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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

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    T. Satter boulder, co 02-07-12
    T. Satter boulder, co 02-07-12 Member Since 2004

    tom satter

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    "A complete disappointment"

    One of the main reasons I listened to this book was the large number of glowing reviews it had received here and on Amazon. I am truly unable to understand how so many people can think this was a five star book. I enjoyed the narration and that was about it. While there are some scenes and episodes that are decribed in very good detail, there are two main problems with this book. The first is that it is at least 50% to long. This is a book that truly needed a good editor to trim it down. The second problem is larger - the author can't seem to decide if he is writing a realistic post-nuclear distopia novel or a supernatural horror novel. And he fails at both. The realism is not that good - there are people everywhere but no wildlife seems to have survived, except wolves, which have multiplied as if by magic. And maybe it was magic - that is certainly implied, but the supernatural parts of this novel are so inconsistent and sporadic that they don't really add anything to the story. The main characters, with maybe one or two exceptions, do such stupid things following the nuclear devastation that they should all be dead. Who, in their right mind, would get out of a basement where they had been trapped for months and start walking without digging out any of the supplies and water stored in the basement with them? Apparently it was Josh and Swan, two of the main characters. Did the glass ring actually play any real part in the story other than being a prop that could be brought out to liven things up? If there is actually a good force in the world that can make the glass ring and the Job's masks and give Swan special powers, how is that this force can do all these things but can't communicate with anyone in the story - even through the glass ring? And why is the villian yet another stereotypical creature who can't be killed but also gets run out of town at every turn? If he is so weak, why can't they kill him? If he is so strong that he can rip an electified fence off it's posts, why can't he just win? This is just ridiculous. And the entire book was like that. Don't waste your time or your money.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David INDIAN LAND, SC, United States 12-27-11
    David INDIAN LAND, SC, United States 12-27-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Blah!"
    What disappointed you about Swan Song?

    This is much more a mystical fantasy novel than it is a


    What about Tom Stechschulte???s performance did you like?

    Well read. Wish he would go a little easier on the voices and accents.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment


    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jack Holland, MI, United States 12-09-11
    Jack Holland, MI, United States 12-09-11 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "All Ugliness and Horror"
    What would have made Swan Song better?

    This book would have been better if really did have any element of


    Has Swan Song turned you off from other books in this genre?

    This book makes me very cautious about reader reviews. If this genre is only


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

    These characters are 'mankind' and 'haters of mankind'. The haters win and the reader will hope for relief in vain.


    What character would you cut from Swan Song?

    I would cut Swan. She gives the reader the illusion of hope, but her role is silly and undeveloped.


    Any additional comments?

    This seems like a book that would appeal to a culture that has given up on itself.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 11-22-11
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 11-22-11 Member Since 2015

    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.

    14 of 38 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenny Hogan 12-29-13
    Kenny Hogan 12-29-13 Member Since 2013

    A musician and songwriter from the Boston area. I like "Regular Guy" books. No chick Lit, no zombies, or vampires please. No politics.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
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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 10-07-12
    Connor 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

    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 2012

    I am a D-Bag.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
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