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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 Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A must listen for Horror fans!!

Any additional comments?

I bought this book because I heard that it is one of Stephen Kings favourite books...I was not disappointed.The only books I could compare it too are ... Stephen Kings' - The Stand andJustin Cronins' - The Passage.I loved this book! It is very long but give it a try!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • jason
  • Phoenix, AZ, United States
  • 08-30-12

Tried to enjoy it... but

What would have made Swan Song better?

More imagination. The plot was imaginative, but the characters were all super dumb.

Has Swan Song turned you off from other books in this genre?

No

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Narrator could have tried to make them sound smarter. It sounded like a kids book when it wasn't supposed to be.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Swan Song?

I like a long book. Good value, so I didn't feel it needed to be cut, just rewritten. It was turning into a long comic book.

Any additional comments?

I didn't understand what other reviewers meant by "cardboard characters". A little bit into the book I understood. I feel like the idea was good and if it were given to another writer it could have been something.
Nothing like "Lost" btw.

I tried so hard to finish it on a road trip, but preferred static radio stations instead.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Character Development

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Gripping story with complex characters. The narrator brought the story to life with his multi-dialect ability to capture regional accents and character nuances.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Swan Song?

When Josh broke out of the compound and overcame his captors.

Which scene was your favorite?

When Swan's face was revealed.

Any additional comments?

Loved Stephen King's the Stand and didn't think I would enjoy this. Happy to be wrong. It drug a bit at the end, however, I was still sad to say farewell to this cast of characters. I mostly listen to audible books to and from work, but recently have had to do quite a bit of long distance driving. This book made those journeys pleasurable.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Ry Young
  • College Station, TX United States
  • 08-05-12

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Cayce
  • Atlanta, GA, United States
  • 06-26-12

Surprisingly good

Unless I know something is a classic, I rarely read anything as old as this. But I must say, I'm glad I did. As others have said, given the subject matter, the time it was written is not really relevant. If the world as we know it ends (not a spoiler, btw, since the book opens on this scene), then the things we've come to expect in the 21st century are gone anyway.

While I thought it was a little long, I never wanted to stop listening and I grew very attached to the characters and the outcome. It's a book that makes one consider whether we would devolve into chaos and hatred if we were forced to fend for ourselves or if good would also emerge. Probably a bit of both, but you'll definitely find yourself thinking about it.

Well worth a listen.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael
  • Jupiter, FL, United States
  • 05-21-12

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

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ian
  • Frankston South, Australia
  • 12-11-11

Top notch!

Aside from a very few flat spots, this is now my second favourite post apocalyptic tale after The Stand. The characters are uniformly superb creations that are given real depth and, regardless of their morality, made understandable if not likable. It's a fine story and well told.

But the cream in the sponge cake, so to speak, is the narration. Mr Stechschulte isn't a narrator I've come across before but his telling is pitch perfect. Regardless of a character's age, gender or ethnicity, they're given distinctive and recognisable voices that evolve even as the characters themselves do. A brilliant piece of work and one of the best narrations I've come across.

Thoroughly recommended.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Huw
  • 02-20-15

Outstanding!

This has to be one of the most gripping audio books I have ever listened to. Just fantastic, great characters, griping tension and a wonderfully rich story.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • sarahmoose2000
  • 02-17-15

THE STAND'S TWIN?

This was a great book, but Stephen King may have a few things to say about the similarities to his book, The Stand.

The slight difference is that nuclear warheads were detonated here, not a virus, but the oracle is called Sister (the Stand is Mother); and the groups of survivors lead their own tales against marauders until they unite at the end.

You would think that such a long book would be boring, and wonder how you could keep interest in the small group of heroes, but it proves the writing is great as I never once felt the need to check my watch and see where we were. In fact, I looked forward to going to bed, knowing I had more to listen to!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Linda
  • 02-05-15

2nd time around

Read this book over 10 years ago and never forgot it. Was delighted to see it available as audiobook. Will probably listen to it again. Wonderful story brilliantly written.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Adam.W
  • 12-11-14

Outstanding first half.

It's very like The Stand and yet totally different.

The first half of this epic is totally engrossing and well written but turns into stereotype and cliche in the last third. A let down in the end. Still worth a go.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Cee cee
  • 12-04-14

overlong, overwraught...just over it

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

not unless they thought Stephen King's characters were just too subtle and nuanced.

If you like your good and evil laid out very clearly, and sledgehammered home at every opportunity, this is the book for you.

Also, where on earth was the editor?! there are errors in this book, eg one character saying to another they've definitely decided to go somewhere then a few chapters later, claiming not to know where to go and all of a sudden, the distance to said place has shifted by about 5 to 10 miles.

Maybe the editor / proof-reader lost all will to plough on at that stage. I don't really blame them.

Has Swan Song put you off other books in this genre?

Apocalyptic novels are not really my chosen genre, I only bought this one as I'd liked McGammon's Matthew Corbett novel (1st one), so I'm not sure I can be put off something I never really went for in the first place

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Quite a good performance but sometimes he voiced the characters with a very low voice that was difficult to pick up on headphones

Was Swan Song worth the listening time?

If you want hours and hours of mindless, meandering, vaguely interesting chat, then by all means. It's not brilliant, kind of the literary equivalent of chewing gum...starts off fine then is very same-y then very bland then you keep chewing (not knowing why) and in the end, you don't mind if you spit it out and never think about it again.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ben Rendle
  • 12-02-14

Excellent

Would you consider the audio edition of Swan Song to be better than the print version?

Certainly, it is so nice to be able to sit back and relax and listen to such a great book

Who was your favorite character and why?

Josh, he wasn't the sort of character you expected in the beginning, he forepassed my expectations

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

No, unfortunately I haven't, but would definitely be willing to do so based on this performance

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

Yes, most definitely I would of done so, if I had had the time!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Jeff
  • 10-29-14

Good start but faded

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No, I thought the ending was poor. It started very well, but just faded at the end and I found I lost interest

What was most disappointing about Robert McCammon’s story?

The ending

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Yes, good narration

Did Swan Song inspire you to do anything?

No

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jeremy
  • 10-20-14

Everything you need from an audiobook!

Any additional comments?

Superb! Everything about this audiobook works. Tom Stechschulte's narration is excellent which brings this epic story to life and keeps you enthralled from start to finish. All characters are fascinating and you want to know what happens to them. Tom's character intonations, voices, accents really work well. This was my first Robert McGammon audiobook and on the strength on this I have since purchased several more. You won't be disappointed with this one!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • T.J.Peabody
  • 08-15-14

What a journey!

Where does Swan Song rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This book kind of hits quite high with me. I was slightly put off with the long intros, which really did not need the length to them, but nevertheless, every word spoken by this brilliant narrator were like gems to hold onto.

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favourite character has to be Josh. A gentle giant in all ways, and from his own doubts of his humanity, the reality of it saw his selflessness come to the fore.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The best scene? Well there were several, but if I had to pick out one scene, it would be when in the subway tunnels, the demonic character confronts the small team of newly found friends, where a battle of minds ensues, and revenge promised. Gripping.

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

In a world lost of hope, strangers bring light to the dark world of the lost and displaced.

Any additional comments?

I have to mention the narrator, Tom Stechschulte. The book would only have a matt finish to it. Tom sets the gloss on in his efforts to bring the characters to life. Thank you TOM!!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ryan
  • 08-09-14

The next best thing to The Stand and The Passage!

Would you listen to Swan Song again? Why?

No, but that's only because I don't read the same book twice. If I did, I would read it many times again!

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

Swan Song has huge similarities to Stephen King's The Stand (in my opinion, best book of all time) and Justin Cronin's The Passage. It is an epic post-apocalyptic story of good vs evil and at nearly 40hours it builds a vivid picture of the world in your head which remains there even after you've finished it.

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

I'm fussy with narrators. I often find good books with brilliant stories but I can't get past the first chapter because the narrator's voice doesn't work.

No problems here! The only narrator that I've preferred (and it's extremely close between the two) is the guy who narrated The Passage. Tom adds real life to the world and characters and you forget he's reading it to you.
He makes the whole thing an experience rather than just a book.

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

I would if I could, but at 37 hours it's a tough ask!!!

Any additional comments?

I can't decide what I thought about the ending, even now I'm not sure if it could have been done a bit better. Only a very, very minor niggle.

Download this now, and set aside lots of time. I promise you will enjoy this.