Joseph Delaney

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Joseph Delaney
Delaney at Salon du livre 2008 (Paris, France)
Delaney at Salon du livre 2008 (Paris, France)
BornJoseph Henry Delaney
(1945-07-25) 25 July 1945 (age 74)
Preston, Lancashire, England.
Alma materLancaster University[1]
Notable worksThe Wardstone Chronicles

Joseph Henry Delaney (born 25 July 1945) is a British author, known for his dark fantasy series The Wardstone Chronicles.

Life and career[edit]

Joseph Henry Delaney was born in 1945 in Preston, Lancashire. 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 (University of Lancaster) 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.[1][2]

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 Ward. The Wardstone Chronicles are published in 25 countries, and sales have exceeded a million copies.[3]

Delaney retired from teaching following publication of the second of the Wardstone books and now writes full-time.[1] He identifies J.R.R. Tolkien and Frank Herbert as two authors who were his biggest inspirations.[4] 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.

He has a wife, three children and nine grandchildren.[5]


The Wardstone Chronicles[edit]

The Wardstone Chronicles (published in America as The Last Apprentice) follow Tom Ward, the seventh son of a seventh son, on his adventures as apprentice to John Gregory, the local "Spook" or master fighter of supernatural evil. John 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 his predecessors have failed for various reasons—including death. 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. Several of the locations mentioned in the books are thinly-veiled versions of actual places; Priestown is the author's hometown of Preston, Caster is Lancaster, Black Pool is Blackpool, and Chipenden is Chipping.[1]

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

The Starblade Chronicles[edit]

The Starblade Chronicles are a 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 sixteen-year-old girl who seeks to be his apprentice, notwithstanding that women have never been Spooks before. The Wardstone and Starblade Chronicles are referred to as The Spook's Series.[6]

  1. Spook's: A New Darkness – 2014
  2. Spook's: The Dark Army – 2016
  3. Spook's: The Dark Assassin – 2017

The Spook's Apprentice: Brother Wulf[edit]

The Spook's Apprentice: Brother Wulf follows the adventures of novice monk Brother Beowulf.[7]

  1. Spook's: Brother Wulf – 2020

The Wardstone Chronicles spin-offs[edit]

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.[8] – 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 Villains]; 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 US 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 US as The Last Apprentice – The Spook's Bestiary: The Guide to Creatures of the Dark. – 2010
  • The Ghost Prison (The book occupies the same world as The Wardstone Chronicles, but with different characters and story lines) – 2013
  • The Last Apprentice: The Seventh Apprentice (Novella featuring the Spook's seventh apprentice, a boy named Will Johnson) – 2015

Arena 13 Trilogy[edit]

Arena 13 follows the adventures of sixteen-year-old Leif, who seeks to become the champion of the notorious Arena 13 fighting pit and destroy Hob, the evil creature who rules and terrorises the city zone of Midgard and who destroyed Leif's family.

  1. Arena 13 – 2015
  2. Arena 13: The Prey – 2016
  3. Arena 13: The Warrior – 2017


Aberrations follows the story of Crafty, who has been stuck in his family's cellar for nearly a year, his only companions are his restless, whispering dead brothers, and an unusually friendly aberration he names the Bog Queen.[9][10]

  1. The Beast Awakens – 2018
  2. The Witch's Warning – 2019

Other 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


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 of The Spook's Apprentice was produced by Legendary Pictures, directed by Sergey Bodrov, and entitled Seventh Son. Ben Barnes played Tom Ward, Jeff Bridges was the Spook, Julianne Moore was Mother Malkin, Alicia Vikander was Alice Deane, Kit Harington was Billy Bradley, Djimon Hounsou was Radu (an original character), and Antje Traue was Bony Lizzie.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d "BBC – Lancashire People Interview".
  2. ^ "Joseph Delaney Biography from Epic Reads".
  3. ^ "Joseph Delaney Biography from Fantasy Book Reviews".
  4. ^ "HarperCollins Canada Interview with Joseph Delaney".
  5. ^ "Joseph Delaney Biography from Fantastic Fiction UK".
  6. ^ "Spooks Books (The Wardstone Chronicles Official Website)".
  7. ^ Delaney, Joseph. "Brother Wulf". Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  8. ^ "Fantasy Book Review of The Spook's Tale".
  9. ^ "The Beast Awakens by Joseph Delaney". Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  10. ^ "The Witch's Warning by Joseph Delaney". Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  11. ^ Delaney, Joseph. "The Spook's Apprentice - Play Edition". Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  12. ^ "Seventh Son | TV Guide". Retrieved 16 October 2019.

External links[edit]