This is the fifth book in the Wardstone Chronicles, and with each new installment the series just seems to get better and better. In the last book, THE SPOOK'S BATTLE, we saw the Fiend (the Devil; the Dark made flesh) released into the world - in THE SPOOK'S MISTAKE, we see what this may mean for Tom as apprentice to the Spook.
Because of the extra threat from the Fiend, the Spook decides that Tom should go for further training with another Spook. In a world of Darkness and danger, the Spook thinks that Tom needs to be toughened up so that he is better able to face what may lie ahead for him. So, he goes to spend six months with Arkwright, a Spook who lives north of the County in a mill. This part of the County is riddled with dangers as the marshy ground and canals are inhabited by water witches. These are fearsome enemies, and one of the them is the daughter of the Fiend himself. It is this daughter that the Fiend has sent after Tom, to kill him.
That is a veyr brief synopsis of the story - I don't want to give too much away as I don't want to ruin it for others. What I shall say though is that, as with the previous books, Delaney has done a great job at creating a world in which good and evil are not so clear cut and distinct. Unlike many other children's books, in this series, the characters are not all good or all bad - they are more complex than that, just like people are complex.
Delaney has also ended this installment with a clear idea of where the next one may go - although there is a goodbye to one character, you get the feeling that we haven't seen the last of them.
This is a fantastic series - highly recommended for both children and adults.