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Ship of Rome (Masters of the Sea #1)

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3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  938 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
Against a backdrop of the clash of the Roman and Carthaginian empires, the battle for sovereignty takes place on the high seas Atticus, captain of one of the ships of Rome's small, coastal fleet, is from a Greek fishing family. Septimus, legionary commander, reluctantly ordered aboard ship, is from Rome, born into a traditionally army family. It could never be an easy alli ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published January 5th 2009 by HarperCollins (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,195)
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Andy
Sep 26, 2013 Andy rated it it was ok
Shelves: hist-f-ancient
Well BT Infinity works......!

So why a 2* rating when it's really only worth 1.5? A 1* would be a poor reflection on ME :) for actually finishing it, so it's a two then & those 1.5 marks would be awarded to the historical content only which to be fair Mr Stack has put some time & effort into, allbeit it's limited in many ways.

The writing style I did not like 1 iota, very little dialogue & that at best is turgid with next to no emotion between the lead protagonists, much of the narrati
...more
Mr. Matt
Dec 10, 2013 Mr. Matt rated it it was ok
Shelves: hf-roman, 2013
I was excited to pick up this book. The focus on the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage offered a unique, fresh arena for a good historical fiction romp. All too often books about Romans focus on the Imperial capital "R" Rome rather than the older Republican small "r" Rome. This book also emphasized the great naval struggle between the Carthagian masters of the seas and the upstart Romans. (On picking up this book I hoped it would be the Roman world equivalent of Dewey Lambdin's Lewrie series ...more
T4ncr3d1
Apr 22, 2013 T4ncr3d1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: storico, irlandesi
260 a.C. - siamo nel cuore della prima guerra punica. La Sicilia è terra di scontro tra Cartaginesi e Romani, prima vera prova della flotta marina della res publica.
Questo il periodo storico scelto da John Stack per il suo romanzo. Un romanzo storico da manuale, tra invenzione e documentazione, dotato di una scrittura appropriata, densa di azione ma anche di pathos, approfondite descrizioni ma anche un'interessante caratterizzazione dei personaggi, che siano storici o inventati dall'autore.
Il l
...more
Stephen
Three hundred years before it became an empire, the Roman Republic started its ascension toward power when it took on the Carthaginian state for control of first the island of Sicily, and then the entire Mediterranean. Their struggle unfolded over the course of over a hundred years and ended with the complete destruction of Carthage, but it began with an ignominious Roman defeat. As mighty as Rome’s legions were on land, the war with Carthage made control of the sea a must. Ship of Rome is a ta ...more
David Sarkies
Dec 30, 2014 David Sarkies rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Nobody
Recommended to David by: Nobody
Shelves: historical
A really bad rendition of the First Punic War
22 June 2011

I thought that I have already analysed this book, but as it turns out either I hadn't, or the analysis got lost in the twittersphere somewhere. However, this book is the introduction to the first Punic War when Rome and Carthage began to fight over control of the Mediterranean. Most of the action takes place in and around Sicily, the lynch pin in the domination of the Mediterranean sea. As we know from history, the Romans won the war, too
...more
Katie McDermott
Jun 21, 2011 Katie McDermott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
I first read about Stack when an account of him writing this series about the Punic wars and getting a Harper Collins three book deal was published in the Irish Independent. However I've been unable to get a copy of it till now due to financial constraints and a woeful lack of historical fiction in my library.

The bad stuff first. This is another author who insists on itlalicising every use of a Latin word which does get very annoying when it happens two or three times on a page. I know it's a mi
...more
Paul
An okay read set during the First Punic War between the great powers of the day, Rome and Carthage. In what should be an action-packed, riveting read, it all feels a little bland and underwhelming. It's not that it's badly written or clunkily constructed, it's just that there's little in the way to endear you much to any of the principal characters let alone put yourself in their place.

In other words, it's okay but far from worth hunting down or making a special effort to start reading.
If it's P
...more
Ben
Given my love of Roman Historical fiction, It's a touch shaming that its taken me so long to read John Stacks books!
so far so brilliant!
I really wasn't sure that being intermitantly set at sea, that it would hold my interest, as it could easily have been repetiscious! Very glad to be wrong! it's a cracking read from cover to cover and given a days freedom is easily a single or two seatting read!
as is often the case for me tho, reading time is hard to come by, so its good to read something you ca
...more
David Lin
In the book "Ship of Rome" by John Stack, Atticus and Septimus are against a backdrop of the clash of the Roman and Carthaginian empires, the battle for sovereignty takes place on the high seas. Atticus, captain of one of the ships of Rome's small, coastal fleet, is from a Greek fishing family. Septimus, legionary commander, reluctantly ordered aboard ship, is from Rome, born into a traditionally army family. It could never be an easy alliance. But the arrival of a hostile fleet, larger, far mor ...more
Sue Smith
Dec 14, 2010 Sue Smith rated it liked it
I did enjoy this novel. Historically accurate and extremely descriptive, the author John Stack made you really feel what it would have been like to be there in the battles and in the cities. All in all, it was like Gladiator on the sea. If you've seen the movie, you'll get a feel for what this book will be like!!

I can honestly say that I wouldn't have wanted to live through those times - it really was a world of war and conquest and being a 'man'. That pretty well sums up the mind set as well. A
...more
James
Feb 02, 2012 James rated it really liked it
'John Stack is to be welcomed into the ranks of first-rate historical writers' - Tuam Herald; so proclaims the back of this epic book, and it is a statement that I can get behind full-heartedly. With this book Stack has set himself up to be one of the leaders of a genre and a man to look out for in the future.

I gave this book Four Stars, but to be honest with you it's only because of a vague sense that it doesn't quite deserve it, that I haven't given it five. In every way it satisfies the qual
...more
La Stamberga dei Lettori
Apr 16, 2013 La Stamberga dei Lettori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tancredi
260 a.C. - siamo nel cuore della prima guerra punica. La Sicilia è terra di scontro tra Cartaginesi e Romani, prima vera prova della flotta marina della res publica.
Questo il periodo storico scelto da John Stack per il suo romanzo. Un romanzo storico da manuale, tra invenzione e documentazione, dotato di una scrittura appropriata, densa di azione ma anche di pathos, approfondite descrizioni ma anche un'interessante caratterizzazione dei personaggi, che siano storici o inventati dall'autore.
Il l
...more
John Salter
Oct 11, 2013 John Salter rated it it was amazing
What a cracking read! Don't be put off by the title if you usually read books about the legions because the story isn't all about boats and sea warfare, it's a combination with infantry as well.

Atticus of Greek origins is the Captain of the Aquila (the Eagle) only one of a few Roman fighting vessels who discovers that the Carthaginians have created a large fleet of ships and are threatenings Rome's superiority at sea.

Septimus is a marine centurion aboard the Aquila, who was offered promotion aft
...more
Shane
Feb 27, 2016 Shane rated it liked it
"Ship of Rome" was right in the middle in terms of quality. Had some good things, had some things it needed to work on.
I appreciated the time period: the First Punic War is not a common place to set Roman historical fiction, and so this was a nice change. In the same vein, focusing on naval warfare was also more unique.
The action sequences were well-done, and Stack did a good job mixing history and narrative into a cohesive whole.
The book has a fairly small plotline and thus tends to draw out ev
...more
Ruth
Sep 13, 2013 Ruth rated it liked it
Shelves: history
FWFTB: captain, Greek, Carthaginians, naval, legionary. This book was a strange mixture. At times, it seemed like a regurgitation of a historical text book. I find it hard to believe that, for example, one would take the time to think about how swords were made whilst in the middle of a sword fight. The same goes for military tactics when about to charge into what could possibly be your last battle. The romance element consisted of two meetings and then the two involved parties declaring their u ...more
David
Oct 28, 2015 David rated it really liked it
Brilliant start, full of action and top notch Roman galley description and skirmish at the beginning. It's interesting to read a book about Roman ships and warfare at sea, having read mainly land-based tales in teh past. Clearly a very vital conflict.

Scipio's (Roman senator) attitude towards the plebs is also spot on and really brings home the likely attitude of the well off versus the common Roman. The tale does drift off key a little in the middle - possibly because I knew the twist coming up
...more
Bill P.
May 16, 2010 Bill P. rated it it was ok
I continue to be a sucker for these Roman war games novels that seemed to be so popular in British publishing. This one is a bit of a departure from most since it takes up the first Punic war rather than yet another treatment of Julius Ceasar. The action is primarily based at sea in this case and highlights the feat of a 260 BC Rome mobilization of a navy from virtually no warships to a fleet of 160 in a matter of a few months that then sailed forth to beat the much more experience Carthagenian ...more
Saulo Marti
Jun 21, 2012 Saulo Marti rated it it was amazing
I read this book in about 3 days of airport waits. I bought this because I had 5 hours to kill in the Dublin airport after my flight was cancelled and boy was I glad. I love this type of book but I've never found one that was an exciting page-turner. I loved how the described the battles, the struggles and even the romance in it. A great, fun book! I don't rate books solely on their complexity, if I did this book would be rated worse because it's quite simple and fast-paced. Regardless, it's so ...more
Fan Francis
Feb 07, 2015 Fan Francis rated it liked it
Guess I read the 2nd book... Instead of this first. But then, I bought it later. Am a fan of historical fiction, though at the end of the book it did took place but thoroughly enjoyable read, though it is predictable.
Jose Maria
Jul 11, 2015 Jose Maria rated it liked it
A good book to discover war at the sea during the punic wars. Easy to read but with a lack of deep in the plot.
Benjamin
May 03, 2015 Benjamin rated it did not like it
Dude should have at least read the wikipedia page on the Roman Navy before writing a book (or series) on the subject.
Demiurghi
Jan 20, 2014 Demiurghi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tutti gli appassionati di storia, questo libro non può certo mancare sullo scaffale.

Tutta la recensione completa sul nostro blog, a questo link: BIBLIOTECA: Centurio
Jakefahey1993
Apr 22, 2016 Jakefahey1993 rated it it was amazing
An excellent read for anybody with a strong interest in roman history. John Stacks is a FANTASTIC writer! this book and the other two books in the trilogy where flawless and well worth the read.
Tony Hogger
Jun 16, 2014 Tony Hogger rated it really liked it
Great opening novel. Nice change, being on Roman galley.
Burt
Feb 27, 2010 Burt rated it really liked it
When will they learn?! There were no galley slaves! Otherwise, this is a pretty good read. It's about time that the fascination many readers have with wooden ships and iron men percolated down to the Romans and their own Napoleon, Carthage. This first volume deals with the events leading up to the Roman acquisition of naval power to challenge the Carthaginians. In this work, the bad guys are very bad indeed and the heroes are well drawn. Even though the historicity in Ship of Rome is a guilty pl ...more
Potsdam Public
Jan 27, 2015 Potsdam Public rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: patron
This is an excellent read!
David
Jul 23, 2011 David rated it liked it
Quite an unusual setting: the Roman Republic (not yet an Empire) at sea, during the early stages of what would later become known as the first Punic War between Rome and Carthage.

Plenty of novels focusing on Roman Legions: this is the only I can think of focusing on their fledging navy. Definitely in the style of Cornwell, Scarrow et al so if you like that kind of historical fiction, you'll probably like this too.
Dawn
Set during the First Punic War and with several sea battles between the Carthaginians and Romans it was a definite must read for me.

I thought the story was not quite as developed as it could have been but all in all it told a good tale and kept my interest. I will definitely be reading the rest of the trilogy.
JoTownhead
Dec 19, 2011 JoTownhead rated it liked it
Sea captain Atticus seizes the initiative when the emerging Roman navy is under enemy attack, providing crucial support to a powerful member of the Senate. Atticus and his marine Septimus form a formidable fighting team and their intervention proves decisive. Well-paced and engrossing.
David Miles
Nov 06, 2012 David Miles rated it liked it
I liked some of the descriptions with respect to the Battles etc, but found some of the character interactions a bit hard-to-take. I know soldiers, and I know how soldiers think + act with each other... And it's obvious to me that Mr. Stack doesn't.
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La Stamberga dei ...: Centurio: il potere di Roma di John Stack 1 1 Apr 16, 2013 12:14PM  
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John Stack was born and lives in County Cork in Ireland. He has always wanted to write but has done a variety of jobs ending up in IT. He is married with three children. He is presently writing the second book of the Masters of the Sea series.
More about John Stack...

Other Books in the Series

Masters of the Sea (3 books)
  • Captain of Rome (Masters of the Sea, #2)
  • Master of Rome (Masters of the Sea, #3)

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