"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.
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.
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...
So hooked by audio that I have to read books aloud. *If my reviews help, please let me know.
Never say never, but probably not--because horror is not my favorite genre.
Most: the vivid characters and the quick pacing; Least: cliches, made-for-the-movies smarmy moments, undefined talismans and loose ends.
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!
I'd bet the fans would shout yes, but at 30 plus hours, I'm good, movin' on...
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
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.
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.
Climbing since 1995
Its one thing to talk about what would happen, its another to go into detail of the sounds, textures, and smells as people crush each others skulls for the last scraps of food. Yick. I could stand it for once or twice, but every 10 minutes or so it got too gorey for me. I also didn't care the fantacy side of things. The shapeshifting satan character, and the dream glass ball, were too dumb for me to enjoy.
Here I am a grown man, father of 4 and I felt like I needed to take a shower after listening. I only got through 10 hours then called it quits. Don't know how it ends, don't care. Yick, yick, and icky.
I will say this. The actor that read this book should get an award! So many voices, and with such natureal tallent. WELL DONE.
"Flat characters and dull plot"
The characters were one-dimensional and the main aspects of the story were delivered in a clumsy way.
Colonel Macklin and Roland Croninger
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.
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