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Speaks the Nightbird: A Novel (Matthew Corbett Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 500 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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|Book 1 of 7 in B07NVT5VSP|
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the hardcover edition.
From Library Journal
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the hardcover edition.
- File size : 4054 KB
- Publication date : October 8, 2013
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 500 pages
- Publisher : Open Road Media; Reprint edition (October 8, 2013)
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B00F9H59Z0
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #124,484 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Not recommended for people who want a fast pace or constant action. This story takes its time, lingers on details, contains long conversations.
Matthew and the magistrate, who is a father figure to Matthew, travel to the settlement of Fount Royal, the brain child of a man named Bidwell. The town is faltering due to the belief that one of the residents is a witch. Hence, the need for a magistrate.
Although McCammon writes horror, there is no real belief created in the reader that Rachel is a witch, nor is there meant to be. This detail works more on the level of hysteria, human bias and stupidity, and circumstantial evidence. To some extent, this is funny. To paraphrase any number of exchanges.
"So, magistrate, when will we get to burn the witch?"
"The accused needs to be tried."
"Right, sure. We have to try her before we burn her -- we believe in the law -- but when do you think we can get to the burning part?"
And, unsurprisingly, anything that seems like evidence against her being a witch is written off as the devil being cunning.
But the book is about more than that. It's about Matthew coming of age and separating from his father figure as he definitively becomes a man in his own right. It's also about appearances being deceiving. Beyond an innocent woman being accused of doing the naughtiness with Satan, we have Matthew step into at least 3 homes that are not what they appear from the outside. We have multiple characters who are not what they seem. We have assumptions that prove to be false.
We also have this little ear worm:
Come out, come out, my dames and dandies. Come out, come out, and taste my candies.
I'm giving StN 5 stars because, after reading 800+ pages, I found myself not wanting to leave. A sense of melancholia set in at the last 10% because I knew the story was wrapping up, and I knew there would be some sadness both in the story and in me as a reader.
The main plot takes place in year 1699, in a small new brave town build on the border of wilderness of Florida. The series of unfortunate and mysterious events puts the future of the new town in jeopardy and suggests that dark forces are at play. Thus the young and beautiful woman is accused of being a witch and awaits a trial. Maybe killing her will help the town to survive. The main protagonist, Matthew Corbett, is a young clerk accompanying the magistrate who is in charge of the trial. While investigating the witchcraft Matthew will discover many nasty and shocking secrets harbored by town inhabitants.
The book pulled me in from the first chapter and did not let go until the end. There are also many excellent side plots and the story brims with colorful characters. The description of town was superb.
However, be aware that this is not exactly a cozy historical fiction. There are few scenes here that may feel quite shocking to some readers, the reminders of the fact that the author used to be a horror writer. I am very glad that Mr. McCammon wrote books belonging to different category than horror since these are the ones that I like the most.
It is the first book in the series but it stands on its own i.e. it does not end with cliffhanger.
I am very happy that there are other books in this series.
The Plot: Magistrate Woodward and his young cleric Matthew Corbett are sent to Fount Royal a fairly new settlement in the Carolina Colony, to investigate witchcraft and murders. The road there is filled with danger as the colony is 40 miles away from any other settlement, and they have to worry about Indians and cut throats. Matthew and Woodward hear of the tale of witchcraft and murder with each man forming his own initial assessment, Matthew the skeptic believes there must be some more rational explanation and Woodward who is older has seen evil like this before read up on the Salem Witch trials. They meet the Witch, Rachel, both men are taken away by her bewitching beauty especially Matthew, but her mouth is bold and blasphemous. The trial starts with witnesses saying she was seen cavorting with the devil. Each testimony more condemning, but Matthew sees something in the testimony that he can't explain, and has to pursue. This dark road leads to death and a conspiracy that the town is keeping hidden. There truly is a devil in Fount Royal.
What I Liked: The Characters are great and each one different. There's about 60 characters and almost every one is a suspect in the conspiracy of witchcraft and murder. Matthew Corbett is that great character who won't quit even if all the odds are against him. This story pays off on the little details, there's a lot of little side stories that are tied up in conspiracy it wraps them all up as the story still drives towards the mastermind. The villains all have great have great motives, they have reasons for the terrible things they do, also some manage to keep their humanity, which I found really touching. The written dialects all work and sound natural, since this is the birth of a America 1699 there's people coming from all over and McCammon has found a way to give each voice its unique flavor. The mystery is really great with so many layers that have to get pulled back until you see the whole thing. This novel has one of the greatest red herrings where you know a character is hiding something, but when you experience what it is prepare to laugh yourself silly.
What I Disliked: The mastermind's lament goes on a little too long, he kind of tells everything and rambles for a few pages. After the main climax there is a slight lag as we go into the big reveal. For a 900 page novel there is very little lag.
Recommendations: Robert R. McCammon is one of my favorite writers he is criminally under the radar in writing. He mainly writes horror but with this series he can do Historical Fiction as well. Stephen King lead me to Robert R. McCammon books when he said he is in awe of his horror writing. This book nails the history of 1699 America. It shows off the frightening use of blood letting and blister cups for medical practice of the time. It highlights what a melting pot of people early America was. For mystery lovers this books ending will keep you guessing, while giving you all the facts. I rated this book 5 out of 5 stars and will keep reading the series. This book is constantly cheap on Kindle I purchased it for 1.99 which is a steal, buy and read this book
Top reviews from other countries
There are gruesome murders, hidden treasure and a cast of shady well drawn suspects. It's a tale of greed, lost innocence and the search for truth and justice conducted almost single handedly by the main protagonist, Matthew the clerk. As a reader I changed my mind about who the real culprit or culprits at the heart of the many strange and disturbing events in the settlement might be but I was, pleasingly, kept guessing throughout.
I really enjoyed reading this. A really well written page turner and happy to recommend to anyone who likes a good tale.
Our hero Matthew Corbett is a young cleric and off to the Florida marshes with his Magistrate (surrogate father, teacher and friend) to preside over a witchcraft trial. In 1699, all witches are considered guilty despite any contrary evidence. The fact that this witch stirs the blood of the young cleric makes for some tortured soul-searching on Matthew's part.
The novel is constructed beautifully: the search for evidence, the threat of the Spanish; the indigenous natives; strong characterisation and the introduction of a new sleuth in our eponymous hero. All build superbly to a final sequence which leaves the reader very satisfied. A master story-teller at work and much welcomed back into the fold.
Luckily for us he's back and this massive doorstop which launches a new series is pure McCammon magic in the best Southern Gothic tradition.
Whatever the reason for his return, be grateful for it.