Behind failed movies like the Seventh Son, you sometimes found successful book series, like The Last Apprentice.

What are the Wardstone Chronicles/The Last Apprentice about?

Written by British author Joseph Delaney, The Wardstone Chronicles is a dark fantasy series of books also known as The Last Apprentice series in the U.S.

This is the story Thomas “Tom” Ward. He is the seventh son of a seventh son who is apprenticed to John Gregory to become a Spook. He now learned how to become a master fighter of supernatural evil. Not an easy task. In fact, most of John Gregory’s apprentices have failed, and failing is synonymous with death in that line of work. Tom has a long road in front of him and it could lead him to save the world … or destroy it.

The Last Apprentice Books in Order:

  1. Revenge of the Witch (in UK: The Spook’s Apprentice) – For years, Old Gregory has been the Spook for the county, ridding the local villages of evil. Now his time is coming to an end. But who will take over for him? Twenty-nine apprentices have tried—some floundered, some fled, some failed to stay alive. Only Thomas Ward is left. He’s the last hope, the last apprentice.
  2. Curse of the Bane (in UK: The Spook’s Curse) – The Spook and his apprentice, Thomas Ward, rid the county of witches, ghosts, boggarts, and other creatures of the dark. And there’s some unfinished business to attend to in Priestown. Deep in the catacombs lurks a creature the Spook has never been able to defeat. The Bane! But the Bane is not their only enemy. The Quisitor arrives, intent on hunting down anyone who meddles with the dark.
  3. Night of the Soul Stealer (in UK: The Spook’s Secret) – As the weather grows colder and the nights draw in, the Spook and his apprentice Tom Ward must be even more vigilant in their battles against the boggarts, witches, and ghosts roaming the county. When they receive an unexpected visitor, the Spook decides it is time to move to his winter house in Anglezarke. It is a bleak, forbidding place, full of witches and secrets. Tom hears rumors of menacing creatures stirring on the moors nearby, including the evil beast called Golgoth.
  4. Attack of the Fiend (in UK: The Spook’s Battle) – A new danger is threatening Thomas Ward’s world: the witches are rising and the three most powerful clans are uniting in order to conjure an unimaginable evil. Tom and the Spook set out to stop the witches before they unleash the demon. But when Tom finds himself on his own, he wonders if he has the courage and cunning to defeat the most powerful enemy he has ever encountered.

  1. Wrath of the Bloodeye (in UK: The Spook’s Mistake) – A new danger has emerged: an ancient water witch, Bloodeye, is roaming the County intent on destroying everything in her path. To strengthen his skills, Thomas Ward is sent to the far north to train with the demanding Bill Arkwright. Arkwright lives in a haunted mill on the edge of a treacherous marsh, and his training methods prove to be harsh and sometimes cruel.
  2. Clash of the Demons (in UK: The Spook’s Sacrifice) – War looms on the horizon. As the Spook’s apprentice, Tom Ward must protect the County from the creatures of the dark. But now his mother has returned from her homeland to seek his help. A dangerous ancient witch, Ordeen, is about to rise, bringing with her suffering and devastation. Tom’s mother has mustered a powerful army to confront Ordeen. If Tom joins them, the Spook will abandon Tom as his apprentice.
  3. Rise of the Huntress (in UK: The Spook’s Nightmare) – Things can never be the same again. After a long journey and a hard battle, the Spook and his apprentice, Tom Ward, have returned home. But the county has been overrun by enemy soldiers. Tom, Alice, and the Spook must flee, too, across the ocean to the island of Mona. And it’s on Mona that this small band fighting against the dark will face an old enemy grown terrifyingly powerful.
  4. Rage of the Fallen (in UK: The Spook’s Destiny) – Thomas Ward has enemies: The Fiend stalks him, waiting for a moment of weakness. The terrifying Morrigan, goddess of witches, warned him never to set foot on her homeland, Ireland. But now war has consumed their own country, and Tom, his friend Alice, and the Spook must flee to Ireland. The dark rages strongly there. No one can be trusted.

  1. Grimalkin The Witch Assassin (in UK: Spook’s: I Am Grimalkin) – Grimalkin never missed—except once. The only victim who escaped her blades was Tom Ward. Since then, the witch assassin has fought alongside the Spook’s apprentice. Now you can hear her side of the story. What is Grimalkin’s past—and what will her future be? Can Tom trust her to stay on the side of good? Or is the pull of the dark too strong to resist?
  2. Lure of the Dead (in UK: The Spook’s Blood) – Tom Ward and his master have bound the Fiend at last. But now Tom must use his powers to put an end to the source of evil once and for all. When the Spook is captured by bloodthirsty creatures of the dark, Tom must vanquish a god, avenge his master, and protect the person he loves most from himself.
  3. Slither (in UK: The Spook’s: Slither’s Tale) – Slither has never heard of Tom Ward, the Spook, or Alice Deane. He thirsts for blood. He takes it from whatever he wants, animal or human. And he has his eyes on the home of a farmer and his three daughters. With his dying breath, the farmer offers Slither a bargain. If Slither will take his two youngest daughters to safety, the eldest daughter is his. A journey of horrors begins.

  1. I Am Alice (in UK: The Spook’s: Alice) – Alice Dean’s destiny is intertwined with Tom Ward’s. But he’s going to be the next Spook, and she’s a witch—possibly the most powerful one the world has ever seen. To rid the world of its greatest evil, the Fiend, Alice will venture into the depths of the dark for the final weapon Tom needs to defeat him.
  2. Fury of the Seventh Son (in UK: The Spook’s Revenge) – Tom Ward has kept one step ahead of the Fiend, the most evil being in the world. Now he will vanquish the Fiend once and for all. But it will require a terrible sacrifice: not everyone Tom cares about will survive the final battle.

Bonus

The Last Apprentice universe goes beyond Tom Ward. Those following books offer stories taking place in the same world, expanding it and delivering back stories about familiar characters.

  1. Tale and Other Horrors (short story collection) – The Spook himself was once an apprentice. How did he begin his training? How did Alice, a young witch and Tom’s closest ally, overcome her dark past? How did the assassin Grimalkin become the most deadly and feared witch in the county? And you’ll discover the rest of the county’s menacing villains, collected in a gallery of horrors, and relive the vicious battles waged against them.
  2. Coven of Witches (short story collection) – The first thing a spook’s apprentice learns is never, ever to trust a witch. You’ll meet a fair and beautiful woman—with green scales running down her spine. You’ll encounter a dead witch who lurks under rotting leaves, hunting for blood, and a witch whose cry of revenge can kill. And you’ll follow Alice back into her past, when she lived with one of the most dangerous witches of all. Are you ready to face the dark?
  3. Bestiary: The Guide to Creatures of the Dark (illustrated companion book) – This heavily illustrated stand-alone companion book to the Last Apprentice series is your guidebook to the supernatural, terrifying creatures of the dark: Learn what to do if you must face a boggart, a witch, a dark mage, or even the Fiend himself.

Once The Wardstone Chronicles concluded, a new trilogy following the continued adventures of Tom Ward started. In the The Starblade Chronicles, Tom is now a Spook in his own right and fight an evil threatening the County, and the world.

The Starblade Chronicles Books in Order:

  1. A New Darkness – Tom Ward is the Spook, the one person who can defend the county from bloodthirsty creatures of the dark. But he’s only seventeen, and his apprenticeship was cut short. No one trusts Tom’s skill, not until he’s proven himself. And a fifteen-year-old girl named Jenny knows more about the three mysterious deaths in the county than Tom does. She is a seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, and she wants to be Tom’s first apprentice—even though a female spook is unheard of.
  2. The Dark Army – Together with the witch assassin, Grimalkin, Tom Ward and his apprentice, Jenny, lead an army into battle against a dangerous enemy—but it all goes catastrophically wrong. The situation seems hopeless until Alice appears. But Alice had turned to the dark: can Tom trust her now?
  3. The Dark Assassin – Thomas Ward and his apprentice, Jenny, must team up with former rivals and enemies to fight the evil Kobalos warriors intent on destroying the county. Determined to end the war with the demons, Tom leads Jenny and Alice to Pendle for one last epic clash. Loyalties will be tested, alliances will be broken, and not everyone will survive.