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)
Well written, well read and very much enjoyed
All characters were interesting
It touched my heart.
I have come to understand the previous reviewers. This book is a mixed bag. On the one hand, it attempts to be an exploration of that era's severely repressed sexual and societal expressions, when shaped by an oppressively narrow religious doctrine on top of the deep superstitions of the time, added to prejudices springing naturally from our baser human nature--all of which we still struggle with as a species. And of course, all from the point of view of a well educated, but not privileged-by-birth, and definitely hormonal 19 year old young man. It can be a bit overwrought, especially the time spent in Matthew's head--but, since there's no one else there for him to talk to, his internal dialog (though not first person) is how we see the world he's living in. On the other hand, this is a story about an unusually self-possessed young man's journey into manhood and, it's also a mystery. There is humor and light-heartedness here and there but not a lot, until one realizes that there is some tongue-in-cheek from the author. It's not Umberto Ecco, but it's a quick, entertaining read and I've already started on the next one. As for narration, Ballerini is excellent, save for the truly sub-par Scottish accent.
Lover of history, travel, and MP3 players (to distract me from things I'd really rather not have to do)!
I'll say right up front that Matthew was just a little too smart, and the pieces fell together just a little too neatly, for my taste. However, that didn't keep me from enjoying the listen! In the end, I really did want to know how all those pieces dropped into place.
The atmosphere of a colonial town on the frontier between English, Spanish, and native America was fascinating to visualize, and Edoardo Ballerini did a fine job of creating a variety of characters who on the surface all could have sounded exactly the same. He has a smooth and soothing voice (probably leading some to say "dull") that to me creates subtle characterizations and no little bit of suspense.
In spite of this story's being rather heavy on coincidence, I enjoyed Mr. McCammon's writing well enough (and he does have a wonderful way with words) to be curious about how Matthew proceeds with his questioning and theory-generating personality into the 18th century and the big city. Give it a try!
With twists and turns galore, this is not your average murder mystery. Set in colonial (I know! Just trust me.) South Carolina, it's filled with dark, volatile characters, and plenty of intrigue, all delivered in pitch-perfect narration. On my way to purchasing the sequel as soon as I post this review.
A likable character to care about didn't appear. I can believe the author was a horror story writer in past books, but this one didn't move beyond atmosphere for its own sake for me.
The reader had cadence to the narration; not flat, but no passion. I would like to compare the written text with the reading as it seems sentences fell into very short arks that if in the original shows a very simple structure. It was mesmerizing, but not it a good way. It lays somewhere between just read and well read.
I found the behavior of the actors too naive for who they were supposed to be.
In the end I just didn't care enough to proceed.
Surprisingly emotional intrigue
Mathew was an unpredictable central character with frustrating and heroic qualities
Don't know the performers name so I probably haven't listened to him before, but I'll definitely look out for him in the 'read by' target area.
This had me biting my tongue in public before yelling out 'Oh come on' or 'you got to be kidding me'! I don't cry, just refuse. But there was obviously a lot of 'hay fever' about while I reading this.
This is such a great trip back in time into a totally different era. I baulked with the first recognition of when and where this book is set, but some raw tease and action held me until chapter 2. After that I didn't want it to stop. It is a very good story and well presented, and will probably make a great movie one day.
Very possibly. This was one of the best audio books that I have ever had the pleasure to listen to. I normally only watch movies once, read books once ect.. If there will be an exception, this will be it!!!
Absolutely. The twists and turns around every corner. It also keeps one thinking as well which made it that much more enjoyable.
His ability to switch from character to character with ease and also with great talent.
Things are not always as they seem.
I truly wished that this audio book could have continued for many many more hours. I have found that this is a series of four which I most definitely plan to listen to all starting today. As for Mr. Robert McCammon, I now have a new favorite author. An extremely talented man.
I could not finish the book as I could not stand the slow pace and the lagging on and on.
My first McCammon and I became a fan when I was not even half way through. And now that I am done with the book, I can still clearly see the entire Fount Royal, it's surroundings and all it's characters in my mind. I think this will last for a few more days.
Narrator Edoardo Ballerini made my listening experience as if the real characters were speaking around me. His performance added a great value to an equally great historical fiction.
I love to read but don't have much time so, listening to books has become a necessary passion. If I can't read, I'll listen and it makes mundane things like driving long distances and cleaning house bearable.
I didn't realize I bought a book set in colonial America, a genre I thought would be boring but, after just a few minutes of listening, I was hooked.
Ballerini, the narrator, does a fantastic job of keeping the characters separate and distinct without being cartoonish about the personalities.
McCammon, the author, wrote about an era I thought I would never be able to relate to and would normally find dry and overly conservative but, his writing is witty and really brings his characters to life in a modern day way. It can be difficult to understand what our ancestors thought was so funny back then as we might think they are so naive but I laughed out loud many times and realized that humor can bridge the gap of time.
There were many, some funny and some shocking but no spoilers here.
Ballerini did a great job without being hokey as he needed to tackle several languages as well as difficult accents some obscure.
Many laughs, a few moments of frustration and anger were incited.
Great listen all around!!!
I have a renewed appreciation for being alive here and now!!
"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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