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 PROVIDENCE RIDER, is the fourth book in the Matthew Corbett series. It is available now from Subterranean Press in both trade hardcover and Kindle formats.
Visit his websites: www.robertmccammon.com and www.matthewcorbettsworld.com
BOTTOM LINE: This is a damn fun book that will make you gasp, laugh, bite your nails to the nubs, and cheer out loud.
This is a SPOILER-FREE review that will focus on my impressions as a reader, with little to no references to the brilliant plot points of the novel, which can be found in the book description above. To reveal anything further would be a disservice to both you, the potential reader, and the author of this absolutely dynamic adventure.
OVERVIEW Simply put, this novel is at once everything you could hope for from a historical thriller, and everything you've come to expect from a Matthew Corbett mystery. From the quite literal opening salvo that propels our young "problem solver" into his latest escapade, to the final sigh of relief that Matthew has once again narrowly escaped the jaws of death, the reader is plunged into an adventure filled-to-bursting with nefarious plots and international intrigue, populated by a cast of superbly developed characters who offer Matthew unflagging friendship, unmitigated evil, and sometimes both.
The novel itself is a hybrid tale somewhere between the action-packed cat-and-mouse game that filled the pages of Mister Slaughter and the layer-upon-layer mystery of The Queen of Bedlam. Whereas Mister Slaughter focused on the brute mayhem and violence that could be inflicted upon Corbett's physical person in his pursuit to uncover the evils of the world around him, Providence Rider takes a backdoor approach in which Professor Fell wages psychological warfare on Corbett in order to first get the young man to acquiesce to his demands, and then to further sink his teeth into Matthew's psyche as Corbett is exposed to the ruthless horrors of Fell's inner circle of villains.Read more ›
The Providence Rider was one of my three most anticipated novels of the year, and I was thrown off guard when it arrived nearly a month early while I was in the middle of reading the unabridged version of The Count of Monte Cristo. Only through extreme willpower, did I slog through Monte Cristo before eagerly devouring the latest installment of Matthew Corbett.
It's by far the shortest of the four novels, but it packs a walloping punch, hooks you from the opening, and doesn't let up until you read the final page.
I would highly recommend reading the first three novels of McCammon's epic series before tackling The Providence Rider, but you could follow this tale without the first three novels. You'll just miss out on some salient details and a pretty large number of subtle nods to previous events and characters. Still McCammon does pretty well in providing previous key plot points in high-level detail.
The novel starts out in New York with Matthew Corbett still reeling from his brutal adventure against Tyranthus Slaughter and Lyra Sutch. Against this backdrop, Matthew is quite reluctant to attend a dinner invitation extended by an emissary of the infamous Professor Fell. Fell, however, is not one to take No for an answer. Soon, explosions begin rocking buildings around the city and promise to continue to do so until Matthew takes Professor Fell up on that meeting.
Fell is looking for Matthew to be a Providence Rider, someone who can ride in and deliver a much-needed boon to the Professor. The setting for this adventure, however, is far from New York. Instead Matthew must travel to the mysterious Pendulum Island where the criminal Master Bosses of Professor Fell's empire are gathered for a meeting.Read more ›
This is the latest installment in the Mathew Corbett series. In this novel we meet Matthew's nemesis, Professor Fell. I love how Matthew is growing throughout the series. At first in "Speaks the Nightbird" Matthew is uncertain and a bit naive. As the series continues, he is learning and becoming more and more sure of himself. As he takes part in the scarier and darker side of life,as in "Mister Slaughter" he becomes more hardened, more worldly. Now in his latest, Matthew is reminding me of that old Nietzsche quote: "Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." Will Matthew survive this look into the abyss? You will have to read it to find out!
The Providence Rider is easily Robert McCammon's best book yet in the Matthew Corbett series. The major problem I had with the prior novel in the series, Mr. Slaughter, is that the novel revolves around a bad decision Matthew makes, a decision that is so out of character to be believable. In The Providence Rider, Matthew's actions are all believable, and with every step he takes, we can see him growing and maturing. To be honest, ever since "Speaks the Nightbird" I've had problems with the character of Matthew Corbett, with his holier-than-thou attitude and general smugness, but in this novel, even though that over-confidence is still there, Matthew is starting to seem more "human" to me and I'm actually starting to like him.
My only gripe with the book is that in at least one instance, McCammon tends to revert back to his "horror novel" days (think a 2 page description of a decapitation more in the lines with the cringeworthy short story "Pin" than with a historical novel). But nobody creates loathsome and hateful characters such as McCammon, and when he gets rolling with the action, you turn the pages with such ferocity and pray the story never ends. But end it did, and all too soon! Can't wait for the next in the series, The River of Souls!