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.
I read this years ago and enjoyed it immensely. Listening to it read and performed was like visiting old friends and discovering in them so much more to enjoy. As always, you neither disappoint nor cease to amaze RM. Thank you for another great tale!
Great listening book from the beginning, takes you to another world. It's easy to forget the freedoms as a society that we have achieved...this series takes you back to another time and place...I've listened to 2 and plan on listening to the whole series
he's incredible, so many different vocalizations you totally forget it's 1 person talking...couldn't pick a favorite
Good character development while permitting a layer of mysterious to surround each character. Quite an enjoyable book, including the incorporation of the details of the historical setting. Parts were too slow and there were a few twists that were a bit of a stretch, but I would recommend this to another.
There are so many things to be said of this book that it is difficult to know where to begin. I had little idea of what I was in for, expecting a historical fiction mystery... But this was so much more than a colonial caper.
The prose was phenomenal. By the end of just the first chapter I had been gripped by the tone and imagery. It was heavy, verbose, and oh so vivid.
This book is not for the weak of heart or stomach - the author spared no detail nor gruesome reality that was life in the early American colonies. Scenes were painted so thoroughly, and were so often vile that I felt ill just from the reading... Awful filth and rats and unspeakable conditions. And that's not to mention the regularly occurring accounts of graphic crime, gore, and unsavory sexual acts. Very well written very revolting things. And that's before even considering the injustices being wrought.
I thanked heaven for a sane and wise creature like Mrs. Nettles, she was the spot of sunlight in a town driven mad by superstition and horror. The terrible injustice, and outright ignorance and bias incensed me, and I was angry and indignant for days as Matthew sought the truth, only to be condemned as bewitched for considering another solution. I was appalled by the injustices, though I imagine them all too realistic to be pure fiction.
McCammon is a masterful and artful author with a gift for laying bare the full range of the human condition. It was quite a twisted tale, and though I writhed and gasped through the suspense and each new discovery, I am satisfied with the resolutions as they came about. Thankful even, that things turned out the way they did. I of course had my theories along the way, some in tune with Matthew's, some not... but without any spoilers, I can say that just the right amount of red herrings were laid and revealed, and I was stumped by many of them, though I can say with pride that I did guess one big component ahead of the plot (I was tipped off to it when Matthew was reviewing details in the testimony). But even after that, there was so much new information and action constantly unfolding that it was an adventure just to keep up and I had trouble putting the book down at bedtime for several nights in a row.
This was honestly one of the most harrowing reads I have ever undertaken, and its depth, truth, and adventure still have me dazed and weighted down.
I've given it four stars instead of five only because I cannot like the disturbed feeling it has left me with, but praise it for having done that so well.
The narration was pretty good too. Ballerini was capable of lending proper accents and emotions. My only negative comment was that a few scenes of discussion were confusing when several men were together and his voice failed to switch characters adequately to indicate the speakers. But it didn't happen often, and the few times that it did I was able to sort out with a quick rewind.
An impressive work. I have never read its equal in historical fiction / dark and suspenseful crime solving. Some of those vivid and graphic scenes will stay with me for a long time to come...
If you just let the story roll over you, you'll find it a good read. The plot gets a bit incredible in spots, and Matthew, the magistrate's 20 year old clerk, is almost as wise as Sherlock Holmes and as canny as Hercule Poirot. Don't challenge too many details and just enjoy yourself! Excellent narration!