Grade 5-7–In this second book in the series, Delaney chronicles the spine-tingling adventures of Thomas Ward, seventh son of a seventh son, and the last remaining apprentice of monster hunter Mr. Gregory, aka the Spook. The most dangerous monster of all, the Bane, has been imprisoned in the catacombs under Priestown. He kills by squashing his victims completely flat, and he appears to be succeeding at controlling the minds and actions of some of the town's inhabitants. He needs to be dealt with once and for all. Priestown holds its own dangers for Thomas and the Spook, however, as their work makes them subject to being declared witches and executed by the Quisitor. In the scary and dangerous events that follow, Thomas, accompanied by his friend Alice, faces the most difficult choices of his life so far, and learns to trust himself rather than simply follow his master's instructions. His first-person narration gives this truly spooky story an immediacy and a sense of reality that heightens the tension and impending danger. While part of a series, the story stands successfully on its own. Occasional eerily atmospheric woodcuts enhance the story's mood.–Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City
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