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)
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!!
The narrator is wonderful. His masterful voice changes kept me listening. The story has an interesting plot. However, in my opinion it took too long to unveil the plot: too much description and mental monologues that did not seem to add anything of value to the story. As a result, I found myself distracted and thinking of something completely different than the story.
Masterful use of different voices, excellent diction, pleasant voice.
No. It was a very long book and I listened to it while exercising and driving.
Looking at the length of this audiobook you will probably not be surprised that the story is slow paced. At times I was totally frustrated by the actions of the protagonist, but I'm glad I stuck it out. Overall it was a good story, with well defined characters. The narration was very well done and the writing was technically good. I will give the 2nd book a go.
Mr McCammon's expertise with descriptions and character development is among the best in my opinion. He paints the scenes like a master artist. Mr. Ballerini's interpretation of each character is masterful.
Matthew Corbett, is an interesting and developing hero, without being a super-macho character but tenacious and intelligent.
I knew I was on a good story when Matthew got his leg trapped in a skeleton's rib cage! His fight for mere survival with One-eye was heart stopping.
I hope they do a mini-series, there is too much for just one movie. Heart-stopping would be a well used but correct tag-line.
I am certainly going to read the rest of the series and will have to wait for the one to be published in 2014.
One additional comment is that the books are excellent value not only because they are so entertaining but because they are long lasting.
When I purchased the book I was unsure as to whether it would be something I would enjoy, especially as I am writing the first review of the novel. The bare bones of the story is that of a magistrate and his clerk in the year 1699, who have come to an embryonic city to judge whether a young woman is a witch. The clerk becomes interested in the way that the facts don't add up as regards her case; he also falls in love with her and tries to rescue her.
Don't let simple descriptions of the plot deter you from listening to this audiobook. It grasps you from the very beginning of the novel and keeps your attention the entire way through. The characters are well thought out and include an iinvestor, colonists from England, servants, slaves and Native Americans.
The main character, the clerk Matthew Corbett, is likeable even when his actions might appear to be foolish. As he works out the truth behind why a widow is named as a witch he encounters the undercurrent of the city's society. His relationships with the other characters, whether filial as regards to the magistrate, antagonistic with the town's investor, tender with Rachel (the accused with) or fearful. The twists and turns he experiences as he seeks the truth are compelling and sometimes quite surprising.
A word about the performance: Ballerini masterfully peforms a wide variety of characters. I did find his portrayal of Rachel, the accused witch, less credible but it is a very minor complaint compared to his portrayal of every other character in the book. He characterizes a charlatan who is introduced a bit into the book brilliantly, enhancing the character's outrageous claims and offers.
This is a wonderful, complex tale of life in 1699 in the Carolinas. There are many characters (including some very strange ones), and many plot twists. I found myself surprised by the changes in direction of the story several times. The language of the story is beautiful, but there are some very corrupt characters and depraved events, so not a story for the faint of heart. I have read most of the author's other works and place this one at the top, along with A Boy's Life. At first I felt that the length of the book was too much, but I was sad to see it end. I now plan to read the other Matthew books. I highly recommend this title and enjoyed the narrator's voice very much.
This was a well researched exceptional piece of historical fiction. I was not sure I would stick with it, but it held my interest and I became caught up in this lengthy novel. It was, however, a dark story that made me very grateful I live in the 21st century.
There were many interesting and unusual characters. Very few of them were likable.
I listened to this book because of the narrator. I enjoyed his reading of Beautiful Ruins and was anxious to hear another book with this fabulous narrator. He once again did an excellent job.
To All My Favorite Narrators: You are the voices in my head...
This book has been sitting in my library for over 6 months. I attempted to start the book when I first purchased it, but I found it too slow to grab my attention. My second attempt was much more successful.
This is a book that you need to invest in a few chapters before the story really hits its stride. But once it does, oh man! Think, Sherlock Holmes set in Colonial America. I don't do plot summaries in my reviews, but I will say that its been a while since I have come across a book with such a twisting plot...it kept me guessing the entire time.
The narrator was outstanding and very well cast for this story. He's one of my favorites!
To live, to love, to leave a legacy.
I do not know. I did not read the print version. Bellerani's performance was absolutely amazing so I imagine just reading it pales in comparison.
So many, but I'll go with the rising tension between Sarkholm, Mathew and the Magistrate in the very beginning also noted was Mathew being hypnotized in Lancaster's doorway (very intense), oh and Lancaster's song of the rat (who can forget that).
Sarkholm (Rough,Frightening and downright mean). "Fancy you wanna look at her oyster basket". Still LMAO.
No. I relished sitting on my porch an hour at a time waiting for my night bird to deliver.
My first McCammon book. I was ecstatic to find there still four more books in the series, though I don't know how he can top the first. The characters lingers long after Bellarini uttered the last words and Fount Royal is still vivid and alive in my mind. Mr. Green, Rachcel, schucks even Bidwell still have me wondering how their lives will pay out as I'm sure Fount Royal will thrive in the future. I thought Mr. Winston's betrayal of Bidwell did not really fit into the narrative nor did Corbet's assiduity that he would be loyal in the future. AS William Blake said, "It is easier to forgive an enemy than it is a friend."
"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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