(1947- ) US writer, best-known in fantasy for his continuations of the Conan stories originated by Robert E Howard. As with all Conan continuations, the stories are formulaic, and JMR made it evident he was not planning to imitate Howard's style. JMR's Conan is essentially an adventurer who is less violent than Howard's original and uses his brain slightly more, without losing his barbarian origins. JMR's titles run Conan the Valorous * (1985), Conan the Champion * (1987), Conan the Marauder * (1988), Conan the Bold * (1989), Conan the Rogue * (1991), Conan and the Treasure of the Python * (1993), Conan and the Manhunters * (1994) and Conan and the Amazon * (1995). The majority of JMR's other work is either sf or mystery; his best mysteries are those in the SPQR historical detective series.
JMR's other fantasies are more properly Science Fantasies. King of the Wood (1983) is set in an Alternate Reality where North America was inhabited from the 10th century by various European refugees, resulting in a Christian kingdom in the north and a pagan one in the south. The novel is set several centuries later. The Stormlands sequence is set on a once technologically advanced planet whose inhabitants have now sunk into barbarism after all bar precious metals have gone. The fantastic elements arise only through the apparent Magic of the technology which is being rediscovered. Titles to date are The Islander (1990), The Black Shields (1991), The Poisoned Lands (1992), The Steel Kings (1994) and Queens of Land and Sea (1994). JMR's most intriguing work to date has been Murder in Tarsis * (1996), set in the Dragonlance Shared World but part of a new series of murder mysteries in a Fantasyland; JMR is able to exercise both his predilections in what may prove a rewarding series. [MA]
other works: The SPQR series, being SPQR (1990), SPQR II: The Catiline Conspiracy (1991), The Sacrilege (1992), The Temple of the Muses (1992), plus Tödliche Saturnalien ["Saturnalia"] (1993 Germany) and Tod Eines Centurio ["Nobody Loves a Centurion"] (1994 Germany), the last two as yet unpublished in English.
John Maddox Roberts