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Swan Song | [Robert McCammon]

Swan Song

Facing down an unprecedented malevolent enemy, the government responds with a nuclear attack. America as it was is gone forever, and now every citizen - from the President of the United States to the homeless on the streets of New York City - will fight for survival. In a wasteland born of rage and fear, populated by monstrous creatures and marauding armies, earth's last survivors have been drawn into the final battle between good and evil, that will decide the fate of humanity.
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Publisher's Summary

"We're about to cross the point of no return. God help us; we're flying in the dark, and we don't know where the hell we're going."

Facing down an unprecedented malevolent enemy, the government responds with a nuclear attack. America as it was is gone forever, and now every citizen - from the president of the United States to the homeless on the streets of New York City - will fight for survival.

Swan Song is Robert McCammon's prescient and shocking vision of a post-apocalyptic nation, a grand epic of terror and, ultimately, renewal.

In a wasteland born of rage and fear, populated by monstrous creatures and marauding armies, earth's last survivors have been drawn into the final battle between good and evil, that will decide the fate of humanity. They include Sister, who discovers a strange and transformative glass artifact in the destroyed Manhattan streets... Joshua Hutchins, the pro wrestler who takes refuge from the nuclear fallout at a Nebraska gas station... and Swan, a young girl possessing special powers, who travels alongside Josh to a Missouri town where healing and recovery can begin with Swan's gifts. But the ancient force behind earth's devastation is scouring the walking wounded for recruits for its relentless army, beginning with Swan herself.

Please note: Two chapters were originally missing from Part 2 of this book. We were alerted to the problem on 11/21/11 and have corrected it. We're very sorry for any inconvenience. If you had already downloaded the book, don’t worry - your library has automatically updated with the corrected version. Simply re-download from your library, at no additional cost, to get the complete book.

©2009 Robert McCammon (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

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  •  
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 11-22-11
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 11-22-11 Member Since 2009

    Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Post apocalyptic horror"

    This was my first and probably last Robert McCammon book. Firstly, the positive: the book did hold my attention. It was exciting in a horrible kind of way. You know how our eyes are drawn to gory sites? I think it is a pathology of the human condition. I mean why would we read books of this ilk in the first place. The book starts with nuclear war and two superpowers exchanging missiles. It then quickly shifts to the aftermath and three or four subplots that intersect as the book progresses and culminates in a rather silly ending.

    I often comment in reviews about how much a narrator makes or breaks a book. In this case I believe it was the latter. Tom Stechschulte does a great job with the older male voices and especially the most demonic of them all. The women and youngster of both genders are overly melodramatic to the point of being distracting and adding a color to the text itself that might not actually be there in the printed word. In an overly, nitpicking kind-of-way it almost seems unethical for a narrator to actually change a book by how it's read but it is done and sometimes for the better. I'm having difficulty determining if the opposite was true here or the book was just not that great on its own.

    There were many unanswered questions not the least of which was who was the protagonist Swan in the first place. What was the crown. How could the devil have been so easily outwitted and even physically outfought by some loony, old bag lady. Give me a break.

    I did not totally (but mostly) dislike the book. After all, I finished the 30+ hours of it but, as is often the case, I only kept going and hoping that it would have a great ending. It did not. The ending was silly and actually the whole book got worse as it went on. This was a book that perhaps a YA male might enjoy but for me it lacked depth, imagination and a good narrator.

    13 of 37 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenny Hogan Stoneham, ma 12-29-13
    Kenny Hogan Stoneham, ma 12-29-13 Member Since 2013

    A prehistoric musician and songwriter from the Boston area. I like "Regular Guy" books. Historical Fiction, Adventure, Detective Noir, etc.

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    "Too damned L O N G."
    What could Robert McCammon have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Shorten it up and it would be a much better story.


    Did Tom Stechschulte do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    I think the "bad guys" all sounded the same.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Swan Song?

    Oh, I wouldn't want to be burdened with the amount of editing needed to remove all the unnecessary repetitive scenes.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elena Calgary, AB, Canada 11-11-12
    Elena Calgary, AB, Canada 11-11-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Quit after 2 hours"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    If you are a fan of cliches and dated descriptions of US vs. USSR hostile relations, you might enjoy this


    What was most disappointing about Robert McCammon’s story?

    A large number of characters is introduced in the first 2 hours - not a single one of them likeable!


    Any additional comments?

    Overall, it put me off so much with its dated political attitudes and unlikeable characters, that I decided it was not worth my time. I think this is the only book I've not finished so far - and that's saying a lot since I did make it though tedious books like the Butlerian Jihad for sake of finding out how they end!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Connor North Carolina 10-07-12
    Connor North Carolina 10-07-12 Member Since 2011

    Enjoy the adventure

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    "Not For Those Taking Antidepressants"

    Should have read more reviews. I would have learned the book follows the lives of a few people who survived a nuclear holocaust. Most run around hungry, stinky and had to watch friends die gruesome deaths. Where is the fun in that?

    There were a couple of themes I enjoyed. When the world crashes around a person, this is an opportunity for a new beginning. Also, to reach tomorrow’s goal, we must beat today’s problem.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KK Washington, DC 08-23-12
    KK Washington, DC 08-23-12 Member Since 2012

    KK

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good Stuff"

    At 956 pages, this book was long. I don’t mind a long book, but I tend to delay in reading them because they are such a time commitment and 1000 pages of literature can seem quite daunting.

    I would compare Swan Song to The Stand. I never read The Stand, but (unfortunately) I saw the movie and these books are pretty similar except in The Stand, it was some sort of plague that wiped out the population and in Swan Song, it is nuclear war.

    Despite its length, Swan Song kept my attention from beginning to end. There was a nice introductory period for each character that was sufficient to get a handle on their individual situations without dragging on too long before the apocalypse begins, and there were also just enough characters to keep the story moving without it getting too diluted. Though there are moments where you wonder how McCammon is going to tie all of these characters together, gradually it begins to come into focus and he even throws in a somewhat unexpected twist at the end that kind of comes out of nowhere but somehow also makes perfect sense.

    There was an inconsistency to the villain in the story that bothered me a bit. I was confused as to his end game. Sometimes he seemed to want to make sure that the world ended while other times, it wasn’t so much that he wanted it to end, but that he wanted to make sure that everyone kept warring with each other and/or suffering as much as humanly possible. Which is it? Do you want them to live and suffer or do you want the slate to be wiped clean? And then, there were times when he wanted something, and though he seemed unstoppable in every other situation, he would somehow fumble his opportunity and then come up with a justification for why he didn’t need it anyway. And there was absolutely no explanation as to his origins. He was simply the manifestation of evil and McCammon left it at that.

    I really liked the juxtaposition of having some characters to root for and some to root against. In the beginning, it’s hard to tell where he’s going with some of the characters, particularly what I'll call his two sub-villains. But as the story develops, McCammon uses those characters to give you a distinctly different picture of his post-apocalyptic world – a world where people are just trying to get by and a world in where everyone is fighting for power.

    It was a gritty book. Cringe worthy at times, but what can you really expect from a post-apocalyptic book. If you’ve got a weak stomach, you might want to steer clear. But if you can handle it and a book of this length, then I would highly recommend Swan Song.

    Audiobook review: I thought Tom Stechschulte did an excellent job. His voice was strong and easy to listen to, and he had a clear and distinct voice for each main character.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Powder Springs, GA, United States 03-25-12
    Chris Powder Springs, GA, United States 03-25-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Overrated"
    Would you try another book from Robert McCammon and/or Tom Stechschulte?

    McCammon? No. Not without scanning the physical copy quite thoroughly first.


    What was most disappointing about Robert McCammon’s story?

    Too much deus ex libre. Waaaay too much. It's not preachy mind you - not at all. It just requires too many 'divine' assumptions I simply don't share for me to enjoy.Plus the stereotyping of race and gender. The main characters were exceptions, yes - but that doesn't give McCammon a free pass. After all, main characters are intended (from an author such as this at least) to be exceptional in some manner.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The narrator did a fair job.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Oh certainly. The author is a fair writer.


    Any additional comments?

    I don't think Robert McCammon sets out to be a Stephen King clone by any means so please don't take what I'm about to say to mean that. If I'd known just how King-ish a writer McCammon was beforehand, I would have passed on this book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    daniel Hamlin, WV, United States 03-19-12
    daniel Hamlin, WV, United States 03-19-12 Member Since 2010

    I am a D-Bag.

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    "Hey McCammon I too read THE STAND"

    Can anyone say rip off. Well maybe not out right plagerism (not sure if I spelled it right) but close. I was embrassed for McCammon for writing this.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Toormina, Australia 03-04-12
    Steve Toormina, Australia 03-04-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Perhaps I should have paid more attention..."

    If I'd read the blurb more thoroughly, I might have twigged that this story was going to be a supernatural thriller / cautionary tale, rather than the sort of straightforward apocalyptic survival story that I really enjoy, and was expecting. I didn't like how much inexplicable supernatural weirdness was going on, and the whole bit about people's true character's ending up showing on their faces seemed like an old fable. And what the heck was the man with the scarlet eye, anyway? It was never really made clear.

    The author's habit of cutting off swear words irked me - he clearly wanted his dialogue to be edgy but didn't have the courage of his convictions to actually have his characters saying words like "bitch" without someone or something interrupting them.

    Maybe it was largely due to my expectations, but I'm afraid I was quite disappointed with this book - from about halfway through, I was mainly continuing just because I'd paid for it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Brandywine, MD, United States 03-03-12
    John Brandywine, MD, United States 03-03-12 Member Since 2007

    Audiobooks are the greatest invention ever!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "My first abandoned audiobook."

    After almost 50 audiobooks this is the first one I am not going to finish. In a moment of late night haste I only downloaded the first and third parts of the audiobook. After listening to 16 hours of parts one and three I saw that I was just going through the motions. I'd listen to and from work but wasn't looking for reasons to grab my headphones at home.

    I know it is unfair to judge a novel without experiencing all of it. I will not say Swan Song is a bad novel. I will say...
    1. I found the story to be slow
    2. I never felt the characters give me a reason to be interested
    3. I was sufficiently uninterested in the story to notice that I had skipped 25% of it.

    If you read the description and other reviews and are interested, by all means, get the book. You may love it. I didn't and have left off with the feeling that if I wanted to read The Stand I would have downloaded The Stand.

    I will say the narrator is good.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Waianae, HI, United States 02-22-12
    Chris Waianae, HI, United States 02-22-12 Member Since 2011
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    "COULD NOT STOP LISTENING"

    THIS IS A GREAT BOOK! I USUALLY ONLY LISTEN WHEN I DRIVE (I'M A REPO MAN AND TOW TRUCKER) BUT CAUGHT MYSELF LISTENING IN MY OFF-TIME. I WANTED THE STORY TO GO ON AND ON....

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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