vrijdag 30 december 2016

"Speaks the Nightbird" by Robert McCammon

"They'd hang her this morn, if they could. But she does na' deserve the rope. What she needs is a champion of truth. Somebody to prove her innocent, when ever'body is again' her."

South Carolina, 1699. Magistrate Isaac Woodward and his clerk Matthew Corbett are making their way to Fount Royal. The small town is being plagued by murders, disease and fires, and they believe a witch is responsible for all the misery. Rachel Howarth, whose husband was one of the victims, is believed to be the witch and she's been imprisoned. Woodward was called in to try her.

Woodward is quite the professional and is intent on giving Mrs Howarth a fair trial, despite the pressure the villagers put on him to condemn her to burn as quickly as possible. It's hard to ignore the damning evidence against her, though. It's young Matthew Corbett who refuses to believe the tales that are told about Rachel and he is determined to be her 'champion of truth' and prove her innocence. But this would also mean exposing the real culprit, and this puts him in real danger.

Robert McCammon is best known for his horror tales of the 80's and a couple of brilliant mainsteam novels in the early 90's, but with "Speaks the Nightbird" he wrote a phenomenal novel in a completely different genre: the historical murder mystery. No matter what genre McCammon writes, he is always great. The language is fluid, the plot is ingenious and the characters shine. At nearly 800 pages, this is quite a massive novel. These days there are too many books that have lots of pages but little substance. Not this one, though. "Speaks the Nightbird" is captivating from page 1 right to the end - I tore through it in just a couple of days. Absolutely one of the best novels I've read this year.

Author: Robert McCammon
Title: Speaks the Nightbird
Publisher: Pocket Books, New York
Year: 2007 (orig. 2002)
Number of pages: 792 p.
ISBN: 9781416552505

2 opmerkingen:

  1. This novel has been taught twice in Postgraduate courses at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India. Once in a course on Popular Literature, and in the just-concluded semester (July-December 2016) in the course 'Special Author:Robert McCammon'.

    1. That's wonderful. Can't see that happening here in Belgium.