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Publisher's Summary

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....

Evil Unveiled

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.

Critic Reviews

“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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Story

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Best Narration Ever!

What does Edoardo Ballerini bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narration was exceptional, M. Ballerini's cadence and voice characterizations added so much to the reading and I look forward to hearing more of his work.<br/>Having more than one language and being familiar with some of those specific to the story, I think hearing was exactly as I would have expected to imagine the voices, had I read the physical book.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Several, a testament to M. McCammon's deft ability with creating empathetic characters.

Any additional comments?

I loved everything about this book. Already a fan of McCammon's work - Boys' Life is a story I've read at least twice and hope to listen again to the audio version - this was my introduction to his historical fiction and I'm hooked. The story was tight, well-detailed and flowed.

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A must read. Could not put it down.

Very finely drawn characters. Very smart. Kept you guessing until the very end. Mystery finally unraveled bit by bit. Very satisfying end with all the questions answered.

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Engrossing!

First of all - Bravo to the narrator. What a stellar job. There are many characters to keep up with (I had to jot down notes at first) and Mr. Ballerini did so brilliantly. It was a fascinating exploration of an era with it's political, moral and spiritual leanings with a healthy dose of superstition. Sometimes shocking, sometimes creepy, this book has some areas that are really graphic and some injuries/ailments are described in gory detail. You are quickly sucked in to the fascinating story line and become anxious for a resolution. The plot takes refreshing, unexpected turns and I hope to read more from this author. Fantastic listening.

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Something different

I have read very little about this period of American History. This is an enjoyable story, with good character development. Excellent narration in that it almost escapes the listener completely. Of the topics I am familiar with, there are noticeable gaps in accuracy. It is after all, a story.

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Mundane Mainstream Historical Fiction

Another novel that I gave a try based solely on the popularity among my fellow audiobook listeners. A historical novel that failed to capture my interest. I bailed out after only two hours.

Edoardo Ballerini has a rich sonorous voice that is pleasant to listen to. His performance, however, is far too understated for the material. Such a period piece demands a more dynamic performance. Think Anthony Andrews in The Scarlet Pimpernel and you will know what kind of performance it would have taken to make this one entertaining for me.

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Slow at first

But definitely picks up. Kinda wordy in places but definitely a good ride. Looking forward to reading the next in the series

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Not sure

Not sure I was going to like this at first but then the intrigue was amazing it with interns I never did figure it out in the end it was awesome

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Attempted historical authenticity ruins story

Any additional comments?

As a fan of historical fiction, I was excited to begin this book. However, after the first few chapters, I increasingly became annoyed with the writing style. McCammon uses a lot of irrelevant details in an attempt to sound authentic. The metaphors and similes attempt to be unique but often elicit an eye roll from the reader. Descriptive passages add nothing but length to the story. For example, when describing Mathew's reaction to a comment, the narrator says: "The soup he was about to swallow had suddenly sprouted thorns and lodged in his throat."<br/><br/>All this further weakens an already weak plot line. McCammon tries to weave different storylines to add intrigue, but nothing seems to tie them together. The idea of the Spanish spy keeps recurring but nothing new is ever really added to the idea. It is like McCammon had several different ideas about plot twists but never fully realized any of them. Rather than paring down to a couple and spinning these fully, he kept a several half developed ones, which damages the overall plot idea. <br/><br/>In the attempt to create suspense, McCammon gives details but rather than building tension, the description falls short of its purpose. It again just adds length and more often than not caused me to groan and roll my eyes.<br/><br/>I wanted to quit listening about a third of the way through the book, but I was still interested enough to keep reading. It was mainly the narrator's performance that kept me listening. I was hoping the ending of the book would redeem it. However, that was not the case. After the climatic scene that revealed "whodunit," the book still took an hour to wrap up, dragging on in the same fashion as the rest of the book.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Perfection

Speaks the Nightbird is quite possibly my new favorite book of all time. McCammon fleshes out an elegant, precise, and wholly engaging mystery set in a period of American history I normally shy away from. Matthew Corbett is a fantastic protagonist: rational, witty, doggedly determined. The stakes in this story are raised, and raised, and raised again, until the reader is all but certain that Matthew will fail.
I laughed, I cried, I shuddered with terror. I came away somehow imperceptibly but most assuredly changed as a human being.
Brilliant.

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Uniquely entertaining

Fantastic story line, of a time in America we rarely get a glimpse of, the prerevolutionary southern colonies. Mccammon is a master weaver of plot, with a talent for making period language both appropriately floral for the period and accessible to modern readers. The kind of book that makes one thankful that it's one of a series.