I drove five Boy Scouts in my van up to Black River Falls. Another two Scouts rode in a second vehicle. I wanted to play this audiobook but got to worrying that the 6th and 7th graders might get spooked. These are young adult novels but I think the gruesomeness gets amped up for each successive novel.
Thomas Ward is just shy of 15-years-old. He is alone at the Spook's house while the Spook is away on spook business. He awakes to see Alice - sent away by Spook at the end of the last novel - appearing in tom's mirror and warning him of a maenad about to attack. Tom doesn't even know what that is but grabs his staff and silver chain to investigate.
The house is still protected by the Spook's pet boggart but the boaggart is missing when a witch attacks Tom outside the house. Tom capture her with the chain and shortly after the boggat appears and thrashes the would be assassin to death. Strange things are-a-brewing.
Spook returns home. Spook ponders. Spook finds out the boggart was drugged by a trough of tainted blood. Spook and Tom return to Tom's farm to meet Tom's mother. Tom's mother is returning from Greece and is recruiting local County witches to return with her to Greece and fight against an ally of The Fiend.
Does all this makes sense to you? Don't worry. It's a fantasy adventure novel and the tales move fast and are not too difficult to catch up on. The basics are that Tom is a teen apprentice, his profession is distrusted by many people, and Tom and Alice are not an item but have that weird teen thing going where they are friends and sorta-siblings but other smoochy- smoochy things may be happening.
Advances in the story: Spook is against anything or one that may work with Dark magic. He has to set aside those long held rules to team up with Tom's mother and the County witches to fight in Greece. Tom and Alice have to fight against newly learned Dark parentage that mark them as suspect to hardliners like the Spook. More characters are killed. There are scary monsters. There is lots of blood magic and the witches like to drink blood and use body parts for magic.
1. I have really enjoyed the series.
2. Thomas and Co. travel to English cities are their way to Greece. I suppose the setting was never in doubt but I don't think Delaney used real city names before.
3. The stories are presented in such a way that this a real history. The concept being that Tom and the Spook are fighting evil. There is a buildup to a final battle to vanquish evil. That final battle defeating the fiend and evil would therefore put an end to evil, including witches, boggarts, and all the rest. We then end up in the modern era where stories of witches are seen as fairy and folk tales.