Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Last Apprentice: Attack of the Fiend

The Last Apprentice: Attack of the Fiend

Joseph Delaney
Illustrator:  Patrick Arrasmith 
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
HarperCollins, 2008   ISBN: 978-0060891275

Tom Ward’s master, the Spook, has decided that it is time to go to Pendle where the three witch clans are more active than ever. Not only that but there are rumors that the clans, whose members usually attack one another, are in the process of building alliances. They are up to something and the Spook and Tom need to find out what it is and to put a stop to it.

Before they set of for Pendle, Tom and his friend Alice go to visit Tom’s family. When they get to the farm they discover, to their horror, that Tom’s brother and his family have been seized. In addition the trunks that Tom’s mother left him have been stolen. The contents of those trunks are priceless and Tom is terrified that the thieves might use what they find within to do something terrible.

Tom and Alice determine that the kidnappers are none other than some of the members of one of the witch clans in Pendle. Not wanting to waste any time Tom sets off to try to rescue his family and Alice goes to see what she can learn from the witches there. She is, after all, a witch herself and she has family in Pendle.

The situation in Pendle turns out to be much worse than Tom anticipated. Not only have the witch clans become terribly powerful but a lone witch is also in the area, weaving a terrible plot to unite the clans so that they can summon the fiend, the Devil himself, into the world.

In this fourth book in The Last Apprentice series, Joseph Delaney tells a gripping story which not only explores Tom’s own struggles to do what is asked of him, but it also reveals a great deal about Tom’s mother, a woman who definitely had a very interesting past. This is not a story for the faint of heart, for the witches and their servants are a cruel and bloodthirsty lot and good folk end up suffering and dying. But for readers who can take a little blood, gore, and black magic, this is a tale which will fascinate and captivate.