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The Spook's Apprentice: No.1: Book 1 Paperback – 30 Jun 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 133 customer reviews

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Paperback, 30 Jun 2005
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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Red Fox; New edition edition (30 Jun. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099456451
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099456452
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.2 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 655,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


" This thrilling and terrifying book should not be read after dark! - Parent: News An absorbing tale with scary scenarios and a great central relationship between Thomas and his master. - Funday Times Zounds! Delaney delights us with the power of his spooken words. Thought-provoking fantasy... A ruse by any other name would smell as sweet. - Bournemouth Daily Echo Teenage readers looking instead for total fantasy should hasten to Joseph Delaney's The Spook's Apprentice (Bodley Head, [pound]8.99). Clad in a sinister brown cover, this terrific novel is as black as David Wyatt's ingenious ink drawings that head each chapter.. Young Thomas can only just cope with these demons; the horrors he faces are made more credible by the cleverly laid-back way in which his story is told. - The Independent"

Book Description

Not to be read after dark!!!! --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The Spook's Apprentice is a children's horror novel set in the time of the Pendle Witches. The eponymous Spook is a man whose job it is to protect the local villagers from witches, boggarts and all other evils, yet despite his invaluable service, he is shunned by all. After the death of his last apprentice, the Spook enrolls young Thomas Ward, who, being the seventh son of a seventh son is qualified for the position. However, he soon discovers that this is no mere accident of birth.
Thomas is left the entire night in a haunted house as a kind of initiation into his new job. The twist in this scene is perhaps a little too obvious. Thomas progresses with his lessons - but before long, the Spook is called away on an urgent matter in Pendle, and rather recklessly leaves his inexperienced young apprentice behind. During his absence, Thomas makes a rash promise to Alice (a girl with pointy shoes), and is tricked into releasing Old Mother Malkin, who was buried alive as punishment for killing the villagers' children and drinking their blood.
Once she is free, Thomas's problems really begin - and it seems that the only person he can turn to for help is the one who got him in this mess ... Alice. Alice is perhaps the most interesting character in the book. The reader is never certain whether she is to be trusted or not. Is she as well-intentioned as she claims, acting under duress - or is she an evil scheming trickster out to lure Thomas to the same bloodthirsty fate as the previous apprentice?
'Not to be read after dark,' it says on the back cover. Perhaps it's not quite as scary as the publishers would have you believe - but it's still sufficiently chilling for most young readers.
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Format: Paperback
If you're an adult, don't dismiss these books as simply 'kid's stuff'!
I'm nearly 43, and I was as captivated by the Ward Chronicles, as my 15 yr old daughter and sons of 11 and eight years. These books have much to offer an adult audience.
The plots are fast-moving, brilliantly written and, above all, totally enthralling. Joseph Delaney is an imaginative author, who makes it impossible to put down his stories once you've picked them up.
Even as an adult, it was easy to slip into young Tom Ward's mind, and really see the events from his viewpoint. Or, perhaps having a more experienced imagination just adds to the thrills!
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Format: Paperback
Allow me to just say, I am biased. This book was bought for me a long time ago, when it was first published, and I have been hooked ever since. I still am...I'm 22. I am an avid reader, but I consistently return to this series of books, I simply love the story of Tom Ward and his mysterious master, The Spook.

I'm not going to give you a point by point run down of the plot, you haven't got time for that! But let me say, if you're looking for a book that gives you the odd creep, the odd, 'Oh jeeze what is down there', then this is your book. Being from the East Midlands, the colloquial, almost old English language in this book makes me feel at home and almost adds to its charm. It's an easy book to read despite this, don't be put off if you're a Southerner! It sounds daft and almost juvenile, but the font is a readable size and the chapters promote quick reading while keeping you enticed, you will not put this book down and I mean that.

You'll find yourself really falling for the protagonist, Tom Ward. His introduction to the Spook profession is something you will sympathise with, and you will find yourself willing him on to success. And just wait till Alice is introduced, she adds a brilliant lovers twist to the whole story and her character resonates through the entire series. The story itself is a thrilling tale of struggle, hard questions and harder answers, it really gets to grip with important issues of wrongdoing and the punishment for it, especially when it comes to the key antagonist, Madame Malkin.

Don't be put off by the label of 'teen fiction' that many could level upon this book. Its underlying adult undertones allows you to enjoy the plot while not feeling like you're reading a kiddies book. Just do yourself a favour and buy it. You won't be disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
Review: Thomas Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son. This means he can be trained as a spook, to protect the County from evil. Starting off as an apprentice, he learns the ways of a Spook, trapping creatures, learning Latin, and spotting danger signs. Such as women or girls with pointy shoes. Enter Alice, a girl whose loyalties you can never be sure where they lie. Also, there is a witch, Madame Malkin, who has been bound in a pit, but threatens to come out.
I read this one ages ago! But never got into the series, not because I disliked it, but because I kind of forgot abonut this. Then I get an email telling me that there's going to be a film based on it starring Ben Barnes (who was totally adorable as Dorian) and that it would be nice if people could review the series. So I thought, yeah why not. Then I got a package with all 11 books in the series and all I could think was thank you thank you thank you and so yeah I took it on and started reading from the beginning again.
It's hard to believe Thomas is only twelve at times-he's clever at times, and really brave, though he does make errors here and there. Alice is a complete mystery throughout. I loved the Spook, who is wise due to his experience. Also, Mam, who seems to have secrets to come out some day.
Pacing was good. there's soon a dose of suspense which also helps us learn more about Thomas. Writing built suspense and atomsphere well. Madame Malkin is a good adversary, with connections to Alice and being suitably threatening.
Overall: Strength 4 tea to a creepy start to a series.
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