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The Last Apprentice (Revenge of the Witch) Paperback – July 25, 2006

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The Last Apprentice (Revenge of the Witch) + The Last Apprentice: Curse of the Bane (Book 2) + Night of the Soul Stealer (The Last Apprentice, Book 3)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books; Reprint edition (July 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060766204
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060766207
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

"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." Twelve-year-old Thomas Ward, as the seventh son of a seventh son, has no inheritance and is bored with farm work, and even though his new job will mean the superstitious villagers will forever shun him, he is eager to go off to adventure with the tall, hooded man he calls the Spook. His mother, a magical person herself, approves, and the Spook's teaching is strict but kind. But when Tom has only learned enough to be able to control their house-boggart, he is tricked by Alice, the young daughter of a witch family, into inadvertently releasing and then killing Mother Malkin, a witch the Spook has imprisoned in a pit. This is no polite wicca-type witch, but a snuffling, slime-trailing, cannibalistic creature reminiscent of Tolkien's nasgils. The story of Tom's escape from the reincarnated witch's hideous revenge is full of horrible details, as Alice helps, and then once again betrays him. This well-crafted novel marks an auspicious start for an exciting and fast series for young teens. (Ages 10-14) --Patty Campbell --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8–When 12-year-old Thomas, seventh son of a seventh son, is apprenticed to the local Spook, whose job is to fight evil spirits and witches, he expects a life of danger. However, the boy doesn't realize just how soon he'll face a powerful enemy alone, as Mother Malkin escapes her confinement while the Spook is away. Thomas is forced to use his wits, and the help of his enigmatic new friend, Alice, to fight the evil witch. And defeating her is only the start of the boy's problems. Delaney's characters are clearly presented and have realistic depth, and Thomas's mother and Alice stand out for their strong words and actions. The protagonist's voice is clear, and his conflicts over his actions ring true. This first entry in a proposed series is an excellent choice for readers who are looking for a more sophisticated alternative to R. L. Stine's Goosebumps books (Scholastic), and the pacing and edgy illustrations at the start of each chapter will appeal to reluctant readers. Delaney's rural, quasi-medieval world is populated by a variety of magic creatures, and readers will look forward to discovering more of them, along with Thomas, as the series continues. A solid choice, particularly for middle school boys.–Beth L. Meister, Pleasant View Elementary School, Franklin, WI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Joseph Delaney formerly taught media and film studies at a high school in Blackpool, England. He lives with his family in Lancashire, in the middle of boggart territory.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#87 in Books > Teens
#87 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

Great book, but also scary for young readers, not recommend for children under 9 years old.
Atmospheric writing, creepy illustrations, and a genuinely scary story add up to one of the better books I've read this year.
Then, once you do start reading the book, you will not put it down until you have read the last word.
R. Icks

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 95 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
When a kid comes up to me in the library (I'm a children's librarian) and asks for something scary I usually hem and haw and eventually hand them "Scary Stories To Tell In the Dark", as a starter. If they ask for scarier fare (which, honestly, shouldn't be hard) I'm usually hard pressed to come up with something truly frightening. I suppose there's good old "Wait Till Helen Comes" but all too often children's books rely far more on atmosphere rather than out-and-out teeth chattering terror. Enter Joseph Delaney. Delaney has been writing fantasy and sorcery tales for adults since 1985 and with "Revenge of the Witch" he makes his first foray into the world of children's literature. A significant step it is too. Chilling, nail-biting, and downright enjoyable, the book is bound to be loved by reluctant readers, die-hard fantasy fans, and those good souls that appreciate a tincture of good children's literature.

Being the seventh son in a family means that when it comes to a lifetime occupation, there isn't much to chose from. Fortunately for Thomas Ward, he isn't just a seventh son. He's the seventh son of a seventh son and that means something special. Unlike normal people, Thomas can hear the ghasts of hanged men up on a hill near his home. He can sense and see things that would frighten even the stoutest of hearts. It seems logical then that he should be apprenticed to a spook. Spooks roam the county keeping people safe from everything from boggarts to witches. Thomas is doing well enough and goes to live in the spook's home. Unfortunately, things take a turn for the worse when a local girl persuades Thomas to feed some sticky cakes to a witch trapped underground by the spook.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 4, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Hard to believe but it's almost here - the spookiest night of the year, Halloween. It's a night for ghost stories and all manner of frightening tales. Put "The Last Apprentice" at the top of your list.

Young listeners in grades 5 through 8 will easily relate to Thomas and shiver as he tells his chilling story. He lived in England many, many years ago when Old Gregory was in charge of ridding the villages of devil's disciples and other forms of evil. Well, that is a taxing job and poor Gregory is weary, on his last legs, so to speak.

Someone has to take over for him but who? Several aspiring apprentices have come forward but none withstood the test of battling the trials and tribulations that beset the populace. Some of these lads were so afraid that they ran away; others, sorry to say, did not live.

Now, there is Thomas Ward. He's the only one left, the only hope for the plagued villagers. It's difficult to differentiate between a kind witch and a deadly one, the most venomous of all being Mother Malkin. But, this is something Thomas must learn - or die trying.

Stage, screen and television actor Christopher Evan Welch gives a properly pulse pounding reading of this horror filled tale as bodies emerge from the earth and a witch meets a particularly gruesome demise.

- Gail Cooke
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on September 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Excellent book, highly recommended but read the back warning. This book is a bit scary. Haunted houses, ghosts witches, boggarts. A++ Must get
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jon Labrousse on April 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I can't get over how much I loved this book. I'm 35. I'm a teacher. I'm busy. I made time to read this book like you make time to eat. Two obsessive days. I carried the story with me when I was away from it.

There's an anti-establishment edge to it that I love. It's earthy and pagan and scary. Every single chapter takes your breath away. I guarantee you won't be able to put your bookmark in the middle of a chapter. Man! This is well-crafted stuff.

I read a lot. Of everything. This is the best thing I've read in a long time. Hands down.

I confess: I borrowed the copy I just finished reading from the library. I'm writing this review five minutes after I purchased it today (we need to encourage Delaney's publisher to keep paying him). It's a book I'm going to share with my kids and friends (as long as they promise to give it back...)

More, please, Mr. Delaney. (Write faster!)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on March 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Many young fantasy novels wrap themselves in the dressing of Harry Potter and end up with tired stories featuring knock-off characters. Delaney really delivers the goods in Revenge of the Witch. This is a no holds barred horror tale with enough gore and other-worldly creepiness to keep you up at night. Delaney doesn't pull punches. He gives us murderous bad guys who are truly evil (not monologuing carbon copies of Voldemort), and good guys who are truly human. I internalized Thomas' fears to the extent that I dreaded turning the page to see what new terror awaited him. The haunted house scene near the beginning is worth the price alone. The nail-biting conclusion is easily the most memorable since the Hobbit or The High King. Epic in a very understated and humble fashion.!

Can't wait to read the other books in the series. I've probably read near 100 children's books this year and Revenge of the Witch is the most engaging and immersive by a mile. This book will suck you in and not let go till the last page. Brilliant!

Read it now!
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