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The Dragon Never Sleeps
Glen Cook
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Otto Penzler
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Gahan Wilson, James Warhola, Roger Zelazny
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Curse of the Bane (The Last Apprentice)

Curse of the Bane (The Last Apprentice) - Joseph Delaney Tom Ward is a Spook's apprentice. The Spooks are the people who deal with malevolent supernatural forces using mundane means: their physical strength, their wits, and their knowledge. This profession is somewhat similar to this:


The book starts with Tom's first independent assignment of containing a highly dangerous boggart. He succeeded, but not before the local priest was killed. The priest happens to be a brother of Tom's mentor who wants to give the last respect to his late brother.

The problem is all the priests are buried in the city called Priestown. Think local Vatican. Priests hate Spooks and their Quisitor - think Grand Inquisitor - burns them in a bonfire without any trail most of the time. Unfortunately our heroes have no choice but to go as they have another even more important business in Priestown: something very big and very bad lurking in the local catacombs, something which almost killed the Spook when he was younger and at his physical prime.

This book is as fast and easy read as the first one; it is also as spooky. I complained about some of the characters being undeveloped before, now we finally have some development happening. We learn more about the background of the Spook and Tom's parents with some very unexpected facts coming out.

The story also raises a very difficult question: can you fight evil with greater evil? If you do, what does it make you? If you managed to achieve highly noble goals, does it make the means were justifiable? I was really pondering about these while reading.

In conclusion this rates with 4 very solid stars. If you liked the first book, you will like this one. If you are looking for a horror series written with young adults in mind but which can be read by anybody even past that age, look no further than this.