"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.
I loved the story, from start to finish. I would call it a improved version of Stephen King's the Stand. It is an older book and is a little dated with its cold war implications.
Not a must read, but I still would recommend it.
I'm a long haul truck driver. For me there's no better way to knock down the miles than with a good audiobook.
Ive read this book 4 times since it was 1st published. being a truck driver and I drive 3 or 4 thousands miles a week, it just kept me smiling all day.
I believe besides Swan herself, the wrestler will be my pick. Then again the woman with the talisman would be a good pick too.
not Scott Brick or the like.
her(Swan) meeting the boy, I dont know, Ive read this book several times, the whole book moves Me.
I would recommend this to everyone.
All really good, but Sister is a mean SOB!
Josh the strong
The writing is decent, but there is a heavy religious theme that just got on my nerves for some reason. Other readers may enjoy this.
He's a good narrator. It was the story that was the problem for me.
The story is not bad, but I found the heavy religious theme bothersome. If you don't mind that or are looking for that kind of story then this would probably be very engaging.
The first parts of the book are quite excellent. The author conveys the build up of nuclear war, it's unfolding, and it's aftermath very vividly. The first third of the book is very enjoyable, but that enjoyment did not last for me.
Everything that happens after that is very predictable and has all the melodrama of a soap opera. The characters become completely one-dimensional as does the story. The antagonist are pure evil and the protagonist are benevolent forces for good. Of course there is a showdown between the two and supposedly the protagonist have their backs against the wall and it seems like evil will prevail. It doesn't, of course, and you never have a feeling that it might because halfway through the book you realize exactly what kind of story this is......one that you've read and seen a million times. The protagonist are able to defeat the "bad guys" at the last second (literally) through the power of love, magic, faith, and god. Everybody lives happily ever after.
Been there, done that, nothing to see here, move along.
The production was good and the narrator does a great job for the most part. The only problem I had with the narration was the voice he used for one of the main characters. It sounds like a Jerky Boys character and gets incredibly annoying to listen to. I found myself hoping that character would die so I wouldn't have to listen to that voice anymore. :)
Overall the story has some great moments in it, but they can't make up for the fact that in the broader sense of the story the overall plot is just another good vs. evil melodrama.
The battle between good and evil reminded me of a Stephen King novel
Josh was my favorite as a protector and great character. Everyone needs a Josh in their life.
I have read this book at least 6 times since it first came out. Everytime i found it in paperback to read again I end up just having to give it to someone to read. I was so happy that it came out in audio.
I can't pick out any favorite's in this book because I loved the whole book. It was a great story and very well written. If you loved Stephen Kings the Stand you will love this one just as much or even more.
Between the voice of the narrator and the plodding of the narrative, I just couldn't get through this book. Ugh.
That's my review for this book: Ugh.
I love books, I love audiobooks. Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror...ZOMBIES, etc. What is better than being at work and being entertained for hours and hours?
It started off pretty well...then it got slower, and slower, and slower. Then it got weird, I am all for good weird, but this was terrible weird. I spent hour after painstaking hour listening to this tale of woe. I kept expecting something to happen that made some sense, or perhaps something exciting, or entertaining and this one just didn't do it for me. Not my cup of tea at all...
Of course, you never base an author on 1 story, or Stephen King would never have made it. All authors have good and bad books, a lot of time when they are trying to carry on a series that should have stopped 3 books back. This is a stand alone story...thankfully.
Well when you are reading dull material, in a dull way, it makes it...well dull. He did however do a good job creating the characters voices...so kudos!
The only redeeming quality is that I found out if you don't like a book, you can return it and redeem your credit that you wasted. So here's to getting my credit back :)
Hey I am a person and have particular tastes. I enjoy most of Stephen Kings books, loved Mark Tufo's Zombie Fallout series, Vince Flynn is a master, on that same token I tried the Of Fire and Ice series and couldn't stand the books. A lot of people think they are great, for them they were, for me...not so much. So don't, not try this book, just because it wasn't for me. Everyone wants different things from books...I wanted entertainment and received hours and hours of, really, this has got to get better at some point...right?
I loved this book, couldn't put it down. Post-apocalyptic stories are perhaps my favourite genre, particularly long, sweeping stories like this one. I fell in love with the characters right away, held my breath for them, laughed and cried with them. I finished listening to Swan Song over a month ago now and have listened to two other novels since, but I still find myself reflecting on Sister, Josh, Swan and the others from time to time.
But? But... disappointingly the plot has some serious problems. So as not to be a spoiler, I'll just say that some of the very well developed threads in the story seem to fizzle out without explanation.
Nonetheless, while these problems definitely weakened my enjoyment of the book leaving me feeling somewhat unsatisfied by the conclusion, I still highly recommend Swan Song for those who love this genre.
"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!
Now...what to listen to next?
"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!
"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 !
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.
"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!
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
"More of an Opera than a Song!"
When I got this book in a special offer I didn't expect too much from it despite the positive reviews. However, when I got round to listening to it my expectations were far exceeded. Sadly for me several of the existing reviews make many of the points that I would like to make. It is indeed very much like Stephen King's The Stand in many ways. The post-apocalypse setting, the fight between good and evil. It's also similar in the large cast of characters and the depth which the author gives to them. They stand out because they are drawn from all levels of achievement within our existing society. They carry the burdens of how current society treated them into this post-apocalyptic world and some discover the merits and strengths that were buried under its negative judgement.
It's a harsh book set in a harsh world but it carries messages of hope both on a personal and global level. You'll have to listen to it though to find out whether those slender seedlings of hope triumph over the brutal evil of a lawless world.
The narration is very impressive, particularly for a book of this length. As a result of the fine writing and the fitting rendition from Tom Stechschulte the length of the book is a positive without doubt.
Try this one, it has real quality.
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.
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!
"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.
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