Mr. Gregory has an apprentice named Tom Ward. The spook (a person who takes care of dark creatures) is out sick and Tom must catch a ripper for him. A ripper is a dark creature who sucks on the blood of a human. Risking his master's brother's life, Tom catches the ripper and puts it to rest. With all this done, Tom goes back to his master. A little while later, news comes that Mr. Gregory's brother is now dead. The spook and his apprentice go to the funeral in Priestown, (a town that is full of priests who hate spooks because they "sell their spirits to the devil), but only because there is a dark monster in the catacombs under the church. On the way to the funeral, the Quisitor makes an appearance with a cart full of fake witches to try and burn at the stake. On that cart is one of Tom's friends, Alice. Tom can do nothing but go into the funeral. Some time later the spook is taken into prison for being a spook. Tom goes to rescue them and, to do that, must go into the catascombs near the bane. So he does and gets almost all the prisoners out but a few. After that he goes back into the catacombs. On his way out he found the spook sitting in front of the golden gate which is a gate that kept the evil shape-shifting bane locked up. Tom was tricked and it really was the bane he was talking to. Alice comes up out of nowhere and spits on the bane. The bane hates women so he fled. Tom and Alice went out the gate. That night the bane tried to get Tom to give it some of his blood to eat. Tom said no, so the bane tried Alice. Alice gave her soul to the monster and let it out past the silver gate. It’s the day of the burning and Alice and Tom go and save the people from burning with the banes help. Since Alice gave it her blood, it gave her three requests and that was one. The spook and they set off and figure out how to defeat the bane. They do defeat the bane in the end.
I really enjoyed this book because fantasy is one of my favorites. I enjoyed reading about the dark creatures in this book – they were interesting, really creepy and gave me chills. Tom was very spunky, Alice was quirky and Mr. Gregory was queer in a good way. I’d really like to know more about his past. The setting of the story was very religious, with Priestown being full of churches and priests. This was a contrast to the characters, who were dark and spooky. The wording was easy to understand, but it kept me interested for the duration of the story. There were a few places where I was confused because I didn’t read the first book (this is the second in the series) and I recommend that people read the first book before reading this one.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9
Reviewer Age: 13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Shippensburg, Pennsylvania United States