No: 03 Spook's Secret

Book No: 03 of  13

The SPooK’S Secret

As the weather gets colder and the nights draw in, the Spook suddenly receives an unwelcome visitor. Tom's not sure why the stranger's presence has upset his master so much but the Spook announces that it's time to leave Chipenden and move to his winter house on Anglezarke. That winter house proves to be a bleak forbidding place, close the dark with a deep cellar full of bound witches and boggarts.

As the winter months progress, Tom finds himself discovering more and more about his master's past and the identity of the mysterious visitor, who it seems is the Spook's sworn enemy. Could it be that the Spook's past is catching up with him? And how much danger will Tom be in when the secrets his master has been trying to hide from the world are finally revealed?

Extract 1

“It's going to be a long, hard, cruel winter, son," Mam said. “All the signs are there…and there couldn't be a worse place to spend it than up on Anglezarke. Your dad was worried about you, son, and I am too. So I won't mince my words. There's no doubt that the dark's growing in power and there's a particularly baleful influence up on that moor. So stay close to your master. He's the only real friend you've got. You must help one another."

Extract 2

“Hold your candle right over the bars and take a proper look!" commanded the Spook.

I obeyed, leaning over the pit and holding it out at arm's length. At first all I could see were two large cruel eyes staring up at me, two pints of fire reflecting the candle flame. As I looked more carefully, I saw a large gaunt face framed by a tangle of thick greasy hair, and a squat scaly body below it. There were four limbs and they were more like arms than legs, with large elongated hands that ended in long sharp claws. I was looking at a feral lamia witch…

Author's Comments:

In ‘The Spook's Apprentice', John Gregory tells Tom Ward – “Never trust a woman!" ‘The Spook's Secret' explains why he made those comments and we enter the dangerous world of lamia witches. I took the basic idea from Greek Mythology and inflected it making the witches my own. I decided they would have two forms (the feral and the domestic) and slowly shape-shift between the two.  The Spook is in love with Meg, a domestic lamia but despite that, he would never turn her back on her and never truly trust her. If you could meet her you would understand…