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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 20 December 2008
Chris Priestley has definitely done it again with this second collection of spine-tingling tales.

This time we are introduced to Ethan and Cathy, two young children who live with their father in the Old Inn, a spooky pub precariously perched on a cliff top. During a violent storm, Ethan and Cathy are struck down by a mysterious illness, requiring their father to leave them alone in the dead of night to go in search of the local doctor. Following his departure, Jonah Thackeray arrives on the doorstep of the Old Inn, asking for shelter from the storm and offering many a creepy story in return.

This book will have you hooked from start to finish, with many twists and turns to have you shrieking in anticipation and surprise. With each chapter a complete short story in its own rights, it is perfect for bed-time stories, although you will be eagerly reading ahead to learn more about the underlying story concerning Ethan and Cathy. I found myself getting goose pimples from the eerie atmosphere so wonderfully created by Priestly and strengthened by the terrific illustrations of David Roberts. I assure you, you will not be disappointed with this book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 30 May 2009
This is Chris Priestley's second book to feature 11 connected spine chilling tales of terror, the stories are all short and very easily accessible.

The Old Inn clings to a cliff top above a storm lashed ocean and Ethan & Cathy are sick, their father has gone to fetch a doctor, leaving them all alone but with the promise not to let any one in until he gets back.

When a visitor comes begging for shelter from the wild storm, Cathy takes pity on him. The children have an unnatural appetite for stories of the macabre and the visitor is persuaded the tell a series of blood-curdling stories full of horror and heart-stopping revelations.

What made the first book 'Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror,' so successful is repeated here. The stories are beautifully illustrated by David Roberts and for me it just made this book such a treasure to hold and read.

All the stories are linked together and the last story gives you an unexpected twist.

It's not hard to see that the stories are influenced by Edgar Allen Poe, M R James and even Tim Burton.

Really gripping stories, full of nightmare and macabre horrors. For fans of Poe, James and Tim Burton, this is a must read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Ethan and Cathy are two children living in an old inn, perched precariously on a cliff top. When they fall suddenly ill during a heavy storm, their father admonishes them to let nobody in, and rushes off to find a doctor. Suddenly there is a knock on the door, and Ethan taking pity on the young man standing outside, lets him in. To pass the time until their father returns, the stranger tells them some strange and terrifying sea-faring tales.

This is a collection of self-contained short stories within the larger narration concerning the children and the mysterious stranger. The atmosphere of disquiet and occasionally genuine terror conjured up by Chris Priestley is wonderful, creating a very enjoyable feeling of unease and foreboding, and his joy of storytelling is obvious. As Cathy puts it in response to one of the mysterious visitor's tales, "But I do so love to be frightened!" I have to marvel at the author's dark mind, being able to produce such spine-chilling tales, an ability he also demonstrates with his novella The Dead of Winter. The stories are enhanced by David Roberts' bleak and sinister illustrations. I'm just annoyed that the editor or publisher didn't notice that one of the illustrations at the very beginning of the book in effect gives away the twist at the end; I could still enjoy the skill of the narration but the "heart-stopping revelation" came as no surprise. I also couldn't help noticing that the illustrator pre-empts the conclusion to another of the tales, so that what was supposed to be a moment of shock had already been anticipated. I suppose that not every reader will pick up on those small details, but this will slightly mar the enjoyment of an otherwise excellent book for the keen observer. Bloomsbury have put a warning to younger readers on the back cover that this is a seriously scary book and I wholeheartedly agree; some of the tales are really quite disturbing and would not be suitable for a young readership, even I found a couple of the stories hard to stomach. Well worth re-reading again and again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 May 2010
My then 11 yo son and I read Uncle Montague's ToT mid-2009 so were really looking forward to reading this and found it a bit of a letdown really after our first experience of Uncle Montague. The stories were good enough, giving us a bit of a fright occasionally, but there wasn't the expectation of something horrible happening or about to happen to the characters in this book than we found with our first book of his. Will certainly be buying and reading more though, and is still worth 3-stars! Maybe we were just spoiled and read the best book first, only time will tell.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I have read a couple of other books by this author, and found them thrillingly horrifying. While evidently written for a younger audience than me, these are great stories and I wish there had been books like this available when I was a youngster *cough cough* years ago.

Ethan and Cathy live in the Old Inn, clinging to a clifftop; their mother dead, their father not dealing with the grief and his life. One night, when they are sick, their father goes for the doctor. A strange visitor calls at the Inn, and as the night is stormy, the children let him in. Thackeray is a sailor and tells the children horrifying tales throughout the night. These tales are part of the story, but also stories within the story. For Thackeray and children are about to find the final horrors.

This is great stuff - spine-chilling, horrifying, brilliantly paced and well thought-out stories, all wrapped up in a beautifully illustrated book. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2010
'Tales of Terror from the Black Ship' is the story of Ethan and Cathy who live in an old inn on the coast of Cornwall. Their mother has passed on, and, while their father is away, they play host to seadog Jonah Thackeray who passes the time telling spine-chilling stories of the sea, each a complete tale in itself.
The book has eleven chapters, with titles like 'The Storm', 'The Boy in the Boat' and 'The Black Ship'.
It will appeal to any young person (or adult) who likes well told scary stories with plenty of suspense.
Following a similar format, and by the same author are 'Tales of Terror from the Tunnel's Mouth' and 'Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror', with 'The Dead of Winter' due out soon.
If you enjoyed Neil Gaiman's 'The Graveyard Book' or 'Coraline', you will probably like Chris Priestley's books as well.
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on 24 October 2014
The Tales of Terror from The Black Ship is penned by author, Chris Priestly. The illustrations are drawn by Dave Roberts in a strangely beautiful, Victorian Gothic pen and ink style. The darkly woven tale follows the lives of two children, Ethan and Cathy, brought up in a pub high up on a sheer cliff. It holds reminiscent of "Edgar Allan Poe's" writing in its disturbingly descriptive depths with mention to his books. Their story starts as a happy one filled with gruesome, twisted tales told by customers at the bar. With their adoring parents their lives are happier, bright ones. Then their mothers is struck ill and dies. Their father, in his unimaginable grief turns to the bottle to drown his sorrows. In his selfish, misery he forgets about his children and his temper spirals out of control. Our protagonists fall with sickness and their father goes out with the promise that he will bring back medicine and a doctor. But while he is gone a chaotic storm hits the inn high above the churning ocean and a young stranger comes knocking at the door. The mystery man is soaked and speaks of impossible feats of endurance and hardship . He weaves monstrously chilling stories to the children. The characters start to lose their youthful innocent
revealing a sadder past. Until the final secret unravels the children's worlds.
At times this book was horrifying and strange with inhuman creatures and unnerving twists. It draws you in with promise of mystery, sadness and beauty. It was a quick read forcing the reader to grabble with what might be happening in multiple stories at once. Overall a fantastic book decorated with unusual artwork and weird tales. My one complaint being that I felt not all the stories were entirely original giving the way to thoughts that I've heard them before. This novel gets 4.2 stars from me and I would be likely to recommend this book to others.
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on 10 August 2013
This was the first Chris Priestly book I've read so I had no idea what to expect, and was pretty much going on an interesting concept.

The book is essentially a collection of short stories (as I understand are all of the "Tales of Terror" series, though I can't confirm this), bound together by common storyteller and his own story. It's not an original format and can sometimes fall flat simply by virtue as coming across as a forced gimmick. In this case it works well, and adds a nice dimension that isn't present in standard short story collections.

The stories themselves are of the "twist in the tale" variety, and most of them work well. There are a couple of weaker ones where there's no real twist to speak of, or perhaps I should say that the twist is far to evident right from the start - "Pitch" springs to mind here, but mostly I really enjoyed them.

I'll certainly look out some of the other "tales of terror ..." books in the future.
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on 31 December 2012
I have read all of Chris Priestley's horror compendiums and would recommend them to anyone who cares about good writing. With the plethora of poorly penned and derivative zombie and post-apocalyptic horror 'novels' garnering 5-star reviews with which Amazon is at present awash, it is gratifying to read an author who understands that the first principle of making a reader shudder is to leave a lot to that reader's imagination. Chris' tales remind me of the old British Amicus horror films with their collection of creepy tales tied together by an overarching narrative, or the stories from EC comics, though he leaves out their (usually gruesome) final panel, allowing the final scenes to play out in the reader's mind.
Though supposedly for 'young adults' these tales reward the reader of any age.
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on 14 April 2013
I expected this to be as good as the uncle montague tales of terror but...no. I suppose Chris ran out of ideas, or if he wrote this first, he... well im not too sure. however, the ending is spectacular, and the stories r fab too, just some of them weren't the best!!! iv given this book 4 stars, but come to think of it, im gonna give it 5, as it still was sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good just not as good as uncle montague. but oh well, all authors have a writers block!????

by a yr 6 pupil!! who absolutely loves these books and doesn't want to give them back to the library :-(

p.s. Chris write more!! write more!! writeeee mor.......
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