Based in south-west England, near Exeter in Devon, they devote much of their time to writing. Their first book was A Thesaurus of British Archaeology, better known by its paperback title of The Handbook of British Archaeology. They have written several other books on archaeological and historical themes, from detailed reference books to popular non-fiction. The latter includes The Keys of Egypt, an account of Champollion's successful deciphering of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. They have also pursued individual writing projects – Lesley wrote Empires of the Plain: Henry Rawlinson and the Lost Languages of Babylon, and Roy wrote Trafalgar: The Biography of a Battle ( US title Nelson's Trafalgar).
Roy was brought up and educated in Maidenhead in Berkshire then at University College, Cardiff, gaining a Bachelor of Arts honours degree in Archaeology whilst spending vacations on digs mainly at the Roman town of Usk in south Wales. After obtaining his degree, he worked as a field archaeologist in Milton Keynes, and later at a Roman villa site at Beddington near Croydon with Lesley.
Lesley obtained degrees in Archaeology, Ancient History, and Latin at the University of Bristol, and her Master of Philosophy at the University of Surrey. After graduating she worked as an assistant archaeologist on excavations in Milton Keynes before meeting Roy and moving to South London.
They both worked as field archaeologists for the Museum of London and later became freelance archaeological consultants, authors, and editors. After 2000 they moved to Devon and began to write full-time.
- Jack Tar: Life in Nelson's Navy
- Trafalgar: The Biography of a Battle
- The War for All the Oceans: From Nelson at the Nile to Napoleon at Waterloo
- Empires of the Plain: Henry Rawlinson and the Lost Languages of Babylon
- The Keys of Egypt: The Race to Read the Hieroglyphs
- The Handbook of British Archaeology
- Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome
- Handbook to Life in Ancient Greece
- The Little Book of Egyptian Hieroglyphs
- Dictionary of Roman Religion
- Introduction to the Romans
- A Field Guide to Somerset Archaeology
- Talking Archaeology: A Handbook for Lecturers and Organisers
- Abandoned Places
- An Introduction to Archaeology
- Archaeological Illustration
- Under the Sludge. Beddington Roman Villa
- Jane Austen's England
A review in Navy News stated that "Roy and Lesley Adkins possess that rare knack among historians: merging the academic with the narrative and providing a riveting read which also casts light where it is dark."
Trafalgar: The Biography of a Battle made an appearance at Christmas in the comedy programme 'Peep Show' (series 7 episode 5), when Mark (played by David Mitchell) receives a copy of the book as a present from his flatmate Jeremy (played by Robert Webb). 'I heard you talking about it', comments Jeremy, to which Mark replies 'That's just tremendously thoughtful Jeremy'.
- "Authors Roy and Lesley Atkins give a talk at Appledore Book Festival". North Devon Journal. 3 October 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- "The Keys of Egypt by Lesley and Roy Adkins". The Complete Review. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- "Empires of the Plain Henry Rawlinson and the Lost Languages of Babylon". Conville & Walsh. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- "Roy and Lesley Adkins's top 10 Nelson books". Guardian. 29 September 2008. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- "Roy Adkins & Lesley Adkins". Historic Naval Fiction. Archived from the original on 23 October 2016. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- "Tar for the memories". Navy News: 45. November 2008.