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The Spook's Tale and Other Horrors (The Last Apprentice Series)

The Spook's Tale and Other Horrors (The Last Apprentice Series)

4.2 31
by Joseph Delaney

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The Last Apprentice series follows the terrifying adventures of the Spook's apprentice, Thomas Ward. But Tom's is only one story. There are others. . . .

The Spook himself was once an apprentice. How did he begin his training?

And what of Alice, the young witch who is Tom's closest ally? How did she overcome her dark past?

What did the


The Last Apprentice series follows the terrifying adventures of the Spook's apprentice, Thomas Ward. But Tom's is only one story. There are others. . . .

The Spook himself was once an apprentice. How did he begin his training?

And what of Alice, the young witch who is Tom's closest ally? How did she overcome her dark past?

What did the witch assassin Grimalkin do to become the most deadly and feared witch in the county?

And, collected in a gallery of horrors, discover the rest of the county's menacing villains and relive the vicious battles waged against them.

Enter a land where creatures of the dark creep out of the shadows. Do you dare?

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Shirley Nelson
This companion to "The Last Apprentice" series provides back-story as well as an introduction to the series. In "The Spook's Tale," the longest of the stories, Old Gregory reflects on how he became a Spook's apprentice when he was a young man. Told in first person, this tale is reminiscent of scary stories told around the campfire or on stormy nights. Tom Ward is Old Gregory's last apprentice and in "Alice's Tale," we learn how his friend Alice Deane struggles with the good and bad forces within her. She could become an evil witch like most of her family but for now is committed to Tom's quest to overcome the evil forces. Tom sometimes must work with the witch's assassin, Grimalkin, in his quest for good. Her past is revealed in "Grimalkin's Tale." Prominent figures from other books in the series are introduced in "The Gallery of Villains." The stories are scary and gruesome but appropriate for young people fascinated by "things that go bump in the night." Reviewer: Shirley Nelson
VOYA - Vikki Terrile
Each novel in The Last Apprentice series is part of young apprentice spook Tom Ward's diary, providing readers only one perspective of what is taking place. With this newest addition to the series, Delaney fills in some of the information on several other series characters and the many villains they have encountered. This book is truly supplemental, filling in just a bit of background and excerpting from the novels some of Tom's interactions with the creatures he has fought. The longest story tells of young John Gregory's first meeting with the spook who would become his master, although it does not encompass what might be the more interesting story of why he decides to leave the priesthood years later to become an apprentice spook. Alice's story fills in what happens when she returns to her witch relatives' village to find out who has kidnapped Tom's family. The tale about the witch assassin Grimalkin is almost a tease; like Alice, she is an intriguing character struggling with good and evil, and this story of how she becomes an assassin is in sharp contrast to the later scene of her attacking Tom. The villains' pieces are pulled straight from the previous five books, accomplishing little because this book will have limited appeal to anyone who has not already read any of the other books. Series fans will find this unessential addition to the series interesting but containing little that would qualify as "horrors." Reviewer: Vikki Terrile
School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—These short stories are narrated by secondary characters from the popular series, giving insight into some of Tom Ward's well-known companions. A "Gallery of Villains" section identifies additional characters and gives a citation to the novels. This teaser section makes this book invaluable for booktalking as these two- to three-page chapters leave readers hanging in just the right spot. This book would be perfect for pulling reluctant readers into the series. The occasional black-and-white illustrations add a creepy, atmospheric touch.—Saleena L. Davidson, South Brunswick Public Library, Monmouth Junction, NJ

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Last Apprentice Series , #1
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File size:
6 MB
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Last Apprentice: The Spook's Tale
And Other Horrors

Chapter One

The Dead Apprentice

When I was really young, perhaps no older than six or seven, I had a terrible nightmare. It began as a pleasant dream. I was sitting on a hearth rug in the small front room of our cramped row house in Horshaw. I was gazing into a coal fire, watching the sparks flicker and dance before they disappeared up the chimney. My mam was also in the room. She was knitting. I could hear the rhythmical click-click of her needles, and I felt really happy and safe. But then, over the noise of the knitting needles, I heard the dull thud of approaching footsteps. At first I thought they were outside, where my dad and brothers were working, but with a growing sense of unease I realized they were coming from the cellar. Who could possibly be down in our cellar? The sound of the heavy boots on stone grew louder. They were climbing the steps toward the kitchen, and I knew that, whatever it was, it was coming to get me. The air suddenly developed a distinct chill—not the cold that winter brings; this was something else.

In the nightmare I tried to call out to my mam for help, but I couldn't make a sound. I was mute and paralyzed, frozen to the spot. The boots came nearer and nearer, but my mam just carried on sitting and knitting while my terror slowly increased. The fire flickered and died in the grate and the room grew colder and darker with each ominous approaching footstep. I was terrified, panic and dread building within me by the second.

A dark shadow shaped like a man entered the room. He crossed to where I cowered by the fire, and before Ihad a chance to move or cry out, he picked me up and put me under his arm. Then he took me back into the kitchen and began to descend the cellar steps, each clump of his big boots taking me deeper and deeper. I knew that I was having a nightmare and realized I had to wake myself up before I was taken into the absolute darkness at the foot of the cellar steps.

Struggling and straining with all my might, I somehow managed to do it just in time. I awoke, panting with fear, my brow wet with sweat, trembling at the thought of what had almost happened.

But my nightmare didn't happen just once. It came to me time and time again over the course of several years. After a while I had to tell someone, so I confided in my brother Paul. I was afraid that he might laugh, that he might mock me for being so terrified of a dream. But to my surprise his eyes widened, and with a shaking voice, he revealed that he had been having exactly the same nightmare! At first I could scarcely believe him—but it was true! We had both been dreaming the same dream. In some ways it was a comfort, but what could this strange coincidence mean? Together we reached an important agreement.

If you were in the dream and managed to escape it, you had to wake your brother, because he might still be trapped in that nightmare, awaiting his turn to be taken down the cellar steps. Many's the night when I was sleeping peacefully, not dreaming at all, and my brother would shake me by the shoulder. I'd wake up blazing with anger, ready to thump him. But then he'd whisper in my ear, his eyes wide, his face terrified, his bottom lip trembling:

"I've just had the dream!"

I was instantly glad I hadn't thumped him—otherwise next time he might not wake me when I was having the nightmare and needed his help!

Although we told ourselves this was just a dream, there was one thing that terrified us both. We felt absolutely sure that, if we were ever taken into the dark at the foot of the cellar steps, we would die in our sleep and be trapped in that nightmare forever!

One night as I lay awake, I heard disturbing noises coming from the cellar. At first I thought I was in the dream, but slowly, with a shudder of fear, I realized these were waking sounds, not dreaming sounds. Someone was digging into the soft earth of the cellar floor with a shovel. I felt that strange unnatural coldness again and heard boots climbing the stone steps, just as they did in my nightmare. Covering my ears to block out the sounds was hopeless, because they didn't stop. Eventually, scared almost witless and weeping in distress, I screamed out into the darkness.

That wasn't the only time it happened, and my family's patience started to wear thin. Another night, angered by the fact that I'd woken them all up again, my dad dragged me down the cellar steps, threw me into the darkness, and nailed the door shut, leaving me alone and trapped there.

"Please, Dad! Please. Don't leave me here in the dark!" I pleaded.

"You'll stay there until you learn to stop waking us up!" he retorted. "We've all got work in the morning. Think of your brothers and your poor mam. It's about time you grew up!"

"Please, Dad! Give me another chance!" I begged, but he didn't relent.

He was a good man but also hard—that's why he put me in that dark, terrifying cellar. He didn't realize what I could see and hear: things other people couldn't, things that would make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and your heart hammer hard enough to break out of your chest. Although I didn't know it at the time, it was a consequence of what I was. I was the seventh son and my dad had been a seventh son before me. For me, the world was a very different place. I could both see and hear the dead; sometimes I could even feel them. As I sat on the cold cellar floor, I heard things approaching me in the dark, seeking me out with cold fingers and whispers, taking forms that only I could see.

The Last Apprentice: The Spook's Tale
And Other Horrors
. Copyright © by Joseph Delaney. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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.

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Spook's Tale and Other Horrors (The Last Apprentice Series) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series is fantastic and I would recommend it to all readers interested in fantasy. This book specifically includes missing bits from the series as well as some info on each enemy Tom faces. It is rather short however, only about 90 pages on my nook HD+. If you love the series and just want a little bit more, go for it. However, some of it is just repetition from the book so your really only getting about 70 pages. :( Anyway, the part on the Spook is AMAZING! :D
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This isnt part of the series. The is like a prequal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is very interesting; filled with horror and great adventures with the character John Gregory. Very exciting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am 13 and in love eith this seiries
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Lea3011 More than 1 year ago
This book is great because it gives more history about the main characters in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a short side book to The Last Apprentice series. It's about John Gregory becoming a spook, Alice when she runs into the Mouldheel witch clan and from her point of view when Tom wasn't with her,and Grimalkin on how she became a witch assasin for the Malkins. It's a very good book, but very short, I think it would have been better if it was longer.I like this book because it's written from the different point of views rather than Tom's like in the series, an is very entertaining. If you read The Last Apprentice Series than I do highly recommend it(:
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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ksreads More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed getting to know the Spook's and Alice's background stories -- leads to a better understanding of why they act as they do. It was of no little interest to know the Spook trained as and was a priest for a short time. It was a pleasure to discover Alice was dealt with as well. She has always been of interest as a wild card -- is she Dark or Light? The small excerpts from other novels, explaining some of the other characters wss well done -- especially as I have not completed the series and have had my appetite seriously whetted for more. I would recommend this to anyone interested in the series as well as to those who have already read all or part of the series.
Bookster57 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book along with its series. I am like one of the BIGGEST fans for the series!! ITs a good book to read for annyone who has read the series.
Victoria-Star More than 1 year ago
I am about the biggest fan of the Last Apprentice series on the planet. Ok, maybe, MAYBE that's an exaggeration. Cuz who knows what the other fans are like? So, ok, i am ONE of the biggest fans of the Last Apprentice series on the planet. There we go. This isn't an installment to the series, but rather a side book. Kind of like Lemony Snicket's biography was a side book for the amazing series called A Series of Unfortunate Events. Something to give the readers something to read before the next real installment comes out (in this case, it's Clash of the Demons, August 25. Mark your calenders; i already have!) This series is brillant, creepy, downright scary, thrilling, amazing, and just plain GOOD. But this book, well...it was alright. And honestly i usually expect more than just alright in the world of Joseph Delaney! This was, simply, a filler book. And i expected it to be. It told the background stories (Very SIMPLE and SHORT stories) of Tom's apprentice, john Gregory, Alice Deane (my personal fave character) and the evil villian witch Grimalkin (snip snip!) But instead of revealing deep hidden secrets, they mostly told things i already knew or figured. There wasnt any spice or thrill, and not too much awful scare here either. If you're a Last Apprentice fan, definately read this, after all, if you're truly a fan you have to, like me...but if you're willing to wait till the true next installment comes out, then gives this one a skip. You won't miss much. I am eagerly awaiting clash of demons. Till then, guess I'll just have to wait. ~Thanks for reading! Take a look at my page and my other reviews! God bless!~
KER949799 More than 1 year ago
As always, the continuation of the series is great to read. Learning about the other characters in the storyline and how they came to be who they are, is fascinating to read about.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BeachReaderMom23 More than 1 year ago
My son thought this was going to be another in the Last Apprentice Series, but its just a collection of short stories. It was too easy a read compared to the series. disappointed. would like to see more in the series from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was a good book but was writen for kinergardeners(or at least that is where i read this). Something to do with rocket science or quantom physics should be added. Aditionaly there should be a white magic(just like the magic witches use except it is way more powerful, however if anyone uses it for their personal gain they simultaniasly combust into white fire(which is the hottest kind)
AriaMD More than 1 year ago
It took me less than 30 minutes to read this very short book. The first part of the book was great with some interesting short stories about the characters. However, the second half of the book was simply excerpts from the books in the series. Very disappointing.