As the weather gets colder, the Spook announces that it’s time to move to his winter house on Anglezarke – a bleak, forbidding place, close to the dark with a deep cellar full of bound witches and boggarts. Once there, Tom finds himself discovering more and more about his master’s past and the identity of a mysterious visitor who, it seems, is the Spook’s sworn enemy. Is the Spook’s past catching up with him? And how much danger will Tom be in if his master’s secrets are revealed?
The third book in Joseph Delaney’s Spook’s series. The first book was excellent, so too was the second – can Delaney keep it going or will the things begin to tail off? I began to read The Spook’s Secret the very same day that I finished The Spook’s Curse; this is a fine testament to the quality of the series, as I often like to take a break before once again continuing with a series.
First things first - the series does not tail off… it actually improves even further as Delaney takes our now beloved characters and moves then to a new location. And what a location it is! The Winter House is situated in Anglezarke; a bleak, forbidding place, close to the dark with a deep cellar full of bound witches and boggarts. The house itself is absolutely brilliant – it is as big underground as above; has fifteen fireplaces and some of the most dangerous creatures of the dark imaginable are kept there. There is something else special about the house but you will have to read it yourself to find out… This is how Thomas described the house when he first laid eyes on it:
The worst thing, though, was that it had no garden. As I said, the house was built right against the sheer rocky crag behind it; in front, five or six paces brought you to the edge of the stream, which wasn’t very wide but looked deep and very cold. Another thirty paces, crunching across the pebbles, and you’d be stubbing your big toe against the opposite rock face. That’s if you managed to get across the slippery stepping stones without falling in.
From: The Spook's Secret - Chapter 4: The Winter House
The Spook’s past life is once again explored, as the two women who shaped his life are local to Anglezarke. The Spook is a character that divides opinions; he is a compelling and intriguing character who can at times be heartless and unthinking. The Spook’s Secret explains much of what made John Gregory the man he is. It is has not been a quiet and simple life for the Spook…
‘But not half as sorry as me, lad,’ the Spook said gruffly. ‘She was a good woman, Emily. She had a hard life but always did her best. The world will be a poorer place now she’s gone! When the good die, it sometimes unshackles evil which would otherwise have been kept in check!’
From: The Spook's Secret - Chapter 6: A Nasty Piece Of Work
There are many Lancashire stories about boggarts. Joseph Delaney actually lives in boggart territory in Lancashire. Stalmine has (or had) a boggart known as the 'hall knocker', which was laid to rest under the step or threshold of a house near the church. The old name for Stalmine is Staumin, the place Tom takes Alice at the end of the first book. There are also other boggarts within a few miles - a hairy boggart at Wheeton, a horse boggart associated with Hackensall Hall near Knott End-on-Sea, and a tale about the Devil and the Schoolmaster of Cockerham.
Delaney has amazed me by writing a book that is even better than the two books - books that I already held as excellent. Never has a book been so difficult to put down and so enjoyable to read. If you haven’t read The Spook’s series, read it. It’s that simple.
“Ideal for the reader who has outgrown Harry Potter” The Times
Review by Floresiensis
2 positive reader review(s) for The Spook's Secret
The Wardstone Chronicles began in 2004 with the publication of The Spook's Apprentice. In 2008 the fifth book in the series, The Spook's Mistake, was released to further complement a series that is without doubt the b [...]
Luke from Measham
I can't explain how much I enjoyed this book about a boy and his master. As soon as I read The Spook's Curse I had to read this one and I bought it the same day as I finished the second. Unfortunately I cannot tell you what happens in the book so you will just have to read it and find out!
Rebecca from Watford
It was cool but they had no garden. Who could live without a garden?
9.7/10 from 3 reviews