To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness.
It’s no secret that I’m a huge Robert McCammon fan. I think most of his work rivals Stephen King’s, and his best work—Swan Song, Boy’s Life, and Speaks the Nightbird (book one of the Matthew Corbett series)—is on par, or slightly more superior, to King. And it’s also hard to not compare these two authors, unless of course we’re talking the Matthew Corbett series…
…which not only is incomparable to King, but almost incomparable with McCammon’s own work, speaking his early gothic horror works.
The Providence Rider is book 4…
…and it’s my second favorite of the series. Without getting into spoilers, it reads like a rated R version of James Bond. The violence is sudden and brutal, not so different from Game of Thrones / House of the Dragon. Also, normally I don’t like action, but McCammon cultivating the story with tension, high stakes, and mystery, that I never got bored or skimmed the page when there was action.
It’s best not knowing much about the plot. Go into it blindly and enjoy this very brutal, James Bondian tale.
The Providence Rider was one of my most anticipated novels this year. It is marks the 4th entry into the superb Matthew Corbett series and see Matthew finally meet the mysterious Professor Fell. As fans of the blog know, Robert McCammon is rapidly becoming one of (if not is) my favourite authors.
I read somewhere that Robert McCammon likes to have a different theme for each book which has been evident so far. If the last book was a psychological game of cat and mouse adventure, then I suppose, The Providence Rider is a crime mystery.
The story begins shortly after the events of, "Mister Slaughter" with Matthew and Hudson still trying to deal with their ordeal. Although Hudson Greathouse seems to have dealt with his issues a lot swifter. Matthew is no longer the innocent problem-solver we met in, "Speaks the Nightbird."
It is not long before someone wants Matthew's attention, setting off a series of explosions throughout New York and trying to frame him in the process. This inevitably leads to Matthew succumbing to Professor Fell's bribes and setting off the Pendulum island for a conference at the Professor's castle. He is accompanied by a host of unsavoury characters along with some familiar faces from the previous novels.
It is here the novel really begins as Matthew is forced to assume a new identity in order to fit in with the villains he finds himself amongst. This is intriguing as not only is Matthew a changed man, he is forced to become a character he is not comfortable with: Someone who is ruthless and heartless but at the same time trying to retain his sense of self.
The other villains on the island are not anything you haven't already seen, each repulsive in their own ways. However, McCammon's skill as an author is such that they all appear fresh and original creations. Each would make worthy antagonists to Matthew if they were alone with him in another novel and you find yourself wishing for each to have more screen time. Having said that I never felt cheated by the time I did share with them.
It is professor Fell though who is the real star. The anticipation has been building to meeting the crime Lord and when Matthew does stand before him, he does not disappoint. The professor oozes malevolence and McCammon does a great job of showing Matthew's unease around him.
The Providence Rider makes constant reference to the previous books and so the series is starting to fill more joined up rather than a series of standalone novels. This novel could still be read as such however and enjoyed just as much.
Despite the multi layered levels of intrigue, the novel hurtles along at a frantic pace. The conclusion is satisfying. McCammon's endings are always fulfilling without having to resort to cheap shock tactics.
It would be cliché to say that Robert McCammon gets better and better so I won't. Robert McCammon continues to improve on his legacy as a master author. The Matthew Corbett (aside from a Song of Ice and Fire - an unfair comparison I admit) is easily my favourite series right now.
Well, once again the legendary wordsmith writes another fantastic tale regarding the life and times of "problem-solver" Matthew Corbett. The latest installment follows Matthew as he is forced to do work for the director of evil, Professor Fell, in the Godfather-esque fashion - I'll make you an offer you can't refuse. For the first time Corbett meets him first-hand rather than through a proxy.
In the normal flair Robert McCammon is able to beautifully script his thoughts and put them to paper for his readers to enjoy. However, there are differences in this newest segment in the saga story-wise as compares to his first novels. Speaks the Nightbird, and The Queen of Bedlam, contained more plots that needed to be "figured out" and both involved great mysteries of the classic whodunit style. Everyone was a suspect and there was not a soul to trust who didn't have ulterior motives. Yet with the last two books in the series, Mister Slaughter and The Providence Rider, much of that Sherlock Holmes panache, "I must use deduction to solve this mystery" was absent and the last two books both were like a plowing tornado ripping through the land carrying with it more of an action packed yanked-by-the-seat-of-your-pants and quite possible perhaps part of the dangly bits with it.
I still feel compelled to grant this book 5 stars. I do feel think 4 and a half better suits this one, but I won't grant it 4 because the site does not allow the half star ratings. Therefore by default The Providence Rider gets a perfect score. Fans of the series may be a little let down, by the lack of mystery but as I said, only a little let down. Perhaps in the subsequent novel/novels the old formula will be returned and restored.
My only gripe with the book was the placement of the girl Fancy, or Pretty Girl Who Sits Alone. I'm not really sure her character really belongs in this book, as she was supposed to be the Indian girl who knew the hunter/tracker, Walks In Two Worlds, from the previous novel. I had one of those moments where I said to myself, "Really, out of all the places in all the world, Matthew would just happen to run into this girl." She seemed misplaced to me and somewhat overused. I think having a random Indian woman as a slave owned by the two Thatcher boys would have painted a more realistic story than the "just so happened to be the native girl mentioned in the last book". However, all in all it was a fun ride and once again it was one that I hated to see end.
The Providence Rider by Robert McCammon [561 novel-mystery 07-31-2014]
Providence Rider (2012) is the fourth book of the five volumes published to date in the Matthew Corbett mystery-adventure series by the esteemed Mr. McCammon.
I have read all five Corbett novels and continue to be entertained by these well-crafted stories concerning an employee of a "problem solver" agency in New York City at the turn of the 17th Century. One item I must point out is that you don't have to read the books in any sequence, but you will come across in the text a few cryptic statements concerning past events that may be confusing. Just file them away and keep reading.
In "The Providence Rider" Matthew is confronted with a series of arsons in New York City that everyone knows he did not set but nonetheless the perpetuator paints his name on a wall near the torched building. Someone wants to get his attention to convince him to travel to Bermuda to perform a service - solve a problem if you will - for the nefarious crime lord Professor Fell. The same Professor who has vowed to kill Corbett in a previous book. How that all shakes out results in a gripping page-turner - and I will not say any more. I do not want to reveal any plotting points - spoilers - so I will share some general series impressions and observations.
- This author is very perceptive as to the clear difference between good and evil without overstating the obvious. - The author's phrasing and wit is clearly refreshing and adds a sharp spice to the text. - Evil, as in the unrefined pure seat-squirming brand, is clearly detailed in this book and gripped this reader in several critical encounters. - Livening up the books are the authors somewhat wicked sense of humor, character descriptions and names. - My only disconnect with this book is a nagging doubt how young Mr. Corbett can keep his sanity.
Excitement from beginning to end. Before I realized that Matthew Corbett was featured in a series of books, I actually read the fifth and currently most recent in the series. I was instantly hooked. However, I must say that "The Providence Rider" is by far the most exciting and most well written of the current Corbett books. If you like you enjoy period history novels, especially those which are filled with danger, intrigue and interestingly well developed characters, then this book, indeed this entire series is for you. I have not read any of the author's other books, since they are of a genre that I seldom enjoy. But, that being said, I probably will give them a try. I have encountered only two other authors who cross genres with excellence, they being Stephen King and Dan Simmons. I owe it to Mr. McCammon to see if he is worthy of being mentioned alongside the two great writers of entertaining fiction. One note of caution. Those who are squeamish about blood/gore, a little foul language and some mildly descriptive sexual encounters should proceed with a small bit of caution. That being said, I don't find The Corbett series to be nearly as coarse as the other writers mentioned. In fact, I find The Corbett series to have a perfect blend that makes the books a little bit informative (historically), tremendously exciting, a bit sexy and almost plausible if you allow yourself to be drawn into Corbett's world. I end this review with an enthusiastic 5 star recommendation. Mr McCammon, can we look forward to a sixth Corbett book? I hope so.
After the very memorable - and thrilling - events in the third volume of the Matthew Corbett series, this fourth installment picks up just after the end of Mister Slaughter. Those events weigh heavily on the series' central character, Matthew, leaving in a foggy state. The nefarious tentacles of Dr. Fell reach out to the young problem solver, drawing him closer to him than ever. It's an exciting novel with a change of scenery outside of the young colonies. The sea voyage and the overall aquatic undertones lend this book a fresh aspect in the series. Though it has been a few years since I read Mister Slaughter, McCammon kindly includes some refreshers not only of that book of the two previous novels in the book - but even with those reminders, this is not a series that I recommend reading out of sequence.
I love McCammon's writing style and he balances his lifelike characters with the historical setting and a thrilling plot. Problem-solver Corbett is a resilient and sympathetic hero and I am quite curious to see what repercussions this rather explosive conclusion will leave him to deal with in future installments in the series. And though it is nice to see more of the shadowy Dr. Fell, this book raises just as many questions about the professor as it answers! The series is a fun read and I like the setting up of this archnemesis, as well as the introduction of some new and engaging characters.
If I could write like Robert Mccammon ... Well, I'd probably be arrested for plagiarism --- But at least I can share in the absolute joy of READING Mccammon's work! I have yet to be disappointed by a book by Mr. Mccammon, and that definitely includes his latest,"The Providence Rider." I spent the earlier part of this year reading (among others) the three novels that led up to this one, and when I saw that #4 was on its way I jumped at the chance to order it! Can this guy write great characters, or what? I wasn't sure where Mccammon was going to take Matthew Corbett after Matthew's violent run in with Mr. Slaughter (and that nasty sausage lady, Mrs. Sutch!), and I was very pleased to see Matthew's growth as a character - for better or worse - in this book. The disgusting twin brothers were also great characters - it takes some excellent writing to cause the reader to dislike, or even hate, fictional characters, and Mccammon has written a truly dirty handful of them here! One request though: PLEASE (if anyone from Hollywood is reading this) - DO NOT attempt to turn these great books into a film or films. After 40 plus years as an avid reader, I have come to the conclusion that I am able to come up with a much better "film version" of a novel in my head while I'm READING the novel than anyone in filmland can come up with! (Can you say, "The Shining"?!?!).
This would be #4 in the Matthew Corbett series. By FAR the richest in characters. From Araia Chillany and Gendry( the false Mallorys) to MINX Cutter,to the SCUZZ bag Brothers and FANCY.....And Professor Fell His own damn self, this book Has it all. I keep thinking Matthew and Berry will end up with one another, but with the arrival of Minx now, I am NOT so sure.McCammon is just this side of Stephen King (in my opinion) in the way he writes the characters. Hell, he IS just as good. Not very much to do with The "Great one" (greathouse) in this one though, which IS a bummer.Minx just about makes up for it though. The utterly disgusting Thackers are written SO well, I could just about SMELL 'em! The pacing is JUST so! VERY Good!!! I really can say this book is One of the best in the series. I DO have one gripe. I understand Matthew is supposed to be 23. McCammon needs to toughen him up a bit. Too many times he gets saved by the girl!!! I would Like to see HIM do the saving once in a while. That is the ONLY gripe I have. Cannot WAIT for the next one. ( I understand he has 7 or 8 planned) Next up I believe McCammon is doing a HUGE horror Novel, ala Swan Song or some such? McCammon is Writing again.....10 yrs ago I NEVER thought I would be saying that. A'int that COOL??He TRULY is one of the best EVER!!