Share for friends:

Speaks The Nightbird (2007)

Speaks the Nightbird (2007)

Book Info

4.1 of 5 Votes: 2
Your rating
1416552502 (ISBN13: 9781416552505)
gallery books

About book Speaks The Nightbird (2007)

Speaks the Nightbird, by Robert McCammon turned out to be a delightful historical mystery and suspense thriller. We follow Matthew Corbett as he chases tales of witches and demons and other things unnatural to men through Front Royal South Carolina. To truly embrace the Nightbird one must embrace the night itself. Our hero, Crobett turned out to be a bright and courageous lad in his 20s that reminded me of a younger and much more robust Sherlock Holmes with less intellectual acuity, but plenty of smarts for the business at hand. The audiobook, narrated by Balentini was well done. His voice brought out the nature of each character in a wonderful way and I had the image of a young Johnny Dep playing Matthew. Wiry enough to punch a traveling minister in the nose and, with a little help, way-lay a huge man intent on doing harm yet not so athletic that these things were not a challenge for him. McCammon is one of those authors who can write some truely wretched characters in such a way that, in the end, they are appealing and a reader will want to know more about them. McCammon's Leading Lady was a bit of a damsel in distress, to the point I docked a half star, but at the same time, given the impossible situation, McCammon saved some dignity and class for her. McCammon also likes characters that are in between good and bad (as opposed to good an evil) and this town was full of them. It seemed that everybody could serve as a red herring at any given moment. Still, one of the things I liked about this book is, that, not everybody, but some of the survivors that were around at the end seemed to take McCammon up on an offer to be better people. Perhaps one of the traits of this book that I appreciated so much was the unique descriptions of frontier wise and weathered colonials and Indians, brigands and malitia. Even the ever present weather and good ol' One Eye Jack, seemed fresh, described with unique poetic style that conjured up a wonderful vision of colonial faces and clothes. For the mystery that goes with the half star that I took for the damsel in distress theme. It was good and never had I figured out all of it ahead of time, but I did peg the ultimate bad guy from the first introduction. The wonderful thing about that was, that there were so many viable strange things going on involving others in the illing town that there was still so much to figure out and our hero would do nothing until he understood how Motive, Opportunity and Method played into the strange and sometimes eerie tableau that was turn of the 17th - 18th century South Carolina. I also liked the indians. As in "Swan Song" ethnic black slaves were written with dignity and purity of soul. In this case, we only dealt with Goode and his wife (and her a fleeting glimpse) but, as with Swan Song, McCammon let the salt of the earth, the servants, the slaves and wandering actors show the good in people, where the aristocracy gentry showed a more basic, greedy side. Overall, I rate it 4.5 stars and recommend it for any adult.Warnings -Violence - 3 of 5. There were violent scenes described, but usually after the fact. Still McCammon's level of description is such that it sort of "pops" out of the book. He wrote violence on the "Less is more" theory and I think any age group from YA and up can appreciate it without deeming it in appropriate.Nudity and things of a sexual nature - 3 of 5. These too were described in detail. I'm not so much of a prude to say that YA could not manage the nudity etc. I do believe as a parent, if we are talking about kids under 18, parents should decide. When it comes to the sex, plenty of description but not a lot of scenes, save there were often lusting moments and wickedness attached to some of this. There was more mention of sex than experience of it and again, okay, but I might wait until closer to 18 before tossing over this book to a YA reader. Surley manageable by some younger than 18 but not all. The older the better. There is one unsettling revelation about one of the characters and "Lucy" that is a major "eew!" and regrettable but most of the book is okay.Coarse Language - 4 of 5 stars. There was a lot of cussing and coarse language. It doesn't bother me (retired sailor here) but if you don't like a lot of harsh gutter snipe, then be warned: This is a good story, and they cuss a lot. Unfortunate Circumstance 3 of 5 stars. Several characters were victims involved in unfortunate circumstances so tales of abuse and hints of sexual abuse etc are within the pages. Still, I found it to be an excellent read. I really appreciated narrator for the audiobook (Balintini) and other than making sure it's age apropriate I would recommend it for anybody who likes mystery, historical fiction and crime.

Robert McCammon is better known as a horror author, and he brings his horror-novelist sensibility to this big, thick historical novel: it's gritty and dark and full of bloodshed and perversion, kind of schlocky and gratuitous in places (like the almost irrelevant subplot about the dude who really, really loves his horse...), and yet entertaining enough to keep me going through the entire massive length of it.Matthew Corbett, our protagonist, is accompanying his employer, Magistrate Isaac Woodward, to the fledgling town of Fount Royal, a tiny little shithole in the Carolina swamps with aspirations of becoming a port town. It seems there has been a series of murders, arsons, and all sorts of wicked goings on, and since this is the American colonies circa 1699, obviously it must all be the fault of a witch. A witch is duly found: the beautiful widow Rachel Howarth, who makes a convenient scapegoat since she's hot enough to inspire lust in the men and jealousy in the women, her husband is dead, and she's half Portuguese.After a prelude in which Matthew and the magistrate are almost murdered in their sleep by a sinister innkeeper on the road to Fount Royal, they arrive at the town and discover that the town's founder basically expects them to deliver a guilty verdict right quick so they can get the witched burned and get back to business. Magistrate Woodward, however, actually insists on hearing evidence and allowing the accused to testify, much to everyone's disgust. Meanwhile, Matthew, being a 20-year-old virgin, naturally falls in love with Rachel, becomes convinced of her innocence, and sets about trying to convince the magistrate and the townsfolk, in a world where an accusation is as good as proof. Everyone, even a child, testifies to having seen Rachel Howarth conducting Satanic orgies. While their stories have some holes, none of them seem to have a reason or inclination to lie. Matthew, an incessantly curious and persistent fellow, keeps asking questions while the townsfolk are already picking the stake to burn Rachel on.Speaks the Nightbird is a historical novel full of colorful if dubious details. McCammon does not gloss over how unclean, uncivilized, and generally gross the 17th century was, especially in a backwater like Carolina. The novel is also pretty engaging as a mystery. Fount Royal of full of shady characters all of whom seem to have mysterious pasts and secondary motives. Matthew goes poking into everyone's business, getting knocked around and at one point jailed and whipped for it, witnesses everything from horse buggery to mesmerism, and eventually uncovers the truth about everything and everyone.The ending is, while not quite fantastic, skirting the boundaries of plausibility. McCammon brings all sorts of weird plot twists into play, so figuring out the mystery is not something the reader is likely to do ahead of time unless your mind leaps to bizarre explanations, but the conclusion is satisfying.

Do You like book Speaks The Nightbird (2007)?

A historical mystery/suspense set in British America, South Carolina, 1699.Magistrate Isaac Woodward and his young charge and clerk (our protagonist) Matthew Corbett, are sent for from Charleston to preside over a witch trial in the fledgling frontier settlement of Fount Royal. Matthew, with an unusually keen mind, soon discerns that not all is as it seems as he asks questions nobody seems able or willing to answer. Driven by insatiable curiosity and tenacious inquisitiveness, coupled with an infatuation for the dark skinned Portuguese accused, Rachel Howarth, Matthew embarks on a quest to unknot a tangled web of an insidious conspiracy. This book took me by surprise. I’ve never read anything by Robert McCammon before and he isn’t a name I hear very often, if at all. I see he’s written a lot of horror novels in the eighties and nineties and this book is his first foray into historical fiction after a self imposed hiatus from writing. McCammon’s prose is to die for. I put him up there on the podium alongside or pretty close to Patrick Rothfuss and Guy Gavriel Kay, as authors I could read or listen to all day, not so much for what they write, but for how they write it. I say close because a lot of my enjoyment was undoubtedly accentuated by the exquisite audio narration by Eduardo Ballerini. Eduardo is my new favourite narrator of all time. Even the name Eduardo, rolls on the tongue like a Ferrero slowly melting in my mouth. I think I love you Eduardo. Still, even if unaided by Ballerini, Robert McCammon really made me feel like I was in 1699 on the American frontier. From very early on, when Isaac Woodward and Matthew Corbett have their first misadventure at a roadside tavern, I felt like I was actually there with the lice and the rats and the human excrement so elegantly described. I felt the tension of having to choose between dying in the storm outside or spending the night in the lowest bowels of hell. I felt the fear of being discovered as Matthew hides himself in a dimly lit stables while his potential killer drunkenly kicks at bales of straw. But the sex with a horse scene was just one step too far. Not cool McCammon. It’s a testament to Eduardo Ballerini’s narration that he didn’t choke on his own tongue as he delivered those lines with eloquent elocution. The disadvantage of audio is being unable to skim read.I don’t want to give the impression that this book doesn’t have its flaws. It does. Some pretty obvious ones and some depending on your knowledge of the history of that time. It’s obvious the McCammon did a lot of research to write a very authentic feeling historical fiction. I really did feel like I was there living at that time. I’m not sure how accurate he was on all the details but I at least felt like it was accurate. But he obviously did zero research into witch trials in British America. Monty Python doesn’t count. They didn’t burn witches at the stake in the colonies - though they didn’t seem to have any scruples about burning slaves at the stake – but not for witchcraft. Witches were hung. McCammon could have told the same story with a hanging pending. I’m not sure however, he could have told the same story without the false idea that spectral evidence was taken as legitimate evidence outside the Salem witch trials before that particular court was disbanded and replaced. Anyway, despite these quibbles as well as a few other caricature portrayals and a couple unlikely heroic physical feats – McCammon weaves a story that slowly and expertly builds the atmosphere and suspense of being in a dangerous place with some malevolent undercurrents. It's the sort of writing I usually like in horror rather than historical fiction and it had me looking for excuses to plug in the earphones. Some might say that at 800 + pages this book could have been a lot shorter with a lot less waffle - that maybe he could have told the same story with half the page count. His subsequent books in the series are quite a bit shorter. But I say, what’s the point of less McCammon, if all I want to do when I finish is read more McCammon – especially if it involves listening to more Eduardo Ballerini.This book goes on my favourites list with a solid...5 starsPS: Eduardo gets 6 stars. Oh Eduardo, I love you.
—David Sven

I don't doubt it, Paul. The book was almost 800 pages, rather formidable, but worth every minute spent on it. Hopefully, the audio will prove to be the same. It's almost a committment, isn't it? An excellent story.

This book was outright amazing, the only comparison I can draw for this novel would be something like Law & Order: Witch Trials. Thereby seeing the first lines of the novel indicating the location in the Carolinas, I hear the distinctive DUN! DUN! in my head just thinking about it. There is definitely some shady dealings going on in the town of Fount Royal where an accused witch is on trial and the one and only penalty for cavorting with the Devil is death by flames. For a town that deems itself holy and wants nothing more but to purge it's self from the presence of evil, nearly everyone in the town seems to be guilty of something. But down the rabbit hole Robert McCammon takes us, who is to blame for the atrocities that have been committed in this town? Did the accused truly murder her husband and the Reverend? Is the owner of the town a silent schemer? Does the Dr. in the town have ulterior motives? Does the new Reverend that arrives to the town care too much about lustful ideals than saving souls? What's up with all the rain? Why does my stomach hurt right now? All but the last two questions get answered in this epic book. This book is really long, and I mean REALLY long, but it is extremely enrapturing. This book isn't for the feint of heart, if you are the occasional reader this may not fit the bill for your wants and desires, but if you like to be kept guessing the whole time, it is sure to please. Robert McCammon makes every detail matter and I sopped it up like I was eating biscuits and gravy. Sometimes picking out details that I would read knowing that there was an obvious reason why it was mentioned, but having to wait a while until the answer comes to fruition. I'm very glad to know that Matthew Corbett makes an appearance in 3 more novels! I'm already ready to crack open the next volume in the series. I read this book right after finishing Wolf's Hour by McCammon, but this book was a completely different animal. Robert paints pictures in your mind that you can't help but see clear as day, and the dialogue is also quite amazing, as his attention to detail in the character's speech, and talking style is painstakingly rendered. I can only imagine how long it must have been for the author to craft this masterpiece. Also, I'll give a nod to Robert for not including so much detail to the main character being quite the slut that Michael Galatin from the Wolf's Hour was. I have to give McCammon a lot of credit on this novel, and I don't feel guilty in the slightest from awarding this book 5 stars, which is not something I do all willy nilly!
—Timothy Dalton

download or read online

Read Online

Write Review

(Review will shown on site after approval)

Other books by author Robert McCammon

Other books in series Matthew Corbett

Other books in category Fiction