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The Spook's Apprentice: Book 1 (The Wardstone Chronicles) [Kindle Edition]

Joseph Delaney
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The Spook's Apprentice is the first book in Joseph Delaney's terrifying Wardstone Chronicles - over 3 million copies sold worldwide!




'Someone has to stand against the dark. And you're the only one who can.'



For years, the local Spook has been keeping the County safe from evil. Now his time is coming to an end, but who will take over? Many apprentices have tried. Some floundered, some fled, some failed to stay alive. Just one boy is left. Thomas Ward. He is the last hope. But does he stand a chance against Mother Malkin, the most dangerous witch in the County?



From the series that inspired the forthcoming movie Seventh Son, starring Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes and Julianne Moore.


Books In This Series (13 Books)
Complete Series

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    Review

    " 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!!!!

    Product details


    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.

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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    82 of 85 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
    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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    50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars The Spook 5 Sept. 2005
    By Jules
    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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    3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
    By Lorna
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    First off, I'm an adult. I bought this book due to my interest in Lancashire history and folklore. The first thing that struck me is that it's actually quite scary. I found myself turning the pages rapidly and got the end in no time.

    In an adult novel I'd have liked to see more description, but as a children's story Delaney certainly knows how to tell a good story. Meshing together local myths about boggarts and witchcraft with Lancashire's hills and farms and alot of imagination this book is a non stop adventure.

    I felt alot of sympathy for Thomas, the protagonist. He doesn't want to be the spook's apprentice yet he is determined to make it his career in spite of the hardship. What struck me most was his growing loneliness and the sacrifices he has to make to continue in his job, in particular the effects on his family life. He's a very mature boy and makes some tough choices. He messes up and makes amends.

    This is a dark book and unlike in Harry Potter, there are no minor characters to bring any light. Alice, who I imagine is a future love interest, poses only more trouble. As in Wuthering Heights, the bleakness of the mood suits the landscape.

    I only intended to read this first book. Now I'm hooked and have just sent off for the next one!
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    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    Format:Paperback
    This is not "high fantasy" with world building, heroic characters, and profound quests. At least not in the early volumes. The County Spook deals with the mundane tasks of keeping witches and boggarts and the like in line. There are creatures and spirits and practitioners of the black arts out there, and sometimes they misbehave or leave their territory and have to be trapped, relocated or dispatched. It's sort of like being an officer of the Department of Wildlife, spooky division.

    The main characters are the Spook, Thomas his new apprentice, and Alice, the young witch with the pointy shoes who could go either good or bad, but who is also a budding love interest for our young apprentice. The Spook has a fair-but-firm grumpy vibe that suits the story. Thomas is bright, honest, loyal and prone to youthful error. He is an insightful and trustworthy narrator, and a good fit as the hero the reader can identify with. Alice is well above the normal girl/sidekick. She is shrewder than Thomas, and more mature. She knows more about witchcraft. As the series develops she will become a more and more important character. (The best part of this is that Alice is a fine protagonist for girls to identify with, and she is certainly a character who holds her own with the Spook and Thomas.)

    The book is unique because it tries to present a sense of the work-a-day world of spook busting. Thomas has to learn about the habits of creatures, how to trap and hold them, how to be a spook. He practices skills, digs pits and traps, and generally lives the life of an apprentice. He does a lot of bag carrying as the Spook moves from job to job. While it's fantasy of course, it feels like an introduction to an authentic life.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
    Enjoyed it :)
    Published 5 days ago by Laura Freestone
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Great read
    Published 7 days ago by Debs
    3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
    I love the Spook's books!
    Published 8 days ago by Scarlet_Whiplash
    5.0 out of 5 stars Easy read, hard to lay down.
    The first book of The Wardstone Chronicles. When I started reading the first thing that I thought was that it was really easy to read. Read more
    Published 11 days ago by Ronnie Poeljes
    5.0 out of 5 stars Whole series
    fast moving fantasy story Characters are clearly defined and plot easy to follow.Only problem is that as soon as you finish book 1 you need to get book 2 and so on and there are 13... Read more
    Published 26 days ago by Anne
    5.0 out of 5 stars Next best to the lockwood series
    An interesting, mysterious gothic world - the lonely life of a spook makes for a great story, and a whole lot of creepy!
    Published 1 month ago by Emily
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Excellent read!
    Published 2 months ago by jacq
    5.0 out of 5 stars Will keep your child busy...
    My son loved this book and I ended up buying the whole series for him. I can say he was addicted to them to the extent that he would search for the release of the final books. Read more
    Published 2 months ago by Amita
    5.0 out of 5 stars If you're an adult that likes magick, read it!
    Like many of these reviews, I too am an adult and love the books. I am now on book 8 and they do get better. My favourite so far being book 6. Read more
    Published 2 months ago by JD
    3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as it could have been
    This book seems to go by many names depending on where in the world you purchase it; namely The Last Apprentice; Revenge of the Witch (USA), The Spooks Apprentice (UK and original... Read more
    Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
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