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Armada [Paperback]

John Stack
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 17 2012
The author of the Masters of the Sea series, is back with a standalone battle book that will blow all others out of the water. 1587. 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 antagonises 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...

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Praise for the Masters of the Sea series: 'Strong characters, excellent action, Ship of Rome builds to a suberb climax' Conn Iggulden 'Peopled with characters both fictional and historical, this debut novel - the first in the Masters Of The Sea series - gives a fascinating and evocative insight into the high politics and military life of the times' Daily Mail 'This is a seriously entertaining book for anyone who enjoys stirring descriptions of ancient warfare. You can almost taste the salt, see the blood and hear the shouts and screams...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

About the Author

John Stack was born and lives in County Cork. He has always wanted to write but has done a variety of jobs ending up in IT. He is married with three children, and is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling MASTERS OF THE SEA series.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Jennifer Cameron-Smith TOP 50 REVIEWER
In 1587, Elizabeth I agreed to the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots for treason. This capped a period of intermittent conflict between Spain and England: partly a consequence of attacks by English ships on the gold-laden galleons of Spain, partly because of English support of the Protestant cause in the Netherlands, and partly for religious reasons. Following Mary's execution, Philip II of Spain vowed to invade England in order to place a Catholic monarch on the throne. In England, the English Lord High Admiral was Charles Howard, Earl of Nottingham. Amongst his subordinates, were Sir Francis Drake and John Hawkins.

In this novel, Robert Varian, the master of the `Retribution' is one of the officers under Drake's command in the navy. Robert Varian has a dangerous secret: he is a Catholic and if this is discovered, it would cost him his life. Robert has conflicting loyalties: to his religion, to Queen Elizabeth, and to England.

In 1588, the Spanish Armada (a fleet of about 130 ships, containing 18,000 sailors and 8,000 soldiers) set sail for the Netherlands where it was to pick up additional troops for the invasion of England. `Armada' deals with the issues of politics, religion and warfare through the eyes of several different characters from both sides of the conflict. There is a clear sense of the dangers faced aboard ship, and Mr Stack brings both the characters and the battles they face to life.

`The men of the English navy were fighting to ensure an English monarch controlled the destiny of England.'

I enjoyed the novel, learned more than I'd previously known about the Armada and the challenges faced by both navies. And was left wondering what the outcome might have been if the weather hadn't changed.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing July 23 2013
By Alta lake TOP 1000 REVIEWER
I very much enjoyed all of John Stack's "Masters of the Sea" books and would recommend them unhesitatingly. Ripping yarns with a good basis of factual history. So I settled down to read this one with much anticipation - but as I turned the pages severe anti-climax set in. Far too much "religion", much of the "action" hardly credible - tho' his research on the Armada is very good (the epilogue was the best part of the book I thought).

On the plus side he obviously knows a lot about sailing ships. But that can be too much of a good thing, and after a while it becomes tedious.

2.5 stars, no more.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! Jan. 13 2012
By Aristotle S Spencer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
John Stack has continued to assert his status as a top class author with his `Armada' novel. For me the book was brilliant in every conceivable way.

Set mainly in 1588, the Spanish Armada threatened English sovereignty and as the author has aptly stated `the future of one nation and the ambition of another would be decided and faith against faith, ship against ship, man against man,' at several battles fought at sea.

Spain at the time was the superpower in Europe. The Spanish felt that if the English could be crushed then the seas around Spain would be clear from such privateers as Drake. The execution of Mary Queen of Scots by the English Protestant Queen Elizabeth, gave the Spanish the added incentive to invade and restore the `rightful' faith of Catholicism to England.

John Stack fills his novel with great sea battles, a storyline that is riveting, characters one can readily connect with, stacks of details on ships, weaponry, firepower and naval tactics plus much more.

The novel is full of twists and turns, intrigue, subterfuge, adventure and pathos. The decisive battle at Gravelines on August 8th, 1588 was so well written that I felt fully immersed and part of it. The author captures well the pivotal factors of the lethal gunnery skills of the English and the elements of weather in shattering the fighting spirit of the Armada.
4.0 out of 5 stars Great sea faring read and not a roman in sight June 5 2014
By Craig - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Enjoyed it , somewhat different than previous works all roman that I love.
This would make a great movie I reckon.
3.0 out of 5 stars good book Aug. 6 2013
By jay yang - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
easy to read(letters were big enough). good written book. IF you love history this is the book for you.I recommend this.
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read May 5 2013
By Ken - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Well written with atmosphere of "suspense" ! A definite "page turner". I would like to read more from this author. I would recommend this book to all who enjoy "historical" fiction based on fact. I realised I was "living" the characters & feeling
all that they endured.
4.0 out of 5 stars Armada, John Stack, author March 22 2013
By William H. Potter, Jr. - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Armada was great, but not as exciting and thrilling as his Roman Naval Trilogy. Would love to have him do more in this venue if not, perhaps a trilogy on the ancient Greek navy.
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