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)
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!
I just achieved App Master!! I never thought I would make it this far!! Thanks Audible
This book has sit in my library for a long time and when I finally got around to it...the best book I've read in the last couple months!!! Mathew Corbett is the new age Sherlock Holmes. He's on a mission to save Rachel Howarth who is charged with witchcraft. The whole town of Fount Royal is waiting on the decision of Magistrate Issac Woodward. Issac has been knocking on deaths door ever since he arrived in this little town. Someone in Fount Royal is determined to run every last soul out of this damned town or is it the devil and Rachel??? Five books in this great series so check it out...MUST READ!!!!!
In the beginning the story was good and the characters were interesting. The author does a great job of creating and describing the period. However, about mid way I kept hoping some higher power would strike everyone down so the book would just end. It was laborious and dragged out far too long. I hate abridged novels, but this book really needs to become one. It is 30 hours long and could easily have been condensed down to 15-17 hours without losing a thing. The narrator was great. The characters get to the point of being unbelievable and I lost interest in caring about them. Just to get through the book I listened at a higher speed and frankly the book got painful after hour 17.
Currently a local truck driver who has hours to listen to my audio books. I am hooked, some of my fellow drivers enjoy them also
Everything, it is dull and I went thru 4 chapters and still had no real life in it
No, and I am not sure I want to
Mr. Ballerini does a great job with what he had to work with, I did enjoy his reading and even he couldn't make the story move along
No, not really kind of slow and the characters in 1699 who can't do anything for themselves, fight or even run or saddle a horse are too much for me
I kept waiting for the story to catch fire but only smoke
What could have been an interesting topic is completely ruined by an out-of-control author. This writer needed a strong and committed editor to whip this book into shape. Pass it up.
I have listened to several very long books. I will not pursue additional books in this series as this one wasn't worth it. The story itself was interesting and carries/carried much potential. But the pompous characters, almost all, were ridiculous. There were stray ends that could have taken the story along a variety of directions. Many never went anywhere and were unworthy fodder.
Narration was decent.
One distracting piece was a lack of attention, I feel, to accuracy of the era. I have read enough books placed in this timeframe and maybe I am used to their attention to the differences from our times. For example, paper was a scarcity. It was hard to come by and therefore treated with such respect. It lent to an unbelieveability for much of what happened.
I would absolutely recommend this audiobook. The story is great and well delivered. A great mystery and compelling characters.
I was on the edge of my seat throughout waiting to see how the story turned out, and was not disappointed.
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