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Speaks the Nightbird Hardcover – Sep 1 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 726 pages
  • Publisher: River City Publishing (Sept. 1 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1880216620
  • ISBN-13: 978-1880216620
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 16.3 x 22.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #751,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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First Sentence
Came the time when the two travellers knew night would catch them, and shelter must be found. Read the first page
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By William Sugarman on June 1 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have always maintained that there are three great modern American horror writers: Stephen King, Peter Straub, and Robert McCammon. King and Straub, of course, have been churning out books of varying quality for the last twenty-five years - but McCammon inexplicably vanished from the scene ten years ago and hasn't been heard from.
Until now.
And he marks his return with a different kind of horror story. At the turn of the 18th century a magistrate and his clerk ride toward a recently established village in the Carolinas to deal with a charge of witchcraft. But all is not as it seems. I won't spoil the plot except to say that if you're a McCammon fan this novel is not what you're expecting; but it's great nonetheless.
If you haven't realized it already this novel has been split into two separate books. Part I is titled "Judgement of the Witch" and part II is "Evil Unveiled". The two books need to be read in order to avoid any confusion.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is not Swan Song or Boy's Life but it's still a great read! I wish it was on Kindle.
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By Ben Mears on Feb. 15 2012
Format: Hardcover
Très bon livre.L`auteur nous livre une bonne histoire bien racontée et bien menée sur fond historique.C`est le début des enquêtes d`un nouveau personnage Matthew Corbett.
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By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER on Dec 18 2006
Format: Paperback
Having read "Swan Song", a fantastic novel by this author in the horror genre, I was surprised to see that he had turned his hand to historical fiction. Since it is one of my favorite genres, I decided to take a chance and read it. Well, I was not disappointed. This is a well-executed work of historical fiction. It is clear that the author did his research, as the book is steeped in period detail. Moreover, the dialogue rings true, and the characters are well-developed. The author vividly depicts the setting about which he is writing, weaving a tapestry of events that rivets the reader to the pages of this book until the last one is turned.

The setting for the story is colonial America, at the very end of the seventeenth century. It appears that the swampy town of Fount Royal in the Carolinas is having its share of troubles, which range from crop failures to murder. The citizens have decided that witchcraft is afoot, and they believe that Rachel Howarth, the beautiful and exotic looking widow of one of the recently murdered men, is the witch that is causing all their troubles. They have thrown her into the town's jail to await trial by the territory's magistrate, Isaac Woodward.

Assisted by his very capable and highly intelligent clerk, Matthew Corbett, the Magistrate presides over the trial. Matthew, however, believes Rachel to be innocent, despite the mounting evidence against her. So, he decides to make some independent inquiries of his own in order to ascertain exactly what is afoot in Fount Royal. What he discovers is certainly evil, but it is a miasma of evil not of the kind derived from supernatural portents. There is more going on behind the scenes in Fount Royal than one would ever have bargained for.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Vol 2. Evil Unveiled is the 2nd half of Speaks the Nightbird. Vol 1. Judgement of the Witch, was the first half. Both books are the wonderful recent additions from the fabulous mind of Robert McCammon. A sordid look at America's past. Particularly the during the time of the Witch hunts in the 1600's. An excellent mystery is underfoot when an innocent woman is charged for the crime of Witchcraft. A young law clerk (filling-in for the ailing Judge Woodward) is faced with discovering the truth. During which time (no pun intended), the bodies start to drop. The writing style and the characters are well drawn and memorable. Makes you truly appreaciate the concept of "innocent until proven guilty." Enjoy! P.S. this book reminds me of John Barth's "The Sot Weed Factor." Also a great read, very satirical.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The second volume is more enjoyable than the first, because our suspicions of the genre have been confirmed: this isn't horror fiction, this is a mystery novel in the cosy Agatha Christie vein (once you look past the very rare examples of sadistic violence).
In Volume One the characters and situation were established (I'd said of the first half that it "essentially parades its whodunnit-style suspects before us,") and in Volume Two the red herrings are dealt with by our intrepid detective hero, as he works his way toward discovering the real killer.
McCammon is, as always, a graceful and articulate writer, and this is a satisfying conclusion to his novel--particularly enjoyable, once the reader settles into the genre, is his occasional subverting of expectations. One can easily imagine further volumes, should McCammon decide to make his hero a recurring detective, and I'd look forward to them (I don't know of any circa 1700 detectives in New York, but it would be a fun read!)
Note: This is really about a 3 and a half starrer for me--a 3 star ranking from me is actually fairly good, I reserve 4 stars for tremendously good works, and 5 only for the rare few that are or ought to be classic; unfortunately most books published are 2 or less.
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