The third book in the Last Apprentice series follows the same pattern as previous titles, even as it raises the stakes. Thirteen-year-old Tom Ward, apprentice to Mr. Gregory, a Spook who clears the countryside of witches, ghasts, and boggarts, accompanies Mr. Gregory to the man's desolate winter home. There's trouble in the Spook's cellar, mostly dangerous witches bound in pits, but even more disquieting is a former apprentice, Morgan, who has learned the secrets of necromancy. Morgan is harrassing Tom's recently deceased father from beyond the grave and will continue to do so until Tom accedes to his wishes. One of the best things about this well-written series is the uncompromising horror Delaney provides at every turn. However, although the terror level is high here, readers may be inured to some of the crashing and bashing that goes along with evil run amok. Better are the nuanced interpersonal relations, especially the relationship between Tom and his mother, who is off to fight her own battles against evil. Cooper, Ilene
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About the Author
Joseph Delaney lives in Lancashire, England, in the middle ofboggart territory.