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

4.6 out of 5 stars 141 customer reviews

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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 (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 740,661 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 Verified Purchase
My 9 year old daughter started reading Spooks, and she raved about it so now I have been reading them too.

The strength of these books lies in the fantastic storytelling of teh author who spins a tail that really will achieve that suspenful state of tension that will delight younger readers. For adults too, the story is well written and never becomes tedious. Good interesting stuff.

The stories are quite original, and well constructed, but not of great depth, and some of the themes feel like they are aimed at an older age group than 9, although the stories are perhaps not sufficiently complex to be branded young adult. Nevertheless I have a hard time recommending them to 9 year olds because while this first one is just fine, there are theems in some of the later books that are downright disturbing. Without wishing to write spoilers it is hard to go into details, but there is one particular theme, several books into the series, that led me to speak to teh school about placing these in an older section of the school library. The only time I have ever behaved like such an interfering parent! So please don't hold that against me.

My recommendation is that children and young adults 11 and up would love this series.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's a very good read. It's dark, gritty and bewitching, and the characterisation is often good. But the characterisation isn't ALWAYS as good as it could be. I mean, James Ward's mum; PLEASE, she's SO cheesy! And even the spook himself has a wavering moment or three. In fact, to be honest, EVERY character in this story is flawed in one way or another. Perhaps one of the most serious characterisation flaws is when James randomly throws up for absolutely no reason whatsoever. "Oh yeah, I've just faced a dangerous supernatural being. They haven't messed with my gastric system in any way, shape or form, but I think I need to randomly puke my guts out anyway." Perhaps Joseph was under a time constraint to get this novel finished or something, so he couldn't find time to get the novel polished as thoroughly as it could have been. All that said, the thrilling standards of this book are very, very good. The supernatural phantoms that James and Spook have to face are all very sharply thrilling. Actually, I say James AND Spook, but in pretty much every crunch scene in this book, I never once see the spook come to James's aid. Okay, I admit that being a spook is a hard job, but you don't go blundering off, abandoning your faithful apprentice and leaving them at the mercy of an intensely haunted cottage and a highly deranged psycho lady who wants his blood; idiot! Another slightly more minor - but still noteworthy - flaw that I noticed was the storyline. I thought that there was too much emphasis on the emotional, soppy side of things, (i.e. the scenes relating to James and his family), and not enough emphasis on the elements that I'd say REALLY MATTER, (i.e. the dangerous supernatural beings that are suposedly at large).Read more ›
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