Review also includes:
The Spook’s Battle, ****, Joseph Delaney, ill. David Wyatt, Bodley Head, 496pp, 978-037032892 8, £9.99 hbk
Landscape, legend and lore ground these additions to the ‘Wardstone Chronicles’ firmly in traditions that lend them weight and significance. Following the course of Thomas Ward’s apprenticeship in The Spook’s Secret, the reader is made aware of the conflicts that arise when personal motivations and opportunities are forfeited to follow the lonely, isolated vocation of a Spook. Disclosure of the Spook’s past emphasises his humanity and some of his failings, meaning Thomas begins to doubt and question some of his tutor’s guidance and advice. Concurrent to this is an urgent attempt to prevent malign forces from being raised from beneath the moors of Anglezarke.
In The Spook’s Battle the Spook and his apprentice, Thomas Ward, work to protect The County from the witch clans. On discovering that the legacy his mother left for him at the family farm has been plundered, Thomas ventures to Pendle to retrieve his inheritance and to thwart the covens. Gripping, though at times grizzly, this is a thought-provoking and thoroughly compelling addition to the series.