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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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  •  
    Amazon Customer South Africa 02-29-12
    Amazon Customer South Africa 02-29-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
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    39
    10
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    "Really struggled with this one."

    Not as good as "World made by Hand" and not nearly as good as "One Second After". could not get past part 1.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard 02-29-12
    Richard 02-29-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    11
    10
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    "Grueling but Entertaining Book"
    What made the experience of listening to Swan Song the most enjoyable?

    This book makes Stephen King's The Stand look like a fairy tale. I bought this audiobook based upon the reviews. Once I started to listen, I realized I had tried the book quite some time ago and could not get through the first chapter or 2. Now that I purchased the audio book, I had the incentive to push on a little further and I'm glad I did. The story kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I thought the narrator did a brilliant job conveying all the various characters. I gave the book less than 5 stars overall because of some of the loose ends. Overall, I suspect I will


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ron san antonio, TX, United States 02-25-12
    ron san antonio, TX, United States 02-25-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    211
    5
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    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Dont waste your time"
    What would have made Swan Song better?

    If the author had a clue what he was writing about


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    dont know


    Which character – as performed by Tom Stechschulte – was your favorite?

    none


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

    all of it


    Any additional comments?

    The author should have done some research before writing this book his total lack of technical knowledge ruined this book

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Waianae, HI, United States 02-22-12
    Chris Waianae, HI, United States 02-22-12 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
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    19
    16
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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....

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Schmitt Annapolis, MD 02-20-12
    C. Schmitt Annapolis, MD 02-20-12 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    6
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    "Completely addictive"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would definitely recommend this story--it started to build and there were little


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Sister. She had the most character growth--from crazy bag lady to determined seeker to...


    Which character ??? as performed by Tom Stechschulte ??? was your favorite?

    Josh. I loved Josh. I loved the accent as performed by Stechschulte. I could see Josh.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    There is hope.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Petra Potgietersrus, South Africa 02-17-12
    Petra Potgietersrus, South Africa 02-17-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    3
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    1
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    Overall
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    Story
    "Very Entertaining"
    What did you love best about Swan Song?

    This is one of the best books I have ever read. Once started, I just couldn't stop listening. The description of everything, ie. the characters, the scenery etc is so vivid. The best bit was that the book is 36 hours long. I enjoyed every minute of it.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Swan Song?

    There are very many memorable moments in this book.


    What does Tom Stechschulte bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He made the characters come alive, reading their lines with feeling and conviction. Tom is an awesome narrator. I'll definitely look out for other books where he narrates. There is just something in his voice......


    If you could take any character from Swan Song out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Oh no, just one? Probably Sista. I am curios to know more of her past, before she lost her child.


    Any additional comments?

    The book was written in the 80's, but you don't notice that at all. I never ever, not even once, thought that this story could not have happened in 2011 or so. This book is a bargain for just 1 credit. Thank's Audible!!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg West Hartford, CT, United States 02-13-12
    Greg West Hartford, CT, United States 02-13-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Listen to this if you liked "The Stand""

    This book has a lot in common with Stephen King's "The Stand," as an apocalyptic event leaves a 1980's-era America in shambles, and a few survivors are left to square off in a good-vs-evil battle.

    A few of the plot twists are predictable. As is common in long books, this one has a few slow sections. But overall, the pacing was good. It's a well-told story, with compelling characters, and excellent narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven ALBUQUERQUE, NM, United States 02-11-12
    Steven ALBUQUERQUE, NM, United States 02-11-12 Member Since 2014

    Lover of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, mystery, and westerns in all media, including old-time radio dramatizations.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    143
    ratings
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    "Dark, Dated, and Judeo-Christian biased"



    I won't repeat the details of the review by Daniel of Tallahassee, FL. I think he is right on the money, but I'll add a a few additional comments.

    I though this was unrealistic in its description of the post-apocalyptic world. All food fuel simply won't be gone from all locations overnight. I felt that the darkness was extreme. Even a post-nuclear war world would have some light moments in places before things start to turn around. I almost got so tired of it that I didn't finish the book. The ending was expected and disappointing. I like to see resolution of the major parts of the storyline. Robert McCammon didn't do that for me on this one.

    One a positive note, I though Tom Stechschulte's reading and voicing was excellent.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Costello 02-10-12 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "How'd I miss this book?"

    I was a little put off when I started listening to this book and found it was built on a premise of a war between Russia and the U.S. and written in the 1980's, but once I got past that, I couldn't put it down. I don't know how I never heard of this book being a fan of this genre but it has become one of my favorites of all time. Amazing characters, a great story, incredible reader, and a classic good vs. evil. I didn't want this one to end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anita Acton, ON, Canada 01-31-12
    Anita Acton, ON, Canada 01-31-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    15
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    0
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    "I love this book!"

    I would definitely recommend this book, I love the whole concept & the way it is written. I "read" this book 2-3 times before the audio version came out. So far I've only listened to it once, but I haven't owned it for that long!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Rob
    Sussex
    11/19/12
    Overall
    "Long but worth the effort"

    This is my second Audible book, and the first time I have been driven to write a review (of any kind). I have to say that this would not be my choice of book to read. Too big and not my normal genre. I have far too many books and not enough time to read them all ( oh woe is me!). I joined Audible to broaden my tastes with something different whilst walking the dogs, and I found that this lengthy (30 hours) story became an evening obsession for a month or so.

    Yes, it is a dark tale of a post nuclear apocalyptic America and is sometimes difficult to hear of the destruction and long term suffering...but that really is the point. How can you explore the possibility of redemption and survival without the descent into evil and chaos in the first place?. And it is like The Stand in that it is an exploration of good verses evil, with groups of characters on each side.

    But... the similarity ends there.

    The author has created a compelling story where each of the 90 or so chapters follows the POV of groups of people on either side of the moral divide. The main characters soon become familiar, and their individual stories inexorably and sometimes painfully progress to a satisfying and exciting series of confrontations at the climax of the book. I liked the ending.

    The big thing for me though was the experience of having this book, that I never would have read normally, delivered as a professional spoken performance through my earphones in the Ashdown Forest every day for a month. Really quite surreal!

    I was not convinced at the start, but was soon drawn into the timbre of Tom Stechshulte's voice. His vocal interpretation of each of the characters became to be "just right". This is not simply someone reading aloud. (erm Librivox anyone?) This is a proper job! I could not wait for my next daily instalment!

    Great stuff....

    Now...what to listen to next?

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Andy Russell
    New Pitsligo
    7/18/12
    Overall
    "As much an experience as a book !"

    I can say with hand on heart that this is the best book I've ever read, well listened to, but you know what I mean.

    The book covers the story of three main groups of suvivors of a nuclear war and wraps everything together nicely and cleverly by the end.

    Now, there are a few bad reviews here about it being graphic and violent , and this is undoubtably true. However this is a book about the end of the world - it's going to be nasty - there's no sugar coating to be had. I really can't see that it should be marked down because of that.There are a few moments of animals in peril as well that I found upsetting but I think the author just wasn't up for giving any get out of jail free cards - it's the end of the world - walts and all.


    You'll grow to love the characters and sometimes the author will kill them without any warning and you're left truly feeling a personal loss - honestly !

    I finished this yesterday, I did take a break half way through to listen to something else as it honestly is an emotional roller coaster ride and you sometimes need something a bit lighter for a wee while.

    You will cry, you'll maybe have the odd laugh too - but I can't see how anyone who likes this genre could do anything but love this book.

    I'm glad this was never made into a movie - I don't think anyone could do justice to this epic.

    There is a little bit of fantasy wrapped up in the novel as well, this isn't really my thing, but it's not much and it actually fits the story well.

    I think the narrator does a cracking job as well and his voices for the characters were a good fit in my opinion.

    So ... Sister, Swan and Josh - thanks for the journey - I'll miss you !

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • sharon
    Falmouth, United Kingdom
    7/19/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "End of the World.."

    Loved the character Sister, a fight between good and evil in the strictest sense, no smudging of lines in-between, very much like the 'Stand' by Steven King, which I must admit nudges into the lead between the two. Easy read and entertaining well as much as the end of the world can be!

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Stephen
    Tempsford, United Kingdom
    12/25/11
    Overall
    "Thoroughly enjoyable"

    Have just read the previous review and had to briefly write my thoughts which are the exact opposite of the last reviewer.
    I couldn't wait to finish the book as I was thoroughly enthralled and caught up with the characters, I didn't notice how brutish it was as I expected rage and violence etc as it's an end of the world type of book.
    I really enjoyed it and will read it again at some point.
    Give it a try.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • @Scattered_Laura
    NEATH, United Kingdom
    7/9/12
    Overall
    "A brilliant, post-apocalyptic adventure tale!"

    How is it that this book has been off my radar for so long!? Seriously. I love epic, post-apocalyptic tales of survival and so this book should have been on my list from the moment of its release. Okay... maybe not that far back as I was two years old when it was originally released. No. This book was so good that even then I should have had it on my wishlist.

    This book is a must read if you are a fan of Stephen King's The Stand or Justin Cronin's The Passage. I happen to be a huge fan of both and Swan Song is a bit like the love-child of these works.

    It has a whole bunch in common with The Stand. The survivors of the apocalypse (which takes the form of a nuclear strike instead of a government-engineered plague) fall into two camps of Good vs Evil. There's a "dark man" figure who is decidedly evocative of King's Randall Flagg, and there are many religious undercurrents to the narrative.

    King's work was first published in '78 so it pre-dates Swan Song. Even though the argument could be made that McCammon's work is derivative, I actually don't care. I see it more as one great piece of fiction inspiring another. While King's work is definitely superior, McCammon's story is still a wonderful read. Whole bunches of books have been inspired by great predecessors, and just because they don't measure up to them, doesn't mean they can't be great in their own right.

    I guess there was a lot about this book which reminded me of other books, and I know that's not necessarily a good thing. However, in this case I honestly enjoyed every aspect of the book. The situation was gripping, the characters were realistic and the premise was epic. This is one of those books that I'd recommend to people after they'd read and loved The Stand. It's not as good as that, but it's damned decent as a follow-up read! A fab not-so-little read!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • zomodo
    3/11/12
    Overall
    "Breathtakingly amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

    Download this book instantly, you WILL NOT BE DISSAPPOINTED. This book gripped me from the outset and wouldn't let me go. I nearly pulled an all nighter listening to this once and I had to ban myself from night time listens. It is just so clever, and emotional and character driven. It shows evil and hope at a great time of difficulty. The narrator is pretty special and the writing is brilliant. It's a long book too (which is great) and I truly dreaded reaching the end. I was sad to see 'my friend' go. Don't hesitate to get this book.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Joanne
    Stoke-0n-Trent, United Kingdom
    1/9/12
    Overall
    "Loved it"

    I've read most of Robert McCammons books and loved them. This is no exception. Tom does a really good job of the narration as well so double bonus. Not sure why the previous reviewer put what they did it's a post-apocalyptic tale - what did they expect!! Love that the characters are all so different and each have their own story to tell

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    1/9/12
    Overall
    "Loved it."

    Great story which is superbly read. I found myself building a relationship with every main character - good and bad - and thoroughly enjoying every moment of the book. As previous reviewer posted, I would expect a certain amount of "nastiness" in a post-apocalyptic environment and thus it didn't bother me. In fact, I think it helped creating the right atmosphere. Definitely a keeper!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • W. Taylor
    Stourbridge, West Midlands United Kingdom
    10/13/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A thoroughly unexpected pleasure"

    When I bought this book I thought I knew what to expect having seen many reviews which mentioned The Stand and having had a recent binge of post-apocalyptic reading myself. It managed, though, to deliver much more than I expected and something very different from what I expected.

    The beginning was, I think I can say without being too unkind, pretty much run-of-the-mill and conventional. There was a brief pencil sketch depiction of the main characters we were going to follow in their lives before the outbreak of Nuclear War and I have to say at this point the novel felt like the start of any disaster "B" movie and I worried that I had made a big mistake in buying this one, but very soon the author began to bring in some discordant and original notes.

    Without risking too much of a spoiler I think that I can safely reveal that as this novel continues it soon leaves behind gritty realism and approaches something closer to gritty magical realism. The themes of Good and Evil become embodied in certain characters and the nature of reality warps around them and the reader in an original and challenging way. I think herein may lie a challenge for some readers: if you buy a fantasy novel with an elf and a wizard on the front you know the extent to which you are going to be expected to suspend your disbelief but you may not be braced for a similar extent of suspension when you buy a novel about the survivors in an American landscaped ravaged by nuclear war. However, once you make this compromise this becomes an incredible journey in which you become deeply involved - I have to confess there was one point I didn't want continue because what little good had been reclaimed from this destroyed world was all about to be destroyed and I couldn't see any way for it to be avoided: that is how involved I had become in the story.

    The end of the novel might strike some as a little too neat and maybe a touch glib but I think that having travelled so far with the author and these characters we have all earned some kind of closure and not a cheap opening for book two. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will come back to it again (and again, quite possibly). I will recommend it whole-heartedly to certain of my friends and if you want to know whether I would recommend it to you I would say that if you enjoyed The Stand and or The Passage then this book is probably for you or if you enjoy a little fantasy in your reading but don't like it too feel too childish then this is the book for you too.

    I can not leave without a little word about the narration. Tom Stechschulte manages to portray a wonderful array of characters, accents and emotions with consistency and flair. He is a truly talented gentleman and who made a tour-de-force performance with this novel.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • monica
    Ireland
    4/11/13
    Overall
    "Swan Song"

    I was disappointed at first, extremely slow to start but about 5 hours in I got hooked and had to finish it. Have only read one other book by R McCammon the Wolf Hour and loved it so was hoping this would be as good.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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