The Imaginary Realms of
Gilbert M. Stack




Legionnaire is a gritty High Fantasy series set on the borders of the far-flung Republic of Aquila. While political in-fighting and scheming are the order of the day in the heart of the Republic, the borderlands are awash with dangers only kept in check by the might of the legions. Fell magics, savage peoples, and scheming empires all threaten the country Patrician Marcus Venandus has sworn to defend using his wits, military strategy and his small command of highly disciplined legionnaires.

Map of the Jeweled Cities

I'm very excited to present the map of the Jeweled Cities, site of Marcus' adventures starting with Legionnaire Book 3. For those of you looking for Amatista it is directly west of the sea monster's head in the lower part of the map. The map was painted by Chris L. Adams and so you can see just how talented he truly is, I'm including a side-by-side comparison of my original sketch and Chris' painting. If you'd like to see more of Chris' art, poetry and writing, check out his website at

As word of the Legion’s lightning conquest of Malaquita echoes across Diamonte, the Black Hat commander plans an even more audacious move. Rather than consolidate his gains in the west, Marcus launches a surprise strike downriver on Hessonita—the forward rallying point for Diamonte’s attempted counterattack. The key to his plan is speed and surprise—how close can they get before the city realizes its danger? If Hessonita has time to prepare a river defense, Marcus could lose the entire legion. Yet this time, the fog of war conceals dangers beyond human comprehension. Will the Camino de Gemas prove to be the route to victory or a river of death?

River of Death is available on Amazon, Amazon UK, and Kindle Unlimited

After a long and grueling fight in Angosto Pass, Marcus and his legionnaires finally catch a break. The Diamonte city of Malaquita is not only badly under garrisoned, it has no idea that the legion is on its doorstep. Yet driving out the Gota and capturing the city only creates more problems for the legion. The city is barren of supplies and could easily turn into a deathtrap if Marcus and his men remain to defend it, but if they can hold it through the coming harvests its strategic location will greatly bolster Amatista’s chances in the war. His only hope is to build an alliance with the most influential Gente in the city as he tried and failed to do in Morganita. His one tenuous asset to make this alliance happen is the cousin of the wife of his trusted friend, Senior Mago Efraín Estudioso, who married into the powerful Astrónomo family—but the Astrónomos have a terrible secret of their own that could transform them into Marcus’ vehement enemies. And now Marcus has accidentally spurned the high priest of Madre Tierra, making this one political seduction that seems destined to go very wrong!

The Seduction of Malaquita is available on Amazon, Amazon UK, and free on Kindle Unlimited

Marcus and his legion have knocked Morgantia and Granate out of the war, but that didn’t stop Diamonte from laying siege to his adopted home of Amatista. The invading army is simply too large to confront directly, so Marcus has determined to invade Diamonte itself to force his enemies to break their siege and come defend their own homes. There’s only one problem with the plan. Diamonte has an army of reinforcements heading through Angosto Pass toward Amatista and a second army trailing after the legion trying to catch it from behind. Can Marcus blaze his way through the opposition or will he and his brave men be trapped in a fire storm of their own making?

Firestorm is available at Amazon, AmazonUK, and for free on Kindle Unlimited

Despite their impressive victories in the north, Prefect Marcus and the Black Hat Legion stand alone against the full might of Diamonte and Aquamarina. With their home city under siege and the cowardly Lord Totila refusing to lead his host out from behind the walls of Centinela, it falls once again to Marcus to protect his adopted homeland by himself. His only hope is to thread the needle, maneuvering his legion across enemy-occupied Amatista to the one location that might enable him to recapture the initiative in this war. It’s a risky gamble. With multiple armies afield and none of them knowing where the others are, the fate of Amatista will depend on Marcus’ ability to navigate the Fog of War.

Fog of War is available at Amazon, Amazon UK, and for free on Kindle Unlimited.

With Prefect Marcus and the Black Hat Legion still trapped in Morganita fighting against the treacherous Thegn Hathus of Granate, it falls to Calidus Vulpes, Red Vigil of the Aquilan legions, to take a thousand quiet Qing infantry men and fifteen hundred unruly Gente archers to hold off the full might of Diamonte at Angosto Pass. The odds are thirty-to-one against them. Can the Aquilan junior officer hold back the enemy until Marcus and the veterans return, or will this prove to be Calidus’ final stand?

Calidus' Stand is available at Amazon, Amazon UK, and for free on Kindle Unlimited

Days of rain force sane armies to hunker down to wait for dry weather. Yet, no one in the Jeweled Hills would accuse Prefect Marcus Venandus of being sane. Not only has he united the bickering Qing, Gente and Gota in his Black Hat Legion, he rarely embraces conventional military tactics. With three days of drenching weather turning roads to mud, flooding creeks, and bogging down his enemies’ carts and wagons, Marcus seizes the initiative and leads one thousand of his Black Hats on their most daring campaign yet. Can he use the Flood of War to sink the treacherous Thegn of Granate? Or will the rains wash away any chance of winning this war?

Flood of War is now available on Amazon, AmazonUK, and for free on Kindle Unlimited.

While Prefect Marcus Venandus struggles with the Curse of Madre Tierra, the Gente of Morganita betray their alliance with the Black Hat Legion and launch a surprise attack on Fort Prime. With all the senior officers in the fort dead, the most junior of officers, Acting Magus Seneca Liberus, finds himself in charge. With thousands of Gente massing to continue the assault backed by the powerful mago House of Victor, it falls to Seneca to measure up to the proud traditions of Aquila and lead his green legionnaires to victory.

Seneca's Command is available on Amazon, Amazon UK, and for free on Kindle Unlimited

Marcus has defeated the smaller half of the army of Thegn Chilperic by the skin of his teeth, but now he must rally his legion and its allies to stop the Thegn’s main force from rolling back all of his victories. Yet even as he fights for control of the strategic bridges on the Rio Rocoso, Marcus’ allies remain as fractious as ever. The rebellious Gente of Morganita continue to fight among themselves for leadership of their cause, while the Gota also violently question the leadership of Marcus’ friend, Evorik. As if all of this weren’t bad enough, the mighty Thegn of Granate still tries to walk the middle path in this war, telling both Marcus and his enemies that he is loyal to them. Too soon now, Marcus will find out which side Granate betrays at the Bridges of Morganita.

The Bridges of Morganita is available on Amazon, Amazon UK, for free on Kindle Unlimited.

The long-feared war has erupted and Prefect Marcus Venandus and his newly raised legion are on the front lines of the fighting. After the successful conquest of a fortified border town, Marcus leads his men deep into Morganitan territory, part of a daring plan to secure Amatista’s rear by eliminating its major northern opponent before its other foes can join in the fighting. Yet will his new infantry prove up to the task? Despite new weapons and the strategies of far off Aquila to direct them, Marcus’ men are badly inexperienced and riven with the same deep-seated racial prejudices that embroil all of the peoples of the north. With just as many enemies within as without, can Marcus find the path to victory?

Morganita Burning can be found at Amazon, AmazonUK, on Audible, and for free on Kindle Unlimited 

Surrounded by enemies, Prefect Marcus Venandus launches a bold stroke to eliminate one opponent in the coming war. The key to his plan is the fortified border town of Centinela—the Sentinel of Southern Morganita. Its fortified walls are strong enough to delay conventional forces for weeks, giving the other enemy city-states plenty of time to invade Amatista from the east. Yet, one thing Marcus has learned in the Jeweled Hills is that the locals do not understand the full capabilities of legion-style infantry. Can he take advantage of their ignorance to neutralize Centinela? Or will his risky gambit cost Marcus and his allies the war?

You can find The Centinela Gambit at Amazon, AmazonUK,  for free on Kindle Unlimited, and from Audible

With the passes to Ópalo forced open again, Prefect Marcus Venandus hoped to gain a respite to build his army for the war he knows is coming in the spring. Unfortunately, his enemies understand all too well the threat he poses to them and are taking steps to kill him before he reaches next year’s battlefields. Assassins, both mundane and magical, step out of the shadows to strike at him, while other conspirators take advantage of the intense divisions within the city to spark riots to bring the government down. Unable to differentiate between friend and foe, will Marcus and his few trusted comrades be able to win the Battle for Amatista? 

You can find The Battle for Amatista at Amazon, AmazonUK, for free on Kindle Unlimited, and from Audible

Tribune Marcus Venandus and his two trusted officers have gone through hell in their journey north from the Fire Islands and across the Sea of Grass. Arriving at Amatista in the Jeweled Hills, Marcus is looking forward to a much deserved rest in the home of his half-brother, but fate has other plans for the legionnaire. Soon he will be wishing he’d never heard of his brother’s city. Surrounded by enemies and crippled by internal divisions, Amatista is already on its knees and ready to fall. Marcus must act decisively to save everything his brother has built, but without his beloved legions behind him, can Marcus and his friends survive their visit to the Jeweled Hills?

You can find The Jeweled Hills at Amazon, AmazonUK, for free on Kindle Unlimited and in audio book at Audible

Forbidden from returning to Aquila, Marcus Venandus responds to a plea from a half-brother he has never met to aid him in the far away land called the Jeweled Hills. When pirates shut down the sea routes the legion officer and his two trusted companions are forced to join a caravan to make the slower journey north across the treacherous Sea of Grass. Yet this may not prove to be the safer choice. A mysterious shaman has sworn to drench the plains in the blood of foreigners and his mastery over storms gives him the teeth to fulfill his oath. As chaos envelopes the trail, it will fall to Marcus to organize the defense and try to shepherd the frightened civilians of the caravan to safety again.

You can find The Sea of Grass at Amazon, for free on Kindle Unlimited, and in audio form at Audible.

Lesser Tribune Marcus Venandus, Legion officer exemplar, was exiled to the disease-ridden hell hole known as the Fire Islands as punishment for the failed political machinations of his father. While the days of the powerful witchdoctor kings throwing skeletal armies against the shields of the legion have faded into history, all is not right at the edge of the world. Unrest is boiling once again as long dead darkness seeps back into the islands. With the legion more concerned with its personal rivalries than with its duty, it will fall to Marcus and his small, highly disciplined, command to put the horrors of the past back in their graves and literally save Aquila from a fate worse than death.

You can find The Fire Islands at Amazon, for free on Kindle Unlimited, and in audio form from Audible.

Long before Prefect Marcus Venandus directed the defense of the Jeweled Hills, Green Vigil Marcus led his first command into the treacherous jungles of Ekángá. As if the jungle itself wasn’t deadly enough, native warriors and shamans strike from its shadows with magic, spear and dart, while the forcibly transplanted Graeci population seethes with unrest in the supposedly civilized regions of the province. Deep in the jungle, young Marcus is about to discover how little lycee combat exercises have to do with surviving the Jungles of Ekángá.

The Jungles of Ekángá is available at Amazon, Amazon UK, on Audible, and for free on Kindle Unlimited

A Note on How I Came to Write The Fire Islands

I’ve been reading fantasy novels since at least the sixth grade when my mother bought me The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. That interest led me to pursue degrees in history where I was introduced to many wonderous periods in the human past. Eventually, I began to wonder why most fantasy literature was grounded in something akin to the European Middle Ages and one morning while listening to Mike Duncan’s podcast, The History of Rome, I found myself wondering what a fantasy series based loosely on the Roman Empire might be like.

And that’s the birth of my Legionnaire series. My Aquila is not Rome, but it shares a lot with that historical entity—especially its culture, its internal political problems, its border troubles, and of course, its amazing legions. Aquila and its world also differs mightily from Rome in a few regards—most particularly the existence and widespread practice of magic and an empire which includes and abuts places very different than those the Romans actually encountered.

My initial ideas for the story revolved around the second and third books in what would become the Legionnaire series. I wrote the first short novel to introduce the characters and the border provinces of Aquila before the story would take me elsewhere. In doing so, I got to play with something you don’t see so much in medieval-based fantasies—the critical importance of well-disciplined soldiers (legionnaires in my case) acting under competent officers and operating in a military tradition with centuries of success behind it. I also got to show what happens when that discipline breaks down due to poor leadership. And I get to do all of this while exploring the culture of my legionnaires and their subjects in The Fire Islands. Throw in some truly monumental magic and a threat worthy of an epic hero and his companions, and you get the kickoff novel of a series I’ve come to love as much as I do any of the great works of this genre.