In this third and terrifying instalment in the Wardstone Chronicles, the nights are drawing in and it’s time for Tom and his master to move to Anglezarke, the Spook’s winter house. Tom has heard it will be a sinister and menacing place but nothing could fully prepare him for what he finds there. For this house, and indeed the whole of Anglezarke moor is full of secrets about the Spook’s youth. Secrets that are about to come to the surface and could wreck havoc on the whole County . . -Goodreads
My Rating: 4/5
In this book we find out a lot about the Spook’s past, which is something that has been hinted at a little before. I’m glad this was done this early in the series, as it’s good to wait a bit for mysteries to unfold, but if it’s left too long, I get bored.
It’s winter, so the Spook and Thomas travel with Alice to the winter house in Anglezarke. The setting is appropriately creepy, and there’s a crazy, ex-apprentice of the Spook running around the moor.
It’s difficult to talk about this book without giving away spoilers, but I’ll not go into any right now. Instead, I’ll talk about the relationships between the characters. Thomas and the Spook struggle to get a long (in previous books too) because the Spook doesn’t trust anyone very easily. A lot of the trust issues here revolve around Alice, as the Spook still doesn’t really trust her, but Thomas is always pulling away from his master towards Alice. This can get irritating at times, as Thomas doesn’t seem to be able to see the bigger picture. This had been a running theme of his characterisation for the first three books of the series, but you have to remember that he is only a young teenager, so he had a lot of growing up to do.
The plot itself is a little all over the place, but I still thought it was great. There are two main threats to overcome, but of course only one of them is the primary threat of the book. Again, it is hinted that the Dark is growing in power, and soon there will be even more difficult issues in The County for Thomas and the Spook to deal with.