There is an old adage that reading gives you some place to go when you have to stay where you are, and James Rollins certainly achieves this in his books. Regardless of which James Rollins book first hooked you, keep reading to find out more about all the James Rollins books in order.
Many of his books, including the popular Sigma Force series, are riveting international adventures that defy a single genre. Before we dive into our list, let’s learn a little bit more about James Rollins himself.
Who is James Rollins?
James Rollins is one of two pseudonyms used by American veterinarian-turned-author James Czajkowski. The other moniker is James Clemens. But for simplicity’s sake, he will be referred to as Rollins throughout most of this guide.
Rollins was born in Chicago and grew up in the Midwest and Canada as part of a large family with three brothers and three sisters. He says that he honed his storytelling skills at an early age, largely through spinning tales that were pranks on his siblings.
As a child Rollins devoured pulps such as The Shadow, The Spider, and The Avenger, as well as Doc Savage, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells. It was these works cumulatively that made Rollins decide he wanted to be a writer.
But, of course, Rollins first went down a different path. Before he became a bestselling author, he was a successful veterinarian with his own practice in Sacramento, California for more than a decade. Even now, he still dedicates his time and expertise to local shelters.
Rollins credits his knowledge of medicine and science for shaping his approach to research and scientific speculation in his books. He also admits that he loves the researching phase of writing. As one might expect with the international nature of his books, Rollins also loves to travel and explore new places.
Collectively, his books have sold more than 20 million copies and been translated into more than 40 languages.
James Rollins Books in Order
To begin the list of James Rollins books in order, we’ll start by going through all of the books published under this penname of his. These books tend to fall more within the action-adventure and thriller genres and make up the most of his bibliography. However, there is one notable exception with his latest publication.
Sigma Force Books
Firstly, James Rollins’s most popular series is arguably Sigma Force. The character of Commander Gray Pierce and his worldly adventures is what Rollins has become most well-known for.
On his website Rollins says that it is not necessary to read this series in a specific order to enjoy the adventure. He writes each book so that a reader can pick it up and still follow along with the characters and story. However, reading these James Rollins books in order is preferable as you will then be able to follow along with the character development and backstory.
- Sandstorm (2004)
- Map of Bones (2005)
- Black Order (2006)
- The Judas Strain (2007)
- The Last Oracle (2008)
- The Doomsday Key (2009)
- The Devil Colony (2010)
- Bloodline (2012)
- The Eye of God (2013)
- The 6th Extinction (2014)
- The Bone Labyrinth (2015)
- The Seventh Plague (2016)
- The Demon Crown (2017)
- Crucible (2018)
- The Last Odyssey (2020)
- Kingdom of Bones (2022)
- Tides of Fire (Expected: June 20, 2023)
Sigma Force Short Stories
As well, if you want a little bit more of this world and are a fan of short stories, then you are in luck. There are a handful of short stories available which take place in the Sigma Force world. The Devil’s Bones, marked below with an asterisk, was written with Steve Berry and features Cotton Malone.
- Kowalski’s in Love (2006)
- The Skeleton Key (2011)
- Tracker (2012)
- The Devil’s Bones (2014) *
- The Midnight Watch (2015)
- Crash and Burn (2016)
- Ghost Ship (2017)
Jake Ransom Books
The next series on this list is middle grade fiction. The Jake Ransom series is a fantasy adventure series following the titular character Jake Ransom and his sister Kady. These books have much of the adventure James Rollins is well-known for, but with subtle tweaks to make them appropriate for a younger audience.
The Order of the Sanguines Books
As well, James Rollins is the co-author of this series alongside Rebecca Cantrell. The Order of the Sanguines series combines Rollins’s classic international adventure tales with elements of fantasy, horror, and paranormal as events are traced through time. This series is a trilogy with two companion short stories; therefore, it is completed.
- City of Screams (2012) (Short Story)
- The Blood Gospel (2013)
- Blood Brothers (2013) (Short Story)
- Innocent Blood (2013)
- Blood Infernal (2015)
Tucker Wayne Books
This is a spin-off companion series to Sigma Force. Captain Tucker Wayne and his war dog Kane were first introduced in the Sigma Series short story Tracker and then appeared again in the eighth book Bloodline. In this series, written with Grant Blackwood, Tucker and Kane embark on further exploits.
- The Kill Switch (2014)
- War Hawk (2016)
Moon Fall Books
Next, James Rollins’s newest series is Moon Fall. This, like some of his earlier works under the James Clemens moniker, falls within the fantasy and science fiction genres.
It begins when a gifted student foretells the coming of an impending apocalypse. She manages to escape her death sentence and then bands together with a team of fellow outcasts. Together they must uncover the secrets of a distant past and save their world.
- The Starless Crown (2022)
- The Cradle of Ice (Expected: February 7, 2023)
James Rollins Books in Order – Standalones
James Rollins has also written a handful of standalone novels, although most of these are from earlier in his career. These earlier titles, however, contain many similar themes to his Sigma Force series with exploration, discovery, and international adventure. This list also contains Rollins’s novelization of the Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull movie.
- Subterranean (1999)
- Excavation (2000)
- Deep Fathom (2001)
- Amazonia (2002)
- Ice Hunt (2003)
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
- Altar of Eden (2009)
James Rollins Books in Order – Anthologies
James Rollins also features in the below anthologies. These are compilations from some of the current best mystery thriller authors.
- Killer Year: Stories to Die For… (2008)
- Warriors (2010)
- FaceOff (2014)
James Rollins Books in Order – Short Story Collections
James Rollins has also published his own collection of short stories. This volume features nine previously published short stories and a new Tucker Wayne story, Sun Dog. Each story features an introduction by Rollins.
- Unrestricted Access (2020)
James Rollins Writing as James Clemens
This next section of the James Rollins books in order features his works published under the James Clemens penname. As previously mentioned, these books fall within the fantasy genre.
The Banned and the Banished Books
This was James Rollins’s first series, although it is, of course, attributed to James Clemens. Per its series description, The Banned and the Banished introduces a band of heroes, a world in peril, and an unforgettable heroine whose unexpected gift of magic awakens an ancient, slumbering evil.
- Wit’ch Fire (1998)
- Wit’ch Storm (1999)
- Wit’ch War (2000)
- Wit’ch Gate (2001)
- Wit’ch Star (2002)
Godslayer Chronicles Books
Finally, there is the Godslayer Chronicles series. Although this series began nearly two decades ago now, James Rollins does say on his website that he has future plans for the series.
The working title for the third installment is God-Sword. The publication of a third book will complete the first trilogy set in this word of gods and darkness. However, Rollins hints that there might be a second trilogy with many of the same characters.
- Shadowfall (2005)
- Hinterland (2006)
Summary of James Rollins Books in Order
So, now that you know about all the books James Rollins has written, under both of his pseudonyms, let’s take a closer look at his Sigma Force series. This list will include summaries for the first ten of these James Rollins books in order.
An inexplicable explosion rocks the antiquities collection of a London museum. It proceeds to set off alarms in clandestine organizations around the world.
And now the search for answers is leading Lady Kara Kensington; her friend Safia al-Maaz, the gallery’s brilliant and beautiful curator; and their guide, the international adventurer Omaha Dunn, into a world they never dreamed existed. A lost city buried beneath the Arabian desert.
But others are being drawn there as well, some with dark and sinister purposes. And the many perils of a death-defying trek deep into the savage heart of the Arabian Peninsula pale before the nightmare waiting to be unearthed at journey’s end. It is an ageless and awesome power that could create a utopia…or destroy everything humankind has built over countless millennia.
2. Map of Bones
The bones lead to ancient mysteries and present-day terror…to follow them means death.
During a crowded service at a cathedral in Germany, armed intruders in monks’ robes unleash a nightmare of blood and destruction. But the killers have not come for gold.
They seek a more valuable prize. The bones of the Magi who once paid homage to a newborn savior. It is a treasure that could reshape the world.
With the Vatican in turmoil, Sigma Force leaps into action under the command of Grayson Pierce, pursuing a deadly mystery that weaves through sites of the Seven Wonders of the World and ends at the doorstep of an ancient, mystical, and terrifying secret order. For there are those with dark plans for the stolen sacred remains that will alter the future of humankind…when science and religion unite to unleash a horror not seen since the beginning of time.
3. Black Order
A sinister fire in a Copenhagen bookstore ignites a relentless hunt across four continents. Arson and murder reveal an insidious plot to steal a Bible that once belonged to Charles Darwin, the father of evolutionary theory. And Commander Gray Pierce dives headlong into a mystery that dates back to Nazi Germany…and to horrific experiments performed in a now-abandoned laboratory buried in a hollowed-out mountain in Poland.
Meanwhile, a continent away, madness ravages a remote monastery high in Nepal, as Buddhist monks turn to cannibalism and torture. Lisa Cummings is a young American doctor investigating the atrocity. She is suddenly a target of a brutal assassin working for clandestine forces that want the affair buried at any cost.
Lisa’s only ally is a hidden pilgrim, Painter Crowe. He is the director of Sigma Force, an elite command of American scientists and Special Forces operatives. But he is also already showing signs of the baffling malady that destroyed the minds of the monks.
Now it is up to Gray Pierce to save both Painter and Lisa, as well as a world in jeopardy. Sigma Force must race to expose a century-old plot that threatens to destroy the current world order…and alter the destiny of humankind forever.
4. The Judas Strain
From the depths of the Indian Ocean, a horrific plague has arisen to devastate humankind. A disease that’s unknown, unstoppable…and deadly. But it is merely a harbinger of the doom that is to follow.
Aboard a cruise liner transformed into a makeshift hospital, Dr. Lisa Cummings and Monk Kokkalis — operatives of Sigma Force — search for answers to the bizarre affliction. But there are others with far less altruistic intentions. In a savage and sudden coup, terrorists hijack the vessel, turning a mercy ship into a floating bio-weapons lab.
A world away, Sigma’s Commander Gray Pierce thwarts the murderous schemes of a beautiful would-be killer who holds the first clue to the discovery of a possible cure. Then Pierce joins forces with the woman who wanted him dead. Together they embark upon an astonishing quest following the trail of the most fabled explorer in history: Marco Polo.
But time is an enemy as a world-wide pandemic grows rapidly out of control. As a relentless madman tracks their every step, Gray and his unlikely ally are being pulled into an astonishing mystery buried deep in antiquity and in humanity’s genetic code. And as the seconds tick closer to doomsday, Gray Pierce will realize he can truly trust no one, for any one of them could be…a Judas.
5. The Last Oracle
In Washington, D.C., a homeless man dies in Commander Gray Pierce’s arms, shot by an assassin’s bullet. But the death leaves behind a greater mystery. A bloody coin is found clutched in the dead man’s hand; an ancient relic that can be traced back to the Greek Oracle of Delphi.
As ruthless hunters search for the stolen artifact, Gray Pierce discovers that the coin is the key to unlocking a plot that dates back to the Cold War and threatens the very foundation of humanity.
Meanwhile, an international think tank of scientists known as the Jasons has discovered a way to bioengineer autistic children who show savant talents — mathematical geniuses, statistical masterminds, brilliant conceptual artists — into something far greater and more “frightening.” All in hopes of creating a world prophet for the new millennium, one to be manipulated to create a new era of global peace…a peace on their own terms.
Then, halfway around the world, a man wakes up in a hospital bed with no memory of who he is. All he knows is that he’s a prisoner in a subterranean research facility.
With the help of three unusual children, he makes his escape across a mountainous and radioactive countryside, pursued by savage hunters bred in the same laboratory. But his goal is not escape, nor even survival. In order to thwart a plot to wipe out a quarter of the world’s population, he must sacrifice all, even the children who rescued him.
From ancient Greek temples to glittering mausoleums, from the slums of India to the toxic ruins of Russia, two men must race against time to solve a mystery that dates back to the first famous oracle of history — the Greek Oracle of Delphi.
But one question remains: “Will the past be enough to save the future?”
6. The Doomsday Key
At Princeton University, a famed geneticist dies inside a biohazard lab. Then, in Rome, a Vatican archaeologist is found dead in St. Peter’s Basilica. Finally, in Africa, a U.S. senator’s son is slain outside a Red Cross camp.
The three murders on three continents bear a horrifying connection. All the victims are marked by a Druidic pagan cross burned into their flesh.
The bizarre murders thrust Commander Gray Pierce and Sigma Force into a race against time to solve a riddle going back centuries, to a ghastly crime against humanity hidden within a cryptic medieval codex. The first clue is discovered inside a mummified corpse buried in an English peat bog. It is a gruesome secret that threatens America and the world.
Aided by two women from his past — one his ex-lover, the other his new partner — Gray must piece together the horrifying truth. But the revelations come at a high cost, and to save the future, Gray will have to sacrifice one of the women at his side. That alone might not be enough, as the true path to salvation is revealed in a dark prophecy of doom.
Sigma Force confronts humankind’s greatest threat in an adventure that races from the Roman Colosseum to the icy peaks of Norway, from the ruins of medieval abbeys to the lost tombs of Celtic kings. The ultimate nightmare is locked within a talisman buried by a dead saint. An ancient artifact known as the Doomsday Key.
7. The Devil Colony
Deep in the Rocky Mountains, a gruesome discovery — hundreds of mummified bodies — stir international attention and fervent controversy. Despite doubts to the bodies’ origins, the local Native American Heritage Commission lays claim to the prehistoric remains, along with the strange artifacts found in the same cavern: Gold plates inscribed with an unfathomable script.
Then, during a riot at the dig site, an anthropologist dies horribly. They are burned to ash in a fiery explosion in plain view of television cameras.
All evidence points to a radical group of Native Americans. Including one agitator, a teenage firebrand who escapes with a vital clue to the murder and calls on the one person who might help. Her uncle, Painter Crowe, director of Sigma Force.
To protect his niece and uncover the truth, Painter will ignite a war across the nation’s most powerful intelligence agencies. Yet, an even greater threat looms as events in the Rocky Mountains have set in motion a frightening chain reaction. A geological meltdown that threatens the entire western half of the U.S.
From the volcanic peaks of Iceland to the blistering deserts of the American Southwest, from the gold vaults of Fort Knox to the bubbling geysers of Yellowstone, Painter Crowe joins forces with Commander Gray Pierce to penetrate the shadowy heart of a dark cabal, one that has been manipulating American history since the founding of the thirteen colonies.
But can he discover the truth — one that could topple governments — before it destroys all he holds dear?
The year is 1025 in Galilee. A cunning Templar knight uncovers a holy treasure. It is the Bachal Isu — the staff of Jesus Christ — a priceless icon that holds a mysterious and terrifying power that will forever change humanity if unleashed.
A millennium later, Somali pirates hijack a yacht off the coast off the Horn of Africa, kidnapping a young pregnant American woman, and brutally killing her husband. So, Painter Crowe and his Sigma team are enlisted for the top secret rescue mission.
That’s because the kidnapped woman is Amanda Gant-Bennett, the daughter of U.S. president James Gant. Crowe is more than a little suspicious that the kidnapping masks a far more nefarious plot.
However, in the field, Commander Gray Pierce leads his small team of operatives into the treacherous African jungle to find the missing woman. But what should be a straight-forward rescue turns into a fiery ambush and a deadly act of betrayal.
That’s because as Commander Pierce and his team discover, the hostage is a pawn in a shattering act of terrorism with dark and shocking repercussions. And the danger is only beginning…
9. The Eye of God
The crash of a U.S. military research satellite in the remote wilds of Mongolia triggers an explosive search for the valuable cargo it holds. A code-black physics project connected to the study of dark energy. The energy connected to the birth of our universe.
But the last blurry image from the falling satellite captures a chilling sight. It is a frightening look into the future, a view of a smoldering eastern seaboard of the United States in utter ruin.
Then at the Vatican, a mysterious package arrives for the head of Pontifical ancient studies, sent by a colleague who had vanished a decade earlier. It contains two strange artifacts: A skull scrawled with ancient Aramaic and a tome bound in human skin.
DNA testing reveals both are from Genghis Khan — the long-dead Mongol king whose undiscovered tomb is rumored to hold the vast treasures and knowledge of a lost ancient empire.
Commander Gray Pierce and Sigma will be joined by a pair of Vatican historians. Together they must race to uncover a truth tied to the fall of the Roman Empire, to a mystery bound in the roots of Christianity’s origins, and to a weapon hidden for centuries that holds the fate of humanity.
10. The 6th Extinction
A remote military research station broadcasts a frantic distress call that ends with a chilling message: Kill us all. When soldiers arrive to investigate, they discover everyone in the lab is dead…
Not just the scientists, but every living thing for fifty square miles is annihilated: Every animal, plant, and insect, even bacteria. The land is completely sterile — and the blight is spreading.
To prevent the inevitable, Commander Gray Pierce and Sigma must decipher a threat that rises out of the distant past. From a time when Antarctica was green and Earth’s life balanced on a knife edge. Following clues from an ancient map rescued from the lost Library of Alexandria, Sigma will make a shocking discovery involving a prehistoric continent, and a new form of death buried under miles of ice.
From millennia-old secrets out of the frozen past to mysteries buried deep in the darkest jungles of today, Sigma will face its greatest challenge yet. They must stop the coming extinction of mankind.
But is it already too late?
Final thoughts on James Rollins books in order
With more than 50 works to his name, Rollins has written numerous series and standalones. Most of his books contain some thread of international adventure whether the setting is our world, or a fantastical one. Therefore, reading the James Rollins books in order will be an exhilarating exploration.
Looking for more books in order?
Check out this list of the Steve Berry books in order.