A stirring adventure novel set amid the tumultuous clashes between the Roman and Carthaginian empires, battling for control of the Mediterranean, north Africa and Rome itself.
Atticus, the young Greek captain, is now a commander of the growing Roman navy, blockading a port near Tunis, when the Roman legions suffer terrible defeat by the triumphant Carthaginian army, spearheaded by the elephant charges. He and his ships escape together with the main body of the Roman fleet out manoeuvred by the more skilful Carthaginians and then caught and almost completely annihilated by a terrible storm.
Atticus and his crew are among the handful of survivors and being the messenger of this news to the Senta in Rome brings Atticus into political troubles, almost as stormy as the sea. He begins to feel not only that a greek will never be accepted by the Romans but also that the behaviour of many, north politicians and soldiers, is such that he is not sure that he wants to be a Roman.
Full of dramatic battles by land and sea, led by tremendous characters on both sides, MASTER OF ROME is a powerful novel, the third in this bestselling series by a born storyteller.
©2011 John Stock (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
"John Stack is to be welcomed into the ranks of first-rate historical writers" (Tuam Herald)
"Crank up the testosterone, this one’s a fighter!" (U Magazine Ireland)
I wasn't sure I'd get this book, since it said book three of the series - I don't like to start at the end. But since the other ones are not at Audible right now, I said what the heck and downloaded this book. If you like classical historical fiction (I do very much), than it's a good choice. An extra bonus is it takes place during the First Punic War - against Carthage, but before Hannibal, so most people won't be familiar with the events that shaped the Western Mediterranean world.
There is a lot of action in the book, espically naval operations which determined the outcome First Punic War, something I have not really seen covered very well in classical fiction before. It does a good job of covering the politics that was driving both the Roman and Carthaginian worlds.
The storyline is easy to follow and the characters are developed enough to keep your interest. And the book stands on its own, you will not have to have listened to the other two books (if they become available, which I hope they do) to be able to follow the storyline. So if you like lots of action, with a fair amount of backstabbing thrown in for good measure you can't miss with this recording.
The narrator, whom I never heard before, Eamonn Riley, was excellent. He did espically well during the action segments of the book, you felt like you were part of that action.
The glamor surrounding Hannibal and his amazing trek through the Alps with a cadre of elephants during the Second Punic War has captivated history buffs for so long that the First Punic War has been virtually overlooked by many historical novelists. Likewise, although many authors have written thousands of pages about Rome's fierce legions, Rome's first tentative efforts to build a navy and develop seamanship that would eventually rival Carthaginian mariners who had ruled the Mediterranean for centuries have been largely ignored as well. But Irish author John Stack has redressed both of these oversights in his "Masters of the Sea" series of novels.
Although a relatively new author, Stack demonstrates a command of the history of the era and the cultures involved coupled with the crucial ability to people his stories with vibrant personalities as well. I have little doubt that Stack will eventually be ranked among such bestselling historical fiction writers as Conn Iggulden and Harry Sidebottom.
Furthermore, I found Stack's ability to conjure up the terrifying ferocity of an ancient naval engagement with its splintering oars, screaming crewmen, shuddering timbers and gore-slickened decks absolutely riveting.
Michael, all three of the John Stack "Rome" books are available on Audible? Enjoyed the third in the series as much as the first two.
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