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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 (3218 )
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2 star
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1 star
 (69)
Performance
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  •  
    PJPackwood 06-22-12
    PJPackwood 06-22-12 Member Since 2004

    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.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Swan Song"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Jupiter, FL, United States 05-21-12
    Michael Jupiter, FL, United States 05-21-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent book and audio"
    Where does Swan Song rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    one of the best Audio's books of it's type I have read.


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

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew 05-09-12
    Andrew 05-09-12 Member Since 2004

    Long time Audible member (8 years, 500+ books). Avid flyfisherman, hunter, bicycler.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    191
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    "Degrades into Cliche and "Campiness""
    What would have made Swan Song better?

    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.


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

    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.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Narration was OK.


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

    The ending.


    Any additional comments?

    Not worth the many, many hours it took to get to the end of this book.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Longshanks 12-27-11
    Longshanks 12-27-11 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "Didn't hold my attention"

    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.

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edward Vancouver, WA, United States 12-18-11
    Edward Vancouver, WA, United States 12-18-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
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    "Lazy writing."
    Would you try another book from Robert McCammon and/or Tom Stechschulte?

    No


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    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.


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

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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

    9 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. D. Williams San Francisco, CA 12-13-11
    J. D. Williams San Francisco, CA 12-13-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    "Doesn't live up to the reviews"

    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.

    9 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Annette 12-12-11
    Annette 12-12-11

    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...

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "If you've never read King or Koontz...go do so"

    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...

    11 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melinda UT 11-28-11
    Melinda UT 11-28-11 Member Since 2009

    So hooked by audio that I have to read books aloud. *If my reviews help, please let me know.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "ThunderTome"
    Would you try another book from Robert McCammon and/or Tom Stechschulte?

    Never say never, but probably not--because horror is not my favorite genre.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Most: the vivid characters and the quick pacing; Least: cliches, made-for-the-movies smarmy moments, undefined talismans and loose ends.


    What does Tom Stechschulte bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

    I'm split on this...one moment he is doing an excellent job, the next he is obviously interpreting the written words with incongruent meaning and inflections. But he certainly read with gusto!


    Do you think Swan Song needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    I'd bet the fans would shout yes, but at 30 plus hours, I'm good, movin' on...


    Any additional comments?

    I can see why this '86 book is considered a standard in the post apocalyptic horror genre, holds up okay, in '86 was probably considered original, but I kept envisioning Mad Max and the steam-punk type characters. I definitely should have stayed away from the whole genre--but a barrage of 5* reviews?! I think enthusiastic listeners overrated this one. The Good vs. Evil, the vague religious references and symbolism, seemed worn and cliched, the horror element campy. A great post apocalyptic read from the past for the more

    21 of 31 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel J Allen 01-13-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Problematic and uncomfortable content."

    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.

    17 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet ASKOV, MN, United States 11-19-11
    Janet ASKOV, MN, United States 11-19-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Book"

    I read this book years ago and still have it. Glad it finally came out on audio. I listen to it and going to again. I am sure I miss some of it the first time around. Great listener. Hope more of his books come out on audio too.

    8 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 41-50 of 365 results PREVIOUS145637NEXT
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  • Lee
    IPSWICH, United Kingdom
    2/2/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One of the best audio books I have heard"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Definitely especially for a long journey. This is a great story unwinds and twists and turns so that the final solution cannot be guessed. I really enjoyed this book even though the subject matter is somewhat dark. The characters were well-defined and different enough that you could follow them. I was kept guessing how they would all be put together throughout the story. The background to the story and the different environments were well described so that you felt you were actually in each different town or scenario. Although the subject matter is sometimes troubling it was never so horrific that you could not listen. I felt that it was accurate description of what the world after nuclear holocaust would be. Cold, troubled, definitely scary and challenging. Recommended very highly!


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

    This book is singularly different different but the closest I could find to compare it with is 2016.


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

    I have not will fully intend to.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The final battle for life as we know it was heartwarming and totally not foreseeable within the writing. I really thought that the end was nigh but the author Paul something out this hat at the last moment. Tears streaming and surprised.


    Any additional comments?

    I came across this book by accident not having heard of the author but will definitely be searching for other books by the same author. The narrator was also very good he had a cast of players that he was able to give different voices to and this enabled me to follow the story much more easily it also gave a good sense of being involved with the storyline.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • PAUL BRIERTON
    WALLASEY, United Kingdom
    1/20/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Listen"
    Where does Swan Song rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    With out doubt my favorite of all the books i have listen to on this site :)


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Helen
    Tallow, Ireland
    1/12/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent story"
    What did you like most about Swan Song?

    This is like Stephen kings The Stand and Colm McCarthys The Road in one book with a twist.


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

    There are lots of memorable moments in Swan Song, but none that stand out in particular.


    What about Tom Stechschulte’s performance did you like?

    I thought he did a great job, especially with sister who seemed so real.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Derek
    HULL, United Kingdom
    12/10/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic"

    Now this is a story. I loved this one.
    No spoiler to say that this is a post apocalyptic tale, the transition from normal everyday life to the resulting wasteland is horrific and terrifying. The emerging characters have depth and the power to grip you through an epic of a story that takes a cross the burned out wasteland that is now their home.
    You get to follow a number of individuals changed forever, some for good, some for oh so bag and you just know as the story progresses that the point is coming when they will all meet. I found that as this story unfolded, I was not just listening to it, I had invested in it.

    This is all massively supported by Tom Stechschulte's superb narration, Stechschulte identifies each individual character and breathes life into them. .

    It is going to be a hard act to follow. Well worth the credit/cash

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Roderic
    Victoria Park, Australia
    12/10/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Flat characters and dull plot"
    What disappointed you about Swan Song?

    The characters were one-dimensional and the main aspects of the story were delivered in a clumsy way.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Robert McCammon again?

    No.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Tom Stechschulte’s performances?

    No.


    What character would you cut from Swan Song?

    Colonel Macklin and Roland Croninger


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    Camberley, United Kingdom
    12/2/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Loved it"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Niall
    England
    11/12/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • mr
    LONDON, United Kingdom
    10/30/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A beautiful tale"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    A fantastic and brilliantly realized post apocalyptic world, filled with characters that you care about, and your heart pounds when they are in danger.


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

    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'.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    The aforementioned battle with the Devil, also the AOE invading the settlement to capture Swan.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me cry on several occasions. And laugh on a few as well.


    Any additional comments?

    If you liked the Stand, The Passage or other books set in post apocalyptic worlds, you will love this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • vicki
    clackmannan, United Kingdom
    9/9/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Easy listening"
    What did you like most about Swan Song?

    Liked the fact this book had more than one main character. Relaxing listen...


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Josh was my favourite character as he seem in my imagination to be 50ft tall but as soft as putty.


    What about Tom Stechschulte’s performance did you like?

    Good character voice change


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Felt sad at times and thought provoking


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • miss
    edgware, United Kingdom
    8/29/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "hooked"
    Would you listen to Swan Song again? Why?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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.


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

    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.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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


    Any additional comments?

    i just love this book, awesome listening. people....get this book :) i will be looking for more from this author and this narrater.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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