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Speaks the Nightbird, v1: Judgment of the Witch (Matthew Corbett, #1.1)

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  370 ratings  ·  28 reviews

After a decade, New York Times bestselling author Robert McCammon returns with an epic novel of suspense that reinstates him as one of the great storytellers of our time....

The Carolinas, 1699: The citizens of Fount Royal believe their town is cursed by a witch. What else could explain the sudden fires, crop failures and gruesome murders? Convinced that Rachel Howarth,

Mass Market Paperback, 483 pages
Published August 26th 2003 by Pocket
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These books are two parts of an historical novel by Robert McCammon. This story takes you back to the days of fierce superstitions, hellish medical remedies, vagabonds, travelling preachers, slaves, and witch burnings. Issac Woodward and his aide Matthew are called to a town called Fount Royal in the Carolina's when it was still the King's country. They are to investigate a witch and sentence her appropriately to what they deem in her case after they see and hear the evidence. The book's first p ...more
I probably wouldn't have read this based on the plot synopsis, but McCammon has never failed me in the past. His writing and characters always seem to hook me and he handles the story so well that this story easily kept me interested. Can't wait to start the second book.
Aug 14, 2007 Rose rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Murder Myster
Shelves: mystery
Set during the Salem witch trials, this is a wonderful yarn about what people want to believe or want to see, even if it's not there. Follow the story of Matthew and lastest in a series of new books my Robert McCammon after a long 10 year absence from writing.
Steve Dullum
I have read Boy's Life and Swan Song by McCammon, both of which are excellent, especially Boy's Life, so I knew this book would be good. However, this was the first historical fiction novel I've read, so I didn't know what to expect. What I got was a trip back in time to 1699, to the settlement of Fount Royal, and I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. It is indeed a slow burner, and to be honest I was hoping it would be a little scarier and more suspenseful, but it is essentially a detective story, not ...more
Robert McCammon is an excellent storyteller and I was so happy to rediscover him earlier this year. NIGHTBIRD is the first of a series that of which I read the most recent one this summer. The characters here are strong but the story line isn't as taut as it could be. One of the things I like most about McCammon is his ability to create an atmosphere of real danger. As often as not, the cavalry doesn't get there in time so there's a sense that anything can happen. This makes for unrelenting susp ...more
Nov 19, 2007 Fanny rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: McCammon fans
I am very torn about this book. And the first thing I see here is that everyone has given 4+ stars! Well, most did anyway. Robert McCammon is one of my all time favorite authors and Swan Song ranks as my #2 all time favorite book. Admittedly this is but the first volume of 2, however I found myself wanting to pick up something else as it just didn't keep my attention like his previous works. I don't want to say dull but... it was rather dull. Certainly it had its moments, but they seemed few and ...more
I was enjoying this book up until somewhere around page 600. A little long, I thought, with a detective-protagonist who relied too heavily on trying to leverage direct confessions from people and a romance that was a little too "love at first sight" for my tastes. Then I reached McGammon's depiction of Native Americans and an overly long parlor scene that was essentially page after page of rhetorical questions followed by page after page of monologues (although monologues are to be expected in ...more
Karen Patterson
Didn't realized at first when I picked up this book that hardback version was split into two paperback books. However, since then I have obtained both and am currently on the second book and half of the story. The first book was very well written and historical fiction mixed with mystery which has yet to be solved which is why I'm now flying through the second volume. They tell the story of the 16th century when witches were accused, hunted and killed because things happened which were easily ex ...more
Sani Scott Nielsen
I was not impressed. This is part 1 of a 2-part "epic novel." The basic story line was good. Judge and clerk go to put an accused witch on trial in a developing new town in the Americas in 1699. Sounds pretty good, right? I though so too. However...

I was not impressed with some of the graphic sexual descriptions the author used to describe the witch's relationship with her "master" and towards the end of the book he also included some bestiality on the part of one of the townspeople. Why he adde
On est bien loin de la qualité d'un bouquin tel que l'Heure du Loup, telle est ma constatation première ! Le début de ce nouveau roman est relativement poussif, presque ennuyeux. Près de 200 pages avant de rencontrer enfin ladite sorcière, bon... Ça se lit bien, je ne dis pas le contraire, mais je ne me suis pas du tout retrouvée dans ce livre. A aucun moment, je n'ai été portée par le suspens, et si Matthew est attachant, j'ai trouvé que les autres personnages manquaient cruellement de relief e ...more
I can not wait to read the second park of Speaks the Nightbird. In a time where all manners of evil are blamed on witchcraft wether deserved or not is a new town named Fount Royal. Magistrate Woodword and his clerk, Matthew, are sent there from Charles Town to preside over the trial of Rachel Howarth who is being charged with witchcraft. Matthew does not believe that she is guilty and is out to prove it. Is it truely witchcraft of is there some other force of evil preying on Fount Royal?
I write this review with a heavy heart - Robert McCammon wrote one of my all time favorite books - Boys Life. Two completely different books I cannot imagine. I still like his style of writing and think he uses powerful imagery but this book was dark. It even visits the topic of beastiality (I don't even know how to spell that!! There is another volume to this book and I really don't think I will read it. I am tempted just so I can know how it ends but - not really my style.
Ce que j'ai apprécié dans ce livre, c'est l'aspect historique de la chose, qui donnait à cette histoire davantage de réalisme. Par contre, ça traînait en longueur, et j'avais un peu le sentiment d'assister sans arrêt à la même scène ! Matthew essaie de tempérer l'aversion dont Rachel est la victime, se fait rembarrer par la population de Fount Royal, sous l'oeil désapprobateur du juge. Une fois, deux fois, trois fois... c'est bon, on a compris !
Jun 15, 2012 Jeff rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of the early colonies, who done-its, and injustice..
I finished it. It was a little scooby dooish. The characters were interesting enough. Story wise it was a bit tedious. It could have been done with a bit more of a sweep half way through. That would have made it about 150 pages shorter. The clues to the perpetrators are there, but mired in extraneous narrative. I gave it 3 stars because it served its purpose - it entertained (the blacksmith's fetishes not withstanding).
Sarah Pierce
This isn’t “typical” McCammon, although it is a thriller with possible supernatural happenings. I really enjoyed the protagonist, Matthew Corbett. My only complaint is the pacing of the book – SO much happens in such a short period of time that you read 30 pages and then realize that it’s all supposed to be the same day. Really?
A great historical fiction mystery. A magistrate and his clerk arrive at a colonial town about 8 years after the Salem witch trials to try an accused witch. The clerk doesn't believe she's guilty and does some investigating and finds out there's a lot of crazy going on in this little town. I was sucked in.
This novel is AMAZING!!! I listened to it on audiobook and could hardly wait to get back in the car, or do some laundry so that I could keep listening! I even cried at one point. Wow! I made sure to read the rest of the series after this stunner of an opening!
Tanvir Muntasim
An excellent mystery/adventure/horror story steeped in historical details. Unusual foray for McCammon into historical period piece, but he pulls it off successfully. Had to seek out eagerly the second part because of the compelling narrative.
Melissa Dyck
Jun 22, 2007 Melissa Dyck added it
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: mystery
This is the first book of a two part volume I really enjoy the character development, setting in 1699, makes you totally envision what it must have been like at that time. This is by far one of my favorite authors.
It's not McCammon's best work, but 4/5 stars nonetheless. He's still my favorite author, and this was still a great book. I'm excited that he's continuing the Matthew Corbett character in other books.
Horror is not my favorite genre anyway, and I found the historical errors extremely frustrating. I think it was a good story, but it really did seem too long.
This book has a very interesting plot and takes place during the turn of the 17th century in the Carolinas in the aftermath of the Salem witch trials.

Dec 31, 2012 Vicky added it
Loved it! Can't wait to read the second one. Love McCammon, if you haven't read him and you like horror give him a try.
Joanne Moyer
A pretty good read but I wasn't as thrilled with this one as I've been with other Robert McCammon books
Bill Cappoli
Starts off kinda of slow but overall is a very good historical mystery that is very rich in details.
Kristen Doherty
can't wait to read the next book..hope I can get it soon.
Enjoyed it!
Angela Basista
Angela Basista marked it as to-read
Dec 12, 2014
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Robert Rick McCammon was a full-time horror writer for many years. After taking a hiatus for his family, he returned to writing with an interest in historical fiction.

A new contemporary novel, The Five, was published in May 2011 by Subterranean Press.

The Hunter from the Woods, a collection of novellas and stories featuring Michael Gallatin, the main character from The Wolf's Hour, was published as
More about Robert McCammon...
Swan Song Boy's Life The Wolf's Hour They Thirst Mine

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