Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Curse of the Bane (Last Apprentice Series #2)

Curse of the Bane (Last Apprentice Series #2)

4.6 106
by Joseph Delaney, Patrick Arrasmith (Illustrator)

See All Formats & Editions

The Spook and his apprentice, Thomas Ward, rid the county of witches, ghosts, boggarts, and other creatures of the dark. And there's some unfinished business to attend to in Priestown. Deep in the catacombs lurks a creature the Spook has never been able to defeat; a force so evil that the whole county is in danger. The Bane!

But the Bane is not their only enemy.


The Spook and his apprentice, Thomas Ward, rid the county of witches, ghosts, boggarts, and other creatures of the dark. And there's some unfinished business to attend to in Priestown. Deep in the catacombs lurks a creature the Spook has never been able to defeat; a force so evil that the whole county is in danger. The Bane!

But the Bane is not their only enemy. The Quisitor arrives, intent on hunting down anyone who meddles with the dark. Thomas Ward and the Spook must prepare for the battle of their lives.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When the Last Apprentice series launched with The Revenge of the Witch, PW wrote in a starred review, "Readers will clamor to learn about Tom's future adventures." Readers need wait no more: 13-year-old Tom, apprenticed to the Spook, returns in Curse of the Bane by Joseph Delaney, illus. by Patrick Arrasmith. New challenges await as the teen confronts the bane of the title, who can control others' thoughts. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Janet L. Rose
While trapped in the catacombs the Bane reaches out and takes control of people's minds, making them selfish and greedy. The Spook is the only one who can rid the country of its evil presence. With apprentice Tom Ward at his side, the Spook travels to Priestown to attend the funeral of his brother and kill the Bane. Unfortunately, the ruthless Quisitor is also in town rounding up innocent women whom he proclaims are witches and burning them at the stake. He captures the Spook since he is a threat to his existence and throws him in jail to burn with the other victims. Can Tom enter the catacombs and rescue the Spook without the Bane infiltrating his mind? Does he have the knowledge, skills, and fortitude to risk his life for the good of all? Book 2 of "The Last Apprentice" series is a spine thrilling adventure where Tom and the Spook fight boggarts, witches, riggers, and worms. Never a dull moment, Tom continually saves himself or others by capturing and killing demons and other-worldly beings. The fast pace should appeal to reluctant readers and the gruesome creatures to middle school boys.
Tom Ward, the apprentice spook, is back in the second book of Delaney's The Last Apprentice series. Six months into his training to rid the county of supernatural beings and becoming quite skilled in his own right, Tom must save his master, the Spook, and his old friend, Alice, a young witch, from both a witch hunt lead by a fanatic inquisitor and the Bane, a bloodsucking demon that is quickly regaining its strength. As in the first installment, there is quite a bit to keep the reader's interest; and this time around, it is possessed priests, a witch burning, and the Bane itself. Clues are revealed as well about Tom's mother's mysterious and mystical past. Unfortunately, as in the first book, Tom is a lackluster first-person narrator. Even in what should be intense situations, Tom is matter-of-fact, creating a strange feeling of disconnect with the story and a lack of real excitement. Because most action focuses on Tom's struggles to save Alice and the Spook despite his limited training, this dearth of spirit is disappointing, although it makes the book more suited for younger readers. Older 'tweens may want to look for a supernatural thriller with a bit more bite. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P M (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2006, HarperCollins, 480p., and PLB Ages 11 to 14.
—Vikki Terrile
Following the acclaimed first volume of The Last Apprentice, Revenge of the Witch, this second book in the series finds apprentice Tom Ward binding his first boggart. But that's nothing compared with the power of the Bane. Master Spook Mr. Gregory feels compelled to attend his priest brother's funeral. Once set to enter the priesthood himself, Mr. Gregory turned to spirit capturing, and has little time for the organized Church. However, the evil Bane is held in the cathedral's catacombs, corrupting many of the priests through mind control, so the Spook and Tom try to destroy the Bane. Instead, the evil presence becomes free, gathering more power through feasting on blood. One of the people whose blood is sucked by the Bane is Tom's friend Alice, who was brought to town by the Quisitor (a ruthless priest) to be killed as a witch. How these individuals--and spirits--tangle with each other makes for a suspenseful tale. Delaney's writing should particularly engage younger YA readers, and Patrick Arrasmith's occasional woodcut-appearing illustrations complement the tone perfectly. While not quite as compelling as the first book, this second volume will attract a wide audience. (The Last Apprentice, Book 2.). KLIATT Codes: J--Recommended for junior high school students. 2006, HarperCollins, Greenwillow, illus. 465p., $16.99.. Ages 12 to 15.
—Dr. Lesley Farmer
School Library Journal

Gr 5–8
Young Tom Ward finds himself taking on more dangerous villains in the second book (Greenwillow, 2006) in Joseph Delaney's series. Six months into his apprenticeship to the monster hunter, aka the Spook, Tom is wrangling boggarts, ghosts, and witches. When he and the Spook are compelled to journey to Priestown for the Spook's brother's funeral, frightful situations develop. The sadistic Quisator is present, seeking to capture and kill the Spook. Alice, Tom's good witch friend, is among those already rounded up for a gruesome mass burning at the stake. How can Tom save Alice when his master recommends leaving her to her fate? Could the Spook's attitude reflect a regretful past love affair with a witch? Meanwhile, a more fearsome creature is bound to the catacombs under the Priestown cathedral. The Bane is a shape-shifting spirit who sucks blood and controls minds. It's up to Tom to outwit the Bane before it infiltrates his mind and inflicts its preferred method of execution, squashing victims flat. Christopher Evan Welch skillfully juggles voices, most notably conveying the Spook's irascibility and Tom's earnestness. Yet it is the Bane that takes center stage with its echoing hiss and eerie, Yoda-like syntax. The violence and villains here are not for the faint of heart. A YALSA 2007 Selected Audiobook for Young Adults.
—Erin B. AllenCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Opening with a victim's agonized scream, Delaney returns to the boggart-ridden County for a second gruesome, lickety-split episode featuring young Tom Ward, seventh son of a seventh son and for some months now apprenticed to the Spook, a hunter of malign spirits. Here the duo is propelled into and out of captivity at the hands of corrupt priests in the course of a desperate effort to slay the Bane, a mind-reading, blood-hungry entity long imprisoned beneath the local cathedral. Just as in Revenge of the Witch (2005), it's thanks to quick-thinking young Alice-a witch-in-training who teeters on the dark side's brink but hasn't quite made the leap-that Tom and his master emerge from the climactic battle alive (if considerably scathed). Dark, woodcut style art at the chapter heads, and an appended section of reproduced pages from Tom's notes on various bogles met here and previously, reinforce the gloomy atmosphere of his narrative. Readers will be hooked from the first line. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Last Apprentice Series , #2
Edition description:
Library Bound Edition
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 7.75(h) x 1.45(d)
850L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Last Apprentice: Curse of the Bane

By Joseph Delaney

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Joseph Delaney
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060766212

Chapter One

The Horshaw Ripper

When I heard the first scream, I turned away and covered my ears with my hands, pressing hard until my head hurt. At that moment I could do nothing to help. But I could still hear it, the sound of a priest in torment, and it went on for a long time before finally fading away.

So I shivered in the dark barn, listening to rain drumming on the roof, trying to gather my courage. It was a bad night, and it was about to get worse. Ten minutes later, when the rigger and his mate arrived, I rushed across to meet them in the doorway. Both of them were big men, and I barely came up to their shoulders.

"Well, lad, where's Mr. Gregory?" asked the rigger, an edge of impatience in his voice. He lifted the lantern he was holding and peered about suspiciously. His eyes were shrewd and intelligent. Neither of the men looked like they would stand any nonsense.

"He's been taken badly," I said, trying to control the nerves that were making my voice sound weak and wobbly. "He's been in bed with a bad fever this past week so he's sent me in his place. I'm Tom Ward. His apprentice."

The rigger looked me up and down quickly, like an undertaker measuring me up for future business. Then he raised one eyebrow sohigh that it disappeared under the peak of his flat cap, which was still dripping with rain.

"Well, Mr. Ward," he said, an edge of sarcasm sharp in his voice, "we await your instructions."

I put my left hand into my breeches pocket and pulled out the sketch that the stonemason had made. The rigger set the lantern down on the earthen floor and then, with a world-weary shake of his head and a glance at his mate, accepted the sketch and began to examine it.

The mason's instructions gave the dimensions of the pit that needed to be dug and the measurements of the stone that would be lowered into place.

After a few moments the rigger shook his head again and knelt beside the lantern, holding the paper very close to it. When he came to his feet, he was frowning. "The pit should be nine feet deep," he said. "This only says six."

The rigger knew his job all right. The standard boggart pit is six feet deep, but for a ripper, the most dangerous boggart of all, nine feet is the norm. We were certainly facing a ripper--the priest's screams were proof of that--but there wasn't time to dig nine feet.

"It'll have to do," I said. "It has to be done by morning or it'll be too late and the priest will be dead."

Until that moment they'd both been big men wearing big boots, oozing confidence from every pore. Now, suddenly, they looked nervous. They knew the situation from the note I'd sent summoning them to the barn. I'd used the Spook's name to make sure they came right away.

"Know what you're doing, lad?" asked the rigger. "Are you up to the job?"

I stared straight back into his eyes and tried hard not to blink. "Well, I've made a good start," I said. "I've hired the best rigger and mate in the County."

It was the right thing to say, and the rigger's face cracked into a smile. "When will the stone arrive?" he asked.

"Well before dawn. The mason's bringing it himself. We have to be ready."

The rigger nodded. "Then lead the way, Mr. Ward. Show us where you want it dug."

This time there was no sarcasm in his voice. His tone was businesslike. He wanted the job over and done with. We all wanted the same, and time was short, so I pulled up my hood and, carrying the Spook's staff in my left hand, led the way out into the cold, heavy drizzle.

Their two-wheel cart was outside, the equipment covered with a waterproof sheet, the patient horse between the shafts steaming in the rain.

We crossed the muddy field, then followed the blackthorn hedge to the place where it thinned, beneath the branches of an ancient oak on the boundary of the churchyard. The pit would be close to holy ground, but not too close. The nearest gravestones were just twenty paces away.

"Dig the pit as close as you can get to that," I said, pointing toward the trunk of the tree.

Under the Spook's watchful eye I'd dug lots of practice pits. In an emergency I could have done the job myself, but these men were experts and they'd work fast.

As they went back for their tools, I pushed through the hedge and weaved between the gravestones toward the old church. It was in a bad state of repair: There were slates missing from the roof and it hadn't seen a lick of paint for years. I pushed open the side door, which yielded with a groan and a creak.

The old priest was still in the same position, lying on his back near the altar. The woman was kneeling on the floor close to his head, crying. The only difference now was that the church was flooded with light. She'd raided the vestry for its hoard of candles and lit them all. There were a hundred at least, clustered in groups of five or six. She'd positioned them on benches, on the floor, and on window ledges, but the majority were on the altar.

As I closed the door, a gust of wind blew into the church and the flames all flickered together. She looked up at me, her face running with tears.

"He's dying," she said, her echoing voice full of anguish. "Why did it take you so long to get here?"

Since the message reached us at Chipenden, it had taken me two days to arrive at the church. It was over thirty miles to Horshaw, and I hadn't set off right away. At first the Spook, still too ill to leave his bed, had refused to let me go.


Excerpted from The Last Apprentice: Curse of the Bane by Joseph Delaney Copyright © 2006 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.

Meet the Author

Joseph DELANEY is the author of the internationally best-selling The Last Apprentice series, which is now a major motion picture, Seventh Son. He is a former English teacher who lives in the heart of boggart territory in Lancashire, England. His village has a boggart called the Hall Knocker, which was laid to rest under the step of a house near the church.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Curse of the Bane 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 106 reviews.
jump_up More than 1 year ago
I read this three or four years ago in the sixth grade and I thought that it was really good. one of the first books I ever picked up and enjoyed. I can't remember if I read the first one because back then, I wasn't as smart to check if it were part of a series but I think I did. I want to read the others and see what happens. I remember this book as a page turner and one with a different story line than I was and am used to so I really liked it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book-page turner-could not put down.
jennayyyyyy More than 1 year ago
Young Tom Ward and his master, the Spook(old Gregory), have had a turn of bad luck that's been years in the making. While the Spook is sick, Tom goes down to a small village where one of the Spook's brothers is a priest. The brother has tried to stop a Boggart, a malicious beast capable of murder. After a breath-taking opening, Tom wins and loses. The Boggart is bound, but the Spook's brother eventually dies. While attending the funeral in Priestown, the Spook runs into the Quisitor, a man dedicated to burning witches and punishing those who get too close to the Dark. The Spook is high on the Quisitor's list. Furthermore, the Bane--one of the strongest and most evil of the denizens of the Dark--still lies buried in the catacoombs beneath the town. It's held prisoner by an ancient curse, but it's growing stronger. The Spook tried to rid the town of it once and failed, nearly losing his life. When the Spook is taken prisoner, only Tom is left to save the day. To do that, he has to risk everything, learn more about his moaster and his mother than he'd ever wanted to, and find a strenth inside himself that he didn't know he had.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for school including the first book. By the look of the cover i thought it was really gay but qhen i started to get into the books i found it was very interesting and full of suspense and creepy. Im 14 and i was scared to take out the trash at 930 at night cuz i thought that a witch or boggart or the bane might get me haha thats how good i hink it is
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read the first book and loved it. This is just the same. The Curse of the Bane has awesome characters like the Bane and has twists and turns throughout the story. 20 out of 10
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book would read it over and over again
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awsome book, very exciting
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A creepy series that has it all!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think it is a great book. It is very entertainig and i couldnt put it down.
Kelipso More than 1 year ago
Might be a little creepy for some kids. He is a bit to descriptive on the dead and tortured. My youngest son would be fine. However my other son doesn't like that kind of stuff. Its not a vampire/werewolf book. Its different and unique. Its not goose bumps but its an interesting creepy book. I loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
wow. i'm on the third right now and this one was great. way better than the first and i cant wait to finish the third. if your looking for a gift this christmas, this would be great or any of the other ones there are all good so far!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a fantastic book a true work of art! It was a wonderful sequl to the fist book and was just as intriguing. I loved to hear more abouit alice she is my favorite character! I hear that the next to books are out or atleast one of them is but they are called the wardstone chronicles and the next one is the Spooks Secret and has something to to do with The lamia with meg mentioned in this one the one after that one has something to do with a water witch, these books are soo good I encourage anyone to read them and I can't wait for them to come out here!!!
Anonymous 8 months ago
Cute read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good story like the the nice plot twist in the end but great to read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't wait to read this book 'cause it's going to be so epic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well im only 10 and i love the books i cant stop reading em plus they are perfect for 10 year old kids
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BttflyofKYCW More than 1 year ago
I just love the Last Apprentice series. I can't even read another book when I finish with a Last Apprentice book. So to say the least I am hooked :D Looks as though I will be buying a new book once a week :D
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago