Joseph Delaney

Joseph Delaney portrait image to appear alongside the Joseph Delaney biography.

Joseph Delaney is a retired English teacher living in Lancashire. His home is in the middle of Boggart territory and his village has a boggart called the Hall Knocker, which was laid to rest under the step of a house near the church.

Most of the places in the Spook's books are based on real places in Lancashire. And the inspiration behind the stories often comes from local ghost stories and legends. The Spook's Apprentice, The Spook's Curse and The Spook's Secret have all been shortlisted for the Lancashire children's Book for the Year Award. The Spook's Apprentice is the winner of both the Sefton Book Award and the Hampshire Book Award.

"I felt very comfortable writing the story from Tom Ward’s point of view. Only in the most recent book, ‘The Spook’s Sacrifice’, which I’ve just completed, has that been a slight problem. It has a larger cast of characters and more action than previous books; it would have been easier to tell the story from multiple perspectives. But I always seem to do things the hard way!"
Joseph Delaney, in an interview with Fantasy Book Review in 2008

The Spook's Apprentice spent 7 weeks in the Best-seller charts and sold over 35,000 copies in the first few months. The Spooks series is published in 24 countries: UK, USA, France, Germany. Hungary, Italy, Japan, Poland, Portugal, Brazil, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, The Netherlands, Greece, Israel, Thailand, Turkey and Indonesia. Life Sales World Wide across all titles are over 1 million copies!

Joseph Delaney books reviewed

Bibliography

The Wardstone Chronicles

  • The Spook's Apprentice (2004)
    Thomas Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son and has been apprenticed to the local Spook. The job is hard, the Spook is distant and many apprentices have failed before Thomas. Somehow Thomas must learn how to exorcise ghosts, contain witches and bind boggarts. But when he is tricked into freeing Mother Malkin, the most evil witch in the County, the horror begins...
  • The Spook's Curse (2005)
    The Spook and his apprentice, Thomas Ward, deal with the dark. Together they rid the county of witches, ghosts and boggarts. But now they have unfinished business to attend to in Priestown. Deep in the catacombs of the cathedral, lurks the Spook's nemesis - the Bane. A creature he has never been able to defeat. As Thomas and his master prepare for the battle of their lives it becomes clear that the Bane isn't their only enemy in town. The Quisitor has arrived, searching the county for those who meddle with the dark - witches, warlocks and Spooks! When the Spook is arrested and sentenced to death it's up to Thomas, with a little help from his old friend Alice, to rescue his master and destroy the curse of Priestown...
  • The Spook's Secret (2006)
    The nights are drawing in and it's time for Tom and his master to move to Anglezarke, the Spook's winter house. Tom has heard it will be a sinister and menacing place but nothing could fully prepare him for what he finds there. For this house, and indeed the whole of Anglezarke moor, is full of secrets about the Spook's past. Secrets that are about to come to the surface and could wreak havoc on the whole County...
  • The Spook's Battle (2007)
    In Pendle the witches are rising and the three most powerful witch clans are rumoured to be uniting in order to conjure an unimaginable evil. Together they will be capable of raising the dark made flesh – the Devil himself. Tom and the Spook need to set off for Pendle to avert the unthinkable. But before they go, the Spook tells Tom to journey home and collect the trunks Mam left behind for him. But what dark family secrets are contained in the trunks? And will they place Tom’s family in even greater danger or provide the help Tom and his master will need in Pendle?
  • The Spook's Mistake (2008)
    As danger increases in the Country, Tom is sent north by his master to be trained by Bill Arkwright, another spook. Arkwright lives in a haunted mill on the edge if a treacherous marsh and his training methods are harsh. He has toughened up many previous apprentices though and now must do the same for Tom. But when the Fiend sends his own daughter, a powerful water witch, to destroy Tom, Arkwright makes an error of judgement and Tom finds himself facing his enemies alone. The Spook and Alice hasten to his aid but will even their combined strength suffice in the face of such terrible dark power? And what is the Spook’s mistake, the consequences of which might give final victory to the dark?
  • The Spook's Sacrifice (2009)
    As the Spook's apprentice, Tom's first duty is to protect the County from the dark. But now Mam needs his help in her homeland of Greece to rise up against one of the Old Gods, the Ordeen. Mam has summoned a powerful group to fight, but among them are the Pendle witches. Can Tom go against all the Spook has taught him and ally himself with the enemy? What is the secret that Mam is keeping from Tom? And what sacrifices must be made in the battle against the dark?
  • The Spook's Nightmare (2010)
    The County is facing dark days. But, for the Spook, it is the nights that are darkest. Having always stood against evil, he is now haunted by vivid, terrifying dreams. Dreams that seem to be more like premonitions... With his precious library burned to the ground and his arch rival, Bony Lizzie, free again, things are falling apart. As nightmares turn real, are the Spook's powers waning - just when he needs them the most? Can Tom, the Spook's apprentice, face the dark alone?
  • The Spook's Destiny (2011)
    The Spook, Tom and Alice travel to Ireland, fleeing from the war in the County. There, Tom must tackle a group of evil mages who are desperate to rid their land of the Spook and his apprentice, and to increase their own dark powers. His dangerous mission against the mages leads Tom to the Destiny Blade - a sword with a dark side, and a thirst for blood... Will this new weapon give him a fighting chance against the Fiend? If he's to survive, he'll need training, and only one person can help - Grimalkin, the witch assassin. The dark against the dark...
  • The Spook's Blood (2012)

Books complementary to The Wardstone Chronicles

  • The Spook's Tale (World Book Day, 2009)
    The Spook keeps the County safe from creatures of the dark; things that suck your blood and snatch your bones and squeeze the breath from your body. When young John Gregory stumbles into the trap set by a powerful witch, it seems he may possess some spook’s skill of his own. But is he ready to face the dark or will his first fight be his last?
  • The Spook's Stories: Witches (2009)
    For years, the local Spook has been keeping the County safe from ghosts and boggarts, but more especially from witches. The Spook’s Stories: Witches features stories from the Spook’s own collection; the stories include child-eating witches, witch assassins, Celtic witches, dead witches and witches so beautiful they can break a man’s heart… these are certainly not to be read after dark!
  • The Spook's Bestiary (2010)
  • Spook's: I Am Grimalkin (2011)
    "I am Grimalkin, and I have already chosen those I will kill..." Grimalkin has made it her lifetime ambition to destroy the Fiend, avenging the brutal murder of her son. Having grudgingly joined forces with the Spook and his apprentice, Tom, and assisted them in the binding of the Fiend, she is now on the run. And her mission is deadly. She has to help them bind the Fiend’s spirit for ever no matter who – or what – comes after it...
  • Spook's: Slither's Tale (2013)
  • Spook's: I Am Alice (2013)

Critical acclaim

The Spook's Battle:

'. . . ideal for the reader who has outgrown Harry Potter. Be warned, these books are seriously scary . . . Beautifully produced and consistently surprising the weird and wonderful Wardstone Chronicles are an annual treat.' Amanda Craig

The Spook's Apprentice:

'Teenage readers looking instead for total fantasy should hasten to Joseph Delaney's The Spook's Apprentice' The Independent

Praise for The Wardstone Chronicles:

"The Wardstone Chronicles remain one of the strongest ongoing series of the moment" Write Away!