The Spook's Apprentice
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (July 2008)|
|The Spook's Apprentice|
Book cover for The Spook's Apprentice
|Series||The Wardstone Chronicles|
|Genre||Children's fantasy novel|
|Publisher||The Bodley Head|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Followed by||The Spook's Curse|
The Spook's Apprentice (American title: The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch), written by Joseph Delaney, is the first story in the series "The Wardstone Chronicles" The plot is centred around a 13 year old farm boy named Tom who lives in the countryside of The County, loosely based on the English county of Lancashire, where the author resides with his large family. As Tom is the seventh son of a seventh son he is able to see things others cannot, such as boggarts, ghasts, ghosts and others, which is traditional in the County.
The Spook is a cloaked old man carrying a wooden staff in his left hand, who travels the county fighting troublesome creatures such as Boggarts, Ghosts/Ghasts, and Witches, for the people who need these things gone. However the religious world hates them, for they are thought to be meddling in the dark powers themselves, which is against the Christian church.
Tom knows that his parents have agreed to make him the apprentice of the Spook. He will have to learn how the Spook fights "The Dark", as it's referred to in the book. He can use practice, reading or listening to learn about all creatures that feature in the dark.
The Spook is actually a person, and looks after Tom well. He explains that most of his other apprentices have failed, due to them being cowardly, disobedient, or deceased. It is revealed that one of the deceased was Billy Bradly, who whilst fighting a particularly dangerous boggart had his finger bitten off and died from loss of blood. The Spook's staff is not what it appears. It has a retractable knife at the end of it and the wood is very uncomfortable to witches. Later on Tom Ward realizes it is very useful to defeat witches.
The Spook lives in a house at Chipenden. This house is protected from unwanted visitors by a boggart, whom the Spook has made a servant of sorts. The Spook has promised the boggart that as long as the house is standing, the boggart must cook for them, do the dishes, and do their laundry. The boggart happily complies with these tasks, because this is what boggarts do best.
After learning what the Spook does, Tom is sent out on an errand to pick up some food for the house. He is given a strict warning - do not talk to women wearing pointy shoes. On his way home, some boys about the same age as Tom come up and threaten to beat him unless he gives them some food. Tom refuses and the boys are about to beat him up, when suddenly a girl in pointy shoes shows up and scares them away by telling them a certain person is back. She has an ungodly amount of strength for a girl of her age.
The mysterious girl's name is Alice, and she is a relative of some of the most dangerous witches in the world: Mother Malkin and Bony Lizzie. Bony Lizzie uses bone magic, a type of necromancy involving the bones of dead enemies. Mother Malkin was one of the most sinister witches, who uses blood magic, a type of witchcraft that involved draining the blood of anyone she thought could have useful features. She was called Mother Malkin for her strategy of welcoming young runaway women into a care home, and then sucking the blood of every girl there to make her more youthful. Over time she had developed a taste for children.
A long time ago the Spook had bound Mother Malkin to a pit in the ground with 13 iron bars on top, so she could never escape to terrorize anyone again.
Soon Tom is tricked by Alice to give Mother Malkin three cakes, one every night at midnight for three days, which (Tom doesn't know) are filled with blood. Mother Malkin becomes stronger and breaks out of her pit prison in two days. Tom then tries to find a way to deal with Mother Malkin, because the Spook is not at home. Mother Malkin's son Tusk, a horrible monster-like boy, and Bony Lizzie try to kill Tom. Alice first tricks Tom, but as Bony Lizzie sharpens her knife to kill him, she pulls him out of the pit he was thrown in. The Spook returns home, kills Tusk with his staff, then tests Alice to see whether she is good or evil. She passes the test and then they put Bony Lizzie into her pit.
Tom returns home, to realize that Mother Malkin has followed him. She possesses the body of the pig killer of Tom's farm, using terrible dark magic, but is thrust out of his body with the help of Alice, who runs and kicks the pig killer hard when his possessed body is about to murder Tom. The three then kill Mother Malkin by having her escape into the lair of the hungry pigs, who eat her alive, including her heart. This ensures that she cannot return to the world again after death.
Tom, the Spook and Alice decide that Alice should go to Staumin to escape the dark influence of her witch relatives and Tom escorts her there. Tom then returns to Chipenden to resume his training as a Spook.
The book will be adapted into a film titled Seventh Son scheduled to be released in 3-D and IMAX 3D on January 12, 2014. It stars Ben Barnes, Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore. Sam Claflin and Alicia Vikander were cast as Tom Ward and Alice but as of in June 2011 Variety revealed that Claflin had bowed out for unknown reasons and Ben Barnes was cast in his stead.
The sequel, The Spook's Battle, is the first book in 1991., The Spook's Sacrifice were released in December 1992. The third book of the series, The Spook's Mistake was released on 5 October 1993. The Spook's Secret was released on 7 April 1994...The Spook's Curse was released Summer 1995. The Spook's Nightmare was released Summer 1996. The Spook's Apprentice is the seventh book have also been released.
- Paperback: = Published: 30 June 2005 Red Fox ISBN 0-09-945645-1
- Hardback:= Published: 1 July 2004 Bodley Head ISBN 0-370-32826-4
- "IMAX and Warner Bros. Partner to Bring 20 New Pictures to IMAX® Theatres". IMAX. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
- "The Seventh Son Gets Ben Barnes". Brian Gallagher. Retrieved 2011-06-24.
- Goldberg, Matt (21 March 2011). "Julianne Moore Joins Jeff Bridges in THE SEVENTH SON".
- Kroll, Justin (31 March 2011). "'Seventh Son' finds young leads". Variety (magazine). Retrieved 1 April 2011.