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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

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  •  
    Anthony WA 09-09-12
    Anthony WA 09-09-12 Member Since 2007

    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!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Something’s just get better with age!"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    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
    11
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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 Las Vegas, NV, United States 06-22-12
    PJPackwood Las Vegas, NV, United States 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
    23
    ratings
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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 Colorado Springs, CO, United States 05-09-12
    Andrew Colorado Springs, CO, United States 05-09-12 Member Since 2004

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

    HELPFUL VOTES
    175
    ratings
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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
  •  
    Daniel J Allen 01-13-12 Listener Since 2010
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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.

    15 of 22 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
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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 United States 12-12-11
    Annette United States 12-12-11 Member Since 2004

    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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    Story
    "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
  • Showing: 41-50 of 356 results PREVIOUS145636NEXT
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  • 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
  • Mo
    County Kerry, Ireland
    8/23/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "loved it"
    What made the experience of listening to Swan Song the most enjoyable?

    The story and the narrator merged perfectly, and both the story and the narrator were brilliant.


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Well, no I couldn't, due to the length of it and I also wanted some time to absorb what had happened between listens.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    nr.Thirsk, United Kingdom
    7/28/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Epic saga"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Matthew
    Thornton, United Kingdom
    7/27/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A timeless classic"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Colonel Macklin. "Discipline and control"


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    Hard to choose, but the authors descriptions of being on the ground during - and just after - a nuclear attack were extremely vivid.


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

    Lots, but wouldn't want to spoil anything.


    Any additional comments?

    It's the kind of book that makes you want to immediately find more like it once you've finished it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Inger
    Vaale, Norway
    6/13/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great revisit"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Howard
    Norwich, United Kingdom
    4/17/12
    Overall
    "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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gregory
    London, United Kingdom
    4/8/12
    Overall
    "Fantastic value for a credit"

    I was looking for a nice long audiobook to get maximum value out of my credit. How lucky I was that Swan Song fullfilled this, and was an absolute blast into the bargain. A fantastic plot, rich characters, and spectacularly diverse narration. Thoroughly recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Liz
    1/30/12
    Overall
    "I nearly gave up"

    As a previous reviewer said 'Nasty, brutish and much too long"

    I do tend to agree, I nearly gave up more than once, but I perservered and yes it does 'reach a state of redemption'.
    Eventually the tone became more positive and after being with them so long I identified with the characters and was glad in the end that I finished the journey.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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