Start reading Speaks the Nightbird: A Novel (Matthew Corbett Book 1) on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.
with Kindle Unlimited

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player


Speaks the Nightbird: A Novel (Matthew Corbett Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Robert R. McCammon
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (217 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $14.99 What's this?
Print List Price: $18.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $8.01 (45%)
Kindle Unlimited Read this title for free and get unlimited access to over 700,000 titles. Learn More

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Whispersync for Voice

Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration. Add narration for a reduced price of $3.99 after you buy the Kindle book.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $9.99  
Hardcover $25.16  
Paperback $13.09  
Audible Audio Edition, Unabridged $34.95 or Free with Audible 30-day free trial
Mass Market Paperback --  

Book Description

Came the time when the two travellers knew night would catch them, and shelter must be found.

God and Satan are at war in the colonial Carolina town of Fount Royal, and even the citizens suspect that a witch is behind the tragedies that have plagued the town. The chief suspect is the beautiful and haunted widow Rachel. Traveling judge Isaac Woodward and his bright young clerk Matthew Corbett arrive to conduct a trial—and uncover the true evil at work in Fount Royal.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A trial for witchcraft proves the tip of an iceberg of intrigues in this absorbing historical mystery, the first newly published novel in 10 years from McCammon (the book was written in the mid-'90s), a bestseller in the 1980s with such supernatural novels in the Stephen King tradition as Usher's Passing and Baal. Set in 1699 in Fount Royal, a coastal settlement in the colonial Carolinas, this latest unfolds the adventures of magistrate Isaac Woodward and his assistant, Matthew Corbett, who have been summoned to the struggling town to adjudicate in the trial of Rachel Howarth, a young widow accused of deviltry that is blamed for murders, wretched weather and other calamities driving settlers away. Though town leaders press for swift execution, Matthew is persuaded by Rachel's dignity and fortitude that she's innocent. Using skills honed living by his wits as an orphaned child, he pursues inconsistencies in testimony and throwaway clues and uncovers an elaborate plot involving pirate booty, animal magnetism and deadly deceit at the highest levels of town organization. This robust tale is as historically detailed as it is long, and its recreation of an era where superstition held its own with enlightenment is among its strongest achievements. Anachronisms, improbably fortuitous coincidences and private dramas that make Fount Royal seem a pre-Revolutionary Peyton Place lard the plot, but Matthew's race against time to save Rachel with the rudimentary tools to hand makes a compulsively readable yarn. McCammon's loyal fans will find his resurfacing reason to rejoice. (Sept.) Forecast: Those who enjoyed the author's last three novels (Mine; Boy's Life; Gone South), studies of the human condition that transcended genre labeling, will snap this one up, too. But McCammon also lost readers with these novels because in them he turned away from the horror themes that made his reputation. This latest could well gain him new fans, but it won't win back any horror readers.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

After a ten-year absence from publishing, McCammon (Boy's Life) returns with this historical novel of colonial Carolina. In 1699, legal clerk Matthew Corbett accompanies magistrate Isaac Woodward to Fount Royal, where he has been summoned to decide whether a witch is living in the newly established settlement. The two are immediately thrown into danger, even before they reach the town. And once there, they must deal with the inhabitants, some of whom stand to gain if Rachel, the accused, is executed. Soon it becomes obvious to Matthew that everyone has secrets, even the magistrate. In the end, he alone must try to unravel the mysteries. While many of McCammon's prior novels dealt with the supernatural, his latest contains horrors that are more real. McCammon also provides extensive historical detail, re-creating the legal procedures, medical practices, and everyday existence of the time. The language and situations are often disturbing, especially because many of the accusations against Rachel are sexual in nature, but McCammon tells a compelling story that should find a wide readership. Highly recommended for popular fiction collections. Joel W. Tscherne, Cleveland P.L.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1795 KB
  • Print Length: 816 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media; Reprint edition (October 8, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00F9H59Z0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,340 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
86 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Return of the Mac! January 22, 2003
Robert McCammon is back, with one of his best novels ever. "Speaks the Nightbird" is the kind of book that really deserves a grass-roots, word-of-mouth campaign. If you read "Boy's Life" and it meant something to you, you owe it to yourself to pick up "Speaks the Nightbird."
The story concerns an aging legal magistrate and his young clerk who come to the small Carolina village of Fount Royal at the close of the 17th century to decide the facts in a case of reputed witchcraft.
Matthew Corbett, the magistrate's sharp-minded young clerk, is not sure he believes in witches, despite the accepted wisdom of the day. Corbett is a young man determined to see the world with his own set of eyes. This is good news for Rachel Howarth, the alleged witch, but not such good news for the young clerk himself. Matthew's determination to make up his own mind about the case runs him afoul of many of Fount Royal's most prominent residents. The villagers, who have come to blame recent deaths and failing crops on the accused witch, would like nothing more than a speedy, fiery solution to their troubles.
What Matthew wants is the truth, no matter how slippery and elusive it proves to be. A boy on the cusp of adulthood, Matthew suspects that the decisions he makes in Fount Royal will ultimately be the proof of the man he is to become. What Matthew soon discovers, however, is that the road to truth and decency is bound to be a hard and lonely one. Even the magistrate, a normally fair and level-headed man who has often served as a father figure for the boy, is so mired in the "facts" of the case that he is unable to lend Matthew a helping hand.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You will not be disappointed January 31, 2003
McCammon fans will be surprised and entertained by his latest novel about a witch trial set in North Carolina in 1699. The characters are developed, it is rich in detail and the pace is quick. All the qualities that earned him such a loyal fan base are here. His use of dialog has never been used for effectively. Prepare yourself for some late night reading. Those worried that this is not a scary book, be at ease. McCammon creates some wonderfully intense and macabre scenes and proves that some aspects of humanity are more frightening than anything supernatural. In retrospect, it's similar aspects and the attention to relationships in his stories that made "Mystery Walk", "Wolf's Hour" and others that much better. After reading this, I looked on his website where he states that he "got bored" with writing horror. This latest entry is a great way to cross over into historical fiction. I just hope his publisher and fans allow him to do so. Great reading and I look forward to his next, whatever the genre.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've read in 10 years! October 9, 2002
By A Customer
I've been waiting for this book for awhile now and man, was it worth the wait. McCammon draws you into his world from the beginning and you spend several days and nights immersed in the story. I read the whole book in one long weekend, as I couldn't stop myself. As usual, he does a great job with descriptions of the characters. The plot is so intricately woven together, and the ending is fantastic. He's definately become my favorite writer of today. This book is my 3rd favorite of all time, behind Boy's Life and The Stand. Can't wait till his next book, hope the time interval isn't so long next time. I may have to re-read this one.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ROBERT MCCAMMON'S BEST NOVEL TO DATE!!! October 23, 2002
It's been ten long years since Robert McCammon's last published book, but I'm happy to say that the author is finally back in full form with SPEAKS THE NIGHTBIRD, a novel that tackles the injustice of the witchcraft trials in Colonial America and how one young man dares to resist the mob mentality in order to save the woman he loves. It begins in 1699 when Magistrate Isaac Woodward and his clerk, Matthew Corbett, are called to the small town of Fount Royal, which is on the coast of the Carolinas, to investigate the accusations of witchcraft and murder against the beautiful Rachel Howarth. She has been accursed of killing her own husband, Daniel, and the Reverend Grove, as well as having sexual intercourse with the Devil, and causing the slow demise of the community. The town's people are ready to lynch Rachel, but Magistrate Woodward uses the power of his position to insist that a fair trail takes place before anything is done to the woman. As the witnesses are called forth during the days ahead, each one describes in explicit detail how they saw Mrs. Howarth in the throes of passion with her supposedly dark Master. Woodward firmly believes that the witnesses are telling the truth, but young Matthew begins to suspect that there's someone else behind the scenes-someone who's pulling the strings of the local town's people, intent of destroying Fount Royal and making Rachel the scapegoat to divert attention from his evil plans. When Rachel is sentenced to burn at the stake, Matthew's left with only a few days to prove her innocence and to find out the identity of the real murderer. SPEAKS THE NIGHTBIRD clearly surpasses any of Robert McCammon's earlier novels in sheer scope and craftsmanship. In fact, I consider it to be his crowning achievement in the field of fiction. Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars McCammon is back!!
I thought that one of my favorite authors had disappeared from my life. But thanks to the kindle library, I re-discovered the treasure that is Robert R McCammon.
Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great author
Another great book from Robert McCammon. If you like this book, be sure to read Swan Song by Robert McCammon.
Published 10 days ago by C. B.
5.0 out of 5 stars couldn't put the metaphoric book down
Never thought I would enjoy a book set so far in the past. Fantastic read. Characters were fleshed out and you really felt for everyone involved.
Published 12 days ago by M. Lewin
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
First Robert McCammon book I've read. I will read another because of it.
Published 22 days ago by Stephanie J. Schmeck
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read,
Really marvelous, will read all this series. A mystery of a different type, very refreshing read.
Published 1 month ago by Vicki Rubell
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great book.
Published 1 month ago by Chris Geraghty
5.0 out of 5 stars Awe Struck
I usually don't take time to write many reviews, but for anyone who happens to ponder whether or not this book is worth reading, I would answer with a resounding "YES! Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mark McKinney
5.0 out of 5 stars A grand mix of mystery and history.
I prefer to read recurring characters in the order in which they are published. However, not knowing that Matthew was indeed the main character in an open-ended series, I first... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Bud Stephens
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best **spoiler free**
Speaks the Nightbird is a story set in colonial North Carolina in a time where there existed a vast frontier yet to be tamed and people who believed in witchcraft. Read more
Published 1 month ago by AshleyNichole
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story
This is the third book I've read by Robert McCammon. This story is about colonial America's first detective who is compelled to sort out the mystery of a town witch. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Donald Cain
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

More About the Author

Robert McCammon is the New York Times bestselling author of nineteen novels, including the award-winning BOY'S LIFE and SPEAKS THE NIGHTBIRD. There are more than four million copies of his books in print. His latest novel, THE RIVER OF SOULS, is the fifth book in the Matthew Corbett series. It is available now from Subterranean Press in both trade hardcover and Kindle formats.

Visit his websites: and

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Have something you'd like to share about this product?
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for Similar Items by Category