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Speaks the Nightbird
Speaks the Nightbird by Robert McCammon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Can’t remember when I started).

A monster of a book. It was sitting in my TBR (or more accurately, TBL (to be listened)) pile for years, and I’ve finally gotten around to it.

It’s long, but it doesn’t contain a huge cast of characters – almost like a locked room mystery. All the action takes place in a frontier town called Fount Royal, founded by a loud overachiever called Bitwell. The story is set in 1699, and it revolves around the trial of a supposed witch in Fount Royal, Rachel Howarth, said to be responsible for two grisly deaths, including that of her own husband. British Empire magistrate Isaac Woodward and his clerk Matthew Corbett was summoned to put the witch on trial, and sentence her.

As the story flows along, we find that all is not as it seems in Fount Royal, and young Matthew increasingly believes that there are forces at play here that seem intent on a larger plot beyond the sentencing of a witch. Doesn’t help that Matthew is smitten by the beautiful widow whom he believes is framed for the murder. Running against time, Matthew attempts to uncover the clues that will exonerate Rachel and expose the truth.

I enjoyed the story more than I thought I would. I had expected a horror tale (and looked forward to it too!) given McCammon’s reputation. As the tale wore on I found not only was it *not* a horror tale, but an incredibly interesting whodunnit.

Worth a read.

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