Joseph Delaney

298567.jpg
Joseph_Delaney.jpg
Delaney at Salon du livre 2008 (Paris, France)
35374-L.jpg
Book 1
Born Joseph Henry Delaney
25 July, 1945
Preston, Lancashire,England, U.K.
Book 2
Review:
The Spook. A job unwanted by all, and foretold to leave you friendless, and possibly dead. Thomas will be the thirtieth apprentice that Mr. Gregory has taken on, and he has his work cut out for him. Thomas will learn have to deal with Boggarts, Witches, Ghosts, Ghasts, Ghouls, and anything else you can think of that goes bump in the night. What I really liked about the book is how the author could bring the characters to life with his words, and the suspense of it would be very intense at times. I would recommend this book to others if they like fictional stuff, if not, this would not be there favorite read.
Setting:
The book takes place in the 16th or 17th century of what seems to be a remake of Old England. Tom lives on the country side of "The Country" with his family with his mom, dad, and his 6 brothers. His family lives on a farm.
old_brick_church_building_01_by_loftystocks-d4e64q9.jpg
Main Characters:

Thomas J. Ward

Tom is a beginning apprentice to John Gregory, the County Spook. The Spook has had twenty-nine apprentices before Tom. He is the seventh son of a seventh son.
As a seventh son of seventh son, Tom has gained many gifts, including being able to see and hear ghosts and hiding his "scent" from the smell of witches. His mother, also taught him Greek, which he speaks well, and is learning Latin and Old Tongue from Mr. Gregory.
Tom has accomplished many things, despite his lack of experience like binding a full grown ripper boggart after only six months with the spook.
He has a friendship with Alice, a young girl who will grow into a witch, although it is unknown whether she will become good or evil. Tom continues his friendship with Alice, despite the warnings given by the Spook. He also seems to develop some feelings for her, although it is possible that he could be constantly fretting over her because she is the closest thing he ever had to a friend.
Not much is known about his appearance, although it was written that he has green eyes and is left-handed, which seems to be common through Spooks.
images.jpeg

John Gregory

John Gregory is one of the best Spooks and has a mysterious history that he will not tell Tom. He originally trained to be a priest but after falling out with his brother, he became a Spook.
Gregory is a strict mentor, always to the point and hard to please. However, he gives praise to Tom at some moments, although rather reluctantly, showing that he has a soft side. He claims this lack of praise has to do with him doing his best to avoid Tom becoming big-headed and making mistakes.
david_bradley_1363137c.jpg

Alice Deane

Alice is an orphan with parents from different clans, so she was taken on as the daughter of Bony Lizzie and the great-granddaughter of Mother Malkin. She first tricks Tom into freeing Mother Malkin but later helps him defeat her and her vengeful relatives. She cares a great deal about Tom though not so much about the Spook.
Originally from Pendle, Alice is the daughter of Bony Lizzie and the Fiend. She seems a little reluctant to help out John Gregory when he's in a tight spot, pointing out that he probably wouldn't do the same for her, but ends up being convinced by Tom to do so anyway. She doesn't like the fact that Mr. Gregory doesn't trust her, and is known for throwing fits when she's left out of something big.
However, Tom's mother was often worried about how Alice would turn out, as she seems to be on the fine line between good and evil. Alice is pretty with tall, has hazel eyes and long, black hair. She seems to have feelings for Tom as she jokes about using glamor and fascination on him, two witch powers to seduce and control.
images-1.jpeg

Mam

Also known as Lamia. She was saved by Tom's father, married him and moved with him back to the County. She bought the farm so he could give up sailing and had seven sons. When Tom was born, she started preparing him to become the next Spook.
She leaves the farm for Greece after her husband's death and leaves Tom her three coffers which held her money, books and potions.
She's a proud woman and an extraordinary midwife, having saved more than a dozen women from the country. She can allegedly see into the future and her letters seem further proof of that, although the Spook explains them by good intuition and intelect, and has helped Tom with advice whenever she could.
if-he-treats-his-mother-and-sister-disrespectfully-he-ll-treat-you-same-way_best-dating-tips-my-mother.jpg
Summary:
Book One:
We start when the spook arrives at toms house, who is to become his next apprentice. The spook is an old man who carries a staff in his left hand, and has a cloak with a hood on who travels from country side to country side fighting creatures called Boggarts, Ghosts, Ghasts, and Witches for those who need them gone. The christian church dislikes the Spook because what he does is against there religion. Toms parents has gotten the spooks agreement to take tom on as an apprentice and he will start learning how the spook handles “The Dark”.
The Spook tells tom that he has had twenty-nine apprentices before him, and that they have failed the task of becoming a spook, by either being a coward, or not being able to survive. Tom finds that there is more the the Spooks staff then meets the eye. There is a retractable blade in the end of the wood to help fight witches.
The Spook lives in Chipenden where a boggart protects the house. The spook has promised the boggart as long as the house is still standing, and he cooks, cleans, and does there laundry for them, that he will not put the boggart in a hole in the ground, which the boggart agrees to doing so.
After Tom learns what the Spook does he is warned to never talk to women wearing pointed shoes, and is sent off to go buy there rations for the week. On his way home he is hassled by some buys to give him some food, and from the darkness of a shadow off a tree there was a mysterious girl, named Alice, there to help him. Tom, being nice, told her if there was anything she needed help with in the future all she would have to do is ask.
Alice is a relative of the most dangerous witches in the world, named Mother Malkin and Bony Lizzie. A long time ago the Spook bound Mother Malkin in a pit with iron bars on top which affects witches in such a way that it drains there power and makes them weaker, and weaker, so that she could never escape. Since Mother Malkin is such a powerful which she has the power to posses someones body after death and come back twice as strong, so its safer to keep her alive in a pit, then kill her.
When alice comes to collect on Toms offer, she tricks Tom into giving Mother Malkin these “special cakes” at Midnight, every night, for 3 days, which later Tom finds out have blood in them, to give Mother Malkin her strength back. Tom gives Mother Malkin the cupcakes for two nights and then before he gives her the third she had already broken free. After which Tom runs back to the house to grab one of the Spooks staffs. When he does he goes and seeks after Mother Malkin which he finds at a slow pace next to a river, since witches cannot cross a river. He gets into a battle with Mother Malkin and pushes her into the river, but he wanted to be sure that she was dead. So he starts walking further down the river to see if she had gotten out. He doesn’t notice her there at his feet until she grabs ahold of his leg. He grabs his staff and thrusts it at her forehead to try and kill her. When he succeeds he heads to Alice's house to confront her. When he gets there Bony Lizzie isn’t home.. for long. He gets caught by Bony Lizzie and then thrown into a pit dug especially for him. When Bony Lizzie goes to sharpen her knife, Tom convinces Alice to help him out of the pit so they can escape. As they start to get back to the Spooks house Bony Lizzie catches up with them and tries to nab them. The Spook shows up in all of his glory and saves the day, binding Bony Lizzie in a silver chain, which witches cannot escape from. The Spook tests Alice’s breath to see if its sweet or sour ( if she is good or bad ). She passes the test and the Spook somewhat accepts her.
After all of the madness Tom returns home with an ultimatum, to become a Spook, or to cease his apprenticeship. When he is home he realizes Mother Malkin had followed him there to possess something that was there, which happened to be the pig killer of Tom’s farm, but Alice to the rescue! She kicks Mother Malkin right out of the pig killer and she was rid from the world. Tom returns to the Spooks house in Chipenden to continue his apprenticeship.

Book Two:
In the beginning of the book the Spook and Tom are on a mission to bind a ripper in a town called Horshaw. Even though they bind the ripper the Spooks brother who is a priest dies from shock. He is sent to be buried in Priestown and the Spook knowing the dangers that would be there decides to go to pay his respects. Since priests don’t like what spooks do, he could be burned alive without a trial. Also in Priestown there is a creature who lives in the catacombs known as the bane, which the spook has never been able to defeat. When the spook is ready to take on the bane he is crossed by his cousin who is a priest, and is arrested by the Quisitor.
The catacombs are also connected to the prison so tom enters to try and brake the spook out. After he is in the prison he learns that alice was also in the prison and brakes her free. As soon as they go looking for the spook they got caught and have to escape. Andrew ( the spooks brother) hides them in town and they fall asleep. The bane with the power that he has tries to persuade Tom and Alice in there sleep. Tom resists since has been trained to do so, but when he awakes alice was no longer there.There is a silver gate keeping the bane locked away and when tom goes to find alice he sees her standing right in front of it. When he asks why she as there she tells him that she had made a deal with the bane. She uses the bane to help free the spook and the other prisoners from there deaths and the spook has been hurt. So Tom and Alice take the Spook to Toms mom where she can heal him, as she is very good with herbs and what not. After the spook is ready to go they go to look for the graves of the people who first bound the bane. They find the information left and it says they must make a pact with the bane so that if ever freed again, they can bind it once more. When Alice summons him again the Spook gets knocked out, and it takes Alice. Tom seeks the bane alone and binds him with a silver chain. When bound the bane tries to persuade tome to let him go but it doesn’t work, and tom kills the bane.
The Spook, Alice, and Tom go back to the Spooks house in Chipenden and the spook tries to put Alice in a pit and tom brings up the Spooks past that the Spook was once in love with a witch and didn’t put her in a pit. So tom swayed the Spook to keep alice out of the pit and he allows Alice to stay in Chipenden in exchange for her knowledge about witches and her skills with latin.
Direct Passages:
1.) "When I heard the first scream, I turned away and covered my ears with my hands, pressing hard until my head hurt. At that moment I could do nothing to help. But I could still hear it, the sound of a priest in torment, and it went on for a long time before finally fading away."
-- I chose this passage because at first it made me wonder why, and easily drew me into the book.

2.) "It was a nice sunny day with just a touch of autumn chill in the air. The sky was blue and the birds were singing, but none of that mattered."
-- I chose this passage because it describes the day so well and you can just picture it in your head. The author has a really good way in bringing the scene and characters to life.

3.) "It was then that i saw a girl chained among the other prisoners. She was no older than me, and her eyes were wide and frightened. Her black hair was streaked across her forehead with the rain, which was dribbling from her nose and the end of her chin like tears. I looked at the black dress she was wearing, then glanced down at her pointy shoes, hardly able to believe what i was seeing. It was Alice. And she was a prisoner of the Quisitor."
-- It hadn't mentioned Alice in the second book until this moment. When it did, and she was in danger of being killed, it just made the book that much more interesting. It made it have more to the story.

4.) "I had no choice. I had to go back and see. I jumped down from the barrel, but it was too late: a shout, then angry voices. Boots thundering along the corridor. A big burly guard pushed into the cellar brandishing a cudgel. He looked around and, with a bellow of anger, rushed directly toward me."
-- I chose this passage because once again it was at the end of a chapter and made me want to read what happened next in the story. So it drew me in and I just had to keep reading.

5.) "In most dreams you don't know that you're dreaming. But when you do, one of two things usually happens. Either you wake up right away, or you stay in the dream and do what you want. That's the way it's always been with me, anyways"
-- I chose this passage because as I was reading it, it hit home. I said to myself "hey, that happens to me also!" I just thought it was kinda cool.

6.) " There was no warning of its arrival. One moment there was just silence, the next there was a blast of cold and the Bane appeared in the chamber. From the neck upward, it was the replica of the gargoyle over the main cathedral door: Gaping teeth, lolling tongue, huge dog's ears, and wicked horns. From the neck down it was a vast, black, shapeless boiling cloud.
-- As I said before, the author has a great way of describing things and really bringing whatever it is to life. The bane was never described throughout any of the rest of the book, and when I finally heard the description of the bane it was very vivid, almost like it was right in front of me.
Themes:Theme One: Good Conquers Evil
-- This isn't necessarily true, but to make a good book USUALLY it happens. I mean, have you ever read a fictional book where evil triumphs? In the story Tom and the Spook need to conquer Witches, Boggarts, Ghasts, Ghouls, on a daily basis or else the country that they have worked so hard to protect would become overrun and the good would be driven away. That is why I think this is a necessary theme in the book.

Theme Two: Bravery Overcomes Fear
-- I thought that this theme was fitting because when Tom first started out, he was afraid of a lot of things, and has to overcome them to be able to do his job correctly. So tom needs to be brave to overcome his fears.
Sources:
"The Wardstone Chronicles." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 03 June 2012. Web. 07
Mar. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wardstone_Chronicles>.