Biography : " Joseph Delaney lives in Lancashire with his wife, and has three children and four grand-children. His home is in the middle of Boggart territory and his village has a boggart called The Hall Knocker, which was laid to rest under the step of a house near the church.
Believe it or not, the haunted house in The Spook's Apprentice is based on fact! As a child, joseph lived in a similar house in Preston where he had a recurrent nightmare. In the dream he'd be sitting on a carpet in the front room whilst his mother was knitting. Then, everything would become cold and a shadow-thing would come up from the coal cellar, pick him up and carry him back towards the dark. What's even more spooky...his brothers had the same nightmare! The house has now been pulled down so he can never go back."
Joseph Henry Delaney is a retired teacher of English, Media Studies and Film Studies, specialised in vampire literature.
* Mercer's Whore (erotic sci-fi novel, under the pen-name J.K. Haderack)
* The Wardstones Chronicles : The Spook's Apprentice (2004); The Spook's Curse (2005); The Spook's Secret (2006); The Spook's Battle (2007)
For american reader this series was released with the following titles :
* The Last Apprentice : Revenge of the Witch (2006); Curse of the Bane (2007); Night of the Soul Stealer (2007); Attack of the Fiend (feb 2008)
N.B. : There is a discussion to know if the rights of The Spook's Apprentice will be sold for a movie.
Warning : Not to be Read After Dark
Genre : fantasy - Young Adults
English publisher : Bodley Head Children's Books: 8,99£
American publisher : Harper Trophy : from 7,99$ to 16,99$
Synopsis : "Thomas Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son and has been apprenticed to the local Spook. The job is hard, the Spook is distant and many apprentices have failed before him. Somehow Thomas must learn how to exorcize ghosts, contain witches and bind boggarts. But when he is tricked into freeing Mother Malkin, the most evil witch in the County, the horror begins..."
Synopsis : "The Spook and his apprentice, Thomas Ward, have travelled to Priestown on some unfinished business. For deep in the catacombs of the cathedral lurks a creature the Spook has never been able to defeat, a creature so evil that the whole County is in danger of being corrupted by its powers. They call it 'the Bane'.
As Thomas and the Spook prepare for the battle of their lives it becomes clear that the Bane isn't their only enemy in Priestown. The Quisitor has arrived, searching the County for those who meddle with the dark - witches, warlocks and spooks! Can Thomas and his master survive the horror that follows...?"
Synopsis : "As the weather gets colder and the nights draw in, the Spook suddenly receives an unwanted visitor. Tom's not sure why the stranger's presence has upset his master so much but the Spooks soon announces that it's time to leave Chipenden and move to his winter house on Anglezarke. The winter house is a bleak, forbidding place, close to the dark with a deep cellar full of bound witches and boggarts. As the winter months progress, Tom finds himself discovering more and more about his master's past and the identity of the mysterious visitor, who it seems is the Spook's sworn enemy. Could it be that the Spook's past is catching up with him? And how much danger will Tom be in when the secrets his master has been trying to hide from the world are finally revealed?"
The Wardstone Chronicles is a book to be read absolutely by those who like creatures of the night of any kind : witches, ghost, boggarts, and other monsters. This series is very good and really change from the Harry Potter influenced books. I've read the first one very rapidly, and just after the second volume, but then just in the end of the book I stopped, and I really don't know why, because I really liked the book. But recently I finally finished it and then went for the third. From the beginning to the end, I like it. The way it's written, the way the story goes, you learn more and more about Tom, but especially about the mysterious Mister Gregory, the actual Spook. At first, you can say he's hard with Tom, but in fact he likes him, and is trying to help him to be a good Spook and avoid to make the same mistakes he himself made, like falling in love with a witch;o) By the way, for my review I used the summary printed on the books' covers, but they omitted a very important detail, I think, of the story : Alice. Alice is a girl the same age as Tom, and she comes from a family of witches, and Tom kind of fall in love with her. Now she's a very interesting character, because we don't really know for sure if she'll turn out on the right side, or if she'll fall on the dark side. I also like Tom, who's torn between is duty towards Mister Gregory, and his friendship with Alice, whom he totally trusts. I like all this uncertainty in the characters, because it's just the way life is. No one is either good or bad, we make choices, and that's what it is here, choices that will turn ok or not.
I'll read the fourth volume, The Spook's Battle soon, and I'll tell you about it as soon as it's finished.