I really wanted to like this book. It started out so well and had lots of good things going for it. There's a ton of interesting characters, a pretty good mystery (ie. you are unlikely to guess the culprit in the first twenty pages), well researched history, a plot that moves along at a fair pace. Then, at the last maybe the last fifth of the book it all fell apart for me. In general, I liked Matthew, and I appreciated that McCammon didn't fall into the anachronistic trend of having his 'good' characters assume that there are no such things as witches or witchcraft. Matthew really isn't sure if Rachel is a witch or not for a fair chunk of the book. It's the kind of book where there are lots of clues given here and there and you know perfectly well that they're clues and will be important later, but it's hard to predict how they will be useful. It seemed like it was going places. Then everything went to pieces, when Matthew leaves Fount Royal the book starts to fail. The ending was such a disappointment. It was't that the villain didn't fit the role, but there was an entire chapter of exposition on why he/she had done what he/she had done and all the tired cliched reasons. After such a carefully realistic and convoluted setup, it all wraps up so neat and tidy. I just wanted more. I suppose if the next book in the series went on sale, I might consider it, but I won't be rushing out to spend a credit on it.
If you love adventure, great storytelling, and a series, read this book. Robert McCammon gives you a tale of Matthew Corbett that you won't want to put down. So much so, that you'll want to get the rest of the series to read them continuously without interruption. Five stars all the way around, including Edoardo Ballerini's masterful narration.
I like mysteries, and I like historical fiction, and this novel seemed like a great combination of both, with some witchcraft thrown in. There were engaging parts of this tale of a witchcraft trial in a small southern settlement in 1699. I liked the two main characters, a magistrate and his curious, smart, and precocious clerk. My problem was that there were not 30 hours of material in this story to keep it engaging the whole time. There were times I asked myself if I liked it enough to stick with it for another 20 hours. It barely passed that test. The novel did pick up near the end, even if it descended more into true pop fiction. In short, I give this a mixed review. I did stay with the whole thing, which says a lot. Still, it could have been a lot better 20 hour novel with better editing. The slow pace, though, was in keeping with the times, and the reader was quite good.
I would try more books narrated by Edoardo Ballerini, but no to Robert McCammon. I seriously hope to avoid any more of his work.
There were rave reviews on this book, and I can see why. In the first half of the book we are introduced to well developed and exciting characters on a mission. There are mysteries to solve, a damsel in distress, bad guys galore, and common individuals that are like most real people, both good and bad.
On the other hand, McCammon seems to have a predilection for abnormal sexual practices. For example, the descriptions of Rachel's supposed sex scenes with Satan, or the guy who prefers to have sex with his mare (yes I do mean his horse). I don't know if this was his attempt to titillate his readers, but I've seen a lot of negative responses to the sexual preoccupation of this book. I can't say I was forced into indignation, but at the same time I was repulsed. We all know there are examples of such doings, but really, is that what we signed up for when we purchased this book?
This author does seem to have an obsession with the penis. There are many descriptions, inferences, and innuendoes that I doubt very seriously would have been in use in 1699. As a time piece the preoccupation with sex in the puritanical early America's seemed out of place and completely unnecessary.
Ballerini does a stellar job at differentiating characters with tone, accent, and pauses.
Maybe, but unlikely. Not just because I wasn't crazy about the book either. I almost never watch t.v. and I manage to make it to the movies less than once a year.
The mystery was interesting if convoluted. The main characters were well developed and interesting. The story line, well, I've already covered enough of that to justify my rating.
Would I recommend this book? No, not really.
love audio books - Anglophile
I bought this audio over two years ago and just got around to listening to it. WOW! I love the writing, the plot(s), and the characters. To me, the mark of a good writer is that he/she can populate the story with not only good main characters, but also with great secondary characters. It is 1699 and a magistrate and his young clerk, Matthew Corbett, have been sent from Charleston to Pont Royal, south of Charleston, SC. after a previous magistrate disappears. Their purpose is to investigate and condemn a witch who is causing havoc with the struggling community.
Edoardo Ballerini is nothing short of brilliant. I love that the colonials have English accents - the colonies were still English after all. There are a lot of characters voices, and Mr. Ballerini does justice to them all. There are also quite a few laugh out loud moments, which I greatly enjoyed. I have already listened to the other four audio books available in this series - they just get better and better - and I'm looking forward to the sixth one.
The narrator was excellent and was the main reason I kept listening until the anachronisms and improper use of language became too much.
An excellent narration that I very much appreciated.
Some of the character development was quite good.
If one wishes to set a novel in a given historical period, it's best to learn something about that period. The author seems not to know the difference between breeches and trousers, thinks matches were in common use in the 1690's in the "wilderness", and makes more of Charles Town than I believe is warranted for that period. He has a character use "Thou", "Thee" and Thy, but has him consistently use them incorrectly, and doesn't even realize that these pronouns can only refer to one person as they are the 2nd person singular, and can never be plural. There might be more, but I stopped listening. Even the fine narration by Ballerini was not enough to keep me at it.
Say something about yourself!
The characters and how they were brought to life by the reader.
Matthew Corbett because of his moral standards, intelligence and courage.
Yes, when Matthew stayed with with Magistrate Woodard at his death.
I will definitely continue this series.