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The Diviner’s Tale Audiobook, by Bradford Morrow Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Bradford Morrow Narrator: Cassandra Campbell Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2011 ISBN: 9781483059334
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (23 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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The Diviner’s Tale is at once a journey of self-discovery and an unorthodox murder mystery, a tale of the fantastic and a family chronicle told by an otherwise ordinary woman.

Walking a lonely forested valley in upstate New York, Cassandra Brooks comes upon the shocking vision of a young girl hanged from a tree. When she returns with authorities, the girl has vanished, leaving in question Cassandra’s credibility, if not her sanity. The next day, on a return visit, a dazed, mute missing girl emerges from the woods, alive—and the very picture of Cassandra’s hanged girl. What follows is the narrative of ever deepening and increasingly bizarre divinations that will lead this gifted young woman, the struggling single mother of twin boys, hurtling toward a past she’d long since thought was behind her. When Cass’ dark forebodings take on tangible form, she is forced to confront a life spiraling out of control. And soon she is locked in a mortal chess match with a real-life killer who has haunted her since before she can remember.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Bradford Morrow, like the diviner-heroine of The Diviner’s Tale, is a mesmerizing storyteller who casts an irresistible spell. He has constructed an ingeniously plotted mystery story that is at the same time a love story—luminous and magical, fraught with suspense, beautifully and subtly rendered—a feat of prose divination.”

    Joyce Carol Oates, New York Times bestselling and National Book Award–winning author

  • “In his sublime new novel The Diviner’s Tale, Bradford Morrow accomplishes the deep, subtle miracle I have been waiting and waiting for someone to effect—he gives us the first novel-length work of fiction that actually does create a seamless breathing breathtaking unity of the literary and the suspense novel. This novel detonates the very notion of genre. And it works because it is riveting, insightful, sentence by sentence charged with feeling, as it bears us helpless with it on its downward journey to illumination.”

    Peter Straub, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Vividly imagined and carefully plotted.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Cassandra Campbell portrays Cassandra Brooks with just the right touch of wonder and edginess. As a single mother of twins with a gift for divining water sources for local landowners, Cassandra has her quiet world upturned when she begins to have inexplicable, horrifying visions that appear to be tied to a missing girl. Campbell voices the many secondary characters with the slightest changes of inflection, tone, and rhythm—from Cassandra’s sinister childhood acquaintance to her lively, sarcastic sons. Although listeners may feel some impatience with the protagonist’s choices as she unravels the mystery of her divinations, Campbell’s gravelly, sage-like reading keeps the story moving forward.”


  • “Actress/narrator Cassandra Campbell strikes the perfect tone for this unusual story, gently drawing listeners deeper into its complex layers. Recommended for fans of Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones and Joyce Carol Oates devotees.”

    Library Journal audio review

  • “Morrow does a fine job portraying a family whose love transcends sharply conflicting worldviews.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “An astonishing dark gem of a novel, The Diviner’s Tale is a gorgeously written, deeply unsettling thriller that kept me reading long past my bedtime for three nights in a row. I don’t regret a moment of it, and neither will you—I loved this book.”

    Elizabeth Hand, author of Generation Loss and Illyria

  • “Superb. The only thing I did for two straight days was read this book—it really is that riveting. It reminded me of the greatest Hitchcock films that were somehow alchemically able to combine suspense, wonder, and romance all in one seamless story that kept you guessing and gasping right up until the end. A long time fan of Morrow’s work, I can honestly say this is the best he’s ever done.”

    Jonathan Carroll, author of The Wooden Sea and The Ghost in Love

  • “Bradford Morrow is a force of nature. I have already publicly used the word ‘masterpiece’ about one of his books, Trinity Fields. It is a measure of this writer that I must invoke the word again, and about a novel that not only contains pitch-perfect, surpassingly beautiful line-to-line writing but that finds in fictional genre forms both narrative excitement and profound human insight fully as successfully as Dostoevsky did with murder mysteries and Melville did with sea adventures. The Diviner’s Tale will not only delight, it will endure.”

    Robert Olen Butler, author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain and Hell

  • “Bradford Morrow’s The Diviner’s Tale packs a mighty emotional wallop. This haunting portrayal of a woman possessed by irresistible visions which draw her through mystery and terror to cataclysmic self-discovery is both chilling and impossible to put down. Morrow is at the top of his form: bold, original, and mesmerizing. Truly a stunning achievement.”

    Valerie Martin, author of The Confessions of Edward Day

  • “Bradford Morrow’s beautifully written and tautly paced novel brings the old and all but forgotten gift of divination into the modern world. With the aptly named but thoroughly contemporary Cassandra as the book’s flawlessly rendered voice, Morrow has created a woman both heroic in what she seeks and human in what she finds. The Diviner’s Tale is about past crimes and future consequences, a tale whose subtle and mysterious confluences are as elusive as water underground.”

    Thomas H. Cook, author of The Last Talk with Lola Faye

  • The Diviner’s Tale is Morrow’s most ambitious novel yet. He deftly wicks the literary and the paranormal into a single strand, making us wonder why we ever thought of the two as separate, and then uses this thread to weave a perfectly articulated mystery. The result is a sly masterpiece by a truly marvelous stylist that will cause you to question what you thought you knew about both genre and literature. Triply satisfying, The Diviner’s Tale is a virtuoso performance.”

    Brian Evenson, author of The Open Curtain and Fugue State

  • A BookPage Book of the Day, February 2011

Listener Reviews

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  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Rebecca | 2/19/2014

    " Frankly, this was a boring book. I thought the characters were flat and boring, and I never grew to care about any of them much. I also don't care for the author's writing style. Far from being a "Tale" it's mostly just a series of random and mostly meaningless flashbacks mixed with current events that weren't tied very closely together. I think the author depended too heavily on flashbacks to develop the characters, rather than letting their actions build their descriptions. I'm far from needing a linear story, but this jumped back and forth way too much and made it confusing. I never knew where I was... her childhood, two months ago, relatives 200 year plus, teenager, current happenings, 10 years ago, with her parents before her birth, etc. I also thought that the author's attempt at being poetic or lyrical fell short and came out as longwinded with almost a pompous feel. I have to admit that I abandoned this one about 2/3 of the way in. Maybe there was some great twist in the end that tied it all together, but my time is precious and I was through giving it to this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nikky | 1/30/2014

    " Not bad, but rather predictable "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tara | 1/28/2014

    " This wasn't as 'thrilling' as it has been pegged to be. I was /really/ bored by the parent-child cliches, and in general didn't find this very interesting. The characters were dull, the story could have been a lot better (and haunting, and chilling, and mysterious) than it was, and it should have been less predictable/unsurprising. Fell very short of its potential. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Clark | 1/8/2014

    " A wonderful book. Literary--mystery--supernatural--suspense thriller: it's the rare book that can unify the sometimes very disparate elements of those genres, but The Diviner's Tale does an amazing job. I don't think of this as a genre work in the traditional sense, but it certainly uses conventions of different genres as it weaves its way towards its very satisfying end. Ultimately, it proves the "genre" tag to be a sham. It's a rousing read containing a mystery, but the mystery is only a part of the story. It isn't "about" the mystery as much as it is about the characters that surround the mystery. The main character's (Cass) has nearly supernatural intuition, and comes from a long line of "diviners"--people who dowse for water. Cass has always divined more than just water. What really elevates this book into top-notch page-turning literary quality fiction is the absolutely beautiful/spooky journey that Cass undergoes as she traverses both her past (family, loss, grief, fear, love, childhood trauma) and her present (missing children, lurking predators, sick father, single-motherhood). Ultimately, it's a story about whether or not Cass can learn to trust her inherited intuition. Her whole life, she's doubted herself, thought of herself as a fraud--but her visions/divinations demand attention. The book has classic spine chilling moments--I won't tell you where they are at--and the eerie quality of the supernatural moments works so well because Morrow provides a concrete foundation of detail and landscape--it never spins into something abstract. Pay special attention to the way he utilizes fog and shadow and the unexpected appearance of people who may or may not be of this world. Highly recommended. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/5/2014

    " Don't get me wrong, I did like this story a lot, in fact, at the beginning I didn't want to put it down. But after a while, it got easier. I'm rating this down a little from 4 stars because the twins were so unbelievable and because the ending was too predictable. I also started getting lost in all the verbiage descriptions. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liarbyrd | 1/1/2014

    " Beautiful descriptions, gorgeous scenery, paper thin plot and strangely naive main character. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeffrey | 12/31/2013

    " This book wasn't as good as I expected. The author was skilled at making you feel like you were in the story with rich descriptions but unfortunately I was left wondering what the fuss was about when I finished. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kara | 12/23/2013

    " I wanted to like this book, but the truth is it ended up falling into the pile of "life's too short to read bad books." The writing was excellent but there was nothing to hold me into the story. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Megan | 12/5/2013

    " If I grumble outloud about a book while readin it, it's got to be pretty bad. This was. Not recommended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sue | 10/12/2013

    " Very compelling read. Strong family relationships. Haunting tale with many surprises. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Myra | 9/7/2013

    " Cassie is a diviner or dowser, looking for water. She also finds or "divines" missing people, leading to a mystery. Her back story is revealed in chapters separately throughout the book, which keeps you reading. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Vicki | 6/26/2013

    " This was a library book, so I at least can say I didn't waste my money. Just wish I'd read the Good Reads reviews before wasting my time. The premise sounded exciting. Unfortunately, the author didn't follow through. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jess | 3/1/2013

    " I liked this, good story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pat | 1/17/2013

    " I listened to the audio book of "The Diviner's Tale" read by Cassandra Campbell, one of my favorite readers. A character study of a woman with a mystical connection to the land. "Ghost Whisperer" comes to mind a bit. It was an enjoyable driving companion. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Moira | 12/11/2011

    " ghoststory extraordinaire...haven't been that freaked out by a book in years. beautiful writing... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane | 8/12/2011

    " Different kind of book, there is a mystery but it is not at the forefront rather it's the family relationships and history that make this book so readable. Plus diving itself which I previously knew little about. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbs | 6/14/2011

    " Well written and absorbing read. Plot intriguing, characters are well rounded and you can't easily put it's 2 in the MORNING??? You are kidding me.... :-) "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Stephanie | 6/11/2011

    " I didn't like it- didn't care about the characters- didn't finish it "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shannon | 5/24/2011

    " Engrossing story but overly detailed descriptions of scenery, emotions, etc. Contorted ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dara | 4/6/2011

    " A refined literary take on the thriller genre with well drawn and nuanced characterization, a strong sense of place, and atmosphere to spare. The plot didn't hold much in the way of surprise, but the taut writing helps retain interest, despite a non-twist the reader will likely see coming.

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Coki | 3/20/2011

    " This is the kind of book that shows genre fiction is not just pulpy paperbacks. A beautifully written story with literary allusions and complicated characters that doesn't shy away from the heart of suspense. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen | 3/20/2011

    " I basically sat down and read this straight through... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tammy | 3/16/2011

    " I could not finish this book. I tried but failed. I kept hoping it would wake up, but it failed to do so by half way through so I put it down as a lost cause. The back of the book implies mystery, action, maybe a thriller. It turned out to be the opposite. 2 stars only. "

About the Author

Bradford Morrow is the author of numerous acclaimed works of fiction and poetry, including Ariel’s Crossing and Giovanni’s Gift. He is also the founder of the literary journal Conjunctions, which he has edited since 1981. He received a Guggenheim fellowship in 2007 and is a professor of literature at Bard College.

About the Narrator

Cassandra Campbell has won multiple Audie Awards, Earphones Awards, and the prestigious Odyssey Award for narration. She was been named a “Best Voice” by AudioFile magazine and in 2018 was inducted in Audible’s inaugural Narrator Hall of Fame.