Tales of Terror from the Black Ship by Chris PriestleyI was drawn to this book by the wonderful Gorey-esque drawings on the cover and once I picked it up, I could not put it down. As the title clearly says, these are tales of terror from the black ship. The stories are told within the framework of a severe storm, an inn perched on the top of a sea cliff, and two ill children left alone who open the door to a stranger. That these children have a penchant for frightening stories is somehow not surprising, nor is the strangers apparently endless supply of such tales.
I particularly like that each individual tale can stand on its own, but at the same time, they work together within the overarching framework to slowly reveal the larger story. I had no trouble finding the connection between the stories after the first few, nor was it difficult to figure out where the stranger had come from or who the children were. I suspect that for younger readers, however, these revelations might be more of a surprise.
The tales of terror are reminiscent of Edgar Allen Poe, W.W. Jacobs The Monkeys Paw, Robert Louis Stevenson, and even some aspects of the Sherlock Holmes stories. Chris Priestley does a good job of maintaining suspense throughout the entire book as well as creating tension within the individual stories. For younger readers, it might be well to note that some tales are rather bloody.
I enjoyed this book very much, both for the spine-tingling chills it gave me, and for the sense of fun I felt in returning to the type of story that fascinated me when I was a kid. I highly recommend it for both adults and children (around the age of 9 or 10) who love to be scared.
Tales of Terror from the Black Ship
For three long days the coast had been savaged by a wild and rabid storm. The Old Inn, my home, squatted on the clifftop, holding on for dear life like a limpet clinging to a rock at high tide. It stood on a gnarled promontory that had been gnawed relentlessly over the centuries so that only a thin trackway connected it to the rest of Cornwall. It was eaten away on either. The storm was a killing storm and had raced across the Atlantic without warning, like some wild, ravenous beast. Fishermen all along the coast were caught in its claws and their wan-faced widows haunted the quays and harbour mouths. On the first day, a clipper that had tried to outrun the storm had been broken up on the teeth of the rocks a mile or so offshore and gone down with all hands, the sea too mountainous for the lifeboat men to reach them.
Tales of Terror from the Black Ship ; illus. While Mr. Matthews goes for help, the children experience a surge of relief from their suffering and feel revived enough to allow seafaring stranger Jonah Thackeray to take shelter from the storm. Happily for the rapt children—and for equally rapt readers—all of his tales end very badly and offer fans of the macabre a full evening worth of chilling delights. Consistently eerie yarns feature a demonic tattoo, a boy who wreaks destruction with his laughter, flesh-eating sea snails attacking a becalmed vessel, a murdered twin who refuses to stay dead, animated scrimshaw that portends or reflects? Priestley and Roberts, whose Gorey-esque line illustrations can distill spirits from a nightmare, understand full well what kids want to read under the covers by flashlight. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.
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Please note that this product is not available for purchase from Bloomsbury. At the Old Inn, which clings precariously to a cliff top above a storm-lashed ocean, two sick children are left alone while their father fetches the doctor. Then a visitor comes begging for shelter, and so begins a long night of storytelling, in which young Ethan and Cathy, who have an unnatural appetite for stories of a macabre persuasion, sit out the last throes of the storm in the company of a sailor with more than enough grisly tales to satisfy them. But something about this sailor puts Ethan on edge, and he becomes increasingly agitated for his father's return. Only when the storm blows itself out can Ethan relax - but not for long, for the new dawn opens the children's eyes to a truth more shocking, more distressing than anything they heard the night before. You can unsubscribe from newsletters at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in any newsletter.