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The Last Apprentice: Night of the Soul Stealer (Book 3) Hardcover – August 28, 2007
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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
About 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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This was a very revealing installment in the series. We get to learn more about Meg, a witch from the Spook's past. We also get to see Meg's sister. These two women are very dangerous witches. The problem is Meg was someone the Spook cared about. He's never been able to bury her the way she should have been buried.
In the cellar of the winter home the Spook has three witches locked up behind iron bars. When they get out, Tom Ward must figure out what to do next . . . Only the trouble doesn't stop there. Morgan, one of the Spook's old apprentices (an apprentice the Spook had to fire), is trying to conjure great evil from the depths of Hell.
Morgan wants Tom's help -- and blackmails the young apprentice. Morgan instills doubt about the Spook into Tom's mind.
Facing dangerous witches, an evil ex-apprentice and growing doubt about who he can trust, Tom Ward finds himself to trying to figure out what is what, and who is who . . . With the help of Alice, a witch his age, a friend he is conflicted about having (since his job is to capture, bind and bury witches), Tom moves forward, out of childhood (thirteen years old) into young adult hood.
A great story. I love the visits to Tom's family. The friendship between Tom and Alice, and the numerous dangers that are constant between the pages. Joesph Delaney writes very simplistically, but does not hold back on the darkness and horror. So far, the series is quite entertaining. I will now move on to read, Attack of the Fiend, Book 4. . .
Author of Damn the Dead and Blood River
These books just keep getting better with each installment. Ive seen reviewers make the statement of how Tom hasnt changed much. I think since the "actual time" taking place in the book is going at a slow pace it would make sense that he hasnt changed much. Tom does get braver as he faces different aspects of "the dark" with each installment. His relationships with the secondary charachters also grow especially with Alice. What would Tom and Mr. Gregory do without Alice??? She and Tom are my favorites and Im rooting for them!!! Also I love the relationship Tom has with his Mam. I cant wait to see her secrets unfold...and what she has in those trunks.
Tom, apprentice to the aged and crabby John Gregory, or The Spook as Tom calls him, is charged with rounding up and neutralizing ghasts, ghosts, witches and other monsters that pester the good people of the County. The Spook's standard method for dealing with witches is to seal them in a pit where they exist on worms and bugs for decades at a time. (Wouldn't killing them be kinder? I'm just asking although yes, the plots do thicken when the witches escape and start looking for people to chow down on.)
"The Soul Stealer" features two such witches, sisters, that bring no end of grief to Tom and his master especially since The Spook is in love with one of them: Meg who easily walks through the iron cellar door designed to stop all other evil things. Delaney never explains how she does this but that's just quibbling.
This is an intriguing series and well worth reading for anyone who likes their fairy tales Grim.