01 October 2010

The Spook’s Nightmare

by Joseph Delaney

Random House. Junior, Young Adult. Hardcover rrp $29.95

Tom is the seventh son of the seventh son so is automatically placed into training as the Spook’s apprentice. The Spook is a man who protects the County from all sorts of entities from witches and boggarts, to ghosts and bugganes. Anything that is evil. Tom is the last apprentice – the last hope to succeed where twenty-nine others have already failed.

When Tom, the Spook and Alice, a girl who assists both Tom and the Spook and may be a witch, arrive back in the County after working in Scotland, they find the Spook’s home burnt to the ground and Alice’s mother, Bony Lizzie, a very powerful witch, escaped from her dungeon and missing. The Spook is devastated as hundreds of years of his and past Spook’s writings are now ashes. But there is no time for reflection. The County is under attack from men from the north and the three find themselves escaping across the seas to Mona an island north-west of the County.

Arriving on Mona, the fugitives find they are not welcome. There are too many refugees for the island to cope with. Tom and Alice are caught and tried as witches, locked away awaiting death by the buggane. The buggane is an underground creature that uses nightmares to suck out souls, then returns later to eat body and bones, bit by bit.

Tom and Alice find that Bony Lizzie has reached the island and with the help of the buggane, is becoming more and more powerful. When the opportunity arises to capture Bony Lizzie, the Spook fails. Not once but twice. Are his powers weakening? Is the Spook’s nightmare becoming reality?

Will the three escape from the island and from Bony Lizzie? And will the Spook be able to recreate the library that was lost in the fire before he is too old to remember?

The Spook’s Nightmare answers all these questions and more. But reader beware, Joseph Delaney’s excellent descriptions might give you nightmares of your own.

The Reading Stack reviewed The Spook’s Mistake in Issue 12 in September 2008.


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