John Maddox Roberts is one of the prolific authors from America, who likes to write mystery, thriller, and historical fiction novels. He is particularly popular for writing the SPQR series, which has its setting in Rome. Roberts is still working on this series. Author Roberts has a number of original series to his name, and has also collaborated in writing other well known series, including the Drangonlance and Conan series. He started his writing career in the year 1977 with the publication of his debut book titled as The Strayed Sheep of Charum. From then onwards, Roberts has been writing all types of books and stories continuously. Author Roberts was born on June 25, 1947, in Ohio, United States. For writing some of his novels, he uses the pen name of Mark Ramsay. After his birth in Ohio, Roberts’ family moved to Texas, where he was brought up for most of his youth. Roberts has also lived in California and New Mexico. Author Roberts has stated that he has visited a number of places in the US, England, Mexico, and Scotland. When he was studying in college, he faced resignation in 1967. Following this, he went on to join the US Army. Roberts stayed in the Army for a period of three years between 1967 and 1970. During that time, he carried a successful tour of Vietnam. After his return from Vietnam, author Roberts joined the Special Forces division of the US Army. As of today, he resides in Estancia, New Mexico, along with his beloved wife. When Roberts retired from the army and returned to the civilian life, he decided to try his hand at writing mystery novels. Subsequently, Roberts finished his debut book and sold it to the Doubleday publication in 1975. The book was eventually released in 1977. The books that Roberts wrote in the initial days of his writing career were based on the historical fiction, science fiction, and fantasy genres.

During the later stages of his career, he shifted his focus towards writing novels of other genres as well. The first novel of historical mystery written by author Roberts was published in 1989. It is called as The King’s Gambit and has its setting in ancient Rome. This book went on to be nominated for the prestigious Edgar Award in the category of the best mystery book of the year. This book also marked the beginning of the SPQR mystery series by author Roberts. In addition to his typically successful novels, author Roberts has also written a contemporary detective novel series, which features the chief protagonist in the form of a private eye known as Gabe Trelor. The initial book of this series is called as A Typical American Town, which takes place in a fictional town similar to the one in Ohio in which Roberts was born. In writing the second book of the series, author Roberts used his vast experience while he was in Vietnam. This was followed by a road trip novel. When Roberts was asked to write a mystery in the Dragonlance series by TSR, he agreed and subsequently wrote the Murder in Tarsis book. A book called The Line was also written by Roberts that remain unpublished. This novel describes the police procedural which is set in a near future in Los Angeles. The story shows a big racket about illegal traffic in the pineal glands.

The SPQR series written by John Maddox Roberts is comprised of a total of 19 books, which were released between the years 1990 and 2010. This series features the main character as Decius Cecilius Metellus. He is shown as a playboy son from a prosperous family. Each book of this series is written in a fast paced, evocative, and accurate way. Decius is depicted as an investigator who goes on to join the Roman bureaucracy. An initial book of this series is entitled ‘The Temple of Muses’. It was published in 1999 by the Minotaur Books. Author Roberts has set the plot in Rome and Alexandria. At the start of the book, Decius Metellus is introduced as a junior senator from Rome. He gets a chance for joining the diplomatic mission in Alexandria. Decius sees this opportunity as a means of eluding his enemies. Decius looks forward to it, even though he would end up leaving the beloved Rome. When Decius begins to explore the exotic pleasures in the outpost, he comes to know about the suspicious death of a philosopher. The death coincides with the apocalyptic and puzzling ravings of a cult leader. Intrigued by the shocking incidence, Decius asks the Pharaoh to give him the permission to investigate the crime. He is allowed to investigate and soon he finds a shocking truth. Later, a popular courtesan also turns up dead on his bed. This makes Decius realize that he has landed himself in a deep conspiracy. It appears very dangerous to him, threatening to bring the downfall of the Roman Empire. Hence, Decius looks to solve the mysteries as soon as possible.

The next famous book written as a part of the series is titled ‘Saturnalia’. It was released by the Griffin publication in 2003, after its first release in 1994. This book’s story shows that Roman Saturnalia is considered as the grandfather of all the other cultures when it comes to entertainment. The story opens by showing an annual event in 1st century Rome, in which the normal life in the city is shut down, laws and rules are made inoperative, and the slaves are also allowed to participate in the celebration. Decius Metellus faces banishment and lives out of Rome on the islands of Rhodes for making use of wild ways during investigations. Soon, he is summoned by his noted family to help solve a crime that is linked to them dangerously and directly. Decius is asked to look in the sudden death of a powerful relative, who died due to poisoning. He is also requested to find the truth behind the suspicion that the man’s wife gave him the poison. Decius, after the initial investigation, becomes convinced that the woman is innocent. He looks to find the real killer. The quest takes him to a banned and secret witchcraft cult which is known to be in practice by the highborn men and women of Rome. As the withes lie at the heels, Decius delves into Rome’s malestorm and barely manages to save his life.

Books in order of publication by series:

SPQR Books

The King’s Gambit(1990) 
The Catiline Conspiracy(1990) 
The Sacrilege(1992) 
The Temple of the Muses(1999) 
Saturnalia(1999) 
Nobody Loves A Centurion(2001) 
The Tribune’s Curse(2003) 
The River God’s Vengeance(2004) 
The Princess and the Pirates(2005) 
A Point of Law(2006) 
Under Vesuvius(2007) 
Oracle of the Dead(2008) 
The Year of Confusion(2010) 

Stormlands Books

The Islander(1990) 
The Black Shields(1991) 
The Poisoned Lands(1992) 
The Steel Kings(1993) 
Queens of Land and Sea(1994) 

Conan Books

Conan the Valorous(1985) 
Conan the Champion(1987) 
Conan the Marauder(1988) 
Conan the Bold(1989) 
Conan the Rouge(1991) 
Conan and the Manhunters(1994) 
Conan and the Treasure of Python(1994) 
Conan and the Amazon(1995) 

Hannibal Books

Hannibal’s Children(2002) 
The Seven Hills(2005) 

Gabe Treloar Books

A Typical American Town(1994) 
Ghosts of Saigon(1996) 
Desperate Highways(1997) 

Falconer Books

The Falcon Strikes(1982) 
The Black Pope(1982) 
The Bloody Cross(1982) 
The King’s Treasure(1983) 

Cingulum Books

The Cingulum(1985) 
Cloak Of Illusion(1985) 
The Sword, The Jewel and the Mirror(1988) 

Act Of God Books

Act of God(1985) 
The Island Worlds(1987) 
Between the Stars(1988) 
Delta Pavonis(1990) 

Space Angel Books

Space Angel(1979) 
Spacer: Window of the Mind(1988) 

Dragonlance Book

Murder In Tarsis(1996)

Standalone Novels

The Strayed Sheep of Charun(1977) 
Cestus Dei(1983) 
King of the Wood(1983) 
The Enigma Variations(1989) 
Delta Pavonis(1990) 
Legacy of Prometheus(2000) 
Total Recall 2070: Machine Dreams(2000)