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Robb, J D

Entry updated 13 May 2024. Tagged: Author.

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Pseudonym of US author Eleanor Marie Robertson (1950-    ), better known from around 1980 under her working name Nora Roberts; under that signature alone – though the Robb titles are themselves bestsellers – she may be the most popular novelist in America, with sales of more than eight million copies a year, around half a billion in all by 2023. Some of Nora Roberts's approximately 225 books are paranormal romances, and a few are Timeslip tales, all being told with a wit and bravura not normally associated with the romance genre. The Chronicles of the One series beginning with Year One (2017) begins with a virus-caused worldwide Pandemic (see also Disaster), but moves rapidly into darkish fantasy, with Magic and Monsters, and a rapid transition to an ornate Ruined Earth ambience. Remember When (2003) as by Nora Roberts and J D Robb – with the second half issued as Big Jack (2010) as by Robb alone, but as a seemingly standalone contribution to the Eve Dallas sequence, without acknowledgement of its earlier publication – is a romantic mystery which remains unresolved for many years, the revelatory climax only occurring in the Near Future. Inheritance (2023), which initiates the Lost Bride trilogy, is a Gothic romance featuring a haunted house.

Robertson is in fact of interest as an sf writer almost solely under her J D Robb name, which she has used exclusively to date for the Eve Dallas sequence of noirish, Near Future police procedurals set in a grungy but intense New York, beginning with Naked in Death (1995) and continuing at a rate of at least two titles a year, gradually and inconspicuously becoming more clearly set in a realized future, beginning in 2058 and moving into the 2060s. With around sixty volumes of the sequence in print, at least forty of them being successive New York Times bestsellers, "J D Robb" may be the world's most popular living sf writer in terms of sales. The individual titles vary widely, though with a constant focus on personal relationships. In a world only marginally affected by Climate Change or the kind of political turmoil many of its readers may in fact be glad not to encounter, Technology has advanced: non-sentient but highly adaptive "Droids" are common, taking either Android or Robot shape (this being one of Robbs's sharp calls, distinguishing her from many sf writers who assume self-consciousness must accompany sophisticated responsiveness); fusion power is mentioned as a working Power Source; Cloning is illegal but happens; Dallas drives a car capable of flight, uses Blasters when needed, and in later volumes occasionally wears Mecha-like body armour indistinguishable to the eye from a fashionable leather coat; life-extension procedures (see Medicine) have vastly increased the number of active centenarians, and cancer has been eradicated; Virtual Reality goggles recreate crime scenes; women seem finally to have gained unchallenged equality (see Feminism; Women in SF); prostitution is legal (see Sex); off-planet Prisons and Space Habitats are routinely mentioned, with the Solar System seemingly undergoing colonization, and (undescribed) Faster Than Light technology making interstellar travel almost routine. For a series whose first instalments are thirty years older than the most recent volumes, which continue to appear at what has become an almost invariable rate of two per year, Robb has maintained a surprising degree of control over background verisimilitude.

In some instalments, this sf irradiation is indeed purely background, and none of the tales yet move significantly from what may be called juridical sf to hardened sf; romance tropes continue to dominate, though in this series the Sex is sometimes more violent and imaginative than usual. Immortal in Death (1996) involves an anti-ageing Drug that drives users to Suicide; Rapture in Death (1996) introduces Dallas to a deadly Virtual Reality environment; the Statue of Liberty avoids destruction in Loyalty in Death (1999), though narrowly; "Interlude in Death" (in Out of this World, anth 2001, ed anon) is set in a Space Habitat; Purity in Death (2002) involves a viral plague spread from Computers to humans; Origin in Death (2005) contains an elaborate presentation of criminal Cloning, with cloned children raised in a Keep where they are exploited. The reverse of the dust jacket for Connections in Death (2019) contains a map showing the locations of all previous forty-nine book-length cases, almost always in Manhattan. After many volumes, the sequence remains inventive. [JC]

Eleanor Marie Robertson

born Silver Spring, Maryland: 10 October 1950

works (selected)

works as by J D Robb


Eve Dallas

We do not distinguish below between novels presented as "Nora Roberts writing as J D Robb" and novels simply as by J D Robb; the former usage seems restricted to the late 1990s and early 2000s. Some transitional titles, like Survivor in Death (2005), show the full iteration on the cover but J D Robb alone on the title page.

works as Nora Roberts (highly selected)


Time Again or The Hornblower Bros

  • Time Was (Toronto, Ontario: Silhouette Intimate Moments, 1989) [Time Again or The Hornblower Bros: pb/]
  • Times Change (Toronto, Ontario: Silhouette Intimate Moments, 1990) [Time Again or The Hornblower Bros: pb/]
    • Time and Again (Toronto, Ontario: Silhouette Intimate Moments, 2001) [omni of the above two: Time Again or The Hornblower Bros: pb/]

Donovan Legacy

  • Captivated (Toronto, Ontario: Silhouette Special Edition, 1992) [Donovan Legacy: pb/]
  • Entranced (Toronto, Ontario: Silhouette Special Edition, 1992) [Donovan Legacy: pb/]
    • Captivated & Entranced (Toronto, Ontario: Silhouette, 2008) [omni of the above two: Donovan Legacy: pb/]
      • The Magic Circle (Toronto, Ontario: Harlequin/Silhouette, 2022) [omni: vt of the above: Donovan Legacy: pb/]
  • Charmed (Toronto, Ontario: Silhouette Special Edition, 1992) [Donovan Legacy: pb/]
    • The Donovan Legacy (Toronto, Ontario: Harlequin, 1999) [omni of the above three: Donovan Legacy: pb/]
  • Enchanted (Toronto, Ontario: Silhouette Special Edition, 1999) [Donovan Legacy: pb/]
    • Charmed & Enchanted (Toronto, Ontario: Silhouette, 1999) [omni of the above two: Donovan Legacy: pb/]
  • Cordina's Crown Jewel (Toronto, Ontario: Silhouette Special Edition, 1992) [Donovan Legacy: pb/]

Gallaghers of Ardmore

Three Sisters Island

Sword of Truth

  • Key of Light (New York: Jove, 2003) [Sword of Truth: pb/Rich Hasselberger]
  • Key of Knowledge (New York: Jove, 2003) [Sword of Truth: pb/Rich Hasselberger]
  • Key of Valor (New York: Jove, 2004) [Sword of Truth: pb/]
    • The Key Trilogy (New York: Jove, 2004) [omni of the above three: Sword of Truth: pb/]

In the Garden

  • Blue Dahlia (New York: Jove, 2004) [In the Garden: pb/]
  • Black Rose (New York: Jove, 2005) [In the Garden: pb/]
  • Red Lily (New York: Jove, 2005) [In the Garden: pb/]

Circle Trilogy

Sign of Seven

  • Blood Brothers (New York: Jove, 2007) [Sign of Seven: pb/]
  • The Hollow (New York: Jove, 2008) [Sign of Seven: pb/Rich Hasselberger]
  • The Pagan Stone (New York: Jove, 2007) [Sign of Seven: pb/Raymond K Gebman]

Inn Boonsboro

Cousins O'Dwyer

  • Dark Witch (New York: Berkley, 2013) [Cousins O'Dwyer: pb/]
  • Shadow Spell (New York: Berkley Books/Science Fiction Book Club, 2014) [Cousins O'Dwyer: hb/]
  • Blood Magick (New York: Berkley, 2014) [Cousins O'Dwyer: pb/]

Guardians Trilogy

  • Stars of Fortune (Waterville, Maine: Thorndike Press, 2015) [Guardians Trilogy: hb/]
  • Bay of Sighs (London: Piatkus Press, 2016) [Guardians Trilogy: hb/]
  • Island of Glass (Waterville, Maine: Thorndike Press, 2016) [Guardians Trilogy: hb/]

Chronicles of the One

  • Year One (New York: St Martin's Press, 2017) [Chronicles of the One: hb/]
  • Of Blood and Bone (New York: St Martin's Press, 2018) [Chronicles of the One: hb/]
  • The Rise of Magicks (New York: St Martin's Press, 2019) [Chronicles of the One: hb/]

The Dragon Heart Legacy

  • The Awakening (New York: St Martin's Press, 2020) [The Dragon Heart Legacy: hb/]
  • The Becoming (New York: St Martin's Press, 2021) [The Dragon Heart Legacy: hb/]
  • The Choice (New York: St Martin's Press, 2022) [The Dragon Heart Legacy: hb/]

The Lost Bride

  • Inheritance (New York: St Martin's Press, 2023) [The Lost Bride: hb/]

individual titles (highly selected)

about the author

  • Patrick L McGuire. "J D Robb: Somehow It Still Works" (January 2015 SF Commentary) [pp 17-29: mag/]


previous versions of this entry

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