John Maddox Roberts Books

John Maddox Roberts is an American author born in 1947 in Ohio. Before pursuing publishing, the author was in the army. Raised in Texas, the Army wasn’t always in the cards for Roberts. It wasn’t until he was kicked out of college in the 1960s that he enlisted. And he will be the first to admit that the decision did him good, with his enlistment eventually seeing him undertake a tour in Vietnam.

Order of Gabe Treloar Series

# Read Title Published
1 A Typical American Town 1994
2 The Ghosts of Saigon 1996
3 Desperate Highways 1997

Order of Stormlands Series

# Read Title Published
1 The Islander 1990
2 The Black Shields 1991
3 The Poisoned Land 1992
4 The Steel Kings 1993
5 Queens of Land and Sea 1994

Order of Spacer Series

# Read Title Published
1 Space Angel 1979
2 Spacer 1988

Order of The Cingulum Series

# Read Title Published
1 The Cingulum 1985
2 Cloak of Illusion 1985
3 The Sword, the Jewel and the Mirror 1988

Order of Falconer Series

# Read Title Published
1 The Falcon Strikes 1982
2 The Black Pope 1982
3 The Bloody Cross 1982
4 The King's Treasure 1983

Order of SPQR Series

Order of Island Worlds Series

# Read Title Published
1 Act of God 1985
2 The Island Worlds 1987
3 Between the Stars 1988
4 Delta Pavonis 1990

Order of Dragonlance Classics Series

# Read Title Published
1 Murder in Tarsis 1996

Order of Hannibal's Children Series

# Read Title Published
1 Hannibal's Children 2002
2 The Seven Hills 2005

Order of Adventures of Conan Series

Order of John Maddox Roberts Standalone Novels

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Roberts, who primarily writes historical fiction wrote and sold his first book in 1975. This was shortly after he left the army. Even though he initially experimented with science fiction, it wasn’t until he wrote The King’s Gambit, his first historical mystery novel, that Roberts garnered fame and began his journey down a path that would see him attain success as a result of works like SPQR, Conan and Dragonlance.

John Maddox Roberts is best known for SPQR, a series of novels told from the perspective of Decius Caecilius Metellus and which explores a series of murders that wracked the Roman Republic during its final days. As a member of the ruling class, Decius has access to the most prominent aspects of Roman society. As a result, he is best placed to investigate the cases of death and murder that begin to permeate his community.

Besides SPQR, Roberts is also responsible for the Gabe Treloar books, a series of detective novels set in contemporary times.

John Maddox Roberts Awards

Even though Roberts hasn’t had the opportunity to garner any accolades of note for his literary efforts, his Edgar Award Nomination for Best Mystery of the Year for the King’s Gambit is a worthwhile achievement.

John Maddox Roberts Books into Movies/TV

There has been talk of turning John Maddox Roberts’ SPQR series into a live action television series. There has been little in the way of movement on the project, though.

Best John Maddox Roberts Books

Even if you have never heard of Roberts, you have most likely encountered his historical mystery novels along the way, especially the SPQR books, with some of the best books from the author including:

The King’s Gambit: The first book in the SPQR series takes readers back to ancient Rome. It is a time of violence, where roving gangs control the streets in a society consumed by the conflict between Crassus and Pompey.

Each new day leaves new corpses on the streets, some lynched, others garroted. The death of an ex-slave and a foreign should have been of little consequence to the powers of Rome.

Yet Decius Caecilius Metellus would stop at nothing to unveil the truth behind the murders, not even in the face of official apathy and threats of violence. Decius would soon discover a web of lies and corruption winding through the breadth of the government.

The First SPQR book is fiction that uses historical figures operating within a historical setting. The book is written from the first-person perspective, which is a little jarring seeing as it is dealing with historical figures as though they were operating in the present.

Even though the book falls within the mystery genre, Roberts provides a lot of background data on Roman history, availing information about roman customs, religions and wars.

The purpose is to give readers an understanding of the historical setting so that they have some context about the clues that Roberts eventually avails.

The plot of the novel is kicked off by a fire at a warehouse that is quickly followed by a series of murders that pique the interest of Decius. Decius’ suspicions are further raised when the case comes his way and he realizes that he is expected to simply stamp it closed. When Decius decides that the case might require additional investigation, he attracts the wrong kind of attention.

The Sacrilege: In the past, Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger has used his skills to reveal rot and corruption. When a corrupt patrician in a female disguise infiltrates a Secret Woman’s rite and a set of brutal slayings follow, the young senator choose to leap into the fray once more and avail his investigative skills to Rome.

But this time, the senator isn’t working alone. With the help of a dangerous criminal, Decius follows a trail of clues that reveal a conspiracy within the lowest and highest levels of society.

This book builds upon the lore of the SPQR series as it delves into Roman religion.