information on the various villains and story arcs from the series.
Although the series settled down into its formula by around the third book, there are many elements which are not present in the first book, Created, The Destroyer. Many of these have, however, been "retconned" into later stories about the early days of Remo's training. In the first book, the word Sinanju is not used at all to describe the martial arts that Chiun teaches Remo. Zen, karate, aikido and judo are used instead. Remo has many trainers for other aspects of being an undercover operative; he is taught to use different types of firearms, and trained in close-quarters assassination. He smokes tobacco, drinks alcohol, and eats red meat, all activities that would later prove harmful or impossible as his body became changed by the harsh Sinanju training regime. Remo uses a gun to shoot somebody, although it is only to wound, and all his actual kills are hand-to-hand. He does make a conscious choice not to use weapons, after a fight in which he kills a man who had been pointing a gun at him. He realizes that Chiun never carried a gun and is over 70, whereas MacCleary, who had told him to always carry a gun, is dead. The retelling of Remo's origin in the story "The Day Remo Died" in The Assassin's Handbook and in Destroyer #120-121 square his origin more fully with later developments.
|This paragraph may be confusing or unclear to readers. (January 2012)|
Chiun is a minor supporting character who appears only briefly in this book in an early training sequence, and is not referred to again. Much of the humour that comes in the later books from the relationship between Remo and Chiun is correspondingly absent. The book also lacks the 'signature' touch, in that the first line of chapter two does not start with the words: 'His name was Remo'.
Remo and Chiun have encountered a number of colorful villains, both human and superhuman. Their foes have run the gamut of pulp fiction, from mobsters to mad scientists. Given their talents as assassins, few have survived their encounters with Remo and Chiun, but some of their more powerful foes have managed to survive, such as the sinister android Mr. Gordons, former animator cartoonist Uncle Sam Beasley and his animatronic hand, super-soldier Elizu Roote, the computer program known as Friend, renegade Sinanju practitioner Nuihc the Renegade(backwards spelling of the name Chiun), and his protege Jeremiah Purcell, a.k.a. the Dutchman, the death goddess Kali, and a Chinese vampire known as The Master. Some of the more colorful one-shot villains include Dr. Quake, Dr. Lithia Forrester, Ms. Kathy Hahl and Dan Demmet, Colonel Baraka, The Blissful Master, James Orayo Fielding, The Cult of Uctut, the Junior Assassins, Generallissimo Sacrist Corazon, Sparky (a "walking molotov cocktail"), Elmo Wimpler, Chuzhoi Zarnista a.k.a. The World Master, The Krahseevah, Director X (who tried using his daring gene splicing abilities and maniplulation to assassinate Bill Clinton and reenact the assassination of John F Kennedy) and many others.
In 1985, The Destroyer concept was adapted for the theatrical movie Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, starring Fred Ward as Williams and Joel Grey as Chiun. The film shows the first meeting of Remo and Chuin, and centers on a corrupt weapons manufacturer who is selling guns to the US Army. The film did not follow the source material very closely, much to the disgust of some fans[weasel words] and the authors of the Destroyer series. Several Destroyer books actually make fun of the film and its promotional materials.
In 2009, Dark Horizons suggested that a new Remo movie may be in the works, produced by The Dark Knight producer Charles Roven and Transporter producer Steve Chasman, in association with Columbia Pictures. Charley Parlapanides and Vlas Parlapanides are writing the screenplay.
In 1988, an American television pilot, Remo Williams, aired but did not lead to a series. It was a follow-up to the movie incorporating footage from the movie in the opening credits and music from the movie throughout. It starred Jeffrey Meek as Williams, Roddy McDowall as Chiun, and Stephen Elliott as Harold W. Smith and is loosely based on the novella "The Day Remo Died". Set one year after the events of the feature film, the pilot episode (titled "The Prophecy") was directed by Christian I. Nyby II and the teleplay written by Steven Hensley and J. Miyoko Hensley. The episode featured guest stars Carmen Argenziano, Judy Landers, and Andy Romano. Music by Craig Safan.
The New Destroyer series
Dec., 2007: Guardian Angel, Choke Hold and The Best of the Destroyer make Bookgasm's top ten list of the best crime novels of 2007.