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Speaks the Nightbird Audiobook

Speaks the Nightbird

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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.

What the Critics Say

“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 Rating

4.2 (4948 )
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4.2 (4444 )
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4.5 (4459 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" 12-17-13 Member Since 2016

    My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.

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    "I'M NOT JUST RIGHT, I AM CORRECT"

    IT IS THE PARTICULARS THAT MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE
    After reading Swan Song, I wanted more of McCammon. This is a lot different then Swan Song and a lot the same. Both books are timepieces and both books are dark. Both books have well developed characters, such as Exodus Jerusalem, a PSEUDO HOLLY IMBECILE, with A TALENT FOR PAINTING HORNY PICTURES. In both books I felt like I was there. Both books are long, yet you want to continue to listen, as you want to know how it ends. Both books have very gory scenes and graphic sex scenes. Swan Song is a huge fantasy novel and this is a Agatha Christie type mystery.

    YOU WANT TO BLAME ANYONE, GO SPEAK TO A MIRROR.
    I am more of a Sci-Fi/Fantasy person, so I enjoyed Swan Song much better. This still earned four stars and I listened to all 30+ hours. I have a short attention span, so any book I stay with for this long has to be good. I did find my mind wondering at times, even in anticipated parts. I remember one scene in which I was very interested in what was making the noise, yet from the time he hears the noise to the time he investigates, is so full of second guessing, wondering, thinking, that my mind wonder elsewhere. Yet I did come to, in time to find out what he found out, as it was such a long process. Beware of chapter 23. You are thinking how well this written and then all of a sudden Pulp Fiction breaks out. I think I am very open minded, especially when it comes to sex, but this was pretty disturbing. Some have said it should not have been in the book. I am no history buff or doctor, but I believe this is how a lot of sexual diseases got started, so is it factual for the time and place? When we don't educate the public that these things happen, does that lead to more of it?

    DUNG DRIPPING TONGUE
    I have nothing against this narrator, in no way did he ruin the experience. I will listen to more of his work and I gave him three stars which means average. At the beginning of the book he read mostly in a breathy voice, kind of like he was reading a romance. He read very slow, which added the length of the book. He was great at voices and accents.

    14 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 04-18-13
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 04-18-13 Member Since 2005

    Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.

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    "Tropefest 1699"

    I got through to the end of this one more out of dogged commitment to finishing a book than from thinking it was very good. While the story is entertaining enough in a "fun mystery to read at the beach" sense, it's filled with pretty much every predictable trope you can think of for a novel set in the American Colonies in 1699. There's an _Accused Witch Who Isn't Really a Witch_. There's a _Pompous, Self-Interested Town Father_. There's a _Firebrand Preacher_. There are some _Pitchfork-Waving Villagers_. There's a _Too-Smart-For-His-Britches Young Man_ who suspects that _Something Fishy Is Going On_ and applies _Logic and Reason_ to the situation. There's a _By-the-Book Judge_. There are _Helpful, Earthy Indians_ and negro slaves. There are several characters who are _Not What They Seem_. There are _Convenient Coincidences_.

    While I expect novelists to take creative liberties with historical accuracy, there are so many flagrant anachronisms here, it gets a bit ridiculous. For example, not only does one character say to another, "put that in your pipe and smoke it", but there's actually a scene where two characters light up some joints. I wouldn't have been surprised, at that point, if they'd wheeled out a steampunk microwave and cooked some burritos. Where McCammon does get in some plausible detail, there's rarely a sense that his research went much deeper than the level needed for a theme park.

    I wouldn't go so far as to call this novel TERRIBLE; the characters, despite their cliche, are well-drawn. The first half of the book is reasonably entertaining. The author seems to mean well. But, I'm bumping what might have been a three star rating down to a two because the resolution to the mystery was so phoned in. If all you care about in an audiobook is that it provide diversion during your commute to work, Speaks the Nightbird might be worth your while, but if you're looking for any kind of complexity or depth, it's thoroughly mediocre.

    I can't fault audiobook narrator Edoardo Ballerini for his performance, though. He does as capable a job with the material as can be expected.

    21 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret San Francisco, CA USA 09-25-12
    Margaret San Francisco, CA USA 09-25-12 Member Since 2008
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    "This is how you start a series!"

    I read a lot of historical mysteries and I expect a lot. This book supplies it - accurate period detail, complex mystery, surprising twists and turns; but what made this stand out for me is the protagonist, Matthew Corbett. Robert McCammon actually put a heart and mind into Matthew Corbett, the "detective" of the story. He runs into his share of villains, but not every single person is rotten to the core (another one of my pet peeves. How can every single person be sick and twisted? Every single one?)

    McCammon gave me every reason to keep rooting for Matthew, even when I thought he was making a terrible mistake. See what I mean? That's a protagonist.

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ruth Bain 10-05-16
    Ruth Bain 10-05-16

    RueRue

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    "What a story !"

    What a great story, but just too long ! Epic length, adventures galore, some over-the-top violence and abherrent behavior, legal drama (circa 1699), "witchcraft", Indians, pirates treasure, romance.....gee, did I leave anything off the list ? Yes, the book has just about every plot element needed for a good story, but it might be a little too much. The narration was fantastic !

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debbie Toney, Alabama 02-19-15
    Debbie Toney, Alabama 02-19-15 Member Since 2013

    Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.

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    "Too Long, Too Nasty . . . Could've Been GREAT"

    The overall premise of Speaks the Nightbird and the underlying story is a good one, but it was ruined for me by 1) the obsessive need for adding unnecessary deviant sexual content AND 2) it was way too long. It could have been told in less time and been a better story. I am a big fan of historical fiction. This one ran off the tracks with distracting side stories. The mystery of what was happening in the town and tale of the witch being held in the jail for execution could have been and should have been told much more tastefully. The narration was first rate.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blenda Crestwood, KY, United States 01-15-13
    Blenda Crestwood, KY, United States 01-15-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Some like it some don't."
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Obviously several people liked it from the reviews. I love historical fiction but was not impressed with this one. I bought it because of the favorable reviews. Guess my taste is different from most of the other reviewers.


    Has Speaks the Nightbird turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres.


    Which character – as performed by Edoardo Ballerini – was your favorite?

    Loved the magistrate. Such a sad character. Did not like what happened to him.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Dissapointment.


    Any additional comments?

    I just did not like the resolution to the plot. I had to make myself finish the book. Once the magistrate was out of the picture, I didn't really care what happened.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B.J. Minneapolis, MN, United States 07-26-12
    B.J. Minneapolis, MN, United States 07-26-12 Member Since 2010

    I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Law & Order: 1699"

    This was a most unexpected surprise. I selected the book because of the narrator - Edoardo Ballerini - and the amazing job he did with "Beautiful Ruins." He does an equally superb job with this book ... a dark, historical thriller.

    If you want to pick it apart, you can. Historically speaking, it's flawed. For mystery readers in general, there's no surprise in the end. But none of that matters. This book has a distinct pace and storyline - one that moves along and takes you for quite a ride. It is perhaps one of the best one-credit values on Audible.

    I was reminded of a couple other books while I was listening. The comparison to Gabaldon's "Outlander" series is inevitable. There are similar characteristics. If you combined that with "Fingersmith" and "Mistress of the Art of Death," you have some idea of what it's like. Dark, grisly and utterly compelling.

    12 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Taryn Suffern, NY, United States 02-15-14
    Taryn Suffern, NY, United States 02-15-14 Member Since 2006

    Addicted to Audible!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Beginning to End, great entertainment!"

    This is a book that grabs your attention from beginning to end! A wonderful historical novel that features all kinds of interesting characters, situations and details. It is never slow or boring. It has great,well crafted characters. The details of daily life, medical treatments, food, law, religious beliefs, witchcraft,slavery, piracy, etc were all fascinating. The murder mystery was surprising and built tension throughout the story. It did not have a predictable ending. Edoardo Ballerini is an amazing talent, I have not listened to anything he has read that didnt keep me mesmerized by the sound of his voice. I was sorry when this book ended and hope to find another by this author.

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    colleen ANCHORAGE, AK, United States 07-08-13
    colleen ANCHORAGE, AK, United States 07-08-13 Member Since 2017

    My favorite genres are absurdist humor, Sci-fi & modern fantasy, but, as you can see, I'll read just about anything. Don't mind the typos.

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    "3 and a half stars"

    Another reviewer said this book was like Outlander. I seriously disagree with that. It was an interesting tale but nothing like Outlander. I found little difference between the depictions of the characters of the towns people, the story dragged on far too long and not always believable. Not bad, i was just expecting better.

    19 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer SAN DIMAS, CA, US 06-06-12
    Amazon Customer SAN DIMAS, CA, US 06-06-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Beyond my expectations"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Reading was one of the best I have heard. I was wrapped up in the story in no time at all


    24 of 33 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Zoe
    Stourbridge
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "Good escapism"

    A very enjoyable story with an unusual setting and interesting characters. Well written and sympathetically narrated.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • zomodo
    1/31/13
    Overall
    "Over long"

    I was so excited to learn of this book because I enjoyed Swan Song so much, however it didn't live up to what I'd hoped it would. It's basically a who dunnit but it just goes on and on. In the end I didn't really care who did it! I am not sure how much time this book covers but it just seems an age.



    The author uses beautiful language in his descriptions, almost poetic, but unfortunately this was not enough to redeem this book for me. I would definitely recommend Swan Song but not this one.



    I have had a couple of duds lately from audible, think I need to choose more wisely next time!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Sheila
    Kildonan, Isle of Arran, United Kingdom
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "Excellent"

    Loved the description in this novel, the characters were well drawn and the narrator was ideally suited to this book. Difficult to put down and didn.t want to end!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Trekkie Monster
    West Yorkshire, UK
    6/6/17
    Overall
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    "Enjoyable story and superb performance"

    The Matthew Corbett mysteries are a great imagining of an era when there was next to nothing in the way of forensics so any crimes that could not be explained were seen as bordering on occult or poor evil.
    In this introductory novel Corbett spends the majority of the story as a scribe for Magistrate Johnson sent to a small town of Font Royale outside of Charlestown to investigate a murder and arson believed to have been committed by a female plantation estate slave for reasons the locals dem to be devil worship due to the sighting of a small demon both around the body and haunting residents of the village.
    It is a judicial investigation that had seemingly already seen the disappearance and possible murder of one magistrate earlier in the year.
    Arriving at the town after an encounter with bandits Corbett begins to take on the investigation in equal with the magistrate who is ill an could be dying. It is here he discovers his talents for problem solving - as he calls detective work - far out weighs his scribe duties.
    A full cast of characters are present, all suitably shady and with reasons to see both the slave hung and the victim murdered.
    The books in the Matthew Corbett mysteries are superbly performed by Ballerini with a suitabley upper class tilt to his accent and the wonderful range of vocal characters he creates.
    Highly recommended for all fans of Sherlock Holmes and Poirot etc who like a small tilt of the occult or the impossible to their "problems".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • John
    Newport Pagnell, United Kingdom
    5/24/17
    Overall
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    "Brilliant!"

    Sorry for the brevity but this was one of the best stories I've listened to in ages. The narration was excellent and the tale was totally engrossing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • MRS SHARON G O'HARE
    4/28/17
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    Performance
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    "Exceptionally intriguing book!"

    Really good mystery, brilliantly narrated. Each character is brought vividly to life and Matthew makes an excellent detective!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Treacle
    4/1/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Boys Own Adventure"
    Would you try another book written by Robert McCammon or narrated by Edoardo Ballerini?

    I listened to Swan Song, which was unsophisticated but more or less carried you away - a little like Speaks the Nightbird. Very enjoyable in parts. The beginning of this book was engaging.


    What could Robert McCammon have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Cut out the nonsense but keep the magic. Speak to some women and try and round out his female characters. Swan was great, but pathetic at the end. Rachel was promising ...but pathetic, as a 20yr old streak took charge and 'became a man'.


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

    An absolutely horrifying way of delivering the word 'flesh'. He gave life to the characters and great drama to the story. Disappointed that his Rachel sounded so wet


    Did Speaks the Nightbird inspire you to do anything?

    Read a book where women of this period are shown to have agency and wit, rather than being one of McCammon's cast of burly housekeepers, 'doxies', scheming shrews or delicate beings wronged and rescued.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jodie
    4/1/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good"

    It did keep me guessing until the end. I like the fact that some parts make you wonder how they got from one part to another and didn't explain every single thing. The story is good and not wanting to spoil it for anyone but I like that it doesn't end as expected. I like the length as I like to get into long ones. I think more description of the characters faces I would like as I couldn't picture a lot of them. I will be getting the next installment. It's already waiting for me!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Patricia Hurley
    3/30/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "First rate historical suspense thriller"

    I became totally absorbed in the story of 1699 and something evil is afoot. The characters are beautifully drawn and believable for that time in history. My favourite has to be Exodus Jerusalem - a fire breathing preacher who wishes to cure witches of wickedness with his 'mighty sword'.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sheila
    2/10/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Intriguing"

    Slow to start, but enjoyed the intriguing twists and turns that got me wondering who.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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