"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.
Audible has opened up a whole new world of reading that I could not make work in the traditional page turning world. I am on a mission to listen to a wide variety of adventures, mysteries, thrillers, classics, etc. Thank you Audible!
There seems to be a steady increase in books focusing on apocalyptic themes, which I must admit I find entertaining and thought provoking. Having read quite a few of the newer apocalyptic books being written I was amazed by how unique and well developed Swan Song still is when considering it won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel clear back in 1988.
I am frankly awed that after more than 30 years not only has this book remained an excellent reading/listening experience, but I find it has become even more engaging as times have progressed. The twists and ideas presented have not been negatively affected by the passing of time despite all the incredible advancements that have occurred in the past several decades. I feel that this story not only has endured the test of time, but it has actually gotten even better as our world has become more advanced and dependent on technology.
If you have not yet read this book or if it has been some time since you have I highly recommend that you treat yourself to what I would define as a cutting edge classic! This is well worth the credit given that it provides you with 34+ hours of listening time that will actually leave you wanting even more.
Molecular biology professor and researcher. I love history, historical fiction and future/alternate history. Mostly I listen while jogging, about 30-45 min per day.
This would be great as a class project on how to write a bad novel. I cannot find the right words beyond trite, predictable (in the worst way)., boring in the extreme. I resolved to continue listening about half way just to recalibrate my standards. But it was tough. I have never been so glad to finish anything.
I like doomsday books, but mostly I read fiction that deals with real history.
His reading was OK. It must have been hard to keep coming up with the emotive cues when a book is as bad as this one is.
All of them. Not a single character was believable. The Josh character is a horrible racist joke. The Swan character might be the worst fiction creation I have ever experienced. I was rooting for the devil character by half way through the book.
It is just possible that the author wrote this as a gag, putting in every cliche he could think of. It is a gag, one way or the other.
I really enjoy a good 'Mystery/Thriller' but the narrator can cause me, at times, to not listen to what might have been a really good story.
This was an absolutely awesome book. I LOVED everything about it and I was so sorry when it ended. In my opinion this is a classic that rates up among the very top. Do not miss out on this one. I rarely write any kind of review but this book definitely rates one. A++++++ all the way.
one of the best Audio's books of it's type I have read.
The Stand. A similar story concept, but much much better. It is a much more intense and complete look at a post-apocalyptic world and the people left behind. It is much more interestingly presented and written about and the characters, I feel, are better developed and easier to relate to or believe. McCammon does an excellent job of putting you into their shoes (or lack thereof) and creating multiple characters with extreme character personalities. He goes way beyond The Stand's character's and morphing them into totally new, and incredible, beings. This is not a zombie book, but I do not want to give away too much. The "devil" creatures in both are well developed, but much more interesting and explained in Swan Song.
A must read if you liked The Stand or post-apocalyptic novels. It is not a monster or zombie book, but if you like those you should like Swan Song, too. IT deals with survival, but also of inner strength and courage and goes into the inner personalities of the characters.
Long time Audible member (8 years, 500+ books). Avid flyfisherman, hunter, bicycler.
An ending that doesn't include a megalomaniac with a "doomsday" machine. I felt like I was listening to a James Bond movie with an unlikely bad guy who has a doomsday machine that exists beyond credibility. The doomsday machine relies on nuclear weapons launched from satellites that have existed 10 years past nuclear winter.
A bit. I like post-apocalyptic stories, but this one too itself too seriously with a cruddy ending. I kept waiting for a meaningful ending, but it never came. Cliche is the order for day for this book.
Narration was OK.
Not worth the many, many hours it took to get to the end of this book.
I rated the story three stars based on the entertainment factor, and the amount of listening time I got for my credit. However, I was tempted to go lower when considering many of the subtle and not-so-subtle undertones and failings of storytelling that bothered me while listening to this book.
To sum it up, this is very much a book written by a socially conservative Christian author with a lot of very traditional viewpoints. Don't get me wrong, that in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. However, in this case, aspects of the author's world view come out pretty strongly in several negative ways:
[Minor spoilers ahead]
1. Religion. The only religion represented or even mentioned within this book is Christianity. There isn't really any excuse for this when it comes to good writing and world-building, regardless of the author's beliefs.
2. Sex/Romance/Gender. The only instances of sex within the entire many-year-long post-apocalyptic story are rape and/or heavily coerced prostitution (almost all of which is treated flippantly). The only gay character is a pedophile, rapist, and murderer. Every good character is basically chaste throughout the book.
3. Race. It got very tiring to hear every black character described as the "black man" or the "black woman" almost every time they were referenced regardless of how familiar the reader was with them. Whereas anyone described as "a teenager" or "a woman" or "an old man" was assumed to be white. Also there's a good dose of moderately offensive accents. The "best" character is blond-haired blue-eyed girl. A lot of this stuff is arguably somewhat excusable as the book was written almost 25 years ago, but even knowing that, a fair amount of it was uncomfortable.
At best, these attitudes made the book seem shallow and immature, as entire aspects of the human experience were missing - within a book about the human experience. Some omissions or simplified story might make more sense if the book were geared toward a younger audience, but large parts of the book hit fairly hard in dealing with abject despair and obscenely disturbing characters and events, which seems to go against that idea.
On the whole, I got some entertainment value out of this book, but I wouldn't really recommend it to anyone I know. In the future, I'll be more careful in reading reviews and paying attention to publication dates before spending my money.
How does one make a nuclear war boring? By telling it from the perspective of cardboard characters, and by not bothering to do any research on how such a conflict would proceed. I listened to the first four hours of this book, and found nothing to hold my attention. I didn't care about the characters, with the possible exception of Josh. I found his description of the nuclear Holocaust laughable in it's inaccuracy. I was dissatisfied with the performance, but since I can't put my finger on just why, it could be that the book was simply too poor for even a good narrator to bring it to life. Very disappointing in almost every respect.
Give up on creating female voices. I would have given five stars for the performance had he not done so poorly with the female voices.
Disappointed. I was looking for something like The Stand. I wasn't looking for a lot of originality, but the writing was so sloppy as to spoil my experience.
Plotting was poor. Obvious foreshadowing was frequently not followed up by the author. Based on the frequent descriptions in the book it appears that the author believes 90 percent of the people in the world have blue eyes. The other 10 percent have
Based on the stellar reviews, I thought this would be a slam dunk. But the story is predictable, the pacing is very uneven, and the payoff doesn't match the build up.
I'm trying to wean myself and learn to function without earbuds for more than ten minutes at a time. It hasn't been easy. I lose balance...
I"m mystified by the positive reviews.. it reads, well - badly. Like a teen attempt at a genre filled to the brink with talented versions. Maybe it's just me? I found the storyline painfully uncreative and I'm a huge end of the world, creepy terror, classic spook story kinda gal... trite, dissappointing, uninteresting even when i was low on books. And I sometimes relisten to things many times. I'm not hard to please. I'll keep it on my ipod and attempt to get through it someday - but I just drove 20 hours and have had it for a month and can't get past part one. Teach me to buy based on hours long...
I wasn't sure about this to begin with but the more I listened to it the more I got into it. I then couldn't stop listening. I felt I was being transported to a world that almost ended and felt that this is how it would be. I thought the writing was brilliant. I loved Swan. I just wanted the book to go on and never finish.
I really enjoyed listening to Tom Stechschulte so much that I've had a look at other books he's narrated and might possibly buy a book just so I can listen to him again.
There are a lot of reviews here and they all cover what I wanted to say so I'll just sum up.
I loved it from start to finish. The characters are all, main and incidental, so real and rounded. The challenges, and settings for them, are well thought out and exciting.
Lastly, the narration was brilliant and each character was recognisable.
To echo another reader, I'll miss the gang, Sister, Josh and Swan.
"A beautiful tale"
A fantastic and brilliantly realized post apocalyptic world, filled with characters that you care about, and your heart pounds when they are in danger.
There are many, over the course of the book you grow to think of them as friends and care about them. There are several moments when they are fighting for their lives that you really get drawn in and are truly afraid for them. One moment in particular was Josh's battle with 'The Devil'.
The aforementioned battle with the Devil, also the AOE invading the settlement to capture Swan.
It made me cry on several occasions. And laugh on a few as well.
If you liked the Stand, The Passage or other books set in post apocalyptic worlds, you will love this.
Liked the fact this book had more than one main character. Relaxing listen...
Josh was my favourite character as he seem in my imagination to be 50ft tall but as soft as putty.
Good character voice change
Felt sad at times and thought provoking
Yes I would because the story was amazing, the narrator was superb and i just couldnt stop listening.excellent characters introduced brilliantly and the story just had me hooked. i would recommend this to all. well done to Robert and great work and lovely wide range from Tom.
thats hard, there is so many. defo Josh, he came across quite quiet but strong. also has a soft side, his character was defo enhanced by the narrater. i have to say, there was not a character i did not get drawn into...even the bad ones.
wow, i have great admiration for Tom, he gave each character its own individuality, gave them their own personality. i could feel each one as Tom got the voices spot on. Tom read the book with ease, he drew me right in. He is the best narrator i have listened to so far and i have heard many.
i was enthralled in this book, and yes, at some parts i had tears in my eyes. also some really happy parts. also some pretty evil parts lol
i just love this book, awesome listening. people....get this book :) i will be looking for more from this author and this narrater.
The story and the narrator merged perfectly, and both the story and the narrator were brilliant.
The story was brilliant and the characters were so unusual. It was quite a different world, but I got sucked into it and it wasn't a struggle to adjust to this world. I listened to it doing work around the house and I did loads of work as I didn't want to turn off the book.
Well, no I couldn't, due to the length of it and I also wanted some time to absorb what had happened between listens.
Well worth a read. It's fast paced and exciting. It's an action driven book which makes the 40 or so hours zip along.
This book is one you'll remember. The tale licks along at a lively pace and adventure is gripping. There is a bigger picture of representations of good, evil, temptation, redemption and forgiveness if you are wanting deeper meaning, but the narrative drive was sufficient to keep me riveted. I hadn't realised this was a book I'd read ages ago, and thought I'd enjoy it anew and would have forgotten much of, but it must have meant more to me than most books, as I'd remembered it clearly. That still didn't stop me from enjoying it. There is something more that the reader gains from a book heard, where you can't skip bits when you get excited to find out what happens next.
"A timeless classic"
Absolutely. It's huge so you get a lot of entertainment for your credit. The book runs at a good pace and in the early stages could easily be three different novels. The narrator is fantastic and the book well produced.
Colonel Macklin. "Discipline and control"
Hard to choose, but the authors descriptions of being on the ground during - and just after - a nuclear attack were extremely vivid.
Lots, but wouldn't want to spoil anything.
It's the kind of book that makes you want to immediately find more like it once you've finished it.
I've read this book (books) once in my younger days, and in Norwegian. I really enjoyed to listen to it in English, and although I sort of remembered how it ended it was still a good listening experience. As always when a book captures me, I can't fins enough excuses to listen to it.
"A fun, gory supernatural apocalyptic thriller!"
Having come to McCammon's work through his other famous book, Boy's Life, I was initially quite surprised at the style of this earlier work. Where Boy's Life is quite a slow, ponderous, almost literary work, Swan Song gets in your face from chapter one and doesn't let up.
Initially I found it rather overbearing to the point of silliness. No character ever has an everyday expression here, they all have to wear contorted grimaces of pain, masks of writhing agony and clench-jawed steely gazes while their eyes pop and sweat beads down their faces.
However once I'd got used to the idea that this was going to be a gory, over-the-top tale with zero to offer in the ways of subtlety, I started to really enjoy it.
The story moves on at a good pace with a large cast of interesting, if shallow characters. Interesting situations continue to present themselves and the plot bulldozes on right through to the final chapter, always holding your interest. It's very well read... acted actually. The narrator really throws himself into all the roles, matching the material's over-the-top tone perfectly.
Great fun, great value (34 hours audiobook!) and a great tale!
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