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Back to Back Night Watches, Part 1.   By: (1863-1943)

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Back to Back Night Watches, Part 1 by W. W. Jacobs is a gripping collection of short stories that will leave readers enthralled and eager for more. Known for his classic tale "The Monkey's Paw," Jacobs once again showcases his exceptional storytelling skills in this anthology.

The book is divided into several tales, each providing a unique glimpse into the mysterious world of naval life and seafaring adventures. Jacobs skillfully captures the essence of life at sea, taking readers aboard different vessels and immersing them in the joys, perils, and camaraderie shared by the sailors.

The first story, "The Watch Below," sets the tone for the book by introducing us to a young protagonist, Midshipman Walter Drummond. As a newcomer to the naval world, Drummond receives his first initiation into the challenges and dangers that lie ahead. Jacobs paints a vivid picture of the battleship, making readers feel as though they are on board with Drummond, experiencing all the thrills and unease.

One of the standout stories in the collection is "The Wreck of the Pakefield." This haunting tale follows the crew of a lifeboat as they discover the remnants of a sunken ship. The eerie atmosphere and the crew's desperate struggle for survival make for a truly gripping read. Jacobs expertly builds tension, leaving readers on the edge of their seats until the very end.

Another noteworthy story is "For the Freedom of the Seas," which delves into the age-old theme of mutiny. Here, Jacobs masterfully explores the tension between loyalty to one's crewmates and the desire for justice. The characters are well-developed, and their conflicting emotions keep readers engaged throughout.

Throughout the book, Jacobs demonstrates his ability to seamlessly blend elements of adventure, suspense, and human drama. His writing style is concise yet evocative, and he leaves just enough room for readers' imagination to wander. The book's pacing is also well-managed, with each story flowing smoothly into the next, keeping the overall momentum of the collection intact.

If there is one criticism to be made, it would be that the stories end too abruptly. While this is likely intentional, as it leaves readers craving more, some might prefer a more conclusive ending to certain narratives. However, this is a minor drawback considering the overall quality of the collection.

Back to Back Night Watches, Part 1 is an excellent introduction to W. W. Jacobs' maritime tales. With its captivating storytelling, memorable characters, and intriguing settings, this book is a must-read for fans of adventure and nautical fiction. Jacobs' ability to transport readers onto the high seas is truly remarkable, and I eagerly await the continuation of this compelling series in Part 2.

First Page:


by W.W. Jacobs


Mrs. Scutts, concealed behind the curtain, gazed at the cab in uneasy amazement. The cabman clambered down from the box and, opening the door, stood by with his hands extended ready for any help that might be needed. A stranger was the first to alight, and, with his back towards Mrs. Scutts, seemed to be struggling with something in the cab. He placed a dangling hand about his neck and, staggering under the weight, reeled backwards supporting Mr. Scutts, whose other arm was round the neck of a third man. In a flash Mrs. Scutts was at the door.

"Oh, Bill!" she gasped. "And by daylight, too!"

Mr. Scutts raised his head sharply and his lips parted; then his head sank again, and he became a dead weight in the grasp of his assistants.

"He's all right," said one of them, turning to Mrs. Scutts.

A deep groan from Mr. Scutts confirmed the statement.

"What is it?" inquired his wife, anxiously.

"Just a little bit of a railway accident," said one of the strangers. "Train ran into some empty trucks. Nobody hurt seriously," he added, in response to a terrible and annoyed groan from Mr. Scutts.

With his feet dragging helplessly, Mr. Scutts was conveyed over his own doorstep and placed on the sofa.

"All the others went off home on their own legs," said one of the strangers, reproachfully... Continue reading book >>

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