Ranking Author Mary Doria Russell’s Best Books (A Bibliography Countdown)

Mary Doria Russell Bibliography Ranking books

“What are Mary Doria Russell’s Best Books?” We looked at all of Russell’s authored bibliography and ranked them against one another to answer that very question!

We took all of the books written by Mary Doria Russell and looked at her Goodreads, Amazon, and LibraryThing scores, ranking them against one another to see which books came out on top. The books are ranked in our list below based on which titles have the highest overall score between all 3 review sites in comparison with all of the other books by the same author. The process isn’t super scientific and in reality, most books aren’t “better” than other books as much as they are just different. That being said, we do enjoy seeing where our favorites landed, and if you aren’t familiar with the author at all, the rankings can help you see what books might be best to start with.

The full ranking chart is also included below the countdown on the bottom of the page.

Happy Scrolling!



The Top Book’s Of Mary Doria Russell



6 ) Dreamers of the Day

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 6
  • Amazon: 5
  • LibraryThing: 6

Agnes Shanklin, a forty-year-old schoolteacher from Ohio, has come into a modest inheritance that allows her to take the trip of a lifetime to Egypt and the Holy Land. Arriving at the Semiramis Hotel just as the 1921 Cairo Peace Conference convenes, she is freed for the first time from her mother’s withering influence and finds herself being wooed by a handsome, mysterious German. At the same time, Agnes–with her plainspoken American opinions–is drawn into the company of Winston Churchill, T. E. Lawrence, and Lady Gertrude Bell, who will, in the space of a few days, redraw the world map to create the modern Middle East. As they change history, Agnes too will find her own life transformed forever.

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4 ) A Thread of Grace

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 4
  • Amazon: 3
  • LibraryThing: 4

Mary Doria Russell sets her first historical novel against this dramatic background, tracing the lives of a handful of fascinating characters. Through them, she tells the little-known but true story of the network of Italian citizens who saved the lives of forty-three thousand Jews during the war’s final phase. The result of five years of meticulous research, A Thread of Grace is an ambitious, engrossing novel of ideas, history, and marvelous characters that will please Russell’s many fans and earn her even more.

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4 ) Children of God

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 3
  • Amazon: 3
  • LibraryThing: 5

Children of God is the sequel to Mary Doria Russell’s 1996 The Sparrow, which saw a Jesuit mission to the planet Rakhat end in disaster. The sole survivor of that mission, a priest named Emilio Sandoz, returned a beaten and broken man, having suffered rape and mutilation at the hands of enigmatic aliens. Now the Jesuits want to go back to Rakhat, and they want Sandoz aboard the new mission. But Sandoz has renounced his priesthood and even found a measure of happiness with his new wife and stepdaughter. Meanwhile, on Rakhat, contact with the humans has thrown the local culture into turmoil, precipitating a war between Rakhat’s two sentient races. As forces conspire to send Emilio back to Rakhat–and toward a possible reconciliation with God–the planet verges on genocidal destruction. Children of God is a more polished novel than The Sparrow, and the story is equally compelling.

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3 ) Doc

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 5
  • Amazon: 2
  • LibraryThing: 3

Born to the life of a Southern gentleman, Dr. John Henry Holliday arrives on the Texas frontier hoping that the dry air and sunshine of the West will restore him to health. Soon, with few job prospects, Doc Holliday is gambling professionally with his partner, Mária Katarina Harony, a high-strung, classically educated Hungarian whore. In search of high-stakes poker, the couple hits the saloons of Dodge City. And that is where the unlikely friendship of Doc Holliday and a fearless lawman named Wyatt Earp begins— before the gunfight at the O.K. Corral links their names forever in American frontier mythology—when neither man wanted fame or deserved notoriety.

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2 ) The Sparrow

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 1
  • Amazon: 5
  • LibraryThing: 2

In 2019, humanity finally finds proof of extraterrestrial life when a listening post in Puerto Rico picks up exquisite singing from a planet which will come to be known as Rakhat. While United Nations diplomats endlessly debate a possible first contact mission, the Society of Jesus quietly organizes an eight-person scientific expedition of its own. What the Jesuits find is a world so beyond comprehension that it will lead them to question the meaning of being “human.” When the lone survivor of the expedition, Emilio Sandoz, returns to Earth in 2059, he will try to explain what went wrong… Words like “provocative” and “compelling” will come to mind as you read this shocking novel about first contact with a race that creates music akin to both poetry and prayer.

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1 ) Epitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 2
  • Amazon: 1
  • LibraryThing: 1

Mary Doria Russell, the bestselling, award-winning author of The Sparrow, returns with Epitaph. An American Iliad, this richly detailed and meticulously researched historical novel continues the story she began in Doc, following Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday to Tombstone, Arizona, and to the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.A deeply divided nation. Vicious politics. A shamelessly partisan media. A president loathed by half the populace. Smuggling and gang warfare along the Mexican border. Armed citizens willing to stand their ground and take law into their own hands. . . .

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Mary Doria Russell’s Best Books



Mary Doria Russell Review Website Bibliography Rankings

BookGoodreadsAmazonLibraryThingOveral Rank
Epitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral 211 1
The Sparrow 152 2
Doc 523 3
A Thread of Grace 434 4
Children of God 335 4
Dreamers of the Day 656 6

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