Audie Award Nominee, Fiction, 2013
Judgment of the Witch
The Carolinas, 1699: The citizens of Fount Royal believe a witch has cursed their town with inexplicable tragedies - and they demand that beautiful widow Rachel Howarth be tried and executed for witchcraft. Presiding over the trial is traveling magistrate Issac Woodward, aided by his astute young clerk, Matthew Corbett. Believing in Rachel's innocence, Matthew will soon confront the true evil at work in Fount Royal....
After hearing damning testimony, magistrate Woodward sentences the accused witch to death by burning. Desperate to exonerate the woman he has come to love, Matthew begins his own investigation among the townspeople. Piecing together the truth, he has no choice but to vanquish a force more malevolent than witchcraft in order to save his beloved Rachel - and free Fount Royal from the menace claiming innocent lives.
©2002 Robert McCammon (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
“Edoardo Ballerini performs this story of accusation and fear flawlessly. He effortlessly switches his pitch, accents, and timbre to suit the unfortunate Rachel Howarth, the endless curious Corbett, and the various determined characters, good and evil.” (AudioFile)
"a compelling story that should find a wide readership. Highly recommended for popular fiction collections." (Library Journal)
"An excellent story, full of tension and suspense.” (Stephen King)
I came across this title and author by chance. I am so glad I did. Absolutely compelling in every way. Mr. McCammon creates such lush and vivid prose, while carrying us back in time to know these characters; astounding. And Edoardo Ballerini brings everything to life with perfection. Mr. Ballerini is right up there with Michael Kramer as the best I have heard.
This was my first time I have read this author. I truly enjoyed the story and writing style. I have downloaded book two. Best recommendation I can give it.
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.
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