Curse of the Bane (Last Apprentice Series #2)

Curse of the Bane (Last Apprentice Series #2)


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The Spook and his apprentice, Thomas Ward, rid the county of witches, ghosts, boggarts, and other creatures of the dark. And there's some unfinished business to attend to in Priestown. Deep in the catacombs lurks a creature the Spook has never been able to defeat; a force so evil that the whole county is in danger. The Bane!

But the Bane is not their only enemy. The Quisitor arrives, intent on hunting down anyone who meddles with the dark. Thomas Ward and the Spook must prepare for the battle of their lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060766238
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/24/2007
Series: Last Apprentice Series , #2
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 496
Sales rank: 111,703
Product dimensions: 8.02(w) x 5.22(h) x 1.21(d)
Lexile: 850L (what's this?)
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: Curse of the Bane

By Joseph Delaney

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Joseph Delaney
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060766212

Chapter One

The Horshaw Ripper

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.

So I shivered in the dark barn, listening to rain drumming on the roof, trying to gather my courage. It was a bad night, and it was about to get worse. Ten minutes later, when the rigger and his mate arrived, I rushed across to meet them in the doorway. Both of them were big men, and I barely came up to their shoulders.

"Well, lad, where's Mr. Gregory?" asked the rigger, an edge of impatience in his voice. He lifted the lantern he was holding and peered about suspiciously. His eyes were shrewd and intelligent. Neither of the men looked like they would stand any nonsense.

"He's been taken badly," I said, trying to control the nerves that were making my voice sound weak and wobbly. "He's been in bed with a bad fever this past week so he's sent me in his place. I'm Tom Ward. His apprentice."

The rigger looked me up and down quickly, like an undertaker measuring me up for future business. Then he raised one eyebrow sohigh that it disappeared under the peak of his flat cap, which was still dripping with rain.

"Well, Mr. Ward," he said, an edge of sarcasm sharp in his voice, "we await your instructions."

I put my left hand into my breeches pocket and pulled out the sketch that the stonemason had made. The rigger set the lantern down on the earthen floor and then, with a world-weary shake of his head and a glance at his mate, accepted the sketch and began to examine it.

The mason's instructions gave the dimensions of the pit that needed to be dug and the measurements of the stone that would be lowered into place.

After a few moments the rigger shook his head again and knelt beside the lantern, holding the paper very close to it. When he came to his feet, he was frowning. "The pit should be nine feet deep," he said. "This only says six."

The rigger knew his job all right. The standard boggart pit is six feet deep, but for a ripper, the most dangerous boggart of all, nine feet is the norm. We were certainly facing a ripper--the priest's screams were proof of that--but there wasn't time to dig nine feet.

"It'll have to do," I said. "It has to be done by morning or it'll be too late and the priest will be dead."

Until that moment they'd both been big men wearing big boots, oozing confidence from every pore. Now, suddenly, they looked nervous. They knew the situation from the note I'd sent summoning them to the barn. I'd used the Spook's name to make sure they came right away.

"Know what you're doing, lad?" asked the rigger. "Are you up to the job?"

I stared straight back into his eyes and tried hard not to blink. "Well, I've made a good start," I said. "I've hired the best rigger and mate in the County."

It was the right thing to say, and the rigger's face cracked into a smile. "When will the stone arrive?" he asked.

"Well before dawn. The mason's bringing it himself. We have to be ready."

The rigger nodded. "Then lead the way, Mr. Ward. Show us where you want it dug."

This time there was no sarcasm in his voice. His tone was businesslike. He wanted the job over and done with. We all wanted the same, and time was short, so I pulled up my hood and, carrying the Spook's staff in my left hand, led the way out into the cold, heavy drizzle.

Their two-wheel cart was outside, the equipment covered with a waterproof sheet, the patient horse between the shafts steaming in the rain.

We crossed the muddy field, then followed the blackthorn hedge to the place where it thinned, beneath the branches of an ancient oak on the boundary of the churchyard. The pit would be close to holy ground, but not too close. The nearest gravestones were just twenty paces away.

"Dig the pit as close as you can get to that," I said, pointing toward the trunk of the tree.

Under the Spook's watchful eye I'd dug lots of practice pits. In an emergency I could have done the job myself, but these men were experts and they'd work fast.

As they went back for their tools, I pushed through the hedge and weaved between the gravestones toward the old church. It was in a bad state of repair: There were slates missing from the roof and it hadn't seen a lick of paint for years. I pushed open the side door, which yielded with a groan and a creak.

The old priest was still in the same position, lying on his back near the altar. The woman was kneeling on the floor close to his head, crying. The only difference now was that the church was flooded with light. She'd raided the vestry for its hoard of candles and lit them all. There were a hundred at least, clustered in groups of five or six. She'd positioned them on benches, on the floor, and on window ledges, but the majority were on the altar.

As I closed the door, a gust of wind blew into the church and the flames all flickered together. She looked up at me, her face running with tears.

"He's dying," she said, her echoing voice full of anguish. "Why did it take you so long to get here?"

Since the message reached us at Chipenden, it had taken me two days to arrive at the church. It was over thirty miles to Horshaw, and I hadn't set off right away. At first the Spook, still too ill to leave his bed, had refused to let me go.


Excerpted from The Last Apprentice: Curse of the Bane by Joseph Delaney Copyright © 2006 by Joseph Delaney. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Curse of the Bane 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 120 reviews.
jump_up More than 1 year ago
I read this three or four years ago in the sixth grade and I thought that it was really good. one of the first books I ever picked up and enjoyed. I can't remember if I read the first one because back then, I wasn't as smart to check if it were part of a series but I think I did. I want to read the others and see what happens. I remember this book as a page turner and one with a different story line than I was and am used to so I really liked it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book-page turner-could not put down.
jennayyyyyy More than 1 year ago
Young Tom Ward and his master, the Spook(old Gregory), have had a turn of bad luck that's been years in the making. While the Spook is sick, Tom goes down to a small village where one of the Spook's brothers is a priest. The brother has tried to stop a Boggart, a malicious beast capable of murder. After a breath-taking opening, Tom wins and loses. The Boggart is bound, but the Spook's brother eventually dies. While attending the funeral in Priestown, the Spook runs into the Quisitor, a man dedicated to burning witches and punishing those who get too close to the Dark. The Spook is high on the Quisitor's list. Furthermore, the Bane--one of the strongest and most evil of the denizens of the Dark--still lies buried in the catacoombs beneath the town. It's held prisoner by an ancient curse, but it's growing stronger. The Spook tried to rid the town of it once and failed, nearly losing his life. When the Spook is taken prisoner, only Tom is left to save the day. To do that, he has to risk everything, learn more about his moaster and his mother than he'd ever wanted to, and find a strenth inside himself that he didn't know he had.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for school including the first book. By the look of the cover i thought it was really gay but qhen i started to get into the books i found it was very interesting and full of suspense and creepy. Im 14 and i was scared to take out the trash at 930 at night cuz i thought that a witch or boggart or the bane might get me haha thats how good i hink it is
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read the first book and loved it. This is just the same. The Curse of the Bane has awesome characters like the Bane and has twists and turns throughout the story. 20 out of 10
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book would read it over and over again
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awsome book, very exciting
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A creepy series that has it all!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think it is a great book. It is very entertainig and i couldnt put it down.
Kelipso More than 1 year ago
Might be a little creepy for some kids. He is a bit to descriptive on the dead and tortured. My youngest son would be fine. However my other son doesn't like that kind of stuff. Its not a vampire/werewolf book. Its different and unique. Its not goose bumps but its an interesting creepy book. I loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
wow. i'm on the third right now and this one was great. way better than the first and i cant wait to finish the third. if your looking for a gift this christmas, this would be great or any of the other ones there are all good so far!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a fantastic book a true work of art! It was a wonderful sequl to the fist book and was just as intriguing. I loved to hear more abouit alice she is my favorite character! I hear that the next to books are out or atleast one of them is but they are called the wardstone chronicles and the next one is the Spooks Secret and has something to to do with The lamia with meg mentioned in this one the one after that one has something to do with a water witch, these books are soo good I encourage anyone to read them and I can't wait for them to come out here!!!
Anonymous 6 months ago
Loved it
Anonymous 8 months ago
wizza on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
the spook and his apprentice head to priestown with alice to face the Bane an evil spirit lurking in the labrynth of tunnels under the great cathedral. But the trio dont just have to worry about the evil monster. priests woud do anything to get their hnds on a person like the spook who deals whith the dark.
Ameliaiif on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book just took me a lot longer to get through. Now granted, it is longer than The Spook's Apprentice, but it wasn't as engaging. I guess second books rarely are as BA-BOOM! as their predecessor, but still, I was at times disappointed with the direction of the story. For one thing, I missed a lot of Delaney's descriptive style that he seemed to write so well in the first book. It's really complicated to explain, because he's still the same great storyteller, but for some reason his writing seems less magical here than in the first book. And the subject matter wasn't near as engaging to me. Maybe it's because I am a religious person, but the whole nature of the story (an evil "godlike" spirit and crazy/weird priests) was very off-putting. I much preferred the scary witch in the first book to overzealous religious fanatics. So I docked off a star for the constant "priests are BAD!" message. I don't have the patience for those kinds of stories.And yeeeeeeeeeet: I still like the series and will definitely progress to the next installment. For one thing, Delaney excels at what I would consider the #1 Storytelling Must: a lovable MC. Thomas Ward is such an awesome character/narrator and I love him to death - he's only slightly "less cool" than my all-time favorite MC: a Mr. Perseus Jackson. Oh and let's not forget Alice: she's easily my favorite character in the series. I found myself getting mad at the Spook for being so harsh (and hypocritical) with her...I easily forget that characters are, ultimately, not real! My final rating would be somewhere between 3.5-4 stars...maybe 3.8 or 3.9. It wasn't as engaging as the first book by any means, and sometimes I felt like plugging along through it was more out of duty than enjoyment...but it got better, and I like the characters too much to quit now!
Clurb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Whilst our hero Tom's continued ability to make bad decisions and get himself into trouble is truly exasperating, and the cunning knack things have for turning out alright in the end is just about as predictable as the Spook's senseless inability to do his job properly, Spook's Curse somehow isn't a terrible sequel. Delaney's gory monsters and his hints at the story to come were enough to keep me reading.
Phr33k on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story is about a seventh son of a seventh son named Thomas Ward. Due to his unusual heritage he is destined to be a Spook, a man who can see supernatural creatures, and bind them. The story starts with him binding a boggart, an invisible creature that feeds off blood of animals. Normaly they are just a pest, but this one has developed a taste for human blood. The man it took was a priest, and also the brother of Thomas' master, John Gregory. Thomas manages to bind it in a pit so that it can't harm any more people. He then returns to his master.
dagwood on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this as a father of four. I liked it so much I passed it on to my 12-year-old and he loved it too!
hjjugovic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Scary, fun young adult novels.
vernefan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wow! This was great! Just as scary and exciting as the first book, and even more riveting. There is nothing like a good scary book for fun. The Spooks Apprentice Tom Ward gets in a little deeper trouble in this second installment and quickly begins to fight off tougher demons and things more evil than he could have ever imagined. The book starts off with the Spook too sick to work, so Tom starts right out learning to battle and bind his first high-level boggart and does it with bravery and insight to make his master proud. But thankfully after that first good job done, the action never stops throughout and this novel will keep you up all night for sure. The character of the young witch Alice plays a bigger part in this book and one never knows which side she is on, but readers will find her character very endearing and loveable. The loyal friendship deepens between her and Tom much to the Spooks dismay,but the two are strong and creative in fighting the forces of evil together and more than once in these books save each others lives. Another intriguing ingredient added to this volume is that we get a little more information on Tom's mysterious mother, leaving us to wonder what her part will be in the finale. Not for the faint of heart or for kids who get nightmares, these books are horrifying and descriptively scary, albeit delicious to devour! I just can't wait for book three!
Joles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Curse of the Bane was every bit as exciting as Revenge of the Witch. It was also better written. While the first book stuck mainly to actions the second added more characterization. It is obvious the certain views tend to come across as archaic, the setting of the book lends itself well to this. Also, many impressions that we get about the Spook that may come across as negative to readers (his impression of women and the church) is given more background information--now the readers understand better where he's coming from.As with the best horror books and movies, the creature does not appear right away. And we find that one cannot be quite sure if their thoughts are their own, or if their eyes are deceiving them. Definitely a thrill ride!I cannot wait to continue Thomas's apprenticeship in book 3!
lefty33 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While I do not agree with all of the religious views presented in the book, this book is one of my favorites. It could be classified as YA or children's horror, but it is so much more than a horror story.The dark is gathering strength and it is up to the Spook and his apprentice, Thomas Ward, to keep it at bay. As they battle the latest threat, we learn a little more about the Spook's hidden past and new details about Thomas' mother's mysterious origins. My favorite aspects of the book, besides the wonderfully fascinating characters, are its perspectives on life. The story speaks of the good and evil dwelling within each of us, expounding that it is our choices, not circumstances, that make us who we are. We must choose to step toward the light or the dark. Also, the idea of destiny versus free will is brought to the surface again after the topic was introduced in the first book of the series. Is life playing out according to a predetermined fate or is it a blank book waiting to be filled? Readers will not want for page-turning, bone-chilling adventure in this second installment of the series. And after turning the last page, it will take enormous willpower not to pick up book three straightaway. The book could be frightening to very young children, but older readers will find it scary enough to be truly exciting without causing too much fright-induced insomnia. It's even more fun to read after dark (and by candlelight), especially knowing that you can shut the book and return to safety whenever you wish -- if you can stand to put it down before the last page has been turned.
Anduril85 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Book two of the Last Apprentice series is much the same as the first fallowing the same list of characters on their adventures, just as exciting and creepy with a nice blend of action. In this one you really start to feel the story open up before you, it has nice twists and turns to keep you on...well not quite the edge of your seat but still keep you wondering whats around the corner.
avcr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Thomas Ward, as the Spook's (Old Gregory) apprentice, faces a challenge far beyond his years or experience. The evil comes in two forms this time, as he negotiates cruelity and power in human and not so human forms. Will he prevail against an evil so powerful that even the spook failed in defeating it the first time he encountered the Bane? Troubling Thomas further is his concern for Alice, is she a witch or isn't she; even more troubling, is she a good witch or in with the dark? All these questions and trials make for a chilling, nail-biting encounter that will leave you looking over your shoulder in the dark.