Wednesday 15 April 2009

The Spook's Apprentice by Joseph Delaney

Pages - 323

Publisher - Red Fox - 205

Challenges - 100+, Once Upon A Time, A to Z Author and New Author.

This book is the first one in a series of books called The Wardstone Chronicles, about Thomas, 13 years old, who has to leave his family in order to go and work for the lonely and unpopular Spook, the only exorcist. Thomas is fearful about working for the Spook, yet his mother is certain that this is the right career for him as he is the seventh son of the seventh son and also she is her son and she has her own unique powers. His mother believes that the Spook will never need another apprentice again.

So Thomas leaves his family behind and sets off on a long and dangerous journey with the Spook to his summer home. Thomas learns on his journey, not to be frightened by spooks, boggarts and witches. When they reach the Spook's home, Thomas begins his training as an apprentice to the Spook. He learns how to deal with boggarts and how to dig the right size pit for an evil witch.

After a couple of months of training, the Spook is called away on business and a young girl named Alice encourages Thomas to help her feed the witch kept in one of the Spook's pit. Thomas agrees and unwittingly helps the most evil witch ever to escape. Thomas must rely on his own intuition and the Spook's library to get rid of the witch once and for all.

The books are beautifully produced and give the impression of being very old books that you have been lucky to come across. The whole series is set in the 1700's and each book has the same ancient look. The book is advertised as a children's horror story and I suppose it might scare younger children, so it would probably suit older children. Not for youngsters who suffer with nightmares.

I really enjoyed reading this book, it may seem quite long, but the pages are quite small and I read this book quite quickly.

I found the story to be very dark and some scenes were a little horrific, but it was very exciting. It is definitely a real page turner and I look forward to diving into the next one.

The Spook's Apprentice won the Hampshire Book Award in the year of its release. It is presently being turned into a film, hopefully to be released this year.

There are presently five other books in this series, with the last one The Spook's Mistake, being released last year. The Spooks Sacrifice is due out this year and Joseph Delaney is presently working on his seventh book in the series.

The Spooks series of books has its own website, dedicated to the series of books and the film to be released. You will also find Joseph's blog there too. You will find it here.

Joseph Delaney is a retired teacher from Lancashire, where he has loosely set the books. The Spooks Apprentice was his first book and it spent 7 weeks in the best sellers charts, selling over 35,000 in the first few months of release.

Have you read any of these books? If you have, which ones were your favourites?


  1. I read this first one a year or so ago and loved it but never got around to the finding the rest in the library. Would be a good collection for me to read during the summer holidays

  2. I want it for the setting alone! It sounds absolutely fascinating.

  3. I haven't read this book but it's definitely going on my list! It sounds great!


  4. I haven't read it, but it sounds good.

  5. I read this book last year and book two this year - loved them both! I haven't moved further along in the series because I keep getting sidetracked by other books. I'm glad to see someone else has enjoyed the Spook's work too.

    Don't you love the little witch?!?

    And I'm *so* excited to find out they want to make a movie. A couple of my students have read the books as well (in fact it was one student who suggested I read it). They'll be excited to hear about the film as well.


  6. I haven't read this yet. I've had my eye on it for awhile, but I have to be in a certain mood for things like this. And whenever I am in that mood they don't have it in the library.

  7. I haven't read any of these books, but your description makes me curious. Thanks. ;)

  8. I've seen this one in the shops and often thought about reading the series - I definitely will now :)


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