On the Horizon – jack (Connie Willis)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this historical fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here are me honest musings . . .

jack (Connie Willis)

Title: jack

Author: Connie Willis

Publisher: Subterranean Press

Publication Date: TODAY!! (hardback/e-book)

ISBN: 978-1596069633

Source: NetGalley


The cover drew me in and three things convinced me to read this book:

  1. Connie Willis wrote the doomsday book and it was seriously one of the best books I have ever read;
  2. It is a Subterranean Press book and they do great work; and
  3. This novella was a finalist for the 1991 Nebula and Hugo awards and is set during the Blitz in London.

I have yet to read a bad Connie Willis book.  This novella is awesome!  This story is told from the prospective of Jack who is a member of the air raid rescue squad.  The main job of their squad is to rescue folks trapped in rubble from the bombs.  A new member joins the squad who also happens to be called Jack.  The two Jacks end up on patrol together.  But the newest Jack (#2) doesn’t seem to have a clear past and has an uncanny ability to find survivors.  So Jack (#1) starts to investigate his partner.  Jack’s (#1) rationale for what he finds sounds insane.  Or is it . . .

I am not going to give ye anymore plot then that.  I loved the ending.  Ye can take it two different ways.  One just happens to be more fun than the other.  As always the setting is excellent, the world-building superb, the writing sublime, and the characters lovely.  I do think Willis is a genius.  So much complexity and yet a short, clear, and engaging read.  If ye have missed this one pick it up.  If ye have never read anything by her then certainly get a hold of her work.  This would be a great place to start.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Subterranean Press!

Side note: I do really need to finish the Oxford Time Travel series.  I am only halfway through but the two books I have read were awesome!

Netgalley had this to say about the novel:

During the height of the Blitz in London, the air raid rescue squad operating out of Mrs. Lucy’s house is close-knit and ever-watchful. When a new volunteer named Jack shows up, his odd behavior—not eating, disappearing during the day for a mysterious job—isn’t concerning at first. The sleepless stress of the job is hard on everyone. Soon, Jack is in high demand, due to an almost uncanny talent for finding buried people still alive under the rubble…

But how does he do it? As the narrator, another member of the squad also named Jack, begins to investigate, the truth turns out to have a dark, tragic twist.

New York Times bestselling, multiple-award-winning author Connie Willis’s surprising and deftly rendered classic 1991 novella “Jack,” a finalist for the Nebula and the Hugo awards, is a must-have for readers of her beloved works set in World War II, including “Fire Watch,” Blackout, and All Clear.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Connie Willis – Author

To buy the novella please visit:

jack – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

crosstalk (On the Horizon – Sci-Fi eArc)

i met a traveller in an antique land (On the Horizon – Fantasy eArc)

to say nothing of the dog – book 2 (Captain’s Log – Sci-Fi)

22 thoughts on “On the Horizon – jack (Connie Willis)

  1. Wait. So, this is a reprinting of an award winning novella from the early 90s? I’m a bit confused on the publication date and the award honor date.

    I haven’t read Willis’ books yet, but everyone I know who has read them is basically begging me to read them. I dunno what it is. The covers, maybe? I think the covers just bore me instinctively. Yikes. That’s not a flattering thing to say.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aye this is a special reprint of an earlier award winning novella. I thought it was a new story when I read it and then found out the rest when I was writing the post. It was because I saw Willis and clicked request without any further thought.

      The covers may be boring but I promise the insides of them are amazing. Doomsday Book is where I started and it still remains me favorite. Though it deals with the Black Death and so ye may not want to start there given how the current pandemic has been treating ye. To Say Nothing of the Dog is the technical second book and is lighthearted and silly and awesome. But those two books are standalones and either can be read first. I am going to be one of those pushers about Willis’ work because I do think ye would love it.
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha– I’m so glad that you have authors you auto-request and auto-read. We all should have authors like that for us, that’s for sure.

        Oooh, good pro-tip about The Doomsday Book. Perhaps I’ll give it a year or so… I might just pick up To Say Nothing of the Dog straight on, then. Lighthearted and silly? Yes, please!


  2. Oh my goodness – a Connie Willis novella… Thank you so much for a storming review. I completely agree with you – she is a genius and I look forward to getting hold of this one, Cap:)). I remember your recommendation of To Say Nothing of the Dog, which I recall with utter joy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. SOOOOOO good. I have seriously been thinking about it often since I read it. I love that Subterranean Press puts older work into new editions because otherwise I wouldn’t know they existed. I don’t normally like to pay the higher prices for novellas but I would for her work because it makes me so happy. Have ye read her I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land (2018) yet? Ye would love that novella too.
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

    1. And I am back. Wrong again, I mixed her up with Jodie Taylor. I read Just One Damned Thing After Another three years ago and did not like it very much…

      Are these Oxford books by Willis standalones or should I read them in order?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I read To Say Nothing of the Dog first (it’s technically the second in the series) and while I was a bit confused at the start of the book due to the narrator being also confused, I really enjoyed that book. I have also read Doomsday Book, and while it was highly enjoyable it was also a lot darker. I think you could easily start with either of those depening on whether you wanted the lighter or darker book first.

        I do know that Blackout / All Clear are a duology within the series, so for those two you will need to read Blackout before All Clear. Since I haven’t read them yet, I don’t know if you could start there, or if you need to read DB and TSNOTD first.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Hardy har har!! I be glad ye mixed them up because I love time travel and hadn’t heard of the book. It is a long series though so I be hesitant to add any more series anytime soon. It warms me heart when I come to the comments and watch me crew helping each other find the loot. I happened to read Willis’ doomsday book first so that is me favourite but many start with the other book. Because that one is funny. Once I finish the duology, I do plan on rereading the first two books again. Cause I want to see what else I can discover woven in when I know how they end.
        x The Captain

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Well, the funny one is on my TBR list now. We‘ll see. I am trying not to spend too much money on books and to actually get to my owned books. And I still have some Netgalleys. And I really want to start using the local library. And, and, and….

        Liked by 1 person

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