Book Review: Joseph Delaney’s Curse of the Bane

Posted October 10, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews, Middle-Grade readers

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Joseph Delaney’s Curse of the Bane

Curse of the Bane


by

Joseph Delaney


that was published by Greenwillow Books on August 29, 2006 and has 480 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.
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Illustrator: Patrick Arrasmith
Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Revenge of the Witch

Second in The Last Apprentice / Wardstone Chronicles paranormal fantasy series for middle-grade readers and revolving around young Thomas Ward, the seventh son of a seventh son.

My Take

One shouldn’t allow ignorance and superstition to interfere with reality, for evil is found everywhere and must be fought. And the truth of that comes out with Delaney’s use of first-person protagonist point-of-view from Thomas’ perspective.

It’s a hard road for Thomas with all the authorities on the lookout and a funeral pyre likely to be at the end. It doesn’t help that Old Gregory and Thomas can’t keep in touch. Especially with all the hatred being focused on them.

Delaney sure gets me all roused up in how he uses his words. Phew. Of course, part of that “rousement” could well be my antipathy toward organized religions. The things religious groups are allowed to get away with!??

I would recommend reading Revenge of the Witch, 1, first, as Delaney isn’t quite as thorough in introducing us to this world in Curse of the Bane. It is still an easy read, just horrific what with the Quisitor’s actions and all that Andrew and Brother Peter have to relate.

There’s some interesting back history on Old Gregory, a bit shocking considering his demeanor and actions these days.

The Story

Imprisoned below the cathedral, the Bane is but getting worse and worse, influencing people into corruption and evil. It must be stopped before it becomes too strong, before it breaks out, and before it destroys the countryside.

The only man with a chance of stopping it is the Spook, but Priestown is too full of priests, eager to burn witches and others, such as the Spook and young Thomas.

The Characters

Thomas Ward, the seventh son of a seventh son, has been apprenticed to the Spook, a.k.a., John Gregory. Matthew, a.k.a., “Holy Joe”, had been one of his dad’s brothers. Thomas’ older brothers include Jack and James.

John Gregory is now known as Old Gregory and had once been a priest. His summer home is based in Chipenden while his winter home is in Angelzarke Moor.

A priest is Old Gregory’s very estranged brother — they haven’t spoken in 40 years. Another brother, Andrew, works as a locksmith. Father Cairns is a cousin. Emily Burns had been engaged to one of Gregory’s brothers. Margery “Meg” Skelton was a notorious witch.

Priestown is…
…loaded with priests, and the bishop is the uncle of the High Quisitor, the one who takes absolute delight in torturing and killing people, as he confiscates all their goods for himself. Other priests include Father Hendle and the now-deceased Father Roberts. Brother Peter is a gardener for the cathedral.

The Little People are…
…actually called the Seganti, and the Bane was once their god. They built the catacombs. Their next-to-last king had been Heys who lost his sons of whom Naze was the last.

Prisoners of the Quisitor include Alice (Aunt Bony Lizzie was in Revenge of the Witch), Maggie, and so many other innocents. Dr. Sherdley from Horshaw tried to save him. The chained Meg was a lamia witch. The feral ones are dangerous, unpredictable, and unlike humans. The domestic ones often become benevolent. Bill Arkwright is the local spook north of Caster.

The Bane is an ancient and evil spirit that affects the thoughts and emotions of all around it. Three covens of Pendle witches cursed John. Ghosts include Matty Barnes, a serial killer.

The Cover and Title

The cover has the look of an engraving with the lines in metallic golds. The background is a deep copper against which stands the gate, the gorgeous wrought iron gate that imprisons the Bane with Thomas in his cloak, holding a candle aloft with his staff in hand. There are bones and skulls on either side of the hall he must walk. The series information is at the very top in a distressed gothic font in the same deep copper with black shading and a pale, pale yellow glow. Directly under it is the title in black using the same glow as a background. The author’s name is in white at the very bottom.

The title refers to the evil against which Thomas must battle, the Curse of the Bane.