Thursday, February 7, 2019

Another Audio: "Curse of the Bane" by Joseph Delaney

Another Audio: Curse of the Bane by Joseph Delaney,

Second in the Young Adult series The Last Apprentice. The series follows Thomas Ward, new apprentice to The Spook. The Spook is a professional ghost and witch catcher. A Spook catches and binds witches and malevolent spirits by imprisoning them in a pit. Thomas has been working for Spook - everyone calls him that, it's kind of a job title - for about a year and Thomas is now 15-years-old (or so).

The story begins when a rather vicious and deadly boggart - the Horshaw Ripper - has restrained a priest and is slowly feasting on the priest's blood. The Spook is deathly ill and sends Thomas to bind the boggart. Thomas succeeds in drawing the boggart away from the tasty priest and into a pit lined with salt and iron filings and capped by a stone. This is a big success for a young apprentice.

Thomas heads back to the Spook's place, gets lectured a bit, and goes back to his daily duties. But, along comes a scare and The Spook realizes that an even nastier spirit than the Horshaw Ripper has is now a danger. The Spook banished The Bane into the catacombs of Priesttown several years ago but the Spook was unable to completely defeat The Bane and the entity has gradually become more powerful.  The Bane now exerts influence on some the Priests who run Priesttown by reading and influencing their minds. The Bane has used the priests to sow trouble and strife and press for more taxes from the people of WhatEverLandThisIsSupposedToBe.

As Spooks, both Thomas and Spook are roundly disliked and condemned by the church. Going to Priesttown is a danger for Spooks and Spook himself really dislikes the church and the church dislikes him What's more, there is a rather rogue Inquisitor is traveling the countryside and drowning witches. Thomas and Spook will have to avoid that guy.

Anyhoo. Things happen. The setting is akin to a somewhere between 1300 and 1400. Transportation is by foot or horse, everything is agrarian, no guns, the church controls many things, villages are fairly separate.

This is fun stuff with Thomas getting a bit cocky about his abilities. Alice from the first novel reappears. She was raised by witches and Spook does not trust her at all. Thomas, of course, wants to help her out even though Alice's behavior is kinda sketchy and flirting with disaster. The Spook ends up captured and Thomas is in Priesttown by himself looking to rescue the Spook and Alice and defeat The Bane.

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