Friday, December 5, 2014

The River Of Souls by Robert McCammon

In 1703, there is more scope in society for a man such as Matthew Corbett.  Matthew is what he calls a 'problem-solver', someone who those in need can turn to when life has thrown them a curve ball.  As the novel begins, Corbett is given an easy assignment.  A rich man in Charles Town, South Carolina, wants to hire Corbett to escort his daughter to a local ball.  Corbett, at loose ends after a difficult assignment, agrees since it seems a good break from his usual strenuous work, although he expects that the daughter must be very unattractive indeed if her father is reduced to hiring out of towners to escort her.

When Corbett meets the young lady, he is astonished to find that she is gorgeous.  They go to the ball, where he discovers the reason she needs a paid escort.  A local man, huge and unsocial, has decided that he will marry the rich debutante and challenges anyone who escorts her to a duel.  Matthew defeats this man, Magnus Muldoon, in a duel of wits as he realizes that the lady enjoys the attention way too much and there is no reason for bloodshed.

But blood is shed.  The daughter of a local plantation owner is murdered, and a slave is suspected.  The slave, along with his father and brother, have run away.  The plantation owner sets a reward for their return, one so high that an entire group of trackers and local men start after them.  They quickly see that the slaves have run away up the local Solstice River, which is known as The River Of Souls and is widely suspected of being cursed.  Matthew teams up with Muldoon, who he has befriended after the dance fiasco.

This starts an adventure that quickly turns Corbett's easy trip into a nightmare.  The group encounters aggressive Indians, snakes, alligators, quicksand, impenetrable bush, and a terror known as the Soul Cryer.  Then there is the human treachery and greed to content with.  Men start to drop and soon Corbett and Muldoon wonder if they will ever leave the River Of Souls alive.

This is the fifth book in Robert McCammon's Matthew Corbett series.  Matthew is an unusual man who lives by his wits but isn't afraid to get physical when needed.  Characters from the earlier books make an appearance but don't affect the reader's ability to read this novel as a stand-alone.  This book is recommended for readers of historical fiction or suspense. 


prietolandia said...

Great review. I too enjoyed Robert's latest Corbett adventure and am already looking forward to his next. The River of Souls was a brutal yet and exciting breather for Mathew in between his battles against Professor Fell. I really hope the next one is more epic in scope and maybe 3x as long only because I enjoy the authors writing and his stories so much.

Sandie said...

I agree; the ending was a real cliffhanger. I'll pick up the next one for sure.