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John Stack books in order

John Stack is an Irish author of historical fiction, particularly naval and military historical fiction.

Born in County Cork, Ireland, he joined an American firm outside Cork after finishing college, where he managed a group of computer facilitated design technicians; a position that not only enabled him to travel frequently, but also gave him a chance to advance his education in business.

However, upon being made redundant after serving in the role for a decade, Stack decided to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming an author.

He made his debut as a novelist in 2009 with Ship of Rome, the first installment of the Masters of the Sea Series, which went on to become a Sunday Times bestseller.

A husband and father to three children, Stack still resides in County Cork.

More about John Stack

Genres: Historical Fiction, Military

Born: 1972


Non Series

  • Armada (2012)
  • Aces Over Ypres (2016)

Masters of the Sea

  1. Ship of Rome (2009)
  2. Captain of Rome (2009)
  3. Master of Rome (2011)

Mercenary of Rome

  1. Mutiny (2018)
  2. Retribution (2019)
  3. Treachery (2021)

Detailed book overview

Non Series


Two nations are locked in bitter conflict. One strives for dominance, the other for survival.

After decades of religious strife, Elizabeth sits on the throne of England. The reformation continues. Catholic revolts have been ruthlessly quashed, and Elizabeth has ordered the execution of her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots. On the continent bloody religious wars rage, but England stands apart, her surrounding seas keeping her safe from the land armies of her would-be enemies. Only at sea do the English show their teeth. 

Sea captains and adventurers, hungry for the spoils of trade from the Spanish Main, regularly attack the gold-laden galleons of Catholic Spain. They are terriers nipping at the feet of war-horses but their victories disrupt the treasury of Spain, England's greatest threat, and Elizabeth's refusal to rein in her sea-captains further antagonizes Philip II. Thomas Varian is a captain in Drake's formidable navy, rising quickly through the ranks. But he guards a secret – one for which he would pay with his life if discovered: he is a Catholic. 

He is about to find his conflicting loyalty to his religion, to his Queen, and to his country tested under the most formidable of circumstances: facing the mighty Armada. Unknown to Varian, he will also be facing his long-estranged father, who is fighting on the side of the Spanish enemy…

Author: John Stack
First Release: 2012
ISBN: 978-0007389872
Publisher: HarperCollins
Aces Over Ypres

August 1914. The nations of Europe are at war.

The conflict is spread over land and sea, and for the first time in history the fight is taken to the skies above.

Private Second-Class Charlie Sexton is part of that air war, but not by choice.

Injured on the battlefield after he witnesses the horrifying death of his friend, the born-and-bred artilleryman has suddenly found himself seconded as an observer for the British Flying Corps.

Lieutenant James St Leger is a volunteer pilot. He has little time for the inexperienced Sexton, and is weighted down by the responsibility he feels for the death of his previous observer.

But they must work together, their task; to carry out reconnaissance work over the ever-changing battlefields of northern France, braving lethal anti-aircraft fire in order to keep British headquarters constantly updated.

They are faced in the air by the Fliegertruppen, the German Flying Corps who strive to dominate the skies and the first chivalrous skirmishes between the opposing sides soon turns to deadly combat.

Sexton and St Leger are challenged by the pilot of biplane B466, Leutnant Kurt Manheim.

The contest escalates as losses mount on both sides and the brutality of the ground war finds its way into sky, forcing each man to question their own ethics of 'honour in battle'.

Author: John Stack
First Release: 2016
Ebook: B01DKXC312
Publisher: Lume Books

Masters of the Sea

Ship of Rome

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 more skilful and more powerful than any Atticus has encountered before, forces them to act together.

So Atticus, one of Rome's few experienced sailors, finds himself propelled into the middle of a political struggle that is completely foreign to him. Rome need to build a navy fast but the obstacles are many; political animosities, legions adamant that they will only use their traditional methods; Roman prejudice even from friends, that all those not born in Rome are inferior citizens.

The enemy are first class, experienced and determined to control the seas. Can Atticus, and the fledgling Roman navy, staffed with inexperienced sailors and unwilling legionaries, outwit and outfight his opponents.

Author: John Stack
First Release: 2009
ISBN: 978-0007285242
Publisher: HarperCollins
Captain of Rome

Two mighty empires battle each other for control of the high seas.

Atticus is the young captain of the Aquila, the flagship of the Roman navy's attack fleet. But his inexperienced commander's position has been bought, not earned. Bound to obey his superior, Atticus sails straight into a carefully-laid trap. In the brutal battle that follows, he pulls his men back from the brink of defeat only by disobeying orders.

Summoned to Rome, Atticus will pay a high price for his defiance. Despite his friendship with a Roman centurion, he is dangerously unversed in the politics of the Roman senate, and has created a powerful enemy.

So Atticus finds himself facing battles both at sea, against an ever-more ferocious enemy; and on board his own ship, from those who are thirsty for revenge…

Author: John Stack
First Release: 2009
ISBN: 978-0007351442
Publisher: HarperCollins
Master of Rome

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 maneuvered by the more skillful 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 behavior of many, both politicians and soldiers, is such that he is not sure that he wants to be a Roman.

Author: John Stack
First Release: 2011
ISBN: 978-0007393756
Publisher: HarperCollins

Mercenary of Rome


Following many years of war with Rome, Carthage is exhausted. Yet the trouble is not yet over.

As mercenaries land in Carthage to claim payment for services rendered, they do not receive what they expect. Lacking a shared culture, structure and even language, this band of warriors has taken up residence in Carthage and is becoming increasingly angry....

Meanwhile, veteran Roman sailor and prefect Atticus Perennis is fighting pirates in the seas around Sicily. Perpetually an outsider due to his Greek heritage, Atticus is a fine Roman warrior with several points to prove. 

He sails with his brother-in-law, a Roman centurion of striking bravery and skill, and despite their grisly encounters with pirate crews, both long for some measure of peace after the wars with the Punici of Carthage. It is a vain hope.

For among the pirates’ booty are Roman senators, who tell Atticus of the mercenary occupation of Carthage. Worse, the mercenaries have kidnapped the Roman proconsul to whom Atticus owes a particular debt of honour. And so Atticus, Septimus and their crew sail for Carthage.

Author: John Stack
First Release: 2018
Ebook: B07H2MYFJQ
Publisher: Lume Books

Atticus Perennis, Roman prefect and hero of the seas, is stranded in Carthage.

His Roman masters have all but abandoned him, and at his feet gape the jaws of an angry mercenary army. For while the senators and consuls of Rome bicker and debate, the mercenaries around Utica are running out of patience and strain at the leash, on the verge of war. And then, when a councillor is sent as a message to Atticus and his comrades, all but dead and hideously disfigured, the leash finally breaks…

Aided once more by his comrade Septimus, Atticus the Greek goes to ground and to sea in a strange land, to overcome the raging mercenaries and defend the interests of his adopted home. And as he does so, a story of bloodshed, torture and misery plays out.

Yet, even as the decks of Atticus’ galley run dark and sticky with blood, unknown to the Greek something like salvation is sailing towards him, bearing wonderful news and the hope of a better future. Will they meet in time? That may be in the hands of the gods, be they Greek or Roman…

Author: John Stack
First Release: 2019
Ebook: B07SFCFC5G
Publisher: Lume Books

Atticus Perennis, prefect of the Roman fleet, waits restlessly in Carthage.

His crew is agitated, as they wait on edge for news from Rome, hoping the powers-that-be send more ships to help his Carthaginian forces put down a rebel mercenary army. When word reaches them that a fleet is on their way, it seems there might be an end in sight to the ceaseless violence.

However, the optimism does not last long. When an act of treachery by the Carthaginian side is committed against their Roman brothers in arms, the wheels of counter-revenge, bloodshed and savagery are set in motion.

As treachery and deception threaten the lives of Atticus and his men, all sides must come to a final stand.

Author: John Stack
First Release: 2021
Ebook: B0957ZBNLV
Publisher: Lume Books