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'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!
I enjoyed listening to this story. It transports the listener to 1699 and describes in detail the brutal naive approach to incarceration, trials and evidence. The narrator has an uncanny talent for altering his voice to define each of the characters - even a 17th century Indian.
The story was suspenseful and enjoyable.
No but this listen promptly led me to get the other Matthew Corbett books.
Not a thing!
There's thing thing I do whenever I'm watching a movie that takes place in the past. There will be this moment where there's an angry mob with a bunch of torches getting ready to do something - throw somebody out of town, or make a citizen's arrest, or just cause a general rumpus - and I always think "if only I was there! I would have stood up for justice! For truth! I would have showed these ignorant peasant folk their shame!"
Which is completely hooey.
I mean, in all reality I probably would have been right there in that crowd with them, brandishing my own torch in one hand and pitchfork in the other. But we all like to BELIEVE that we would have been different. We all like to imagine that we would have been the smarter, better looking, better dressed voice of reason in times gone by. SPEAKS THE NIGHTBIRD is the wish fulfillment equivalent of my movie watching experience. Matthew Corbett is a younger, less self assured kind of version of Sherlock Holmes if he had lived in colonial America rather than Victorian England. And of course it's only his incredibly astute eye that can save the incredibly sexy, smart, independent woman falsely accused of witchcraft who is also in possession of curves that kill and a heart made of gold.
What can I say? This one was just pure fun. It did take me awhile to get into this one though. I'm usually the type of reader that likes to go through and nitpick historical fiction, but I didn't feel the slightest bit guilty for turning my brain off and just letting this audiobook have at me. If you're looking for a fun easy read that will keep you occupied for some time to come, then I HIGHLY recommend this one to you. After all what more could you ask for - a great mystery, a little romance, adventure, danger of all sizes and shapes, pirates, Indians, lost treasure, circus performers and a great new character that will leave you wanting more in no time. There were moment were I was actually laughing out loud, and other still where I was biting my nails because I had no idea how the characters were going to get out of trouble this time. I've already purchased the next few books in the series and I'm loving them all. The fact that I'm even willing to put in all the time necessary to listen to these says volumes about how enjoyable these are. After all, they aren't exactly quick reads, and it takes a commitment to finish them.
Recommended for anyone looking for their next swashbuckling adventure.
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