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The Spook's Apprentice No. 1 [Hardcover]

Joseph Delaney
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 July 2004
A wonderful and terrifying series by a new writer about a young boy training to be an exorcist. Thomas Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son and has been apprenticed to the local Spook. The job is hard, the Spook is distant and many apprentices have failed before Thomas. Somehow Thomas must learn how to exorcise ghosts, contain witches and bind boggarts. But when he is tricked into freeing Mother Malkin, the most evil witch in the County, the horror begins . . .

Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bodley Head; First Edition edition (1 July 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0370328264
  • ISBN-13: 978-0370328263
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.7 x 18.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 359,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joseph Delaney is a retired English teacher living in Lancashire. He has three children and seven grandchildren and is a wonderful public speaker available for conference, library and bookshop events. His home is in the middle of Boggart territory and his village has a boggart called the Hall Knocker, which was laid to rest under the step of a house near the church. Most of the places in the Spook's books are based on real places in Lancashire. And the inspiration behind the stories often comes from local ghost stories and legends. The Spook's Apprentice, The Spook's Curse and The Spook's Secret have all been shortlisted for the Lancashire children's Book for the Year Award. The Spook's Apprentice is the winner of both the Sefton Book Award and the Hampshire Book Award.

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" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Not to be read after dark!!!!

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
79 of 81 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not to be Read After Dark 9 Aug 2004
By Chrestomanci VINE VOICE
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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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Spook 5 Sep 2005
By Jules
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spooky and thrilling 6 Aug 2011
By Sam
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Joseph Delaney dusts off the world of fantasy literature, stepping away from wizards and delivering an much darker, scarier but nonetheless entertaining read than Harry Potter. This first book in a series that will ultimate make up over thirteen installments, tells the tale of Tom who is apprenticed to the Spook, a grizzled old man who deals with the terrifying creatures that inhabit the dark. From ghosts to boggarts and demons to witches, the spook makes the world safe for the people of the county.
Not only does Delaney here deliver a thrilling, unputdownable first installment but he paves the way for what is now my favourite series of books, just beating Harry Potter. His prose, narrated in first person by young Tom, is rich with spooky imagery and the sweeping descriptions of a fictional version of Lancashire make this an atmospheric and gripping read. The characters are well developed, particularly Tom and the Spook and the descriptions are vivid and scary, making for some thrilling set pieces and some tense, spooky moments.
The first books tells the tale of Tom's experiences with the powerful witch Mother Malkin and how he must learn to control his own fear and battle alongside the Spook against the growing power of the dark.
Overall, this first installment is gripping and addictive and i found myself ordering every other book in the series as soo as i'd finished. Do yourself a favour and pick this one up. Its suitable for ages 9 and up, but beware there are some tense, scary moments - though this shouldn't put you off purchasing for you or your children.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beware of girls in pointy shoes. . . 25 July 2004
THE SPOOK'S APPRENTICE is the debut novel by Joseph Delaney. The story is about Tom Ward, the seventh son of a seventh son. Tom's father finds him work as an apprentice to the Spook - which is similar to an exorcist - someone who deals with witches, boggarts and ghosts, etc. While Tom is training with the Spook, he is tricked into freeing the evil witch, Mother Malkin, from her pit in the Spook's garden. Tom then has to use what little knowledge he has in order to try and stop Mother Malkin from causing horror. This is something he largely has to do alone, as Mother Malkin's surviving relatives devise a rouse to get the Spook away from his house, leaving Tom alone. However, Tom does have one possible helper; although it is the most unlikely of freinds. . .
That is a very brief synopsis of the book, as I don't want to give too much away and ruin the book for future readers.
The brilliance of Delaney's book lies in the exploration of good and evil, and especially how 'innocents' may be wicked. Delaney explores this complex theme mainly through the character of Alice; a young girl who tries to befriend Tom; a girl who wears pointy shoes ( the Spook warned Tom against such girls, saying they are not to be trusted ).
The book also looks at the subject of fear - how it manages to take hold of us and why. As Tom begins to learn, for example, the Spook's job is a lonely one, as many people fear what they have to do for their living. Solitude is part of the life - people fear them and consequently they are left alone, something which can be fearsome in it's own right, especially for a young boy trying to learn the skills of the trade whilst having to face evil.
This really is a fantastic book - both adults and children can easily enjoy what this book has to offer. It is original, unpretentious, and cleverly written. Highly recommended.
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