Ward, J. R.

Ward, J. R.

(pop culture)

J. R. Ward is the penname used by Jessica Rowley Pell Bird, a successful lawyer, hospital administrator, and writer of a popular vampire romance series of novels about what she calls “The Black Dagger Brotherhood”. Ward attended Smith College, majoring in medieval history and art history. She obtained her JD from Albany (New York) Law School, and subsequently worked for a number of years at Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts. She had been writing, primarily for her own enjoyment, for many years, but after she married in 2001, her husband encouraged her to seek publication. Her first book, Leaping Hearts, a romance novel written under her family name was published in 2002.

Several years later, under the penname J. R. Ward, she created a fantasy world populated by six warrior vampire brothers (Wrath, Rhage, Zsadist, Phury, Vishous, and Tohrment), and their allies who live together as The Black Dagger Brotherhood. The brotherhood’s task is to defend their race against the soulless humans who constitute the Lessening Society, enemies of the vampire race.

The brotherhood members look for guidance and inspiration from the Scribe Virgin, experienced as a mystical force, and known to be the creator of the vampires. She is venerated as a deity. In Ward’s mythology, the Scribe Virgin has a brother called the Omega. Unable to create, he became jealous of his sister and targeted her creations for extinction. He is the acknowledged deity of the Lessening Society. The Omega has many powers, and like his sister, exists in a noncorporal realm.

Ward’s novels about the vampires tell the story of one of the brothers, or one of their allies, such as Butch, or Dhestroyer, the only human within the Brotherhood. Each book highlights the protagonist’s fight with the Lessers and his path to true love.

The first of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series appeared in 2005 under the title Dark Lover. Seven volumes in all had appeared by 2009, with others already in various stages of production. In addition, Ward wrote The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider’s Guide, a book with explanatory material about her mythological world. Among the several awards for her very popular series, Romantic Times gave Ward the Reviewer’s Choice Award for Lover Awakened. Ward maintains a webpage at http://www.jrward.com/.


Ward, J. R. Lover Eternal. New York: Signet, 2005. 464 pp.
———. Dark Lover. New York: Signet, 2005. 416 pp.
———. Lover Awakened. New York: Signet Eclipse, 2006. 448 pp.
———. Lover Revealed. New York: Signet, 2007.
———. Lover Unbound. New York: Signet, 2007. 509 pp.
———. Lover Enshrined. New York: Signet, 2008. 560 pp.
———. The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider’s Guide. New York: New American Library, 2008. 496 pp.
———. Lover Avenged. New York: Signet, 2009. 544 pp.
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