The Spook's Apprentice
The first edition cover of The Spook's Apprentice published by Bodley Head


Joseph Delaney



Horror, Thriller


  • Bodley Head (UK Hardback)
  • Red Fox (UK Paperback)
  • Greenwillow Books (US Edition)

Release Date

July 1st 2004


  • 352 Pages (UK)
  • 384 Pages (US)

Place in Book Series

The Wardstone Chronicles: Book One

Narrated by

Thomas Jason Ward

Preceded by

The Spook's Tale

Followed by

The Spook's Curse

The Spook's Apprentice is the first novel in the children's book series The Wardstone Chronicles written by English author Joseph Delaney.

Publishing Information

The novel was originally published on July 1st 2004 by Bodley Head in hardback but since then it has been released in paperback (published by Red Fox) and reprinted in a new-style cover.

The book was also released in the US as The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch due to 'spook' may be viewed as a racist term to some of the American population. The Spook's Apprentice is currently being adapted into film with the name The Last Apprentice.


  • First Edition: The original edition had a worn out leathery type look and was hardback. Later after new editions had been made, the official spooks site considered it a collectors edition.
  • Paperback: This one had a normal paperback-like cover with new illustrations and some testar below the title saying "Is he brave enough?"
  • Seventh Son Paperback: The same as the original paperback except the illustration is coloured differently, an extra spook is added in the background, the words "The series that Inspired the movie: Seventh Son" is placed at the bottom with Delaney's name at the top and the words "Born to fight the dark" are put at the left side of the cover.
  • The US Edition: Due to the fact that "spook" could be considered a racial slur in America, an edition where rather than The Spook's Apprentice, it says The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch, was published.

Book Description

Thomas Jason Ward (Tom Ward) is the seventh son of a seventh son and has been apprenticed to the local Spook (John Gregory). 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. One day, he meets a young girl called Alice who tricks into freeing Mother Malkin, the most evil witch in the County, the horror begins.

After Mother Malkin is released, Tom manges to kill her but unfortunately she is strong enough to return from the dead. After her death, Tom is captured however Alice frees him and they develop some amount of frienship. Tom returns to the farm for a while. There after a few days Mother Malkin possesses Snout, the pig butcher. Tom uses salt and iron to end the possession. Mother Malkin tries to escape but takes a wrong turn and is eaten by the pigs which is one of the only ways to stop a witch from returning from the dead. In the end Tom takes Alice to her aunt and resumes his apprenticeship with the Spook.  

Book Review

The Wardstone Chronicles Book 1

*The Spooks Apprentice*

I read this book for a fourth time now, and I'm still entertained. I always dreamt of completing The Wardstone Chronicles so here I am, making a second try. So let's start from the beginning, the cover art was really eye-catching. The illustrations above each chapter are also remarkable; The chapter title astute. The "Not to be Read after Dark" warning surely gives the reader a hint of what's to come. The book starts really well with a good point of view narrative by Thomas Ward. The description of each member of the family and the farm is done very nicely, but not in a monotonous way. The character building is done skillfully, obviously of Tom but also other members of the Ward family and Alice, Spook, etc. It's interesting to see Tom so meek and oblivious in the beginning but as soon as he's the apprentice to the spook he starts learning all the new things and develops a sense of responsibility and awareness, as a result of his mistakes. The family troubles in the county are also highlighted. The "Seventh Son of The Seventh Son" issue is given a bit more importance but I think its valid because we don't get so see such cases every day. The story follows a steady pace with a straightforward plot and nothing too complex for readers to understand if they read it with interest. Its my recommendation to first time readers, this stuff will surely make you hooked to reading YA genre. The story develops and brings in new characters, each unique and with a great personality. Even the speaking style of each character differs and the reader gets a delightful experience. Obviously, the most interesting thing in the book is the story, the dark and grim setting (not much) and the dialogues. The story and the plot is great. I like the Watery Lane Part, Meeting with Alice, The Spooks Teachings about Bogart's and Witches, and the battle between Mother Malkin and Tom. The detailed description of the witch and the Bogarts is good enough to give the reader a somewhat pictorial view of how they would appear. The dialogues are witty, Delaney does not waste a word without conveying something emotional, or material. The enlightening quotes about moral conduct by Mam (Toms Mum) and the Spook are a delight to read. Another interesting feature of the book is the portrayal of nature and the Spook's House at Chipenden. Tom's narration style which makes you go on reading. I'm in love with boggart, a very funny creature that the spook keeps. The house is big with a library, with scientific and astute knowledge about a topic. The Spook is surely a "great Dark-Dueler". The book even highlights some emotional feelings about loneliness, responsibility, anger management, mistakes and the right path to follow. Mam, Alice, Tom and Spook are the most prominent characters in the book. The character of Mam is Wise, enlightening and benevolent. Spooks is hard, secretive, weary and sometimes humorous. The most difficult to explain is of Alice. She's a bit good and a bit dark so its difficult to explain. I really pity Tom as he is made through go through all the difficult stuff and test in just a month of his entry in the Spooks apprenticeship. I did not at all like Mother Malkin. She failed to scare me. I did not even like how she could just be a wick and be 1/3 rd of her size. The costumes of Spook is also good, a black cloak and a rowen wood staff. I love the words written by Tom in his journal in the end, particularly the last sentence. "Now I'm just an apprentice, but one day ill be the spook." This was surely a memorable, cherished, entertaining, somewhat frightening, enlightening and "pleasure to read book". Recommended for everyone. (10+). Nice Reading!!!




  1. A Seventh Son
  2. On the Road
  3. Number 13 Watery Lane
  4. The Letter
  5. Boggarts and Witches
  6. A Girl with Pointy Shoes
  7. Someone Has To Do It
  8. Old Mother Malkin
  9. On the River Bank
  10. Poor Billy
  11. The Pit
  12. The Desperate and the Dizzy
  13. Hairy Pigs
  14. The Spook's Advice


  • Thomas Jason Ward
  • John Gregory
  • Alice Deane
  • Bony Lizzie
  • Mother Malkin
  • Mam
  • Dad
  • Jack Ward
  • Ellie Ward
  • Mary Ward


  • The Spook's House
  • Chipenden
  • Brewer's Farm


Character Killed By Cause Of Death Circumstances
Tusk John Gregory Hit on head with the Spook's rowan wood staff. In defense of Tom during chase
Mother Malkin Tom/Alice/Pigs Chased away with fire and eaten alive, including heart, by pigs. Mother Malkin tracked Tom to his home for revenge.

Film Adaptation

On May 23rd 2008, Joseph Delaney announced on his author blog that his first book in The Wardstone Chronicles, The Spook's Apprentice will be adapted into film. Joseph Delaney sold the rights for production to Warner Bros. Pictures. At this point, the film was schedueled for release in 2009. Before long, it was revealed that Kevin Lima, director of the 2007 Disney children's film Enchanted will be the director of the upcoming film adaptation. Delaney's reaction to this was “I’m thrilled and delighted to hear that the creator of the excellent Enchanted is to direct the film adaptation of my book. It’s brilliant news!”. Kevin Lima, is a fan of The Wardstone Chronicles. As well as this, Matt Greenberg, writer of several different screenplays for horror films, including Stephen King's 1408, will be writing the screenplay for the film adaptation. But for this, no other news has emerged concerning the film.

JordanLangston 03:31, July 12, 2010 (UTC)

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