The best thing I can say about this book is that I don't normally like medieval fantasy novels, yet I kept this one as a special treat for the weekend. I have enjoyed the other books in the series (Revenge of the Witch, Curse of the Bane, Night of the Soul-Stealer), and this one was good as well. So read it. As Jen Robinson said about reviewing The Battle of the Labyrinth, "No? You want a real review? OK."
We know that things are getting worse for Tom Ward and the Spook. The forces of evil are gathering, and they are going to have to stop it. In this book, the forces take the form of witches at Pendle who are trying to put old differences to rest long enough to raise the fiend (aka the devil). One of the first things they do toward this goal is to break into Tom's mother's house and steal her trunks, kidnapping his brother and his family so the keys can be ransomed.
A lot goes on in this book, and the thing I liked best was that the occurrences not only are fast-paced, thrilling, and interesting-- they also add to the character development. We meet a friend of the Spook's who is a priest, we see more of Alice's influence over Tom, and Tom himself learns a lot about his past.
A 14 year old who is trying to find out who he is AND while doing so will manage to save the world from certain doom-- perfect. If you haven't picked this series up, make it your first choice for a rainy, cool summer day. Keep some cheese handy to nibble on!