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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

4.1 (3710 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Cindilu 01-08-12
    Cindilu 01-08-12

    Cindilu

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    3
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    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant!!!!"
    Where does Swan Song rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

    This is one of the best I've listened to. Not only is the book outstanding, but Tom Stechschulte's narration is riveting.


    What other book might you compare Swan Song to and why?

    This post-apocalyptic journey is breathtaking and ranks right up there with The Road. I loved the book when I first read it years ago, and I loved the audiobook even more. The narration is just perfect!


    Have you listened to any of Tom Stechschulte???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This was my introduction to Tom Stechschulte, but I will be listening to other books simply because he narrates them.


    Who was the most memorable character of Swan Song and why?

    Sister was a fascinating character. Not only do we come to understand how she ended up as the bag lady we meet in the beginning of the book, but we are given the chance to participate in her redemption.


    Any additional comments?

    Loved it!!! Would like to see

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Appleton, WI, United States 01-08-12
    Laura Appleton, WI, United States 01-08-12 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good end of world story"

    "The Stand" is one of my all time favorites, and I also enjoyed "Under the Dome," and "One Second After." With these end of society type scenario stories good character development is an important factor for me -- and at least a few sufficiently likeable protagonists. McCammon accomplished this, pening some heroic characters one cannot help rooting for in the way of Swan, Sister and Josh. This rolls out as a pretty straight forward good verses evil end of days story as opposed to the real world of grays one might be more likely to expect in this scenario, but nonetheless it was an enjoyable read and I recommend it to anyone looking for this type of theme. Not as realistic a tale of events as "One Second After," but more comparable in storyline to "The Stand."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Allan mesa, az, United States 01-06-12
    Allan mesa, az, United States 01-06-12 Listener Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
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    35
    13
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Story
    "Good story even with the gaps."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes! The story was intriguing and well written, but felt like there was something left out in the middle.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Josh, although I feel he could have played alittle stronger character in the ending.


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

    It was well read, but the narrator got abit monotonal at times.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Gainesville, FL, United States 01-04-12
    Karen Gainesville, FL, United States 01-04-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    41
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    63
    61
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    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Story
    "WOW!!!"

    So realistic, this could really happen even today. Though it seems to be set during the Cold War, it could still happen today with even more players. Some mysticism, more realism. Really pulls the reader into the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barb McDougall 01-04-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    31
    11
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    Story
    "Excellent!"

    This book is up there with some of the best books I have read or listened to. If I wasn't listening to the book I was thinking about it. I downloaded this book because of the reviews that listeners gave it and I was not dissappointed. I would highly recommend this book. I was sad when the journey ended and it was over.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adnan Chula Vista, CA, United States 12-22-11
    Adnan Chula Vista, CA, United States 12-22-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    470
    ratings
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    178
    73
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    202
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    "Does not live up to its potential"


    Book started out like a 5 star book; however, by the time I ended the book, I was fatigued with its slowness and some what repetition. What really made me give this book 3 star is the ending which did not explained ( to my satisfaction) two major story points. Narrator did a great job which allowed me to complete the book. This book could have been great, but ended up being an average book.

    It is a story about people who survived a nuclear war. The book describes the horror of nuclear war, and how the life would be during the nuclear winter. The description of desolation after the war is quiet vivid as well as what people would have to do to survive. Book also discusses the type of chaos that could take place when there is no law and order. Book discusses evil both supernatural and human driven. It is interesting what humans can do when they are desperate. As I mentioned, book could have been great, but lack of explanation of couple of story points really left me bitter about the book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ajakes19 12-20-11
    ajakes19 12-20-11 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
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    15
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    Story
    "good story but narrator gets annoying"
    Any additional comments?

    I enjoyed this story but it was difficult to continue listening because when the women would talk it sounded like they were whining.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gail diraz, Bahrain 12-17-11
    Gail diraz, Bahrain 12-17-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
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    22
    11
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    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Missing chapters"
    What would have made Swan Song better?

    Being able to download all the book?


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

    Having to skip between the nuclear attack and sometime in the future aftermath because of missing chapters!


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

    None, I would have made sure all the original chapters were included


    Any additional comments?

    Enough said, though if I was somehow able to download all the book I would be grateful!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracie Hurkett, ON, Canada 12-17-11
    Tracie Hurkett, ON, Canada 12-17-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    34
    ratings
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    10
    8
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    2
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    "Great story and a great narrator"

    I have listened to a lot of audio books and Swan Song is my new fave. Tom Stechschulte is the best narrator I've heard and he he makes a great book even better. Even though its 33 hrs long, it flew by.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Reginald McCall 12-12-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    32
    5
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    0
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    "A little over the top but a pleasent read."

    As a devoted Fantasy listener, I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book. At first I thought it was going to be one of your typical Doomsday scenarios but was delighted at the author's imaginative touch on the storyline. I did feel that some of the touches were a little over the top but all in all, a delightful story. I look forward to reading more from Robert McCammon.

    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!

    8 of 8 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.

    7 of 7 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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