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. His mother referred it it as lying.
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 want to write.
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.
- 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 (2023)
- Arkangel (Expected: August 6, 2024)
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 complete.
- 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.
MoonFall Saga Books
Next, James Rollins’s newest series is MoonFall. 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.
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 also features in the below anthologies. These are compilations from some of the current best mystery thriller authors.
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.
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.
Is there a sequel to James Rollins The Starless Crown?
There is already one sequel to first MoonFall Saga book, which is The Cradle of Ice. There is also another sequel forthcoming.
Back in 2019, Rollins signed a seven-figure deal with Tor Books for the series, which was said to be eight years in the making at that time. It is unclear how many books were part of that initial deal.
However, the sequel to The Starless Crown came out in early 2023. That same month, in February 2023, Rollins said in an interview that he was working on the third book in the series.
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 standalones. This list will include summaries for each of those seven James Rollins books in order, including his film novelization.
There is a magnificent subterranean labyrinth beneath the ice at the bottom of the Earth. It is a place of breathtaking wonders and terrors beyond your wildest imagination.
Ashley Carter is leading a team of specialists to explore this secret place and uncover the riches it holds. But they soon discover that they are not the first to venture here, and that the ones who first stepped here did not return.
There are mysteries in the labyrinth that are older than time along with revelations that will change the world. But there are some things which should not be disturbed and the devastating truth that Ashley and her expedition are not alone.
Dr. Henry Conklin discovers a 500-year-old mummy high in the Andes that should not be there. Then, while deep in the South American jungle, his nephew Sam stumbles upon a mysterious place hidden from human eyes for thousands of years.
Ingenious traps are in place to ensnare the unsuspecting, but wealth beyond imagining could be the reward for those who are brave enough to face the terrible unknown. However, where the perilous journey ends, something is waiting for Sam Conklin and his party.
It is a thing man-made, but not humanly possible. Something wondrous and something terrifying.
3. Deep Fathom
Ex-Navy SEAL Jack Kirkland surfaces from an aborted underwater salvage mission to discover the Earth burning. A series of enormous natural disasters have been triggered by solar flares, so earthquakes and hellfire are rocking the globe. As well, Air Force One has disappeared out of the sky with the President of the United States on board.
America is on the brink of a nuclear apocalypse and Kirkland must pilot his oceangoing exploration ship, Deep Fathom, on a desperate mission miles below the ocean’s surface. Devastating secrets are waiting there as well as a power that an ancient civilization could not control.
It has been cast into the modern day and will forever alter a world that is already heading towards its own destruction.
The Rand scientific expedition entered the lush wilderness of the Amazon and never returned. But years later one of its members has stumbled out of the world’s most inhospitable rainforest.
A former Special Forces soldier is scarred, mutilated, terrified, and mere hours from death. He also went into the Amazon with one arm missing, but has emerged with both intact.
It is baffling and impossible to comprehend, so the government sends Nathan Rand into this secret world to follow the trail his father left behind. But the nightmare that is awaiting Nate and his party is worse than anything they could have imagined. It is an ancient, unspoken terror with power beyond all human imagining.
5. Ice Hunt
Ice Station Grendel is carved into a moving island of ice that is twice the size of the United States. It has also been abandoned for more than 70 years. It was the result of the finest minds of the Soviet Union, designed to be inaccessible and virtually invisible.
But an American undersea research vessel accidently got too close, and something was seen moving inside the allegedly deserted facility. Something whose survival defies every natural law.
Now scientists, soldiers, intelligence operatives, and civilians are being pulled into Grendel’s lethal vortex. The most extreme measures must be taken to protect its dark mysteries, because the secrets behind its walls of ice and steel could end human life.
6. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
A beloved favorite and cult classic starring Harrison Ford, James Rollins was given the task of writing the novelization for the film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. This is the fourth film in the franchise including the prequel Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
It begins in 1957 when the wisecracking archeologist’s latest mission is crashed by a ruthless crew of Russian soldiers. The menacing Reds drag an unwilling Jones along for their invasion of American soil and massacre of U.S. soldiers. They are after a precious relic that is capable of unlocking secrets beyond human comprehension.
He manages to narrowly escape, but then his university thinks he is a spy and he loses his job. Except a quiet retirement isn’t an option when a colleague is kidnapped and Jones heads into the depths of the Amazon jungle on a desperate rescue mission as his Russian nemesis is still waiting for a rematch.
7. Altar of Eden
As Baghdad falls, armed men are seen looting the city zoo and amid a hail of bullets, an underground lab is ransacked. It unleashed something horrific upon the world.
Seven years later, Louisiana veterinarian Lorna Polk investigates an abandoned fishing trawler that was shipwrecked while carrying exotic caged animals as part of a black-market smuggling ring. But there is something wrong with these beasts — each of them has the unsettling mutation of incredibly heightened intelligence.
Lorna joins forces with U.S. Border Patrol Agent Jack Menard, a man who shares with her a dark and bloody past, in order to uncover the truth. That’s because a beast has escaped the shipwreck and is running loose. What is about to be born upon the altar of Eden will threaten the future of the world and the very definition of what it means to be human.
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.