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

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

by Joseph Delaney


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Enter a land where creatures of the dark creep out of the shadows

The Last Apprentice series follows the terrifying adventures of the Spook's apprentice, Thomas Ward, as he learns to battle the monsters of the dark and keep the county safe. But Tom's is only one story.

The Spook himself was once an apprentice. How did he begin his training? How did Alice, a young witch and Tom's closest ally, overcome her dark past? How did the assassin Grimalkin become the most deadly and feared witch in the county? And you'll discover the rest of the county's menacing villains, collected in a gallery of horrors, and relive the vicious battles waged against them.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061730313
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/27/2010
Series: Last Apprentice Series , #1
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 199,279
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

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.

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.

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Spook's Tale and Other Horrors (The Last Apprentice Series) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 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
BookAddictDiary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As a big fan of Delaney's Last Apprentice series, I had to check this book out. But readers beware: this book was published for World Book Day, and was not meant (as some have mistakenly believed) to be a continuation of the series but rather, a supplement to the series and introduction for newcomers to the Last Apprentice universe.The book consists of three short stories and a small "gallery of villains" which includes a brief description and passage from other novels about certain villains from the series. The short stories center around present day-Spook John Gregory and the events that placed him on the path to becoming a Spook, a story about Alice's origins and training as a witch, and an origin story about Grimalkin, the witch assassin.John Gregory's story easily steals the show here -it's as chilling as the other Last Apprentice novels and gives some interesting insight into John's past. Grimalkin's story falls in the middle -it's well-paced and unique, but feels like it should have been more than a short story. Alice's story bothered me the most, primarily because it took place during book four of the series, rather than before the events of the series, and, frankly, didn't seem to add much to her character.All the information here is great back story and is good for fans who are new to the series, but The Spook's Tale and Other Horrors, even with its World Book Day backdrop, left me wanting more. Not just another book in the series, but full books about John, Alice or Grimalkin. Perhaps we'll see these in the future, but until then, I can't wait for more Last Apprentice.
vernefan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Book six of Joseph Delaney's fabulous Last Apprentice series just rocks! This series still gets me excited and when each installment gets released I can't wait to run to the store to grab my copy the first day. Delaney still delivers the goods, and doesn't stop creating sensational stories that will scare the living daylights out of you whether you are young or old. This installment, The Spook's Tale and Other Horrors is a pleasant interlude, an intermediary story that is sort of a prequel to the first book that started it all. These short stories focus on three of the main characters from the other books; The Spook himself, Mother Malkin, and our adorable Alice, Tom Ward's friend. Each segment tells how each character came to be who and what they are, good or bad, to give the reader a little insight to information we haven't yet been clued into, even though these players are mentioned in all the five other books. I was expecting something of less quality because the book is about a quarter of the size of the other novels, and with short stories I figured they'd be not up to Delaney's wonderful standard of quality story telling. For certain, I was pleasantly surprised and wrong. These quick little chapters, believe it or not, are bloodier and scarier than all the others. It amazes me how the author can manage to continually outdo himself by finding a way to write sentences and paragraphs that get more terrifying with each book he publishes. There were times in this read where my 52 yr old mouth just dropped and my eyes got as wide as saucers. I found myself many times not breathing at all. And once again, the show-stopping illustrations by Patrick Arrasmith are the best he's created yet. With every flip of a page I got delightfully squeamish as blood dripped, knives hacked, head's rolled in decapitation, and chains bound evil cackling cannabalistic witches! My eyes squinted too terrified to look at what was coming next. I winced time after time again with each gory episode, and at times, it was all SO much outlandish horrific fun that I found myself laughing out loud. This is a perfect example of an old fashioned "flashlight under the covers" read for ages 9 to 90! Love these, just simply LOVE THESE BLOODY BOOKS and am counting the days until Book 7 releases. We can technically only give a five star rating for the best of the best but with this I send the author all the stars in the heavens above.
krau0098 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is more of an interlude or a supplement to The Last Apprentice series. It is well written and interesting nonetheless, but not as fantastic as a full-fledged book would have been. Although we don't have a long wait "Clash of the Demons" comes out the end of August '09.There are three stories in this book. The first details how the Spook became a Spook. This story was okay; it gives you some background around the Spook. Nothing that is really surprising, but a decent story.The second story is about what happened to Alice when she was in Pendle right before Tom came to rescue her. This was my least favorite story of the bunch. Again no surprises and a very brief story.The third story made the book worth having. This was the story of how Grimalkin became a witch assassin. I think Grimalkin is a fascinating character and found this story to be an interesting read. It made me wish that Delaney would write some books from Grimalkin's point of view...maybe he can do that after he is done with Tom Ward's story :-)Overall I enjoyed this book. It is just filler for the main event though and I am eagerly awaiting "Clash of the Demons"!
224perweek More than 1 year ago
Another great addition to the series. Love it as I did with all the others.
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
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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(:
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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, 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.