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)
The story and setting bring to life the colonial world though a plot interwoven with small surprises and fine detail. While contemporary in writing style, the dialogue harkens to an earlier time, giving authenticity to the characters. Brutal and graphic at moments -- not the story to listen to while driving the family on vacation - the story is held together with a underlying humanism and emerging Enlightenment world view. The narrator's voice changes fit the characters very well. Worthwhile both for the mystery and the reminder of conditions of life in early colonial life.
Eclectic lifelong reader
As well-written, original, and amazing as the book is, Eduardo Ballerini is outstanding as a narrator. I thought he was good in Beautiful Ruins,, but this book was a tour de force for him. I don't want to give the plot away, so let's just say when a new character showed up toward the end of the book who was totally unlike any previous characters, the first time he read in that character's voice, I said "Wow" very softly to myself. If I had seen his performance in a theater, I would have given him a standing ovation.
Not the first part of the book. It did not get truly riveting for me until he arrived in Fount Royal. After that, the time flew by. The relationship between Matthew and Rachel - well, actually Matthew's relationship with anyone - was so vivid and palpable. I was also riveted by the action because I had no idea how it was going to end up. I figured out one of the mysteries fairly early on, but could not envision the whole ending. And finally, I enjoyed that the characters' sensibilities about such subjects such as witchcraft were totally congruent with the time period. Even the most thoughtful of characters could not rule it out entirely, while others have an unthinking, knee-jjerk reaction that to a modern reader is maddening and disgusting, but still totally congruent.
The way he was able to do so many voices. His upper class characters speak with English accents, as would a well-educated character from that time, and his lower class ones speak in a more Americanized version. But even more amazing, he put enough nuance in a character of the same class that i was able to differentiate them easily in my head. also able to do the voices so well that I could easily tell the difference between characters in my head.
Once the action moved to Fount Royal, I did.
I was taking a risk when I downloaded a book of this length, but I took a chance because of the subject and Ballerini's narration. As moved into the book, I didn't want it to end, and was delighted to find out it was one of a series! I have already begun the second in the series.
I don't usually read mystery. Had I known going in that was going to be a mystery, I might have passed it over. I'm glad I didn't know. I enjoyed this mystery set in 1699 in which a colonial magistrate and his clerk preside over the trial of a woman accused of witchcraft including multiple cases of murder, perverted acts and arson. Edoardo Balleri gave voice to the characters wonderfully.
I have only one bone to pick -- and that is the use of sulfur matches, which didn't exist in 1699.
However, I'll forgive that anachronism, suspend disbelief, and enjoy fiction for the sake of fiction.
And now, on to"Queen of Bedlam."
I never listen to abridged versions, but Speaks the Nightbird desperately needs one. Great performance, great characters, great story, but McCammon is dauntingly repetitive and discursive. For the last half of the book, I would simply skip half a chapter, see if McCammon was still rambling on about the same thing, and start listening again if something new was happening. And if you think I'm too impatient, you should consider that I'm a guy who has happily listened to all of Audio's many Trollope novels in unabridged versions.
It's a shame. I'd love to listen to abridged versions of the rest of the Corbett novels, but I won't take a chance on unabridged ones.
Shorten it by several hours
I tried it, finished it, and it and others like it are not for me. I love Follett's series, long but always interesting and compelling.
Epic, historical, spellbinding
Matthew Corbett because of his quiet stubbornness
Eduardo's performance lifted the book to a whole new level. All the different voices for the different characters and his masterful storytelling made me "see" Fount Royal and its townspeople in a way I would not have if I had read the book because I have a tendency to skim through long descriptions.
Yes! Despite the length of the book, I was reluctant for it to end
I bought this on the recommendation of Audible's listeners like you feature. There is nothing I like better than finding a new ( to me ) author, unless it is a new author with a series of books. Listening to the second in the series right now
Easily entertained and amused.
Though the sexual passages were infrequent for a novel this length, they were still disgustingly graphic. The book would have been an excellent read/listen without them. The reader did a remarkable job but I can't imagine him reading, especially the detailed act of bestiality, without feeling disgusted, abused and his integrity compromised. I had to fast forward. The story was interesting, entertaining and credible. The good guys were likeable and the bad guys appropriately villainous. It was overall somewhat predictable. The author has obvious talent. If I could speak directly to him, I'd beg, "Write more, but with more morality, please."
Edoardo Ballerini's narration is perfect. The story hooked me from the start. I was delighted to see there are more books in the series!
I will listen to Edoardo even if he was narrating the phone book.
About halfway through, I started to wonder how I could possibly have fifteen more hours to go. The historical detail was wonderful, the story was an interesting one, but it just went on too long. There were several times when the book could have been wrapped up, but instead the author just provided a new twist that ended up being fairly meaningless to the overall story. Also, characters appear to add intrigue or some development, but then they disappear and their importance to the plot is never explained (or realized).
Summary: it was good and it was interesting, but it was far too long.
It seemed quite easy to believe.
He was easy to listen to and made each character seem real.
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