The Spook's Apprentice

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The Spook's Apprentice
Book cover for The Spook's Apprentice
AuthorJoseph Delaney
CountryGreat Britain
SeriesThe Wardstone Chronicles
GenreChildren's fantasy novel
PublisherThe Bodley Head
Publication date
Media typePrint (hard & paperback)
Pages325 pp
Followed byThe 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 centres on 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[1] 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.


Tom Ward lived his whole life in the County (loosely based on the English county of Lancashire). Because he is the seventh son of a seventh son and thus has the ability to see ghosts and fight other supernatural beings, his parents have apprenticed him to the Spook, a cloaked man named John Gregory. The Spook travels the County fighting troublesome creatures such as boggarts, ghosts, ghasts and witches for the people who need these things gone. Tom will have to learn how the Spook fights "The Dark", so that he may one day become a Spook as well.

The Spook tells Tom 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 Bradley, who while fighting a particularly dangerous boggart had his finger bitten off and died from loss of blood. Tom goes to live in the Spook's house in Chipenden. This house is protected from unwanted visitors by a boggart, with whom the Spook has made a contract which states that as long as the house is standing, the boggart must guard it (as well as cook and clean for the Spook and his apprentices).

Tom is sent out on an errand to pick up some food for the house. He is given a strict warning by the Spook: do not talk to women wearing pointy shoes. On his way home, some boys about the same age as Tom threaten to beat him unless he gives them some food. Tom refuses and the boys are about to beat him when suddenly a girl in pointy shoes shows up and scares them away by telling them a certain person is back. The mysterious girl's name is Alice, and she is a relative of some of the most dangerous witches in the County: Mother Malkin and Bony Lizzie.


  • Thomas Ward, apprentice to John Gregory and the seventh son of the seventh son.
  • John Gregory, the Spook for the County who mentors Thomas. He previously was a priest. He is also a seventh of the seventh son.
  • Alice, a young witch who befriends Tom.
  • Bony Lizzie, a malevolent witch and Alice's ex-teacher and her aunt. She uses Bone Magic
  • Mother Malkin, Bony Lizzie's aunt and a malevolent witch who was bound in a pit by the Spook.
  • Tusk, the son of Mother Malkin.
  • Mam, Tom's mysterious mother who seems to be able to look into the future.
  • John Ward, Tom's father.
  • Jack Ward, Tom's oldest brother, inherited the farm except for one room meant for Tom.
  • James Ward, Tom's second oldest brother, blacksmith by trade.
  • Ellie Ward, Jack's wife.
  • Mary Ward, the daughter Ellie and Jack.
  • Father Gregory, the Spook's brother. They haven't spoken with each other in over forty years.

Film adaptation[edit]

The book was very loosely adapted into a 2014 film titled Seventh Son released in 3-D and IMAX 3D. Whilst most of the characters remain, their story has been much changed and expanded (presumably to better suit an older audience & the film's more 'epic' stature.) – It stars Ben Barnes,[2] Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore.[3] Kit Harington and Alicia Vikander were cast as Tom Ward and Alice[4] but as of in June 2011 Variety revealed that Claflin had bowed out for unknown reasons and Ben Barnes was cast in his stead.

Other books[edit]

  1. The Spook's Curse was released July 2006.
  2. The Spook's Secret released in July 2006.
  3. The Spook's Battle was released on 5 July 2007.
  4. The Spook's Mistake was released on 5 June 2008.
  5. The Spook's Sacrifice was released summer 2009.
  6. The Spook's Nightmare was released summer 2010.
  7. The Spook's Destiny
  8. Spook's: I am Grimalkin released October 2011.
  9. The Spook's Blood published 2012.
  10. Spook's: Slither's Tale
  11. Spook's: Alice
  12. The Spook's Revenge

Additional information[edit]


  1. ^ BBC
  2. ^ "The Seventh Son Gets Ben Barnes". Brian Gallagher. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  3. ^ Goldberg, Matt (21 March 2011). "Julianne Moore Joins Jeff Bridges in THE SEVENTH SON".
  4. ^ Kroll, Justin (31 March 2011). "'Seventh Son' finds young leads". Variety. Retrieved 1 April 2011.

External links[edit]