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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 (3847 )
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  •  
    Ry Young College Station, TX United States 08-05-12
    Ry Young College Station, TX United States 08-05-12 Member Since 2007

    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.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Painful and nauseating to listen to."
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    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.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    I like doomsday books, but mostly I read fiction that deals with real history.


    What aspect of Tom Stechschulte’s performance would you have changed?

    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.


    What character would you cut from Swan Song?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    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.

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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 2015
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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 2015

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

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
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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
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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 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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...

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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
  •  
    Mel USA 11-28-11
    Mel USA 11-28-11 Member Since 2009
    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

    22 of 33 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet ASKOV, MN, United States 11-19-11
    Janet ASKOV, MN, United States 11-19-11 Member Since 2012
    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
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  • Farniboy
    Wirral, UK
    7/2/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "As Good as King's The Stand for Apocalyptic Horror"
    What did you like most about Swan Song?

    I read Swan Song in the late 80's when a nuclear war still seemed a very real possibility. The book left a mark on me as a teenager. I was delighted to see it as been released on Audible. Tom Stechschulte, the narrator does a brilliant job with a huge cast and he keeps you at the edge of the seat in parts. Swan Song has similarities to King's The Stand but the story and cast are a match to those in the King book.


    What did you like best about this story?

    What can you not like about Swan Song? Its an epic listen at nearly 35 hours long! It deals with the big issues of good versus evil but also concentrates on friendship, love and bravery. It doesn't shirk the horrors of the aftermath of a nuclear war and societies collapse but it also shows how people can make a difference even in the direst of circumstances.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    The face off in the supermarket has to be one of the most tense parts of the book. Its one of those books that as many stand out scenes. One minute you are despairing for the heroes fates and then a few pages on you have a goofy grin. I guarantee that you will recommend this book and also relisten to this book in a few years time!


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Don't F### with Sister Creep...


    Any additional comments?

    I think Swan Song, like Stephen King's The Stand transcends the genre (ooo, get me!) Even though there are supernatural/horror elements in the book, its the evil that men do to each other that is far more horrifying.Robert McCammon is a fine writer, be it his horror novels of the 80/90's or the historical detective fiction he writes today. I couldn't recommend this book, They Thirst, Boys Life and all of his other work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • JS
    Slough, United Kingdom
    5/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Captivating!"
    Any additional comments?

    I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. The characters were well developed and distinctive in personality. Filled with suspense and nail biting moments. Well worth the purchase. The narrator did an excellent job!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Robert
    Putney, United Kingdom
    4/23/14
    Overall
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    "One of the best books I've know.. Epic!!"
    What made the experience of listening to Swan Song the most enjoyable?

    This was an absolute epic, right up there with Earth Abides and Lucifer's Hammer.
    The character development was amazing. The setting of each scene so absorbing, it was easy to visual everything.
    There's a quality to these old novels you don't find much in modern books. The most noticeable thing is the character interaction. In modern books it's so cheesy but this was exactly how I might imagine (given the circumstances).

    I listened to this book a couple of months ago and still get goosebumps thinking about it.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Josh. True gent, pillar of the book.


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

    The narration was perfect, each character well defined and not over the top.


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

    When Josh says he has proud of Swan as any father can be of his daughter.


    Any additional comments?

    It had a splash of fantasy, which was enjoyable. There were a couple of elements I would've changed. I don't want to spoil it but the ending (for me) was a bit confusing. The whole book built towards something then, rather disappointingly, sidestepped that thing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Michelle
    Rochester, United Kingdom
    4/9/14
    Overall
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    Story
    "Long but beautifully read and worth every second"

    I do seem to like an end of the world disaster book; I was hooked from the beginning to the end. Soooo!! well read full of emotion. Great characters good and evil. A must read or listen.
    Buy enjoy you won't be disappointed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    Planet Earth
    4/3/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Superb post-apocalyptic thriller"

    Swan Song is a superb story from the pen of Robert McCammon, written in 1991 there are a few similarities to Stephen King's 'The Stand' but anyone who enjoyed SK's masterpiece from the late 1970's will certainly enjoy this tale.

    Clocking in at over 30 hours this story is a real epic & Tom Stechschulte does a great job with the narration (although I did think his portrayal of 'Sister' to be a little tiresome at times), the story has a really good flow & for Audible members a 30+ hour quality book is great value for a single credit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • dawn
    cornwall, United Kingdom
    3/23/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A great big story in length and in content!"
    Would you listen to Swan Song again? Why?

    Yes, I listened to it again as soon as I had finished as it is so long and complex I wanted to make sure I had it all straight in my head!


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

    Yes, a bit like but not really the Stand, if you enjoy post apocalyptic tales this is for you!


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

    don't want to do any spoilers......but yes! the end


    Any additional comments?

    I did not really know of this or the author, I usually find my audible books by looking at good reviews of books I have enjoyed - glad I found this.....it is sad though! We live in this big beautiful world full of amazing things - our plant is mind-blowing - let us pray that we do not ever have this post WW3 world with a 7 year winter! Keep your cool leaders of the world! It is only in your hands for safekeeping for future generations - not yours to abuse of damage.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • karen
    3/18/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "forgotten goodie"

    read this years ago, and had a credit spare so treated myself. a bit different from Stephen Kings THE STAND but I had forgotten how much I enjoyed reading it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nadine Sutton
    UK
    2/18/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Awesome - if you like The Stand, try this"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Swan Song to be better than the print version?

    Unknown - have not read the book.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I love an in depth epic. Being a huge fan of The Stand on audio, this followed suit and has become a favourite.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 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

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