"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.
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.
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 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.
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 can understand a dark post-apocalyptic novel full of characters who, say, kill over a bowl of soup because starvation is an understandable, human motivation. Other human motivations might include vengeance, depression, lust, greed, ect. As readers we intuitively understand these kinds of motivations even if we are repulsed by them.
The protagonists in this novel have no such motivations. They are one dimensional cartoon characters motivated by their pure goodness or badness. In their wanderings they meet one dimensional cartoon villains every one of which is an uber violent sadistic psychopath intent on inflicting violence and suffering for no other reason than they are evil. Good guys do good things and bad guys do bad things for no particular reason. Repeat. It's childish dribble that fails to capture even the barest sliver of humanity or human motivation. You might be able to get away with it in a video game but not in a novel or audiobook.
The writing is also best described as immature bordering on childish. For example, it's hard not to giggle when we are constantly bombarded with messages of the empty desolate landscape, and yet every house or shelter the characters walk into is already occupied. I'm not sure if they ever enter an empty house even if we later learn that every other house in the entire city is supposedly empty. Over and over so often you have to laugh. Childish.
Sometimes the writing quality hits like a bucket of cold water that snaps whatever illusion had been created. For example, in one action scene a 300+ pound man, described over and over as a giant, is in a fist fight. After he dodges a punch he-- get this-- ducks down, crawls between his opponents legs, gets up, and hits his opponent (who incidentally is of course a sadist) when he turns around. Trying to suddenly picture this inane action sequence jarred me completely out of the scene, and so on.
For the purposes of context, I am an avid audiobook listener who draws from all genres but am especially attracted to science fiction, some fantasy, and horror, so it's not like this was out of my realm. It's just poorly executed and simply childish. I am writing this review because I wish someone else had written it first so I wouldn't have wasted my time and money on it.
Everything about this audiobook is absolutely amazing. The story is phenominal. From beginning to end I was completely riveted. The story flows easily from one place to another, through big events and small. And then there is the amazing tension for what is going to happen to the characters.
A big part of that is the naration by Tom Stechschulte. He does a such a wonderful job bringing the characters to life. He gives the each their own voice and through this you really get to know them and feel for them as old friends. You feel their joys and their sorrows as if they were your own. I laughed with them and cried for them.
What else can I say? Buy this book. Listen to it. You will not regret it.
I had never heard of Swan Song when I browsed the Audible Best Sellers catagory, but with all the wonderful reviews I downloaded it. I am so glad I did. In only 5 days I listened to 34 hours of untold intreige. Tom Stechschulte's narration is spellbinding, just unreal. A magical story that you never want to end.
Good story. McCammon has a wonderful writing style. I don't normally like detailed descriptions as so often it just interrupts the flow of the story for me. I can only say his writing feels "silky" to me. Wierd, but that's the only word that comes to mind. I can't stop listening to this book.
What makes this audio book so much more exciting, is the reader. Stechschulte is the best I've heard. I will look for his work for my future selections.
Scientist, artisan, anachronism
is it just me or does anyone see the similarity to The Stand, by Steve King?
this book is well written, yeah, but in each scene i can't stop thinking of the Stand. it's sooooo close to being the same plot. there's disaster that decimates human kind; an evil entity reminiscent of the Satan character in Christian mythology; there's an innocent with special powers that is on a quest; there is the foreshadowing of a clash between good and evil... it's the Stand 2 (or the Stand too).
maybe if you've never read the Stand you'll find this to be a fantastic yarn. Or maybe you like the Stand so much that you wish there was another... well this is for you. however, it just wasn't for me.
it is well written, and as far as I've listened to the tale it seems like a fine story. but i just cant get by the feeling of the rip-off. i had to stop at about 25%...
I found this book meandering and frustrating.
I've tried three times to listen to this book. I always get 2-3 hours into it and just can't stand it any more. I'm left with the impression that this is a really bad attempt to weave together a political - scientific thriller with elements of horror and the supernatural, somewhat like Stephen King's The Stand. Unfortunately, I find it a D-rate effort. I've no feeling for the characters experiencing the 'supernatural' aspects of the story - possibly because they only exist to further that part of the plot. If they had been introduced as 'normal' people who then, during the course of events, experience the unexplainable in the midst of a catastrophic nuclear war, they might be interesting. I ended up just wanting to skip any section of the narrative that dealt with these people.
The multiple story-lines also failed - to me - to come together into a whole. It was like this was two or three books mushed together with an attempt to tie them into a cohesive narrative.
I'll try to return this, but since the original purchase was last year, I don't know if I can.
Wolfhound Century by Peter Higgins
It was fine. I think he tried to give a different voice to each of the many characters.
Swan - - Sister Creep and everyone she comes in contact with
I think I've said enough
"One of the best books I've know.. Epic!!"
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.
Josh. True gent, pillar of the book.
The narration was perfect, each character well defined and not over the top.
When Josh says he has proud of Swan as any father can be of his daughter.
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.
"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.
"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.
"A great big story in length and in content!"
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!
Yes, a bit like but not really the Stand, if you enjoy post apocalyptic tales this is for you!
don't want to do any spoilers......but yes! the end
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.
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
"Awesome - if you like The Stand, try this"
Unknown - have not read the book.
I love an in depth epic. Being a huge fan of The Stand on audio, this followed suit and has become a favourite.
"One of the best audio books I have heard"
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!
This book is singularly different different but the closest I could find to compare it with is 2016.
I have not will fully intend to.
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.
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.
With out doubt my favorite of all the books i have listen to on this site :)
This is like Stephen kings The Stand and Colm McCarthys The Road in one book with a twist.
There are lots of memorable moments in Swan Song, but none that stand out in particular.
I thought he did a great job, especially with sister who seemed so real.
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
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