The Spook's Stories: Witches by Joseph Delaney
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!
This gathering of five short stories is an invaluable addition to The Wardstone Chronicles; much is explained in detail and Delaney gives Spook’s devotees a greater insight into some of his most beloved and intriguing characters.
The first story recounts the tale of how the Spook, John Gregory, met and fell in love with a lamia witch Meg Skelton. Those who have read the third book in the series, The Spook’s Secret, will remember Tom’s and the Spook’s winter visit to the bleak and brooding Anglezarke Moor, to the house where Meg Skelton lived. This wonderful little story explains why the Spook did not place Meg in a pit as he would have done with any other witch and it also goes a long way to explaining the Spook’s latter day views on women, especially those with pointy shoes.
In the second story, Dirty Dora, things get decidedly darker. It is the tale of a dead witch, one who has been tried by water and pricking, and then executed. She has come back to wreak revenge on her tormentors. It is, once again, a superb story.
And then we come to Grimalkin, the witch assassin that has appeared throughout The Wardstone Chronicles. This tale tells of her relationship with the Fiend, whom she had a child with, and of her assassin training. Grimalkin is a wonderful character and if you ever wondered why she helps Tom, this story holds the answers.
The fourth tale is of Alice Deane, Tom’s friend (girlfriend?). Set prior to the events in The Spook’s Apprentice, telling of the time when Alice first became a witch, and her apprentice with the ghastly Bony Lizzie (from The Spook’s Battle). In The Spook’s Battle there was the horrendous Tibb and here we have a character to rival him in the form of Old Spig, Bony Lizzie’s familiar. This story is arguably the best of the bunch. What happens to Old Nanna Nuckle’s head is particularly gruesome.
And then finally we find ourselves with good old Master Ward shortly after of the events of The Spook’s Mistake. Tom is completing his apprenticeship to the unforgiving Arkwright, although it must be said that he is now a slightly mellower master. Here Joseph Delaney moves into the realm of Irish folk tales/mythology. This chilling account brings the curtain down on five first-rate stories.
Those who have read the six books in the Wardstone Chronicles and The Spook’s Tale (a short story written for World Book Day which has sold over 225,000 copies) will find this an invaluable companion piece. There’s nothing wick about this book, a must for young Spook’s.
About the author
Joseph Delaney lives in Lancashire. His home is in the middle of boggart territory and his village has a boggart called the Hall Knocker.
About the County
The Spook’s witch stories are set in the dark hag-ridden heart of the County (Lancashire). The fictional Witch Dell, which is close to the brooding mass of Pendle Hill, features in three of the stories, and other locations familiar to readers of the series are used: Chipenden (Chipping); Caster (Lancaster); Staumin (Stalmine) and the bleak Anglezarke Moor.
This The Spook's Stories: Witches book review was written by Floresiensis
All reviews for Joseph Delaney's The Wardstone Chronicles
The Spook's Tale
The Wardstone Chronicles
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...
The Spook's Stories: Witches
The Wardstone Chronicles
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 ...
I Am Grimalkin
The Wardstone Chronicles
'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 mu...
The Spook's Apprentice
The Wardstone Chronicles: Book 1
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 h...
The Spook's Blood
The Wardstone Chronicles: Book 10
Having bound the Fiend's spirit temporarily, Tom now has to come up with a permanent solution - and quickly. But the forces of the dark are now throwing everything they...
The Wardstone Chronicles: Book 11
Slither is a haizda mage who preys upon humans, drinking their blood to feed his dark urges. So when a local farmer dies, it's only natural that Slither should want to ...
The Wardstone Chronicles: Book 12
A lot of dark stuff happened when I was young that I’ve never even told to my dearest friend, Tom Ward. Dark and scary things I hoped I had left behind forever......
The Spook's Curse
The Wardstone Chronicles: Book 2
The Spook and his apprentice, Thomas Ward, have travelled to Priestown to defeat the Bane, a powerful, evil creature that lurks in the catacombs of the cathedral and is cor...
The Spook's Secret
The Wardstone Chronicles: Book 3
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 d...
The Spook's Battle
The Wardstone Chronicles: Book 4
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 ...
The Spook's Mistake
The Wardstone Chronicles: Book 5
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 treac...
The Spook's Sacrifice
The Wardstone Chronicles: Book 6
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. One of the most danger...
The Spook's Nightmare
The Wardstone Chronicles: Book 7
The Spook, Tom and Alice return from Greece to find the County under siege - and the Spook's home is burnt to the ground. With his precious library of knowledge destroy...
The Spook’s Destiny
The Wardstone Chronicles: Book 8
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 Spoo...
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