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 characters come to life in this story. McCammon paints a scene so vividly with his words, that you will shudder in disgust , hold your breath in suspense, and laugh out loud. My husband and I listen to books together, and we sat up late several nights until we couldn't stay awake. Helping the story come to life is the narration. Edoardo Ballerini is spot on here. His voices, his pacing....perfection
The finely woven details. Not knowing where this book was going until it ended. The rich descriptions of the times, although I could have loved even more. Especially the medical techniques available at that time. I don't think I would have made it through this book had I read it. The glorious narration of Edoardo Ballerini brought the richness of tumult to beguile the senses and keep you wanting more.
Attention to detail. I love the details. I read a complaint that the book should have lost the entire midsection. I disagree! Each and every detail,even hideous and vile, make the book and characters more real and believable.
Yes absolutely. I don't know how he achieves this. He is truly gifted with words and provides such detail you feel as though you really know what it would be like in this time and in this story.
NOT ONE THING. I am in awe of Mr. Ballerini's interpretations of characters voices. I want to hear more. The marriage of this author and this narrator is a symphony.
I rarely come across books that, as they say "I can't put down" but this is one of them.
Eloquent, captivating and excellent.
I thoroughly enjoyed "Speaks the Nightbird." It was my first time with a Robert McCammon book and will not be my last. Edoardo Ballerini did a superb job with the narration. I would have to say that his narration is the best I have ever listened to. I would buy books specifically to hear him narrate. I will be downloading the next chapter in this series.
I usually listen to audiobooks just once in a while, but I couldn't stop with Speaks the Nightbird. Edoardo Ballerini does a wonderful job creating individual voices for McCammon's characters---and keeping them consistent! (Hate listening to a book where a character's voice suddenly becomes someone else's.) The ending is a totally surprise and McCammon builds suspense wonderfully. There are several underlying stories, but they all contribute to the main theme. I have downloaded McCammon's other 3 books and cannot wait to listen to them as well. If you like historical fiction, mystery, good characters---I totally recommend this work!
The changing relationship of the Magistrate and Matthew
He has a melodic voice with excellent rhythm and inflection. I appreciated his range of characters' voices and the CONSISTENTCY with which he maintained them. He made this book more alive for me.
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
"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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