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)
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!
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.
"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.
"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.
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.
"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!
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.
"Wonderful historical, mystery, thriller"
This slowly developing, detailed and descriptive novel brings alive an historical period while weaving a web of mystery. Drawing pen portraits of a collection of frontiers people, all with an unusual history, McCammon introduces the reader to witchcraft and ignorance, murders and an underlying sense of threat. But striding through this grim and frightening landscape is the determined and morally sound Matthew Corbett, judge's clerk. The reader sees the characters and the new town through Matthew's eyes, shadowing his perseverance as he investigates the crimes being blamed on Rachel's witchcraft. Beautifully read too. I will be looking out for the other books in this series!
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