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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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Performance

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Story

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  • MissRed
  • Aurora, Colorado, United States
  • 09-22-14

I didn't expect to be alas enraptured as I was!

What did you love best about Speaks the Nightbird?

The mystery! I'm overwhelmingly a fantasy reader, but when this popped up under the daily deals sale, I figured I would try it. It was a long recording and had decent reviews. <br/><br/>I struck gold. This book had me guessing. I remember driving and actually saying out loud "so and so did it, obviously" and I was WRONG! That was thrilling!!

Have you listened to any of Edoardo Ballerini’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I haven't, but I'll be sure to watch for him in the future! He made characters distinct and had a fantastic cadence which made the interactions between characters seem so natural; and Robert McCammon helped too since.... You know, he wrote it!

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

At points I was very nervous. I thought for sure some characters were done for, and that our poor clerk could never get a break!

Any additional comments?

I recommend this book for readers who are looking for a mystery novel that will keep them guessing. I know that if I can guess whodunnit by mid novel the. I don't usually finish said novel. I listened to this one through. And honestly, I don't often do that anymore!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Magnificently written, masterfully narrated

This audiobook is a masterpiece. McCammon painted the characters so skillfully, I could almost reach out and shake their hands. The plot grew from interesting to intriguing to riviting. I became caught up in solving the puzzle, to the point I didn't want to put the book down. The narration is excellent, I could listen to Ballerini's voice all day. I've added this series to my wish list, and I'm buying book 2 now!

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good story but way too long and drawn out

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Probably not. It is just too long. I normally will make an effort to finish a book, even if I have lost any real interest. I keep hoping it will improve. It was at about halfway through that I found myself wishing, hoping the end was near. Even after the mystery was solved, when the killer(s) were revealed and the problems resolved, it kept on going. I finally stopped listening, leaving another 8 or 10 chapters unheard.A really good book for me is one that moves at a good pace overall. It should have a mixture of fast and slower passages. When I begin to long for the end, I my assessment of that book begins to suffer.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

I never finished it, although I felt like the ending for the story had already been established well beyond the end of the recording.

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

The narrator did a fine job. I did not have a preference for any particular character. Most of them were substantial, and as each was carefully and tediously defined, I felt like I understood each equally. Some behaviors or actions did not seem to fit 1699, but I can handle of literary license if used sparingly.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

I would not think this book would translate well as a film. If someone tried, it would need some trimming and changes more appropriate for 1699. The story, as written, would not keep the audience engaged.

Any additional comments?

It is as if the author was determined to write a massive tome, and sacrificed the story for this goal. Perhaps the editor should have read this book with some objectivity and familiarity with life in 1699 colonial America. I think this 30 hour book could be accomplished in 15 or 20 hours easily. Too bad.

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Compelling Story

Any additional comments?

Good historical fiction. Never a dull moment, look forward to reading the next one.

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Brilliant !!!

Would you consider the audio edition of Speaks the Nightbird to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the print version, but this one is wonderfully narrated !

What was one of the most memorable moments of Speaks the Nightbird?

I don't think I can single out just the one, there were so many !

What about Edoardo Ballerini’s performance did you like?

It was so smooth I didn't notice it , which is the highest compliment I can give !

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

Many!!!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Ms. Lucy
  • Fairfield, California
  • 08-10-14

Incredible story but...

What did you love best about Speaks the Nightbird?

I thoroughly enjoy historical novels and this one was not disappointing. The author gave the reader clear pictures of life in 1699. He also described the characters quite well. But as much as I enjoyed the many different plot lines, those became part of the reason why I had some difficulty toward the end of the book.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

I will not give away the ending. However, the relationship between the primary figures was something that was built up throughout this very lengthy novel. The ending left me wishing the author had done more. Perhaps the relationship I hoped for will surprise me in the other Matthew Corbett books.

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

I haven't heard him before, even though my Audible library collection consists of well over a few hundred books. After listening to Mr. Ballerini, I will be looking for books he has narrated. He has an excellent command of various accents and it was truly a delight to experience such a talented narrator.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Occasionally I laughed, at times the violence was exceptionally sobering, but from my history classes, I am certain the author did enough research into the miserable lives people had during that period of time, to be accurate.

Any additional comments?

Other than being disappointed with the ending, the story was so rich and the narrator was so excellent I purchased the next several books in the series!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great Book!

Have you listened to any of Edoardo Ballerini’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not listened to other performances but it was great.

Any additional comments?

Long book, but I really loved every minute of it.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jeff
  • oklahoma city, OK, United States
  • 08-01-14

Amazing book

Would you listen to Speaks the Nightbird again? Why?

Yes. I would listen to this again. The characters just come to life. I could feel, taste, smell, and hear them.

What did you like best about this story?

I loved the characters.

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

I loved the Scottish servant. She was my favorite.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Delightful to the last sentence

I have so often been thoroughly engrossed in the beginning of a novel, investing high hopes in its potential, only to be let down by the author who seemed to lose any idea of where he or she is going (Night Film comes to mind). I hoped that this book would not break my heart this way, as I really loved it from the start. I was so happy that this book was true to the story right up to the very end. In fact, the final sentence wrapped up the final loose thread of the novel, and everything made sense. I loved this book, and was transported to a time and place in a rare way. The narrator is a marvel...I often think when I listen to a new Audible book "...now this is the best narrator I have ever heard", and then someone like Edoardo Ballerini comes along to make me forget the rest. He is spectacular. I really did not want to read a series, but I finished this book last night and will buy the next book today. It was that good. Just a great book, folks.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Engrossing but grim

Overall, it was an interesting story and kept my attention. At times though, it really felt like it was dragging; therefore, I highly recommend listening to it on 1.25x speed because it's very long and also, the narration is painfully slow. Another issue is that the writer seems to have an inordinate fixation on male genitalia, and at times, uses language that almost certainly would never have been spoken by folks in 1699. This sort of breaks the illusion of the storytelling.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful