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Swan Song Audiobook

Swan Song

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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

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Performance
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  •  
    James RIVERHEAD, NY, United States 03-14-14
    James RIVERHEAD, NY, United States 03-14-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "The best on Audible"

    This is by far my favorite book I have ever listened to. I will not give anything away, just trust me on this one. You will love it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SonjCos Wesley Chapel, Fl, United States 03-08-14
    SonjCos Wesley Chapel, Fl, United States 03-08-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    12
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    "Not what I expected"
    What made the experience of listening to Swan Song the most enjoyable?

    The story quickly drew me in and didn't let me go until the very end. I did not intend to listen to it non-stop, but ultimately I did. I started the book thinking it would be similar to the Matthew Corbett series by the same author. Instead, it was a post apocalyptic novel and I love this genre. It had a bit of mysticism in it and it played better than I would have expected with the story.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    My three favorite characters were Swan, Joshua & Sister. I liked these characters individually and I loved the way they interacted with each other. They all demonstrated that in the worst of circumstances the human spirit can remain compassionate, determined and faithful.


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

    This was my first time listening to this narrator.


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

    Yes. I listened to it all day and night.


    Any additional comments?

    I consider the Matthew Corbett series and Swan Song to be to very different literary genres. It is rare for an author to write across genres and be just as compelling of a storyteller in each genre. I applaud Robert McCammon for being able to do it so well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TheNewWinch Draper, UT, United States 03-05-14
    TheNewWinch Draper, UT, United States 03-05-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "An Amazing Listen"

    If you are at all a fan of the apocalyptic genre, get this book. The characters are fully developed and imperfect. I found myself listening to this whenever I could even grab a few minutes, I had to find out what would happen.

    The bleakness of the world, post war, reminds me of The Road. Here, humans struggle to keep their humanity in a world that has turned savage. Parts of the book will make you cringe, and despair about the survivors as they attempt to navigate through the living hell the world has become. I found myself cheering every time a bit of hope found it's way into the narrative.

    It is a long book, and sometimes it gets a little mired down, but never so much that it interferes with the overall story. This is a book to go back to again and again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Kailua, HI, United States 02-19-14
    Lisa Kailua, HI, United States 02-19-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    46
    7
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    Story
    "Horrible book!"
    What would have made Swan Song better?

    not killing babies


    Would you ever listen to anything by Robert McCammon again?

    no


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    fine


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    not much


    Any additional comments?

    I advise people that this book is pure hatred. I don't mind scarey or horror books, but books that talk about bashing in the skulls of infant babies are not something most normal people are interested in reading. I got through part one and realized just listening to this filth ruins your day completely. Ill never listen to this author again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas deerfield, NH, United States 02-14-14
    Thomas deerfield, NH, United States 02-14-14 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
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    "Started strong, but slowly fizzled out."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    The first half of the book was very interesting, however as it went on, the characters became more and more one dimensional. The plot became more pedestrian and silly. If you want good post apaptoliptic writing and plot stick with Steven King's The Stand.


    What was most disappointing about Robert McCammon’s story?

    The most disappointing part of the book is that once you become invested in the plot you are forced to listen even as the story becomes more and more mundane.


    What about Tom Stechschulte’s performance did you like?

    I really only kept listening because the narrator was so good.


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

    NO.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Hartland, WI, United States 02-07-14
    Michael Hartland, WI, United States 02-07-14 Member Since 2009

    I'm a fan of Sci-fi, fantasy and suspense. I like books that keep me guessing till the end.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
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    "I Feel Like I've Heard This Before"

    I read The Stand in high school. This is a LOT like The Stand. It could have been told in half the time. I'm currently listening to it at 3X speed just to get through it. The characters are thin and predictable and there are just too many gaps in reasoning for it to be a good book for me. If you loved The Stand, then you might like this book, if you did not like it, then you won't like this either.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark 02-03-14
    Mark 02-03-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "One of McCammon's Best"
    What made the experience of listening to Swan Song the most enjoyable?

    There was always something happening, and enough good folks and bad folks to keep you listening to see where it was going to go. It's totally unpredictable.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Swan is of course the main focus of the piece but I liked the ex-wrestler Josh, and I enjoyed Sister. The book is so full of interesting (and enough nefarious) characters that picking your favorite is really very hard.


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

    He does a great job. With so many characters it could get confusing, but he sees to it that each is different and unique; no easy task in a book of this size.


    If you could rename Swan Song, what would you call it?

    Swan Song is a pretty good title, both a play on words and an accurate look at what happens in the book...but if I absolutely had to rename it, I would call it: Apocalypse Redeemed.


    Any additional comments?

    This is the second time I have read this book. I read it to myself the first time and listened maybe 20 years later and though I remembered little things and that it was an excellent book, it was a totally new experience, especially having it read to me. I can't recommend it much higher than that.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. M. Zuleger Ohio 01-29-14
    D. M. Zuleger Ohio 01-29-14 Member Since 2017

    Voracious Reader

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Great Journey"
    Would you listen to Swan Song again? Why?

    Swan Song is one of my top 10 favorite books. I've actually read it several times. However, the last time I read it was at least a decade ago. So, when I listened to the book it was almost like reading it for the first time all over again! I'll definitely be listening to this book again.


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

    Swan Song has often been compared to The Stand by Stephen King. Both books do have 1 thing in common, they are both about the end of the world. Personally, I think that's where the similarities end.


    What about Tom Stechschulte’s performance did you like?

    Tom Stechschulte has a wonderful rhythm. His narration is mesmerizing. He brought a different dimension to this book. I enjoyed his narration so much, I will be looking for other books that he's narrated.


    Who was the most memorable character of Swan Song and why?

    There are a lot of memorable characters, but my favorite is Sister. She's a character that one should strive to emulate.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Redding Ontario 01-22-14
    David Redding Ontario 01-22-14

    David

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An amazing story ruined by having the wrong reader"
    What made the experience of listening to Swan Song the most enjoyable?

    Not the narrator


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

    I haven't read many books like this one


    What didn’t you like about Tom Stechschulte’s performance?

    Tom is completely wrong for this book, his cartoonish over the top character voices are more suited to children's books


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

    No


    Any additional comments?

    I read the Kindle book and listenedat the same time. This is a great story with the perfect mixture of real world human drama and magic. It was written in the 80s and is a little dated, but it really didn't bother me.

    When I was "reading" the story I was sucked right, however when I listened the readers cartoonish style pulled my right out. Tom's silly, stereotypical character voices turn this great story of human struggle into a Sunday afternoon B movie of bad acting.

    I really wish Audible would put a little more thought into which one of their narrators reads which book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G United States 01-14-14
    G United States 01-14-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    45
    4
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    "Epic, but not for the depressed"
    Any additional comments?

    Narration was excellent, however the story was long and rather depressing. I'd be very interested in hearing from the author. How does writing something like this spill over into their regular life?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Rob
    Sussex
    11/19/12
    Overall
    "Long but worth the effort"

    This is my second Audible book, and the first time I have been driven to write a review (of any kind). I have to say that this would not be my choice of book to read. Too big and not my normal genre. I have far too many books and not enough time to read them all ( oh woe is me!). I joined Audible to broaden my tastes with something different whilst walking the dogs, and I found that this lengthy (30 hours) story became an evening obsession for a month or so.

    Yes, it is a dark tale of a post nuclear apocalyptic America and is sometimes difficult to hear of the destruction and long term suffering...but that really is the point. How can you explore the possibility of redemption and survival without the descent into evil and chaos in the first place?. And it is like The Stand in that it is an exploration of good verses evil, with groups of characters on each side.

    But... the similarity ends there.

    The author has created a compelling story where each of the 90 or so chapters follows the POV of groups of people on either side of the moral divide. The main characters soon become familiar, and their individual stories inexorably and sometimes painfully progress to a satisfying and exciting series of confrontations at the climax of the book. I liked the ending.

    The big thing for me though was the experience of having this book, that I never would have read normally, delivered as a professional spoken performance through my earphones in the Ashdown Forest every day for a month. Really quite surreal!

    I was not convinced at the start, but was soon drawn into the timbre of Tom Stechshulte's voice. His vocal interpretation of each of the characters became to be "just right". This is not simply someone reading aloud. (erm Librivox anyone?) This is a proper job! I could not wait for my next daily instalment!

    Great stuff....

    Now...what to listen to next?

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • sharon
    Falmouth, United Kingdom
    7/19/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "End of the World.."

    Loved the character Sister, a fight between good and evil in the strictest sense, no smudging of lines in-between, very much like the 'Stand' by Steven King, which I must admit nudges into the lead between the two. Easy read and entertaining well as much as the end of the world can be!

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Stephen
    Tempsford, United Kingdom
    12/25/11
    Overall
    "Thoroughly enjoyable"

    Have just read the previous review and had to briefly write my thoughts which are the exact opposite of the last reviewer.
    I couldn't wait to finish the book as I was thoroughly enthralled and caught up with the characters, I didn't notice how brutish it was as I expected rage and violence etc as it's an end of the world type of book.
    I really enjoyed it and will read it again at some point.
    Give it a try.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Simon
    Somewhere between a pair of headphones.
    9/7/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "More of an Opera than a Song!"

    When I got this book in a special offer I didn't expect too much from it despite the positive reviews. However, when I got round to listening to it my expectations were far exceeded. Sadly for me several of the existing reviews make many of the points that I would like to make. It is indeed very much like Stephen King's The Stand in many ways. The post-apocalypse setting, the fight between good and evil. It's also similar in the large cast of characters and the depth which the author gives to them. They stand out because they are drawn from all levels of achievement within our existing society. They carry the burdens of how current society treated them into this post-apocalyptic world and some discover the merits and strengths that were buried under its negative judgement.

    It's a harsh book set in a harsh world but it carries messages of hope both on a personal and global level. You'll have to listen to it though to find out whether those slender seedlings of hope triumph over the brutal evil of a lawless world.

    The narration is very impressive, particularly for a book of this length. As a result of the fine writing and the fitting rendition from Tom Stechschulte the length of the book is a positive without doubt.

    Try this one, it has real quality.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • @Scattered_Laura
    NEATH, United Kingdom
    7/9/12
    Overall
    "A brilliant, post-apocalyptic adventure tale!"

    How is it that this book has been off my radar for so long!? Seriously. I love epic, post-apocalyptic tales of survival and so this book should have been on my list from the moment of its release. Okay... maybe not that far back as I was two years old when it was originally released. No. This book was so good that even then I should have had it on my wishlist.

    This book is a must read if you are a fan of Stephen King's The Stand or Justin Cronin's The Passage. I happen to be a huge fan of both and Swan Song is a bit like the love-child of these works.

    It has a whole bunch in common with The Stand. The survivors of the apocalypse (which takes the form of a nuclear strike instead of a government-engineered plague) fall into two camps of Good vs Evil. There's a "dark man" figure who is decidedly evocative of King's Randall Flagg, and there are many religious undercurrents to the narrative.

    King's work was first published in '78 so it pre-dates Swan Song. Even though the argument could be made that McCammon's work is derivative, I actually don't care. I see it more as one great piece of fiction inspiring another. While King's work is definitely superior, McCammon's story is still a wonderful read. Whole bunches of books have been inspired by great predecessors, and just because they don't measure up to them, doesn't mean they can't be great in their own right.

    I guess there was a lot about this book which reminded me of other books, and I know that's not necessarily a good thing. However, in this case I honestly enjoyed every aspect of the book. The situation was gripping, the characters were realistic and the premise was epic. This is one of those books that I'd recommend to people after they'd read and loved The Stand. It's not as good as that, but it's damned decent as a follow-up read! A fab not-so-little read!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Joanne
    Stoke-0n-Trent, United Kingdom
    1/9/12
    Overall
    "Loved it"

    I've read most of Robert McCammons books and loved them. This is no exception. Tom does a really good job of the narration as well so double bonus. Not sure why the previous reviewer put what they did it's a post-apocalyptic tale - what did they expect!! Love that the characters are all so different and each have their own story to tell

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • monica
    Ireland
    4/11/13
    Overall
    "Swan Song"

    I was disappointed at first, extremely slow to start but about 5 hours in I got hooked and had to finish it. Have only read one other book by R McCammon the Wolf Hour and loved it so was hoping this would be as good.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    1/9/12
    Overall
    "Loved it."

    Great story which is superbly read. I found myself building a relationship with every main character - good and bad - and thoroughly enjoying every moment of the book. As previous reviewer posted, I would expect a certain amount of "nastiness" in a post-apocalyptic environment and thus it didn't bother me. In fact, I think it helped creating the right atmosphere. Definitely a keeper!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Andy Russell
    New Pitsligo
    7/18/12
    Overall
    "As much an experience as a book !"

    I can say with hand on heart that this is the best book I've ever read, well listened to, but you know what I mean.

    The book covers the story of three main groups of suvivors of a nuclear war and wraps everything together nicely and cleverly by the end.

    Now, there are a few bad reviews here about it being graphic and violent , and this is undoubtably true. However this is a book about the end of the world - it's going to be nasty - there's no sugar coating to be had. I really can't see that it should be marked down because of that.There are a few moments of animals in peril as well that I found upsetting but I think the author just wasn't up for giving any get out of jail free cards - it's the end of the world - walts and all.


    You'll grow to love the characters and sometimes the author will kill them without any warning and you're left truly feeling a personal loss - honestly !

    I finished this yesterday, I did take a break half way through to listen to something else as it honestly is an emotional roller coaster ride and you sometimes need something a bit lighter for a wee while.

    You will cry, you'll maybe have the odd laugh too - but I can't see how anyone who likes this genre could do anything but love this book.

    I'm glad this was never made into a movie - I don't think anyone could do justice to this epic.

    There is a little bit of fantasy wrapped up in the novel as well, this isn't really my thing, but it's not much and it actually fits the story well.

    I think the narrator does a cracking job as well and his voices for the characters were a good fit in my opinion.

    So ... Sister, Swan and Josh - thanks for the journey - I'll miss you !

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • W. Taylor
    Stourbridge, West Midlands United Kingdom
    10/13/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A thoroughly unexpected pleasure"

    When I bought this book I thought I knew what to expect having seen many reviews which mentioned The Stand and having had a recent binge of post-apocalyptic reading myself. It managed, though, to deliver much more than I expected and something very different from what I expected.

    The beginning was, I think I can say without being too unkind, pretty much run-of-the-mill and conventional. There was a brief pencil sketch depiction of the main characters we were going to follow in their lives before the outbreak of Nuclear War and I have to say at this point the novel felt like the start of any disaster "B" movie and I worried that I had made a big mistake in buying this one, but very soon the author began to bring in some discordant and original notes.

    Without risking too much of a spoiler I think that I can safely reveal that as this novel continues it soon leaves behind gritty realism and approaches something closer to gritty magical realism. The themes of Good and Evil become embodied in certain characters and the nature of reality warps around them and the reader in an original and challenging way. I think herein may lie a challenge for some readers: if you buy a fantasy novel with an elf and a wizard on the front you know the extent to which you are going to be expected to suspend your disbelief but you may not be braced for a similar extent of suspension when you buy a novel about the survivors in an American landscaped ravaged by nuclear war. However, once you make this compromise this becomes an incredible journey in which you become deeply involved - I have to confess there was one point I didn't want continue because what little good had been reclaimed from this destroyed world was all about to be destroyed and I couldn't see any way for it to be avoided: that is how involved I had become in the story.

    The end of the novel might strike some as a little too neat and maybe a touch glib but I think that having travelled so far with the author and these characters we have all earned some kind of closure and not a cheap opening for book two. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will come back to it again (and again, quite possibly). I will recommend it whole-heartedly to certain of my friends and if you want to know whether I would recommend it to you I would say that if you enjoyed The Stand and or The Passage then this book is probably for you or if you enjoy a little fantasy in your reading but don't like it too feel too childish then this is the book for you too.

    I can not leave without a little word about the narration. Tom Stechschulte manages to portray a wonderful array of characters, accents and emotions with consistency and flair. He is a truly talented gentleman and who made a tour-de-force performance with this novel.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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