Roarke is a fictional character from the series In Death. He is the husband of Lt. Eve Dallas and together, they are the main characters of the futuristic (circa 2058 AD) romance-mystery series by J.D. Robb, pseudonym for NY Times best-selling author Nora Roberts. A former career criminal, Roarke is the owner and CEO of Roarke Industries, an inter-planetary corporation that has made him one of the richest men in the world.
Roarke is in his mid-thirties; he is an immigrant from Dublin, Ireland; in NYC, he is the CEO of Roarke Industries, and one of the richest men in the world, possibly the richest. He owns an old mansion off Central Park he remodeled to his specifications with very high tech security. Also in the home is his own personal collection of firearms, which are illegal in 2058 unless one possesses a collector's license. Roarke also owns maces, swords, daggers, medieval armor, and other assorted weapons. He is quite skilled in electronics and can dismantle any type of security, lock, or coding, as well as hacking into any electronic database—including but not limited to the FBI, Interpol, and Homeland Security.
He convinces Eve to move in with him in Glory in Death and then proposes at the end of the book. Roarke's house officially becomes a home once Eve moves in, and after this, Roarke is happiest at home rather than traveling. He also enjoys helping Eve with her cases, finding the role reversal quite entertaining.
- Date of Birth: October 6, 2024
- Residence: 222 Central Park West
- Roarke Industries Headquarters: 500 Fifth Avenue
- Established Roarke Industries in 2042
Eve's computer in Naked in Death actually lists his birth to be in 2023, making Roarke's apparent age 35, but as Roarke discovers in Portrait in Death, his official record makes him one year older than he actually is. Therefore he is really 34. Additionally, October 6 is an estimate; apparently Roarke simply picked this date as he knew he was born in the first week of October, as he tells Eve's aide, Delia Peabody.
Roarke has a conversation with Summerset that indicates that at one point in time, Roarke had wanted to get rid of his name, as he did not like being connected with his father. Summerset convinces him to keep it and make it his own, but as seen in the In Death books, Roarke is only known as Roarke, a name that should be his surname, and has no apparent given name.
Eve looks up his statistics in Naked in Death. They are as follows:
- Height: 6 feet, 2 inches
- Age: approximately 34 years old (but see above)
- Weight: 173 pounds
- Eye color: blue
- Hair color: black
His black hair is long enough that he can and has tied it back.
Roarke appears to be very even-tempered, but he does in fact have a very nasty temper if riled. He does not lash out indiscriminately, however, and usually is only angry when the situation calls for it. He has his own personal sense of justice separate from legality; if he believes something should be done, he will do it, even if it is illegal. A case in point is the revenge murders he commits for the rape and murder of Summerset's daughter.
He wanted money because it gave him security, and makes no compunctions about enjoying its benefits. Roarke has a very nice mansion, tastefully but expensively decorated, particularly since Roarke has a fondness of antique furniture, old master paintings, and in general, anything with a past to it. This is, as Roarke dryly comments to Mira, because he has no real past of his own.
In addition, he can use the money to buy clothing (which he likes very much) for both himself and his wife. In particular, he enjoys dressing his fashion-unconscious wife, much to her distaste. Roarke also gives Eve as many gifts as he can possibly get away with, justifying it because he wants to make up for everything she was not given before. Some times he gets pissed off with Eve when she hides things from him or when she orders him not to do something or when she refuses to use his money.
When Eve is semi-living with him in Glory in Death, Roarke decides to get rid of the last remaining illegal businesses he has out of a desire to not make her life difficult. His illegal activity is mostly restricted to conducting illegal searches if he feels it necessary, and occasionally carrying illegal weapons with him.
Roarke's greatest and most impossible desire is to take revenge for Eve, impossible because the perpetrator, her father, is already dead. Her nightmares cause him immense suffering because he knows that they will never fully go away, as her father can never truly be beaten. That said, he is given a minor chance at reprisal when he discovers that in Divided in Death that the Homeland Security organization knew that Eve was with and being raped by her father, but instead recommended a course of nonaction. Roarke wants to hunt down and kill the people who made and complied with the order, but does not because Eve says she won't be able to handle it if he does. It is likely his largest concession to Eve.
Children are not likely to happen soon. Though Roarke has expressed a desire, the simple fact is that neither of them is ready. Roberts did state, however, that the series would probably end with them becoming parents.
Roarke grew up in the slums of Dublin, Ireland, directly after the last and worst part of the series' fictional "Urban Wars", a period of unrest, violence, and corruption. Roarke believed his mother to be his father's wife, Meg Roarke, an abusive woman who lived with his father, Patrick Roarke and walked out on him when the young boy was six. In reality, his mother was an eighteen-year-old woman named Siobhan Brody, who Patrick beat to death after she ran away with Roarke.
Roarke is ten when he first meets Summerset and Summerset's eight-year-old daughter, Marlena. The father and daughter typically run cons. Shortly after their meeting, according to Roarke's account in Immortal in Death, Patrick beats Roarke almost to death and leaves him for dead. Summerset, who had medical training, saves and helps Roarke recover.
When Roarke is twelve, he finds out that his father has been murdered; he immediately heads down to the alley where the death supposedly occurred. Patrick Roarke is indeed dead, stabbed in the throat, an apparent victim of a mugging. Roarke checks his father's pockets and leaves.
It is revealed in Portrait in Death that the killing was not random. In fact Summerset killed Patrick, a fact he confirms only to Eve, who has guessed it. As of Memory in Death, Roarke still does not know that Summerset killed Patrick. Summerset's motivation was to protect Roarke.
When Roarke is sixteen, his gambling operation is earning a very high profit, too high for a competing group. Marlena confesses her love to Roarke and offers herself to him; horrified, Roarke rejects her and sends her away, thinking she would go back to her room. Instead, Marlena leaves the house and is captured by the competing group, and six men rape and torture her until she dies. They then drop off her body at Summerset's doorstep in the morning. When Roarke and Summerset call the police, they discover that the police have been bought off and will not pursue the case. Roarke thus takes his own justice by murdering those six men over a three-year period.
Roarke founds Roarke Industries in 2042, when he is (supposedly) nineteen years old. Presumably he must have immigrated to America by this point in time.
Further detailed information—at least in terms of years—is given throughout the books, revealing that Roarke worked as a pickpocket as a child (he sometimes takes Eve's badge from her without her knowledge to tease her) and as an adult, a thief of very expensive jewels.
Roarke has left most of his friends behind; he has one who tends a bar in Dublin, and another dies in Betrayal in Death. Many others have died or are unknown to him by the time the In Death books occur. Roarke reconnects with Brian Kelly in Vengeance in Death but the only other people he mentions as close friends are Richard and Elizabeth DeBlass. Although he enjoys socialising and never lacked for female companionship prior to meeting Eve, Roarke himself states that much like Eve he lived for his work and had very few close friends. After meeting Eve he has become close to her friends, seeing Peabody as "his as much as Eve's" when she is hurt in Visions in Death. He is just as comfortable discussing e-work and sports with Feeney and McNab as discussing art, literature and music with Charles Monroe.