Subterranean Press posted this on their website this morning:
We’re shipping the Signed Limited Edition of Robert McCammon’s The River of Souls, which includes the novel proper, illustrations not in the trade hardcover, and an 11,000 word bonus story that won’t be available anywhere else for at least two years. The limited is 97% sold out, so don’t hold back if you’re interested in a copy.
In the meantime, here’s an interview with Rick we’ve been holding back until the Limited Edition shipping started:
Kealan Patrick Burke: In The River of Souls, the fifth book in your Matthew Corbett series, when we meet Matthew, he is somewhat unmoored, lonely, lamenting the loss of love, an intentional sacrifice to keep those he cares about out of harm’s way. And by the end of the novel, this caution is revealed not to be unfounded. Do you ever see him finding a way back to love despite the inherent and obvious danger?
Robert McCammon: Well, first of all there are five books yet to go in the series. I will say that I know what the series is about, I know how it will end and I know what the last line will be…but I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to get there and I don’t want to be sure. I want the series to be a surprise to me. I have faith in my ability to guide it to a good conclusion, but I don’t want to have every step mapped out. If you’re asking if Matthew will have more romantic encounters, that is certainly true. And if Berry will come back into the series…certainly true again.
KPB: We are introduced in the novel to the memorable character, Magnus Muldoon, who though initially an antagonist, becomes for Matthew an invaluable ally. Given your penchant for revisiting some of the more memorable characters in Corbett’s world, is it safe to say that we should expect to see more of this wonderful character in the future?
RM: As I stated above, I don’t know. I have no idea who will show up in future books or who will die…this series just happens. Will Magnus return? Not sure, but you can be sure that there will be more characters equally as interesting as Magnus.
KPB: Given the period in which these books are set, it is no surprise that superstition plays a large role in the proceedings, perhaps never more so than in Speaks the Nightbird. How much of the swamp-lore and the vicious tribe who dwell there is based on real superstition, or did you develop it all yourself for the purposes of the book?
RM: Part of The River of Souls is based on the lore of the Bell Witch, from Tennessee, and also from local Alabama lore. The “creature” is based on stories told in a small town very near to my hometown. And a lot of it comes from my imagination, too. It just seems “right”.
KPB: Speaking of superstition, and in particular the horrific incident midway through the book in which you employ a rather macabre sporting event, have you considered writing an outright horror novel featuring Matthew Corbett, or is the supernatural something you prefer to keep to your non-series novels?
RM: I think “creepy”, “spooky” and “horrific” can be applied to the Corbett series but I’m not sure I want to go deeper into what we call the supernatural. I will say, though, that clues were planted in both The Queen of Bedlam and The Providence Rider that lead to a situation that might be called “supernatural”. It involves a book. A book that shows up in both Bedlam and Providence Rider. There’s a lot going on in this series that won’t be fully clear until we get into the final phase.
KPB: The River of Souls is fairly different in structure to the other books, in that, rather than have the plot involve the decoding of an intricate and elaborate mystery, the villain is revealed rather early and the book focuses more on the hunt, the swamp as a character, and all the evils it hides. The book is also the shortest in the series thus far. Can you talk a little bit about the inspiration for The River of Souls, and whether it was a conscious choice to move away from the idea of the mystery being the propelling force behind the story?
RM: Actually I was going through a rough time in my personal life and I wanted to live some of that out through Matthew. He was my “sin-eater”. Also my role-model. He can take whatever is thrown at him and keep going. Of course he’s going to be changed in some way and that’s what life is about, but Matthew is an ultimate survivor. So The River of Souls was more about endurance than mystery.
KPB: How much research do you typically do when preparing a Corbett novel to ensure that you authentically represent both the period and detail?
RM: I did reams of research for both Speaks the Nightbird and The Queen of Bedlam, so unless I have a specialized situation I can coast for a little while on my research. If something comes up that I need to find out about, I know where to look. I also have to say that I’ve embellished the times a little bit…cleaned them up some, because there was so much disease, pestilence and plague in that era there would be no time for handling anything else. My research on that era tells me there was no word for “joy” but many words for “sorrow”. It was truly a very rough, heartbreaking and soul-wrenching time. I am in awe that this country and the cities in it exist, to be perfectly honest. How humans overcame the swamps, the primeval forest, the diseases and all the other hardships of that time…it’s amazing and really incredible.
KPB: Much like the miasmic swamp, the pall of series antagonist Professor Fell looms large over The River of Souls, and by the book’s end you set the stage for a reckoning. As the next book is a ways off yet, and without giving too much away, how much of that coming story do you already know, and can you tease us with an idea of what to expect?
RM: Again, clues have been already delivered that will come to fruition in the next book. I do know what the story will be and a lot of what will happen, but certainly not all of it. I do know we go to England in the next book, and the rest of the series will probably take place in Europe. And of course Professor Fell will be a large character in the next book…we may even find out who he really is and what he looks like. If indeed “he” is not really a woman who’s been hiding behind the image of a man.
KPB: As with the other books in the series that Subterranean has published, The River of Souls features typically evocative cover art and illustrations by the wonderful Vincent Chong. Obviously, it’s critical that the representations of your characters are accurate. How closely do you work with Mr. Chong to achieve the desired result?
RM: I don’t really work with Vincent that closely but he always does a great job. I love the idea of using a “weapon” of some kind on the covers. I’m always pleased to see Vincent’s work, it’s excellent.
KPB: Included in the limited edition of The River of Souls is “The Scorpion’s Eye”, a fun novelette featuring another series character, the roguish master-thief, Minx Cutter. The story has an adventurous, almost pulp-fiction feel to it. Have you considered writing more of these standalone tales, perhaps featuring other characters from the series?
RM: I was planning on doing next a book of short stories and novelettes about other cases Hudson and Matthew have handled. I’ve dropped mention of other cases they’ve been on in the books, such as “The House At The End Of The World”, “Night Ride” and the complications of a romance between a colonist and an Indian maiden that would be titled “Love Is A Walk Through Fire”. I was going to do this as the sixth book in the series, but I don’t think I can let readers hang so long with Matthew in his current predicament. So…that has to be for later, if ever.
KPB: It also takes a dramatic and unexpected turn into horror, perhaps even science fiction territory midway through. Is there any chance that we might see more of the accursed “object”, or other treasures from Xavier Dreadson’s macabre collection?
RM: Ha! Good idea. Who knows what else Dreadson had in that house, and who’s got hold of those things now. I may play with that one. Other “objects” may show up in the possession of…well, we’ll see.
KPB: Now that she has been incorporated into the Herrald Agency, how big a role will Minx Cutter play in the next Matthew Corbett book?
RM: That I don’t know yet. For sure, Minx is a very interesting character. But be assured there will be plenty more, and a lot yet to come. And when we get to the end and people realize what Professor Fell is searching for, and why…I think the destination will definitely be worth the journey.
KPB: Thanks so much for your time, Mr. McCammon!
RM: You’re welcome, and thank you.
If you buy the ebook, you can also purchase the Audible audiobook (with Whispersync for Voice technology) for only an additional $1.99.
Sorry, this sale is only valid in the U.S. and Canada, and it only applies to the Kindle ebook.
Subterranean Press has posted the following:
To celebrate the print and ebook release of Robert McCammon’s newest Matthew Corbett historical thriller, The River of Souls (hardcover, ebook), we’ve lowered the price to the previous Matthew Corbett ebooks to only $1.99 each. Start with the dark theatrics of Mister Slaughter and work your way through the adventure that is The Providence Rider.
Back on the print end of things, The River of Souls first printing is nearly sold out, so we’ve gone back to press for a second printing. For the moment, copies of the latter are only $14.95 apiece if ordered direct from us.
Low Stock Alert
The trade hardcover of Robert McCammon’s The River of Souls is now 99.9% Sold Out. If snagging a first edition is a priority, you might want to snag a copy ASAP, either from us or your preferred source.
We have ordered a second printing of the hardcover, which we’re discounting for the next two days to only $14.95 plus shipping (which is $10 off the regular price). Thanks to everyone for helping make The River of Souls a quick-building success.
From Subterranean Press:
The Trade Edition of Robert McCammon’s latest Matthew Corbett Thriller, The River of Souls, is in stock, with copies leaving the warehouse at a good clip. More than 75% of the first printing is sold out, with orders for more copies arriving every day. The Signed Limited and Lettered editions will take a bit longer, as they’re with our specialty binder for some additional work.
If you’re on the fence about River, consider these two strong reviews a nudge:
From Booklist Online:
The Corbett novels are rich, atmospheric stories, the kind of historical mystery that makes the reader feel as though he really has stepped back in time. Matthew is a very well designed character, very much a man of his time but also ahead of his time, as though he has stepped out of a modern-day crime lab into the early eighteenth century. For the author’s fans, a definite must-read.
From Publishers Weekly:
Macabre surprises abound in McCammon’s entertaining fifth Matthew Corbett historical (after 2012’s Providence Rider). In the summer of 1703, while on a visit to Charles Town in the Carolina colony, “problem-solver” Matthew and Magnus Muldoon, his “big as a mountain” new friend, join a manhunt for three escaped slaves, one of whom has been accused of murdering a plantation owner’s daughter (though Matthew has uncovered evidence that implicates one of the hunters). McCammon resorts to a few credibility-stretching gambits in the closing chapters, but, as usual, he nicely evokes America’s colonial past and deftly straddles the boundary between the explicable and the supernatural.
Trade: Fully cloth bound hardcover edition: $24.95
Limited: 474 signed numbered copies, bound in leather, housed in a custom traycase, with exclusive illustration and an 11,000 word story that appears nowhere else: $125
Don’t forget: We’re also publishing a Signed Limited Edition of the second Corbett novel, The Queen of Bedlam, which has just been sent to the printer. With only 374 numbered copies available, this is a small printing for a McCammon limited.
An audio tribute from Robert McCammon:
I came across this while going through some old files. I did it when I was putting Mister Slaughter together, as a kind of “tribute” to the British horror actor Tod Slaughter, who was of course the influence for that whole book.
Subterranean Press has posted this announcement on their website:
Important Note: There is no exclusive order period for The Queen of Bedlam, which has a smaller print run than The Providence Rider and The River of Souls, but a larger one than Mister Slaughter. Catch all that? If you’re looking to match a number with Queen, please request it in the comments when you place your order. We expect this title to sell out quickly, so please don’t delay in ordering. There is no trade edition, and the limited will not be made available to our wholesale and large online retail accounts.
Matthew Corbett first appeared in 2002’s Speaks the Nightbird, the novel which signaled Robert McCammon’s return to fiction after a decade long absence. Five years later, in another significant event, Matthew reappeared in The Queen of Bedlam, a book that firmly established him as the central figure in the best historical adventure series going.
The Queen of Bedlam opens in 1702, some three years after the harrowing experiences of Speaks the Nightbird. Matthew is now living in the nascent metropolis of New York City and has found unsatisfying employment as a poorly paid clerk to a local magistrate. At this juncture, two related events take place that will radically alter Matthew’s future. One is the advent of a murderous predator—popularly known as the Masker—who terrorizes the city. The other is Matthew’s recruitment by the Herrald Agency, an early prototype of the classic private detective agency. Under the auspices of his new employer, Matthew, together with his mentor, Hudson Greathouse, travels to a mental hospital in rural New Jersey, where he meets an unidentified woman known simply as the Queen of Bedlam, a woman who may hold the key to the Masker’s identity.
The Queen of Bedlam is a crime story, of course, and a genuinely enthralling one. More than that, it is a portrait of colonial New York so vibrant and richly detailed that it is almost palpable. The sights, smells, and sounds—the sheer physical reality of that time and place—are drawn with the sure hand of a master storyteller. Supplementing all this is a varied cast of supporting characters who are by turns comic, bizarre, intriguing, endearing, and, in some instances, terrifying. At the center of it all is Matthew Corbett, a gifted young man beginning to discover who—and what—he is meant to become. He is a hero suited to his times, and a fictional creation destined to endure for a very long time to come.
Limited: 374 signed numbered copies, housed in a custom slipcase: $125
Lettered: 26 signed, deluxe bound copies, housed in a custom traycase: $500
Note: There is no SubPress trade edition of The Queen of Bedlam.
You can pre-order the book from Subterranean Press here.
Audible now has the unabridged audiobook of The River of Souls available for pre-ordering. The audiobook is scheduled for release on May 31, 2014. The narrator is the great Edoardo Ballerini, who narrated the first four Matthew Corbett audiobooks.
Ordering links for all of the Robert McCammon audiobooks can be found here.
Thanks to artist Vincent Chong, T-shirts featuring the cover art for the Subterranean Press edition of The River of Souls are now available in the Robert McCammon’s Worlds shop at Spreadshirt! They join shirts featuring the logo for The Five and the covers for Mister Slaughter, The Providence Rider, and The Hunter from the Woods.
The purpose of the shirts is simply to help promote Robert McCammon’s work. In order to keep the costs down, no profit is made from these shirts; the prices shown are the actual costs of the shirts from Spreadshirt.com. A variety of shirt types, colors, and sizes are available. Additional shirt styles can be added to the store, so if you don’t see the type of shirt you want, drop me a line and let me know what you want.
Note that the printing and shipping of the shirts is handled entirely by Spreadshirt. In my experience, it takes about 7 to 10 days for U.S. orders to be delivered.
We have a number of updates on Robert McCammon’s newest historical thriller, The River of Souls, to share with you.
- The book has just gone to the printer, which means we’re very much on track to meet our May 31 publication date.
- Head over to the book’s product page to check out a long excerpt (in epub and mobi formats).
The first review has landed, from Publishers Weekly, and we’re delighted by it:
Macabre surprises abound in McCammon’s entertaining fifth Matthew Corbett historical (after 2012′s Providence Rider). In the summer of 1703, while on a visit to Charles Town in the Carolina colony, “problem-solver” Matthew and Magnus Muldoon, his “big as a mountain” new friend, join a manhunt for three escaped slaves, one of whom has been accused of murdering a plantation owner’s daughter (though Matthew has uncovered evidence that implicates one of the hunters). McCammon resorts to a few credibility-stretching gambits in the closing chapters, but, as usual, he nicely evokes America’s colonial past and deftly straddles the boundary between the explicable and the supernatural.
Important Collector’s Note: There is no longer a limit on who may order the Signed, Limited Edition. This version contains the long bonus story, “The Scorpion’s Eye”, which cannot be reprinted anywhere else for at least two years.
Limited: 474 signed numbered copies, bound in leather, with the bonus story, artwork not in the trade hardcover, and housed in a custom slipcase: $125
Trade: Fully cloth-bound hardcover edition: $24.95