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)
All mysteries all the time, that's what I read. I joined Audible when I started having a long commute. Now I listen everywhere!
This was an well-crafted mystery as well as being interesting as historical fiction. I really felt as if I could see how the village and environs appeared and truly felt the flavor of the times. I love the character of Matthew and how his confidence in himself grew through the investigation.
I loved the part when Matthew realizes what the Indian Chief has in the walls. I also enjoyed knowing that the evil innkeeper got what was coming to him.
Mr. Ballerini's voice and reading were perfect accompaniments for this novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I haven't checked yet, but I'm hoping this is a series character.
This would be a good work of historical fiction if not for excessive sexual fantasy, making this more a trash novel. I am not doubting that such things occurred, but the author's fixation and repetition of the most lurid details and unlikely scenarios rob this book of any historical setting. After many scenes, I felt like I'd just read a gossip session from a junior high locker room. The author could eliminate 90% of this, and more subtly infer the rest, and be left with a powerful work of historical fiction. Instead, the reader is jolted out of the plot to endure a misplaced fantasy that just doesn't fit with the time period.
The narrator does an excellent job except for one thing, and I'm not sure how to write it. His 's' pronunciation, in about a third of the book, turns into an irritating hiss. Maybe if he hydrated more before speaking it would help. This is a shame, because otherwise his performance is very good.
I'm a father of four. I am a big fan of The Pendergast series by Preston and Child as well as Dan Brown's Robert Langd
While listening to this excellent book, I got the feeling I was watching the early developement of an American Sherlock Holmes. Matthew Corbett is young, exeedingly clever, and tenacious to a fault. The supporting characters do a wonderful job of completeling the picture if 1699 American back country.
The plot is well paced and the resoluion is satisfying. Some of the pieces come together a bit too easily in the end; therefore the climax is a bit predictable, but not so much as to lessen the enjoyment of the listen.
The narrator gets top marks. His reading is fantastic. The next time I'm in search mode for an audiobook I've yet to enjoy, I will definitely look for some of his other readings regaurdless of the author.
An avid reader, demanding of the story, characters and narrator. Mysteries and historical fiction are my favorites.
"Speaks the Nightbird" is a mystery. Is Rachel really a witch, or is she being framed?
Because the story takes place in 1699, there are no modern methods of testing for fingerprints, no Internet for background checks, no telegraph or telephone ... so an investigation takes legwork and time. LOTS of time. Perhaps it is my modern world impatience with the main character's slow approach necessitated by the era, but this book was difficult for me to get through.
Audible divides this book into four parts. At the end of Part I, I thought, "This is painfully slow. I'll never get to the end." There was virtually no suspense to encourage my interest and persistence.
However, the fourth quarter made it all worthwhile. Most of the action, all of the explanations, and of course the big reveal of "who dunnit" were in this quarter.
I should also add that the main character is fabulous, and the narrator is spectacular. Almost all of the characters had British accents, so Ballerini had to create a different tone and rhythm of speech for each. Absolutely perfect.
If you like really BAD bad guys and really GOOD good guys, you will enjoy this book.
Just be patient.
I had heard of this book when it was originally published, but didn't read it at the time. When I found it on Audible I purchased it and enjoyed it more than anything I've previously purchased. I thought the performance was impeccable. After seeing it was a series I purchase them all.
I have not read the printed version of this book, but I am positive that Edoardo Ballerini gives these characters more animation and life than my unimaginative mind would have.
I am quite sure this is a new version of a "witch-trial" novel. The complexity of the plot draws you further and further into an appreciation for the types of characters that may have lived during 17th century settlements in the new world.
Edoardo Ballerini simply has the perfect voice for these characters. Every one of them is believable and the main character's voice is precisely what I would expect such a person to sound like.
Wanted to, but couldn't.
Such a good book that I also listened to the following book in the series, which is also fantastic!
Only to bad friends. I was so disappointed by this book for several reasons, the main one being that I could not warm up to the supposed hero of this story. Matthew is introduced to us and we see him as a boy or young, inexperienced man - and for the life of me it was wholly unconvincing how this feeble, thin voiced scholar would turn into a man in the course of one week(!) and even attempt a solo hike through the wilderness. Yes, he mans up and he acquires some back bone - but please! Give me substance! I was also disappointed by the story. To me it was thin and just felt like a row of forced and contrived events rather than of an unravelling of events. I have about 2 hours left, I know whodunnit, (such an anti-climax, too. I wanted to pull out my hair!!) and I do not care how it ends.
Most interesting: Glimpse into medical practices. Though I must also say that I am not sure how much I trust the author so that I will be doing some reasearch of my own into medicine of the 17th and 18th century.
Least intersting: Matthew + Rachel, unfortunately.
I had read in several reviews that it was as good as the "Outlander" books, which is one of the reasons I was interested in "Speaks the Nightbird". I don't think it was nearly as good as even my last favorite Outlander book of the series. It is also not a great comparison, I think.
I would recommend this book. The narrator was great. He's been the best I've listened to so far. He played this whole book out so well I could see all the characters.
There was a great need to see justice done. So you had to keep going in the book to make sure it happened. There was just enough tension to really make the story move along.
Avid listener...a road warrior with lots of windshield time!
This story, while somewhat interesting on a historic level, was made droll and plodding by no editing. The author overextends himself by so much over-describing, over-wording, over-working each story detail. I suspect this book tape would have been a mere one hour long if proper editing would have been utilized.
His performance was fine. His material was not.
excellent narration, strong story, kept me guessing
Matthew Corbett is such a strong character. He stands up for what he believes in and keeps asking questions even when they get him in trouble.
Loved Edoardo Ballerini's narration of the dialogue between characters. He brought such voice to the characters.
I loved the ending of this book. Not to give anything away, but there are many directions the author could have gone that would have left me unsatisfied. Instead, all the loose ends are tied up neatly and believably.
I was so excited to find that this is the first in a series!
"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!
"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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