Revenge of the Witch (Last Apprentice Series #1)

Revenge of the Witch (Last Apprentice Series #1)

4.4 285
by Joseph Delaney, Christopher Evan Welch

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For years, Old Gregory has been the Spook for the county, ridding the local villages of evil. Now his time is coming to an end. But who will take over for him? Twenty-nine apprentices have tried-some floundered, some fled, some failed to stay alive.

Only Thomas Ward is left. He's the last hope; the last apprentice.

Can Thomas succeed? Will he learn the

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For years, Old Gregory has been the Spook for the county, ridding the local villages of evil. Now his time is coming to an end. But who will take over for him? Twenty-nine apprentices have tried-some floundered, some fled, some failed to stay alive.

Only Thomas Ward is left. He's the last hope; the last apprentice.

Can Thomas succeed? Will he learn the difference between a benign witch and a malevolent one? Does the Spook's warning against girls with pointy shoes include Alice? And what will happen if Thomas accidentally frees Mother Malkin, the most evil witch in the county...?

Editorial Reviews
For decades, Old Gregory has been the county's resident Spook and protector; but now his time is coming to a close. To replace this aging guardian against evil, 30 apprentices are tested. Twenty-nine of them fail; some flounder; some flee; some even perish during the trial. Only one remains: Thomas Ward. Timid and uncertain, he worries that he might not pass his test or perhaps not even survive. Joseph Delaney's suspenseful second novel has pulse-raising potential for middle-grade readers.

Product Details

Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date:
Last Apprentice Series, #1
Edition description:
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Last Apprentice

Revenge of the Witch
By Joseph Delaney


ISBN: 0-06-076618-2

Chapter One

A Seventh Son

When the Spook arrived, the light was already beginning to fail. It had been a long, hard day, and I was ready for my supper.

"You're sure he's a seventh son?" he asked. He was looking down at me and shaking his head doubtfully.

Dad nodded.

"And you were a seventh son, too?"

Dad nodded again and started stamping his feet impatiently, splattering my breeches with droplets of brown mud and manure. The rain was dripping from the peak of his cap. It had been raining for most of the month. There were new leaves on the trees, but the spring weather was a long time coming.

My dad was a farmer and his father had been a farmer, too, and the first rule of farming is to keep the farm together. You can't just divide it up among your children; it would get smaller and smaller with each generation until there was nothing left. So a father leaves his farm to his eldest son. Then he finds jobs for the rest. If possible, he tries to find each a trade.

He needs lots of favors for that. The local blacksmith is one option, especially if the farm is big and he's given the blacksmith plenty of work. Then it's odds on that the blacksmith will offer an apprenticeship, but that's still only one son sorted out.

I was his seventh, and by the time it came to me all the favors had been used up. Dad was so desperate that he was trying to get the Spook to take me on as his apprentice. Or at least that's what I thought at the time. I should have guessed that Mam was behind it.

She was behind a lot of things. Long before I was born, it was her money that had bought our farm. How else could a seventh son have afforded it? And Mam wasn't County. She came from a land far across the sea. Most people couldn't tell, but sometimes, if you listened very carefully, there was a slight difference in the way she pronounced certain words.

Still, don't imagine that I was being sold into slavery or something. I was bored with farming anyway, and what they called the town was hardly more than a village in the back of beyond. It was certainly no place that I wanted to spend the rest of my life. So in one way I quite liked the idea of being a spook; it was much more interesting than milking cows and spreading manure.

It made me nervous though, because it was a scary job. I was going to learn how to protect farms and villages from things that go bump in the night. Dealing with ghouls, boggarts, and all manner of wicked beasties would be all in a day's work. That's what the Spook did, and I was going to be his apprentice. "How old is he?" asked the Spook.

"He'll be thirteen come August."

"Bit small for his age. Can he read and write?"

"Aye," Dad answered. "He can do both, and he also knows Greek. His mam taught him, and he could speak it almost before he could walk."

The Spook nodded and looked back across the muddy path beyond the gate toward the farmhouse, as if he were listening for something. Then he shrugged. "It's a hard enough life for a man, never mind a boy," he said. "Think he's up to it?"

"He's strong and he'll be as big as me when he's full grown," my dad said, straightening his back and drawing himself up to his full height. That done, the top of his head was just about level with the Spook's chin.

Suddenly the Spook smiled. It was the very last thing I'd expected. His face was big and looked as if it had been chiseled from stone. Until then I'd thought him a bit fierce. His long black cloak and hood made him look like a priest, but when he looked at you directly, his grim expression made him appear more like a hangman weighing you up for the rope.

The hair sticking out from under the front of his hood matched his beard, which was gray, but his eyebrows were black and very bushy. There was quite a bit of black hair sprouting out of his nostrils, too, and his eyes were green, the same color as my own.

Then I noticed something else about him. He was carrying a long staff. Of course, I'd seen that as soon as he came within sight, but what I hadn't realized until that moment was that he was carrying it in his left hand.

Did that mean that he was left-handed like me?

It was something that had caused me no end of trouble at the village school. They'd even called in the local priest to look at me, and he'd kept shaking his head and telling me I'd have to fight it before it was too late. I didn't know what he meant. None of my brothers were left-handed and neither was my dad. My mam was cack-handed, though, and it never seemed to bother her much, so when the teacher threatened to beat it out of me and tied the pen to my right hand, she took me away from the school and from that day on taught me at home.

"How much to take him on?" my dad asked, interrupting my thoughts. Now we were getting down to the real business.


Excerpted from The Last Apprentice by Joseph Delaney Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Revenge of the Witch 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 285 reviews.
Zyrian225 More than 1 year ago
First of all, in response to the previous two reviews, yes, this is a direct part of the series plot, and no, it is no book nine, but book one. This series is, to put it lightly, very well written. I have read several teen series and I don't find any of them to have just quite everything that this series brings to the table. It has the perfect formula for an amazing series and the author's spectacular use of language and prose makes it just polished to the very finest shine. I highly recommend this series to anyone ten and up, or somewhat just getting started in fantasy. I began reading this series as a young teen and still can't wait to finish it out as an adult. The series also progressively gets better with each installment. I promise, if you take the time, you will deeply enjoy The Last Apprentice series.
theokester More than 1 year ago
Picked this up a while ago but decided it would be a fun Halloween read. I wanted to preview it for my 10 year old son. He's been a fan of R. L. Stine's Goosebumps for years and from the general premise, I thought The Last Apprentice might be a fun series for him. For being a middle-reader book, I found this rather engaging. I really enjoyed the character development. I liked the language and imagery used. And I found the story entertaining. The concept of the book (the first in a series) is somewhat intriguing. We're in some "County" that feels loosely based on 18th/19th century America. A collection of small towns and villages spread over the countryside with generally religious/righteous people who are very superstitiously afraid of all things supernatural. Which is where the story comes in. Gregory is a "Spook" which basically means he wanders around the County taking care of these supernatural problems..witches, ghosts, boggarts, etc. He's sort of like a colonial era version of the Ghostbusters. And he's taken our central character Tom as his apprentice. Tom is a bit frightened and wary of what this means, but he puts his heart into the effort and learns a lot, but also makes a number of very BAD mistakes which lead to a lot of bad problems for himself, the community, the Spook and others. I felt like the story arc was pretty cohesive and the trajectory was generally believable. It was a bit of a stretch for me when Tom kept quiet about his encounter on the way back from town (I don't want to spell out what he kept secret, as it's a semi-spoiler). The Spook is Tom's authority figure and he'd given him very specific and particular advice. It didn't seem odd to me that Tom would have an opportunity to go against the Spook's advice.but it did seem odd that he didn't let the Spook know what happened. I guess perhaps he was ashamed/embarrassed, but since nothing had really happened, there shouldn't have been any need for hesitation. Still, I guess that's probably just me trying to put an adult mindset on a child's behavior. Anyway, the story progressed well and I found myself caught up in the suspense and horror of the events as they unfolded. Things went from bad to worse to disastrous. And it felt like a natural rather than contrived flow. I was somewhat surprised at how everything finally came to a resolution. So, overall, I enjoyed the book and found it an entertainingly creepy read. But, would I recommend it for my ten year old? NO. I would not. Part of me wants to because it was an entertaining read.but the larger part of me doesn't want to because this is a dark and gritty book. It's definitely written with children in mind. The horror stays on the tamer side of things.but it's still very creepy and very dark. The elements of violence and segments of gruesome interactions would certainly be frightening to anyone with tender sensitivities. Perhaps I'm being over protective as a parent.but I don't feel like this is the sort of book for a young reader. I could see the content working for a teenage audience.but by that point, it may come off as a little thin for teens who would rather graduate up to adult horror/thrillers. Generally, I give the writing and the story 3.5 out of 5 stars, but even though it's a "kids" book, I can't recommend it for youngsters. **** 3.5 out of 5
Kelipso More than 1 year ago
Not a vampire/ werewolf book. I really liked it. Read this book in 3 days then devoured the second. It might be scarey for younger kids who aren't ok with blood, death and suggestive torture. Really depends on the child. My older son doesn't like blood or violence in his books. My youngest is fine with it. It is creepy but ends well. I really enjoyed a break from werewolfs. Give it a try.
Edena More than 1 year ago
Reading this book was a very easy and quick read, which as an adult I enjoyed when I wanted to be entertained without investing a major commitment of time. It is great for those times when you want to relax your brain and I was surprised how addicted I became to the characters. Its like a really good piece of candy that you consume quickly and leaves you wanting more. I read through the remainig published series and loved them. I can't wait for my children to be old enough to read this series and I look forward to the next published book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I picked upthis book in 3rd Grade thinking since I had already tackled the Harry Potter series Icould handle it, I was wrong. As a meek 8 year old, this book scared me oit of my mind and gave me nightmmares for a couple months. Again like some of the other reviewers mentioned, teen book, I would strongly agree. I have not fought up the courage to go back to this book yet even though I am pretty much a teen now, but I am roundinng up my rating bevause I heard it was well written, ( I didn't get through much of it as an 8 year old). So just warning you, again I have found as well it depends on the reader but if you are a little more of a " Scaredy Squirell" I would hold off on these books untill a little later.
smodi65 More than 1 year ago
If you like the Fablehaven, Harry Potter type books. You will love these.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a must read series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read for teenagers
Whisperlynn More than 1 year ago
The last apprentice has it all...interesting characters, magic, and adventure. So much fun to read, - great for fans of horror fiction though not overly graphic or gory - I was not able to put this down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im on the forth book and i love the series. So far this is the shortest book, but still great. My friend and i agree this is the scrariest one (my friend got me into it and he's on the 11), so don't get discoraged if its freaky. (Please excuse my spelling, spelling my week point...) :={)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best. But very SCARY.$
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even though ive read through book 10, all of my "OMG whats going to happen next?" moments stayed the same
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was of course very sad when Harry Potter ended and I needed something to fill the void that was my childhood. This book fulfilled it and then some! I have owned all of the books and can't put them down! This was also the only other book series to make me cry. Harry potter being the other. I love all the characters and I'm excited for the movie coming out. Its called Seventh Son if you want to check it out. Its a fun book that sometimes even makes this 21 year old scared of the dark. Enjoy!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was nerve racking and it was a bit scary. Of course i listened to it,i didn't read it. If you haven't read this book, i highly suggest this book(if you like this book read the rest of the books in the series). I hope this reveiw helps.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fantastic series to read with great imagery and a creative story. The books are spooky and well written if your into fantasy. Since the books is currently listed as costing only $2:00, I say GO FOR IT! You won't regret this fun read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fast read.. Even for me... "book a day bandit"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book. Just dont read it after dark.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its really good and some parts are scary but really great.10+
ZXJ More than 1 year ago
Perfection in 200 pages
Mouselander More than 1 year ago
The Spook's series is a must read for teens who want to read a twist on the old good versus evil battle. In a land where boggarts, witches and other creatures of the dark roam, Tom, our main character finds himself in the role as the 7th son of the 7th son. With that ranking comes the ability to see the forces of evil. It's a fun read and the following titles in the series develop the story Delaney is telling.
librarysusie More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book,Tom is the 7th son of a 7th son and has been apprenticed to the local "Spook' he is the man who takes care of ghosts and witches and such.Although the Spook gives Tom just a few rules, of course Tom breaks a biggy and ends up releasing a very bad witch that the Spook had already taken care of.And so Tom's adventure begins. This is a good YA or even older Juvenile Fiction.If you are a fan of Harry Potter, Septimus Heap, or even The Ranger's Apprentice I really think you will like this book
Anonymous 9 months ago
The book was really good and I really liked it, but I spooked out for a little while and stoppereading it. The part that I got spooked on was when Thomas went back to his family's farm and the witch followed him there, and then he went outside on the porch he saw her chain. Other than that, like I said it was a great book and I cant wait to read the next one. Until next time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ryanseanoreilly More than 1 year ago
A heroic fantasy blending in just the right amount of horror for young readers to delight in. Our young hero is the ill-fated, seventh son of a seventh son. Thomas Ward was born to a farming family living out in the countryside. His Mam has a little something extra going on with her, and planned quite an interesting and unique future for her youngest born. Through his mother’s influence, it has been decided that Ward will take on an apprenticeship with Mr. Gregory. This strange vagabond has the auspicious profession of being a sort of ghost-hunter or witch-finder. Dangerous, but necessary work for keeping the darkness at bay and insuring that the local people of the County can be free from unruly harassment or worse from the ghosts and ghoulies prowling about. This is a Young Adult story that moves at a good pace (after it gets going). The words are easy to digest for young readers and the occasional big word that comes around gets explained succinctly and in context. However, all this is contrasted with dark tonal themes. There are a few more visceral elements and descriptions that “up” the horror meter into a more mature level. Fans of the darker genres will delight in the real risks at stake: cannibalistic witches, missing limbs, and the typical creepy ghosts born of horrible tragedy. Some of the antagonists are down right scary (Mother Malkin is straight out of Terminator 2). Also, the creepy settings that are done very well; I could really picture Ward’s struggles as he tangled with the various antagonists. The author does a good job of bringing this element in without going over the top. More sensitive readers might not care for the imagery, but many of us enjoy a scary tale now and again. So, I felt this element added in abundance to the narrative. Another thing Delaney does, is develop a nice perspective for the protagonist. Traditions, methods, outcomes are all questioned. Right and wrong are not so simple to figure out—even when dealing with ghosts and witches (blood-witches at that!). Ward and his mentor are always conscious of the possible consequences of their actions, they seek to avoid undue cruelty less they find themselves acting just like those they are fighting against. Some of this is typical “Saturday morning cartoon” morality, which gets wrapped up a little too easily. However, I felt like the horror elements balanced this out, so that it didn’t always feel like things were being resolved too conveniently. Perhaps the tone is just right for the YA audience? A particularly great character is that of “Alice.” She is a girl around Ward’s age who has been raised by witches, but is not quite a full convert. Ward is warned about her, but he is also told to follow his instincts. Alice provides great elements of mystery as we go along for the ride with the protagonist as he constantly wrestles with how much he should trust her. This seems to be setting up a long-standing conflict for books to come. The world-building elements were also a nice touch. At times, it almost felt like the author was establishing rules for a future role-playing or table-top card game. I enjoyed learning about the different types of monsters that populated the County and looked forward to encountering them. I could see looking forward to reading other books and discovering even more. Ward’s mentor and his mother fill in back story in just the right amount and at just the right times (Always fun exploring new worlds without being overwhelmed). I also really enjoyed all the folklore learned by the apprentice—especially when his mentor explained the different methods that were available with dealing with the creepy-crawlies and things that go bump in the night. I feel that this story is great for fantasy fans and those interested in dabbling in horror. The elements blend well. The story doesn’t get so deep as other great fantasy authors, but there is something really good here. Perfect for a Young Adult Audience. Podcast: If you enjoy my review (or this topic) this book and the movie based on it were further discussed/debated in a lively discussion on my podcast: "No Deodorant In Outer Space". The podcast is available on iTunes, YouTube or our website.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago