Joseph Delaney

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Joseph Delaney
Joseph Delaney 20080315 Salon du livre 1.jpg
Delaney at Salon du livre 2008 (Paris, France)
Born Joseph Henry Delaney
(1945-07-25) 25 July 1945 (age 70)
Preston, Lancashire, England, U.K.
Alma mater Lancaster University[1]

Joseph Henry Delaney (born 25 July 1945) is a British author of science fiction and fantasy books.

Life and career[edit]

Delaney was born in 1945 in Preston, Lancashire, England. He attended Preston Catholic College and then worked as an apprentice engineer and fitter. He studied A levels at night school before beginning his degree course at Lancaster University in 1972. Following graduation he eventually became an English teacher at the Blackpool Sixth Form College, where he helped start the Media and Film Studies Department.[2][3]

His first works were written under the pseudonym J.K. Haderack. Beginning with the publication of the first book of The Wardstone Chronicles in 2004, published under his real name, Delaney achieved international success chronicling the adventures of his lead character, Thomas J. Ward. The Wardstone Chronicles are published in 25 countries: UK, USA, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, and Turkey. Sales of the Chronicles have exceeded 1 million copies.[4]

Delaney retired from teaching following publication of the second of The Wardstone Chronicles books and now writes full-time.[5] He identifies J.R.R. Tolkien and Frank Herbert as two authors who were his biggest inspirations.[6]

He has three children and nine grandchildren.[7]

Delaney shares the same name (including middle name) with the late Joseph H. Delaney, an American science fiction author of several books and short stories.


The Wardstone Chronicles (UK) / The Last Apprentice (USA)[edit]

The Wardstone Chronicles (published as The Last Apprentice series in the USA) follow Thomas "Tom" Ward, the seventh son of a seventh son who is apprenticed to John Gregory to become a Spook - a master fighter of supernatural evil. John Gregory is the Spook for "the County" and gives Tom practical instruction on tackling ghosts, ghasts, witches, boggarts, and all manner of other things that serve "The Dark". Tom soon discovers that most of John Gregory's apprentices have failed for various reasons, including being killed in the process of learning how to be a Spook. As the Chronicles progress the focus expands to other characters such as the assassin Grimalkin and the young witch Alice Dean; overall the series develops the plot line of Tom being destined to either save the world or destroy it.

"The County" referred to in the Chronicles is based on Lancashire in the North West of England. Various County fictional towns are thinly-veiled modern day towns or cities; for example,Priestown is based on Preston (where author Delaney was born); Caster is Lancaster; Black Pool is Blackpool; Chipenden is Chipping.[8]

  1. The Spook's Apprentice (Published in the USA as The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch) - 2004
  2. The Spook's Curse (Published in the USA as The Last Apprentice: Curse of the Bane) - 2005
  3. The Spook's Secret (Published in the USA as The Last Apprentice: Night of the Soul Stealer) - 2006
  4. The Spook's Battle (Published in the USA as The Last Apprentice: Attack of the Fiend) - 2007
  5. The Spook's Mistake (Published in the USA as The Last Apprentice: Wrath of the Bloodeye) - 2008
  6. The Spook's Sacrifice (Published in the USA as The Last Apprentice: Clash of the Demons) - 2009
  7. The Spook's Nightmare (Published in the USA as The Last Apprentice: Rise of the Huntress) - 2010
  8. The Spook's Destiny (Published in the USA as The Last Apprentice: Rage of the Fallen) - 2011
  9. Spook's: I Am Grimalkin (Published in the USA as The Last Apprentice: Grimalkin The Witch Assassin) - 2011
  10. The Spook's Blood (Published in the USA as The Last Apprentice: Lure of the Dead ) - 2012
  11. Spook's: Slither's Tale (Published in the USA as The Last Apprentice: Slither) - 2013
  12. Spook's: Alice (Published in the USA as The Last Apprentice: I Am Alice) - 2013
  13. The Spook's Revenge (Published in the USA as The Last Apprentice: Fury of the Seventh Son) - 2014

The Starblade Chronicles[edit]

The Starblade Chronicles are a planned trilogy following the continued adventures of Tom Ward, who has finished his apprenticeship and is now a Spook in his own right dedicated to fighting an unparalleled evil threatening the County, and the world. However, unlike past Spooks, Tom is only seventeen, and he is met with doubt and distrust by many in the County owing to his age. Complicating matters is his interactions with Jenny; the fifteen-year-old girl who seeks to be his "apprentice" notwithstanding that females have never been Spooks before.

  1. Spook's: A New Darkness - 2014
  2. Spook's: The Dark Army - Early 2016

The Wardstone Chronicles and The Starblade Chronicles are jointly referred to as The Spook's Series.[9]

The Wardstone Chronicles spin-offs[edit]

Joseph Delaney has also written spin-off novels set in the world of The Wardstone Chronicles:

  • The Spook's Tale / Interception Point - This short story was combined with Mark Walden's Interception Point as part of a small (128 pages) special publication for World Book Day UK 2009 which could be purchased at that event for a £1 coupon.[10] - 2009
  • The Last Apprentice: The Spook's Tale And Other Horrors - A collection of four short stories [The Spook's Tale; Alice's Tale; Grimalkin's Tale; A Gallery of Villians]; this is a USA-released compilation incorporating the earlier published The Spook's Tale. - 2009
  • The Spook's Stories: Witches - A collection of four short stories [Meg Skelton; Dirty Dora; Alice And The Brain Guzzler; The Banshee Witch]. Published in the USA as The Last Apprentice - A Coven of Witches. - 2009
  • The Spook's Bestiary - A guidebook to the creatures found in The Wardstone Chronicles universe. Published in the USA as The Last Apprentice - The Spook's Bestiary: The Guide to Creatures of the Dark. - 2010

Other Novels & Works[edit]

  • Mysterious Erotic Tales (writing as J.K. Haderack - Contributing author of Elvara Should Be Easy to this short story anthology) - 1996
  • Mercer's Whore (writing as J.K. Haderack) - 1997
  • Half-Minute Horrors (Contributing author of All Fingers and Thumbs to this short story anthology) - 2009
  • Haunted (Contributing author of The Castle Ghosts to this short story anthology) - 2011
  • The Ghost Prison (The book occupies the same world as The Wardstone Chronicles, but with different characters and story lines) - 2013


In 2014, Stephen Delaney, Joseph Delaney's son, adapted The Spook's Apprentice into a 160-page play script; it is published under the title The Spook's Apprentice - Play Edition.[11]

A 2014 film adaptation based on The Spook's Apprentice was produced by Legendary Pictures, directed by Sergey Bodrov, and entitled Seventh Son. Ben Barnes starred as the main protagonist Thomas Ward. The other cast members were Jeff Bridges as John Gregory (the Spook), Julianne Moore as Mother Malkin, Alicia Vikander as Alice Deane, Kit Harington as Billy Bradley, Djimon Hounsou as Radu (an original character), and Antje Traue as Boney Lizzie.[12]


External links[edit]