All 13 volumes of Joseph Delaney's internationally best-selling fantasy adventure series, The Last Apprentice, plus the two short story collections and The Spook's Bestiary—all together for the first time! As the Spook's apprentice, he will face boggarts, witches, ghosts, and. All 13 volumes of Joseph Delaney's internationally best-selling fantasy adventure series, The Last Apprentice, plus the two short story collections and The Spook's Bestiary—all together for the first time! Tom Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son. As the Spook's apprentice, he. Read "The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch (Book 1)" by Joseph Delaney available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get $5 off your first download.
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The Last Apprentice has 18 entries in the series. The Last Apprentice (Series). Book 1. Imogen Rossi Author (). cover image of The Spook's Apprentice. The Spook's Apprentice: Book 1 (The Wardstone Chronicles series) by Joseph Delaney. Read online, or download in secure EPUB format. Editorial Reviews. nvensigtitape.tk Review. "I was going to learn how to protect farms and villages Book 1 of 13 in The Last Apprentice (13 Book Series).
Dad was so desperate that he was trying to get the Spook to take me on as his apprentice. I should have guessed that Mam was behind it. She was behind a lot of things.
Long before I was born, it was her money that had bought our farm. How else could a seventh son have afforded it? She came from a land far across the sea.
It was certainly no place that I wanted to spend the rest of my life. So in one way I quite liked the idea of being a spook; it was much more interesting than milking cows and spreading manure. It made me nervous though, because it was a scary job. I was going to learn how to protect farms and villages from things that go bump in the night. Can he read and write? His mam taught him and he could speak it almost before he could walk.
Then he shrugged. Suddenly the Spook smiled. His face was big and looked as if it had been chiselled from stone.
His long black cloak and hood made him look like a priest, but when he looked at you directly, his grim expression made him appear more like a hangman weighing you up for the rope. The hair sticking out from under the front of his hood matched his beard, which was grey, but his eyebrows were black and very bushy.
There was quite a bit of black hair sprouting out of his nostrils too, and his eyes were green, the same colour as my own. Then I noticed something else about him. He was carrying a long staff. Did that mean that he was left-handed like me?
It was something that had caused me no end of trouble at the village school. None of my brothers were left-handed and neither was my dad. My mam was cack-handed though, and it never seemed to bother her much, so when the teacher threatened to beat it out of me and tied the pen to my right hand, she took me away from the school and from that day on taught me at home.
Now we were getting down to the real business. Nobody wanted to touch a spook. My dad was a brave man just to stand within six feet of one. I like Ellie a lot. Mam says that marrying Ellie was good for Jack because she helped to make him less agitated. Jack is the eldest and biggest of us all and, as Dad sometimes jokes, the best looking of an ugly bunch.
Ellie has hair the colour of best-quality straw three days after a good harvest, and skin that really glows in candlelight. I sometimes saw things in the dark and a candle was the best way to keep them away so that I could get some sleep. Jack came towards me, and with a roar got me in a head-lock and began dragging me round the kitchen table.
It was his idea of a joke. I put up just enough resistance to humour him, and after a few seconds he let go of me and patted me on the back. Know why? A spook worked and lived alone. But Ellie was looking at me rather than Jack and I saw her face suddenly drop. Ellie tried to smile, and Jack came up and rested his arm across my shoulders. She just stared down at her food as usual, waiting politely until it was over.
As the prayer ended, Mam gave me a little smile. It made me feel better. The fire was still burning in the grate, filling the kitchen with warmth. At the centre of our large wooden table was a brass candlestick, which had been polished until you could see your face in it. Dad made most of the decisions on the farm, but in some things she always got her own way. As we tucked into our big plates of steaming hotpot, it struck me how old Dad looked tonight - old and tired - and there was an expression that flickered across his face from time to time, a hint of sadness.
But he brightened up a bit when he and Jack started discussing the price of pork and whether or not it was the right time to send for the pig butcher.
It was a friendly argument, the kind families often have, and I could tell that Dad was enjoying it. All that was over for me. As Dad had told me, I was finished with farming.
Mam and Ellie were chuckling together softly. I tried to catch what they were saying, but by now Jack was in full flow, his voice getting louder and louder. Jack reached across for the salt cellar and accidentally knocked it over, spilling a small cone of salt on the table top.
Straight away he took a pinch and threw it back over his left shoulder. It is an old County superstition. I stared into the embers of the fire, tapping my feet on the flags, while Mam drew up her rocking chair and positioned it so that she was facing directly towards me.
Her black hair was streaked with a few strands of grey, but apart from that she looked much the same as she had when I was just a toddler, hardly up to her knees. Her eyes were still bright, and but for her pale skin, she looked a picture of health. Hearing her say all that had started tears pricking behind my eyes.
The silence went on for quite a while. All that could be heard was my feet tap-tapping on the flags. Finally Mam gave a little sigh. Busy learning new things. I just wanted to go to bed then, but she had a lot to say. I married your dad because he was a seventh son. And I bore him six sons so that I could have you. Seven times seven you are and you have the gift.
Doing what has to be done. I just fought to hold back the tears. Now off to bed with you. My main is well respected in the neighbourhood. She knows more about plants and medicines than the local doctor, and when there is a problem with delivering a baby, the midwife always sends for her.
Mam is an expert on what she calls breech births. Sometimes a baby tries to get born feet first but my mam is good at turning them while they are still in the womb.
Dozens of women in the County owe their lives to her. Anyway, that was what my dad always said but Mam was modest and she never mentioned things like that. So I wanted to make her proud.
After thinking things through, I went across to the window and sat in the old wicker chair for a few minutes, staring through the window, which faced north. The moon was shining, bathing everything in its silver light.
I liked the view. I liked the way it was the furthest thing you could see. For years this had been my routine before climbing into bed each night. I used to stare at that hill and imagine what was on the other side. I knew that it was really just more fields and then, two miles further on, what passed for the local village - half a dozen houses, a small church and an even smaller school but my imagination conjured up other things. Sometimes I imagined high cliffs with an ocean beyond, or maybe a forest or a great city with tall towers and twinkling lights.
But now, as I gazed at the hill, I remembered my fear as well. Three generations earlier, a war had raged over the whole land and the men of the County had played their part. It had been the worst of all wars, a bitter civil war where families had been divided and where sometimes brother had even fought brother.
When it was finally over, the winning army had brought their prisoners to this hill and hanged them from the trees on its northern slope. It was said that some of these men had refused to fight people they considered to be neighbours. You see, from there I could hear them. I could hear the ropes creaking and the branches groaning under their weight. I could hear the dead, strangling and choking on the other side of the hill.
Mam had said that we were like each other. One winter, when I was very young and all my brothers lived at home, the noises from the hill got so bad at night that I could even hear them from my bedroom. Mam came to my room every time I called, even though she had to be up at the crack of dawn to do her chores.
When she came back, everything was quiet and it stayed like that for months afterwards. Mam was a lot braver than I was. Chapter Two On The Road I was up an hour before dawn but Mam was already in the kitchen, cooking my favourite breakfast, bacon and eggs.
Dad came downstairs while I was mopping the plate with my last slice of bread. As we said goodbye, he pulled something from his pocket and placed it in my hands.
It was the small tinderbox that had belonged to his own dad and to his grandad before that. One of his favourite possessions. And come back and see us soon. The Spook was on the other side of the gate, a dark silhouette against the grey dawn light.
His hood was up and he was standing straight and tall, his staff in his left hand. I walked towards him, carrying my small bundle of possessions, feeling very nervous. To my surprise, the Spook opened the gate and came into the yard. We might as well start the way we mean to go on. When we reached the boundary fence, the Spook climbed over with the ease of a man half his age, but I froze.
As I rested my hands against the top edge of the fence, I could already hear the sounds of the trees creaking, their branches bent and bowed under the weight of the hanging men. We trudged upwards, the dawn light darkening as we moved up into the gloom of the trees.
The higher we climbed the colder it seemed to get and soon I was shivering. It was the kind of cold that gives you goose pimples and makes the hair on the back of your neck start to rise.
Their hands were tied behind their backs and all of them behaved differently. Some struggled desperately so that the branch above them bounced and jerked, while others were just spinning slowly on the end of the rope, pointing first one way, then the other.
The trees bowed low, and their leaves shrivelled and began to fall. Within moments, all the branches were bare. When the wind had eased, the Spook put his hand on my shoulder and guided me nearer to the hanging men.
We stopped just feet away from the nearest. Well done, lad. Now, tell me, do you still feel scared? Nothing that can hurt you. Think about what it must have been like for him. Concentrate on him rather than yourself. How must he have felt? What would be the worst thing? The pain and the struggle for breath would have been terrible.
But there might have been something even worse With those words a wave of sadness washed over me. Then, even as that happened, the hanging men slowly began to disappear, until we were alone on the hillside and the leaves were back on the trees. Still afraid? But that gift can sometimes be a curse. Fear makes it worse for us. The trick is to concentrate on what you can see and stop thinking about yourself. It works every time. To contradict him would have got us off to a bad start.
Then again, others are here with a definite purpose and they might have things to tell you. Just ghasts. You saw the trees change? So you were just looking at something from the past. Just a reminder of the evil things that sometimes happen on this earth. A ghast is just like a reflection in a pond that stays behind when its owner has moved on. I followed him over its crest, then down through the trees towards the road, which was a distant grey scar meandering its way south through the green and brown patchwork of fields.
It was a pit village and had the largest coal yards in the County, holding the output of dozens of surrounding mines. He walked at a furious pace, taking big, effortless strides. Soon I was struggling to keep up; as well as carrying my own small bundle of clothes and other belongings, I now had his bag, which seemed to be getting heavier by the minute. Then, just to make things worse, it started to rain.
About an hour before noon the Spook came to a sudden halt. He turned round and stared hard at me. By then I was about ten paces behind. The road was little more than a track that was quickly turning to mud.
Just as I caught him up, I stubbed my toe, slipped and almost lost my balance. He tutted. I shook my head. They were made of strong, good-quality leather and they had extra-thick soles. They must have cost a fortune, but I suppose that for someone who did a lot of walking, they were worth every penny. The Spook took a piece of cloth out of his pocket and unwrapped it, revealing a large lump of yellow cheese.
He broke a bit off and handed it to me. The Spook only ate a small piece himself before wrapping the rest up again and stuffing it back into his pocket. The mouth, when closed, was almost hidden by that moustache and beard.
There were shades of red, black, brown and, obviously, lots of grey, but as I came to realize later, it all depended on the light. Looking at the Spook though, you could see despite the beard that his jaw was long, and when he opened his mouth he revealed yellow teeth that were very sharp and more suited to gnawing on red meat than nibbling at cheese.
With a shiver, I suddenly realized that he reminded me of a wolf. He was a kind of predator because he hunted the dark; living merely on nibbles of cheese would make him always hungry and mean. I was soaked to the skin and my feet were hurting, but most of all I was hungry. So I nodded, thinking he might offer me some more, but he just shook his head and muttered something to himself. Then, once again, he looked at me sharply. It makes us stronger. Horshaw was a black smear against the green fields, a grim, ugly little place with about two dozen rows of mean back-to-back houses huddling together mainly on the southern slope of a damp, bleak hillside.
The whole area was riddled with mines, and Horshaw was at its centre. High above the village was a large slag heap which marked the entrance to a mine. Behind the slag heap were the coal yards, which stored enough fuel to keep the biggest towns in the County warm through even the longest of winters.
Soon we were walking down through the narrow, cobbled streets, keeping pressed close to the grimy walls to make way for carts heaped with black cobs of coal, wet and gleaming with rain.
The huge shire horses that pulled them were straining against their loads, hooves slipping on the shiny cobbles. There were few people about but lace curtains twitched as we passed, and once we met a group of dour-faced miners, who were trudging up the hill to begin their night shift. One of them actually made the sign of the cross. Nobody lived there - you could tell that right away. For one thing some of the windows were broken and others were boarded up, and although it was almost dark, no lights were showing.
The Spook halted outside the very last house. It was the one on the corner closest to the warehouse, the only house in the street to have a number. That number was crafted out of metal and nailed to the door.
It was thirteen, the worst and unluckiest of all numbers, and directly above was a street sign high on the wall, hanging from a single rusty rivet and pointing almost vertically towards the cobbles. This house did have windowpanes but the lace curtains were yellow and hung with cobwebs.
This must be the haunted house my master had warned me about. The Spook pulled a key from his pocket, unlocked the door and led the way into the darkness within. The room was damp too, the air very dank and cold, and by the light of the flickering candle I could see my breath steaming.
What I saw was bad enough, but what he said was even worse. Know what you have to do? You need to be alert, not dreaming. Any questions? So I just shook my head and tried to keep my top lip from trembling.
I shrugged. In some places time seems to move more slowly and I had a feeling that this old house would be one of them. Suddenly I remembered the church clock. Until then, sleep if you can manage it. Now listen carefully - there are three important things to remember.
Cautiously I picked up the candle, walked to the kitchen door and peered inside.
It was empty of everything but a stone sink. The back door was closed but the wind still wailed beneath it. There were two other doors on the right. Fill your pockets with salt and iron. Carry a rowan staff and a silver chain. And most importantly, clear your mind and conquer your own fear. Here is the Spook's own notebook, full of the instructions that any young apprentice, like Tom Ward, will need. Learn how to bind a boggart.
Find out how to capture a witch. Memorize what to do if you face the Fiend himself. If you are the seventh son of a seventh son—or even if you are simply a fan of The Last Apprentice series—this book holds all you need to face the forces of evil.
It's a suspenseful thrill ride that's "spine-tingling" Publishers Weekly and "anything but tame" Horn Book. Delivery with Standard Australia Post usually happens within business days from time of dispatch.
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