The Last Apprentice: Curse of the Bane (Book 2)

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Now it's the dark's turn to be afraid

The Spook and his apprentice, Thomas Ward, deal with the dark. Together they rid the county of witches, ghosts, and boggarts. But now there's some unfinished business to attend to in Priestown. Deep in the catacombs of the cathedral lurks a creature the Spook has never been able to defeat; a force so evil that the whole county is in danger of being corrupted by its powers. The Bane!

As Thomas and the Spook prepare for the battle of their lives, it becomes clear that the Bane isn't their only enemy. The Quisitor has arrived, searching for those who meddle with the dark so he can imprison them—or worse.

Can Thomas defeat the Bane on his own? Is his friend Alice guilty of witchcraft? And will the Spook be able to escape the Quisitor's clutches?

Curriculet Details
65 Questions
76 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in 8th grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining irony, making predictions, and symbolism. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about conflict, mood, and tone. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of inference, theme, and motifs. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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CHAPTER I - The Horshaw Ripper

This story is told in the first person point of view. This means that our narrator is a character in the story. In this case, our narrator is the main character, Tom Ward. Watch the video below for more information about point of view.  (This annotation contains a video)
According to the first few pages, what do you think the mood of the story is?  
"Mason" is short for stonemason. A mason is someone who works with stones. A rigger is a person who specializes in moving heavy objects, usually with some kind of machinery. It is likely that the rigger will help move the large piece of stone once the mason brings it.  
Did you know that you can look up the definition of any word in the story that you need help with? Just select the word and use the "Define" feature. Select a word and try it out now. 
In what genre does this story most likely fall?  
In Northern England, where this story takes place, flag or flagged is another word for stone (short for flagstone). So when Tom says that "there was a crack in the flagged floor," he means there is a crack in the stone floor. You can seen an image of a flagged floor below.  (This annotation contains an image)
What is it called when an author includes clues that hint at future events in the story?  
"Dad's" does not show possession in this case. Here, it is being used as a contraction, a shorted version of "dad has." This is not a typical contraction in the United States, and is possibly indicative of the British upbringing of the author. 
An idiom is when a phrase means something other than it's literal meaning. Tom is not telling his grandfather how to suck eggs, but what the doctor means by this, is "don't tell me something I already know." Common idioms are "don't push my buttons," or "he gets under my skin."  
In The Last Apprentice: The Revenge of the Witch, the Spook's last apprentice, Billy, made a huge mistake when putting the stone on top of the pit. Discuss your feelings on Tom's decision to let the mason go. Support your answers with evidence from the text.  
The mood of a story is the feeling the reader gets when he/she reads, and the word choice the author makes usually creates this feeling. While you continue reading, make note of words and phrases that develop this story's mood, and think about what that mood is. Below is a video for more information about the difference between mood and tone.  (This annotation contains a video)
What type of figurative language is "clip-clop" in this sentence?  
Since Tom is the seventh son of a seventh son, he is able to see and feel supernatural beings unlike many others. This is why he is a great choice to be an apprentice to the Spook.  

CHAPTER II - The Spook’s Past

Define "complacent" in your own words. You can use the "Define" feature to help you. 
Think about a time in your life when you felt you did a really great job on something, and yet you didn't get the praise you felt you deserved. Why do you think some mentors approach teaching this way? Did it make you work harder? Or did it break you down? What effect do you think it will have on Tom?  
The main character has just discovered something so interesting that he says he "certainly wasn't going to forget it." Also, something from the past is about to be revealed. As a reader, you should pay special attention to what is about to be revealed, as it will probably be important to you too. 
Imagery is when the author uses descriptive language to paint a picture in the reader's mind. Here, the Spook uses imagery to describe the scene he encountered years before. Watch the video below for more information on imagery.  (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following is the best synonym for sated?  
When the main character stops to ask himself a question, the reader should take notice and look for the answers to these questions as he or she continues to read.  
What can be inferred about the exchange between Tom and the lad with whom he met?  
Many stories follow a plot diagram, which can be seen below. When the author sets the scene and introduces the characters, that is typically called the exposition. The exposition often ends when the main characters encounter a conflict or problem that leads them on the path for the rest of the story. Our main characters have just said that they need to take care of an evil spirit called the Bane, and the title of this book is called "The Curse of the Bane." It is very likely that we have encountered our conflict, or we will very shortly.  (This annotation contains an image)


Catacombs are underground tunnels that hold human remains. Below is an image.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why do you think the Spook is telling Tom all of this information?  
Blood is symbolic in many supernatural stories such as this one. It represents life or life-force. The ripper boggart grew stronger as it consumed blood, as does the Bane. Watch the video below for more information on symbolism, and see if you can pick out any other symbols that occur throughout this story.  (This annotation contains a video)
A motif is a reoccurring structure or literary device that helps develop the text's major themes. Which of the following is the best example of a motif in this story so far? Watch the video below for more information on motifs if needed. 
What type of literary device is being used here?  

CHAPTER IV - Priestown

Priestown is based off of the real town, Preston, which is located in Lancashire in Northern England. You can see the location in the image below. (This annotation contains an image)
A hawthorne hedge, like the one the Spook and Tom hide behind, can be seen below.  (This annotation contains an image)
The information the Spook has shared will likely come into play during the course of the story. Which of the following is mostly likely going to happen after this information is given? 
Priests, and others who believe this about left-handers, are showing prejudice. They have a preconceived idea about those who are left-handed without any reason or experience.  
Indirect characterization is when the reader can infer something about a character based on the author's description. The inn keeper has a stained apron. What can we infer about him as a person? 
A fell is a term for hills and mountains. You can see an image of a fell below.  (This annotation contains an image)
The author has stopped to explain this third key, and it is seemingly pointless at this point of the story. Readers should ask themselves, "Why is the explanation of this key important?"  
We can infer Tom's father's opinion of nobles. What is it?  

CHAPTER V - The Funeral

Tom is currently experiencing internal conflict because he is wrestling with his own decisions. Watch the video below for more information on conflict in stories.  (This annotation contains a video)
When the housekeeper speaks, she does not use proper English and there are misspelled words in her speech. Why did the author most likely choose to write this way?  
This is the second time that the author has made mention that the gargoyle's eyes looked like they were following Tom. Make note of this, and see if this emerges later in the story.  
The advice that the Spook gives Tom is most likely part of a developing ____. 
It seems as though the problem of the story continues to get more complicated. Not only does the Spook want to get rid of the Bane, but there are the added elements of the Quisitor and Alice. As you continue to read, it will be interesting to see how these problems propel the action forward.  
The Spook is insisting on staying despite the fact that the Quisitor is there making the mission even more dangerous. In your opinion, do you think the Spook is staying for another reason he is not revealing? Or is he there just to do his job like he says? Support your claim with reasoning and evidence from the text.  
Think about how the author is able to create suspense. Many times, the author puts the main character into a situation which raises questions he does not have answers to. This causes internal conflict, anxiety, and suspense for Tom, and the experiences the same emotions because it is being told from Tom's point of view.  

CHAPTER VI - A Pact with Hell

What type of figurative language is being used here? 
Below is an image of a traditional confessional. There are two rooms with separate entrances, one for the priest and the other for the lay person. When inside of these rooms, the two can communicate with each other through a metal grille.  (This annotation contains an image)
The conversation between Father Cairns and Tom seems to be developing a theme in this story. The priests, the Quisitor, and the Spook all feel as though they know what's best when it comes to handling the evil in the town. Which of the following might be the best description of a theme that is developing?  
In Book One of The Last Apprentice, the author made it clear that the female characters were extremely strong, despite the narrowed thoughts of the other characters. It seems as though this story is also emphasizing that the idea of women being weak is a false one.  
Almost this entire chapter is dedicated to the conversation between Tom and Father Cairns. Explain why you think the author chose to highlight this conversation.  
The developing theme of good and evil is quite a bit more complicated than normal. The Quisitor is thought to be doing good, but in fact he is seemingly unreasonable and unjust. Also, the Spook and Tom are thought to be wicked because they do dark work, but in fact they are trying to do good. In addition, it is likely that the Bane has taken over Father Cairns's mind, possibly emphasizing the juxtaposition of good and evil in this story.  

CHAPTER VII - Escape and Capture

When the reader expects one thing but the opposite occurs, it is called 
How are the Quisitor's actions ironic?  
Section 1 Quiz 

CHAPTER VIII - Brother Peter’s Tale

Tom is willing to risk his own life to help save the Spook. What does this say about him as a character?  
Physical descriptions, such as this description of Brother Peter are a type of ________. 
Think about how difficult it must be for Tom to figure out who to trust. Since the Bane can control anyone's thoughts, it's impossible to know who the Bane has taken advantage of.  
If Tom doesn't remember the directions, he will not have anyone to ask. Do you think it's smart of him not to write down the directions? Do you think this will ultimately lead him into trouble?  
Why is what Andrew is telling Tom important?  

CHAPTER IX - The Catacombs

The imagery of light and dark definitely makes appearances throughout the novel, and could be considered a motif. The combination of salt, which is white, and iron, which is black, is an example of this motif. As you read, see if you can identify other instances of light and dark imagery, and see if there's a connection to one of the themes.  
Which of the following is the best synonym for malevolence?  
Choose a few words and phrases that add to the suspense and ominous mood of this scene.  
This gate was clearly specially made with careful thought and planning to keep dangerous creatures inside.  
Minute here is used as an adjective to describe how small the key is. It is not being used as a unit of time. Below are the two pronunciations of the word, the first being the noun, or unit of time, the second being the adjective that is a synonym for small.  (This annotation contains a video)
The highlighted quote helps to develop another theme in this story. Which of the following themes is best supported with the textual evidence above?  
So far Tom has been able to get through the tunnels without much trouble. The suspense is building, and the reader begins to wonder when something will happen. 
Which of the following issues is possible with this mass breakout of prisoners?  

CHAPTER X - Girl Spit

Look at the title of this chapter as well as the image. How do you think girl spit is going to come into play during this chapter?  
What is a tinderbox? Hint: Use context clues from the story, or look it up if you need to! 
Tom is realizing that what the Spook said is uncharacteristic of how he normally feels. Should Tom trust him? Or is he under the influence of the Bane?  
The fact that Tom feels a sense of duty helps emphasize one of the ___________ of the book.  
Think back to the beginning of this chapter. How might Tom get out of this situation?  
What can we infer about Alice based on this description?  
Based on our knowledge of how our author reveals information, what Alice is about to tell us may be important for future events. Make sure to pay close attention while reading just in case.  
Here we see that those who we would normally consider "doing good" are actual the ones who are evil. Also, those who are considered to be doing "dark work," are those who are trying to do good. This theme of good and evil is an interesting one, and we should pay attention to any other instances later in the story.  
What does this say about the Quisitor, but also relates to our theme?  

CHAPTER XI - The Spook’s Trial

According to the chapter title, it seems as though the Spook will be going on trial. While you're reading, try to pick out information that will help you predict how he might get out of his situation (if he does).  
Why is it likely that Tom will not leave the Spook, and he will try to help him instead?  
As stated before, blood often symbolizes life. Therefore, pay close attention to how the symbol of life may connect to this scene in particular.  
Brother Peter is being punished for helping Tom. How might Tom's guilt for putting him in this position affect him? Make a prediction.  
Tom has come to realization about his relationship with the Spook. This will likely affect him and cause him to act with a sense of duty to save him.  

CHAPTER XII - The Silver Gate

Which of the following ideas is developed here by the fact that Tom wants advice from his mother?  
Tom is in the cellar fairly close to the tunnels that hold the Bane. Is it possible that the Bane is controlling Tom's dreams?  
What deal is the Bane trying to make with Tom?  
Again, the symbol of blood emerges, and drinking it will give the Bane what it represents, life.  

CHAPTER XIII - The Burning

Father Cairns also had an injury to his hand. Which of the following is the most likely regarding Alice's hand?  
In the first book of The Last Apprentice, Alice's relative, Mother Malkin, dies because she can't hold herself against the running water of a river.  
What is the most likely reason why Tom call his mother "mam" instead of "mom"? 
Not only is Tom confused, but the theme of good and evil continues to get complicated. The Quisitor is actually a bad person, so if Alice has the Bane kill the Quisitor like she says, then are both of these dark creatures actually good?  
A pyre is a pile of material that catches fire. You can see an image below.  (This annotation contains an image)
How does the author make it so we feel what Tom is feeling?  
This could be considered irony. The Spook won't even consider killing someone evil by fire, but ultimately this might be his fate.  
When Tom goes into the flames for the Spook, which theme is being supported?  
Tom has probably suffered from a second-degree burn. Not only has the burn affected the top layer of the skin, but it has affected the dermis, which is the layer underneath, causing the skin to blister.  
When Alice freed the Bane and then used the Bane to free the Spook, our story reached a turning point. This is called the  

CHAPTER XIV - Dad’s Tale

In the first book, we are given the impression that not only is Tom meant to be a spook because he is the seventh son of a seventh son, but because he is also the son of his mam. We understand that there is something special about her, but it is never revealed what that is.  
What do you think will happen between Tom and his father while he is visiting? Use evidence from the text to make your prediction.  
One of the developing themes is listening to the advice of those older and wiser. Just like Tom, we should pay attention to what his father is about to tell him. 
What are we learning about Tom's mam?  
Tom is making connections between his mother and Meg, the woman the Spook fell for. While you read, see if there are any other similarities or connections to be made between the two.  
Section 2 Quiz 

CHAPTER XV - The Silver Chain

It is clear that Tom and his mother have a very close relationship, probably because she is part of the supernatural world, and he is able to sense supernatural beings as the seventh son of a seventh son.  
Why would it be dangerous for the Bane to be able to see through Alice's eyes?  
The motif of three is emerging here. When the story uses the number three, it is using a common motif used in fairy tales.  
This is a strange thing for Tom's mam to do. As you read, look for clues as to why his mam had this reaction.  
In your own words, summarize the theme of good and evil the way the author sees it.  
"Right as rain" is an idiom used in England that means "perfectly fine."  

CHAPTER XVI - A Pit for Alice

Which of the following phrases is the best American version of the British phrase "tucked in"? 
Think about the different types of conflict occurring in the story right now, both internal and external.  
A hamlet is a small settlement in a rural area. You can see an image of one below. (This annotation contains an image)
What will the Spook do with Alice now?  
Here the Spook states that it is their duty to keep the County safe, but Tom also believes it's his duty to protect Alice. Which duty will overpower the other?  
There are two examples of figurative language in this passage. What are they?  

CHAPTER XVII - The Quisitor Arrives

Often in literature, spring symbolizes rebirth, and winter represents death and dying. As we move into the winter months in the story, take note of any destruction or death. Also, the change in the season could symbolize the growing danger and bleakness of the current situation.  
Based on the boggart's actions, which word describes it?  
The Bane is tempting Alice and preying on her greed and insecurities. Make a connection to your own life. What characteristics do you think you have that would keep the Bane out of your mind? What are general characteristics that would help do this? 
What is the main reason for the Spook and Tom's journey?  
A cairn of stones is a pile of stones that marks a location. You can see an image of a cairn below.  (This annotation contains an image)

CHAPTER XVIII - Nightmare on the Hill

Access the article below, and read under the section, "Dreams in Literature." What does the article say the motif of dreams in literature usually represents? 
According to Tom's dream, it seems that his weakness is his fondness for his mother. The Bane might continue to use this against Tom during their battle.  
What has occurred here?  
A tarn is a mountain lake or pool of water. An image of one can be seen below.  (This annotation contains an image)
What internal conflict is Tom dealing with in this scene?  
This revelation is definitely unexpected. However, we can imagine that if Alice called the Bane off of Tom and the Spook, that she called him for a reason. Also, we know that overall, Alice's actions are for good. She probably had the Bane kill the Quisitor to save Tom and the Spook, and other innocents from being burned.  
Is this what you would expect the Spook to do? To have Alice come along with himself and Tom? Why or why not?  

CHAPTER XIX - The Stone Graves

The man is paying the Spook by letting him use a cart, a horse, and his son as a driver.  
Which of the following words is a synonym for bracing? 
Alice, despite what the Spook thinks of her, is still trying to help. Is it possible that the Spook will eventually come around and see that Alice does mean well? Or is she a lost cause because she is being controlled by the Bane and lost to the darkness forever?  
How will Naze's story affect what happens next?  
The motif of the number three emerges here, as well as the theme of duty. Which character will feel such a strong sense of duty that he/she will sacrifice his/her life to kill the Bane?  
What type of literary device is being used here?  
The Spook's sense of duty is extremely strong, and he has decided to sacrifice his own life for the sake of saving others from the Bane. However, he is willing to sacrifice Alice as well, although she has had nothing but good intentions. Does Alice deserve to be treated this way, even though she may be a witch? Is it better to be safe than sorry?  

CHAPTER XX - Mam’s Letter

Why did Tom imagine this scene?  
The Spook's anger doesn't seem to be from Tom's disobedience, but because of something deeper than that. It almost sounds as though he believes Tom has potential, and to sacrifice both of their lives for the Bane seems unnecessary and a huge waste.  
What does Mam's letter reveal?  
When the author makes a reference to another piece of literature or piece of art, it is called an allusion. Here, the author is referencing the Bible, and Thomas the Doubter. Below is a video of a children's version of the Doubting Thomas story from the Bible. Watch if you're unfamiliar with the story. (This annotation contains a video)

CHAPTER XXI - A Sacrifice

According to the plot diagram, which portion of the story are we currently approaching?  
The author takes the time to summarize the plan and clarify what should happen to the readers. Do you think that this plan is going to work? Or should we expect something to go wrong?  
The author describes the Bane gaining strength with very descriptive language. This is called  
So far the event from the beginning of the book has been brought up twice. Tom compared the chains and hook to those that are used by a rigger, and he also compared the Bane to the Horshaw ripper. It is likely that the author did this to bring the story full circle and make connections between both experiences.  
Which themes are present here in this quote from Mam's letter?  
This setting change is abrupt. Therefore, it is likely that this is what Tom is seeing in his head after he stabs the Bane. Is he dreaming? Is this his version of heaven?  
How did Mam's prophesy not come true?  
Here, the Spook is asking Tom for advice. It's an interesting turn of our theme.  

CHAPTER XXII - A Bargain’s a Bargain

How is the Spook going to test Alice?  
The Spook reacts in a very unexpected way. He welcomes Alice into the home instead of putting her in the pit. Did Tom's comment about Meg change his mind? Or was this what he was planning the whole time?  
What is most likely going to be discussed during this conversation?  
Section 3 Quiz