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 can't compare written to audio. I often am reading two books while listening to another.
I had read the book but it had been many years so I was very interested in what I remembered and what I forgot.
I wasn't sure at first but he really grew on me.
I loved this book when I first read it (at that time it was in three different books). I really enjoyed listening to it after all this time and have continued with the other books as well.
This is not a literary historical novel with something to say about the time and society it is depicting. If you want that, read e.g. Hilary Mantel and stay away from this (unless you enjoy scoffing).
This is entertainment fiction; an atmospheric murder mystery with elements of horror, centering around a witch trial in a colonial village. In creating its atmosphere and drama, it evokes plenty of the tropes associated with this setting in popular fiction. However, as such it is very well-written and good quality. I was pulled into the story from the first chapter through great characterization, intriguing setting and an entertaining plot. Perhaps it could have been shorter - it did drag out a bit - and it did get really lurid in places. But overall this was a good find and I recommend the series to anyone who likes gritty historical, horror/fantasy or crime *entertainment* fiction.
I kept finding things to do like going for extra long walks or washing the dishes [my husbands chore] so I could keep listening. I purchased it based entirely on the ratings not at all interested in period pieces but I was more than pleasantly surprised.
Never heard such a great narrated performance and given the amount of characters, accents and the time period, it could have gone horribly wrong. Instead it was perfect and so believable.
The story is an A1 murder mystery [I usually hate mysteries] set in a time when supernatural beliefs were the norm. The characters are all so complex and I miss them already. I can't say enough. One the best I've audiobooks I've listened to.
American historical thriller
this book kept me wanting to know what happens next
I enjoyed the American historical suspense in this book. The way people lived and how the areas we are familiar with were formed. The book was long, but did not seem tediously so. The length make my money last longer. A good buy.
Great story and character development which appears to be building towards a complex resolution. But towards the end story become simplistic and predictable. Some extraneous material seemed irrelevant to the story. Great job by the narrator
The narration fits the writing style perfectly. The way modern issues are interpreted through an older set of scientific principles. I saw much of the set-up a head of time but it was still suspenseful to see how the facts would play out in this older period.
The variety of voice, perfectly enunciated, especially of the protagonist. I will look for other books read by this actor.
Way too long for one sitting, but I found myself listening to it at all hours cramming into each day as much as I could.
For a story about witchcraft, this is told from the point-of-view of the men with power. The women get very little play except as cliches; damsel in distress, the jealous house wife, the silent waif etc. I wished they had had as much dimensions as the males.
The story is well detailed, easy to imagine with such wonderful descriptions.
This story was so good I have purchased a printed copy to mail to my daughter.
Edoardo has done a marvelous job of depicting the characters.
I think that the quality of writing and the reader's expression's makes this book endless. I will put it on my listen to again and again list.
I don't usually like what I call plodding stories. I am talking about ones where a whole chapter is used to describe a walk to the grocery store. In Speaks the Nightbird, the entire story covers maybe only a two week time frame and it is over 30 hours long but it works. There is suspense and tension and surprises and heroes and villains.
And it is set in 1699 on the North Carolina coast. So you get a good history lesson plus great insight into early American settlement life.
Well worth the time and expense. Enjoy!
Everything. He is excellent, it's very easy to tell all of the characters apart
It takes some time for the story to take off, but was a fairly easy listen for a thirty hour book. For those that are intimidated by the length, Edoardo Ballerini is worth all of that time.
Very intriguing twists and turns, but sadly like most detective stories the culprit remains obscure and you get a sense of disappointment when he/she is revealed
Love his wide range of accents - made the story interesting and amusing
YES but alas I had to sleep and work also
"A beautifully read, chilling tale."
I have always liked stories about the 17th Century, but good ones are few and far between. This is one of the good ones.
I often find that novels which are so long struggle to remain gripping throughout, so I approached this one with some trepidation. I don't like to waste my monthly credit! I should not have worried.
Ballerini's narration is superb and he has a great way of changing his voice for every single character so you know just who they are. This, coupled with McGammon's detailed and, sometimes, startling revelations which are revealed steadily throughout the novel make for an fascinating audiobook which thrills and entertains in equal measure. The thirty-odd hours have all but skipped by and, with only another four to go, I can't wait to find out what happens. I'm about to download the next novel in the series - I'm assuming this is the first in the 'Matthew Corbett' novels (Come on, Audible, make your labelling more helpful! This is not the only series poorly labelled. How about some more specific, advanced genre labels?) - because I'm looking forward to seeing in 1800 with Matthew in the colonies.
A top quality read, highly recommended.
After the first couple of hours of listening I decided I was not enjoying this book, but as soon as I stopped listening to it, I needed to know what happened. I then found it compelling listening, with no hitting the fast forward button.
This is a very descriptive book, with characters I could admire, empathise with and detest, a good storyline.
"speaks the nightbird"
This was a very long book and took most of a month to listen to it! but was well worth it in the end. It took it's time in drawing you in and you felt you knew the characters personally. Robert McCammon has a unique insight into the way people lived and their intolerance of anything or anyone different while they were building their America. Also how religion and superstition held sway over their lives .Edouardo Ballerini., as narrator was excellent his voice leading you on and very charismatic. An excellent book. I would recommend it to anyone who has the time to listen and enjoy.
"A good listen and value for money...but very long!"
I would say that this is an enjoyable listen and I didn't guess the ending at all so it did keep you guessing throughout, however I feel it was slightly too long and drawn out for me. I found myself forcing myself to listen to it during the end of the the 2nd and the 3rd sections as the pace had really slowed. Having said that the narration was fantastic and I'm glad that I stuck with it. A good story....but not necessarily a great one!
"Witch or not?"
A lawyer and his scribe arrive at a new town to mull over whether a local lady is indeed a witch.
This was a very slow moving book, but that wasn't really a problem. Ideally they could have cut out a lot of humming and hawing, but the historical background to the Spanish and English occupation of Florida was interesting.
I downloaded this after reading other reviews and was not disappointed. The story is a little slow to get going, but it soon sweeps you up and has many twists and turns to keep you guessing. I shall look out for others by this author.
"Great stuff from south of Salem."
An interesting take on the idea of the Crucible moulded into a detective novel. It's a great listen with one or two minor irritations( why the hell does our hero never tell anyone of what he has found out until the end?) However it's a well crafted novel and well appreciated.
From the very first chapter McCammon's detailed and skilled narrative transports the listener into the mud, humidity and brutal reality of life in 17th century Carolina. With witch trial hysteria, intrigue and deception thrown into the mix this is a superb novel which twists and turns it's way through to a satisfying conclusion. I can't wait to listen to the next in the series.
"Very, Very Clever"
This story is not generally my kind of subject matter, but both the author and narrator have gripped me with a very, very clever story, that is as factual and historic as it is murder, mystery.
I only really downloaded this because I was absolutely blown away by Swan Song which after 34 hours of listening, I was left wishing there were another 34 hours remaining, I was that enthralled.
I have already downloaded the next 2 instalments in the Matthew Corbett series and I cannot wait. Summed up in 1 sentence ' Robert McCammon doesn't just write, he paints images that immerse you into the very fabric of the story'.
"Speaks the Nightbird"
I really enjoyed this book. It set the stage from the beginning and kept me enthralled throughout. I felt I was right there the whole time.
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