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Swan Song

Written by: Robert R. McCammon
Narrated by: Tom Stechschulte
Length: 34 hrs and 19 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (102 ratings)

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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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    5 out of 5 stars

Best narration ever

I really enjoyed this book, I read it years ago and then purchased it on Audible recently. I couldn’t stop listening to it. The narrator just drew me in every time I turned it on. His characterizations of the voices were outstanding. I am now looking for other books read by him, of which there are many.
The book itself is very reminiscent of the stand by Stephen king which was fine with me. I can’t get enough of that book either

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Tom Stechshulte is a Legend

I can't say enough good things about the narrator. He brought this book to life and kept me enthralled every word. His voices are so emersive.

Swan song is a really great and entertaining book. Yes, there are som Stephen king comparisons but so what. And it really is nothing like The Stand once you're in the thick of it. This book deserves more praise, and Tom Stechshulte needs to narrate more suspense/horror novels.

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Awesome story

One of the best books I've ever finished. Great from start to finish. Couldn't stop listening.

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Great book

I truly enjoyed this book. The reader was perfectly matched for this book. Great Listen!

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One of the best entertaining and enjoyable reads

I have enjoyed many books in the past 3 years this was one of my first reads and still today my favourite!

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interesting basis...but predictable

The story started out strong but 3/4 of the way through became so predictable that I only listed to the end to get the "finished" tag in audible.

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An unexpectedly great read!

This book was recommended by a good friend of mine. I don't often read books from this is genre, but I found it a great story with fabulous character development.

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Heartfelt. Beautiful story.

I've only just discovered Robert McCammon, and as well, this was my first audio book. Loved the book, just as timely today-maybe more-so- as the day it was written. Great characters, found myself really invested in the story. As for the audiobook, I was unsure at first, what was I supposed to do while I listened? Just stare off into space? I got it figured out though. I connected it to my Sonos system as well as my car. Now I can do whatever around the house and still listen. As well as listen in the car. Allowed me to put down my phone, or turn off the TV and disconnect from all the distractions of life. As this was my first time listening to an audiobook, I was a little surprised that the narrator did all the characters voices, there we no other people. I guess I thought it would be more like TV and have a different voice actor for each character. It took me a little while to get an ear for the nuances in his voice, but I came around. He was very skilled at changing his voice in subtle ways to change from character to character. His voice was very clear, had a nice flow. I highly recommend the book, smooth narrator, fantastic author, I enjoy his writing style.

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Absolutely Amazing<br />

I got this book because I heard it was similar to one of my favourite books, "The Stand." It was above and beyond what I hoped it would be! So very well written and the narration was beautifully spot on and exactly how I would have imagined all the characters voices! If you are on the fence about this book, please go for it! You won't regret it.

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excellent

first audio book. loved it .found the narrative entertaining and easy to listen to. highly recommend

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  • Amanda H.
  • 2012-06-21

Simply an Amazing Story

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

I was hesitant on buying this book because of the mixed reviews and the length of the book. After the first part of of the book I was sucked into Swan and Sister's apocalyptic nightmare. The book is simply amazing, frightening, funny, sad, brutal, and inspirational. I am for once at a loss of words to describe this book of fear I might not do it justice. If you like The Stand by Stephen King you will IN FACT LOVE Swan Song.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Sister and Swan

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

Listening to the tone of voice in certain conversations allowed me to experience the characters emotional distress, love, and sadness.

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

Both.....I laughed and cried...and sometimes yelled!

154 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • LRdly
  • 2018-08-12

Just wanted it to end...

I've listened to many audio books of this length or even longer with no problems, but I just wanted this one to end. Many other reviewers have compared this story to King's "The Stand," but this comes nowhere close IMO. The characters weren't very well developed and even the "good" characters weren't particularly likable. I was annoyed by how un-resourceful many were, especially in the beginning. The "evil" characters also weren't very intelligent or cunning. McCammon relied on graphic violence to make scenes scary, whereas King's evil characters were often intelligent and relied on psychological manipulation vs. senseless violence. I don't avoid violent books or am particularly squeamish, but I found the violence in this story was more for shock value than story enhancement.

No spoilers, but I also felt like the "evil" characters became less interesting and almost laughable as the story progressed. I also felt like this story just wasn't very believable / realistic, and not because of the supernatural aspect. One of the things I've always admired about King's stories, which ALL involve some degree of supernatural elements, is that his characters are believable - ordinary humans like me thrust into bizarre circumstances with realistic reactions. I know McCammon is not King, but if you loved The Stand for the reasons I mention, you might not enjoy this one nearly as much.

For another long-haul, post apocalyptic story, I thoroughly enjoyed Justin Cronin's The Passage Trilogy. It's about 80 hours across 3 books, but I found it far more interesting - better character development & fascinating story.

36 people found this helpful

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  • Jeremy
  • 2012-02-01

Superb apocalyptic fantasy

Wow--how could I have never come across this book before? A big thank you to Audible for drawing this one to my attention. This is a massive, epic book about the end of the world (as it existed in 1987). Instantly reminiscent of Stephen King's The Stand, Swan Song draws readers into a post-apocalyptic landscape where only the strong survive. With a massive cast of characters to navigate, narrator Tom Stechschulte does a masterful job of presenting each one with his/her own personality and voice. Amazing job! This is a long book, and it's not always fun to listen to; the world of Swan Song is pretty dark. But in the end, the message of hope comes through, and the interplay of fast-paced action scenes with slower, more contemplative interludes provides a nice pacing to the story. Robert McCammon rides a perfect balance between realism and fantasy in this amazing book. Highly recommended!

49 people found this helpful

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  • Tim
  • 2011-12-20

I would do it again

Good story, a touch of magic but not too much. It's rated R so kids should stay clear probably. It kept me listening without much of a break. That's a good book to me. Top 100

70 people found this helpful

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  • Lore
  • 2013-12-08

Good vs Evil in a post nuclear holocaust world

At the start of the book you will be introduced to a number of characters as they go about their lives in various parts of the United States. However, before you can even get to know them the nukes are flying and the world around them is destroyed. This sets the stage for a tale of good vs evil amidst a holocaust that develops a fantasy twist to it. Special powers and magical items are not abundant, but they are central to the confrontation as it unfolds.

Although they have different causes for the fall of civilization, the similarities between this book and The Stand by Stephen King are all too obvious, especially during the first half of the book. Both novels are well done and Swan Song does eventually develop its own personality and stands on its own merit. The two books are similar enough to say that if you didn’t like The Stand then you aren’t likely to enjoy Swan Song either.

Things get pretty dark as the tale goes on, and in predictable fashion, the various threads of the story eventually come together in a final confrontation. The characters are not that complex but the reading is well done and the story moves along well. If you are in the mood for a classic good vs evil story in a post-apocalyptic setting then you have come to the right place. If you are looking for a complex story with multi-layered characters then you should spend your credit elsewhere.

38 people found this helpful

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  • Madeleine
  • 2011-11-23

Very compelling post-apocalyptic tale

Although written in 1987, this book really hasn't dated all that badly. It's a well thought out post-apocalyptic saga with a pleasing amount of paranormal added in to set it apart from the other post-nuclear novels of the time. In all fairness, it could have been about 5 hours shorter, but it is full of excellently characterized bad guys. If I had to find something to criticize, perhaps the Swan character could have been just a little less perfect, but nonetheless, I did enjoy the listen. It wasn't easy to turn it off come bedtime.

The narration is good. Tom Stechschulte does certain characters exceptionally well. I do wish, though, that he toned down his emotive reading a little. I prefer it when narrators let the emotion come through the words instead of using their tone of voice so much. But if you enjoy emotive readers, then you will really enjoy him. And for the most part, the slightly over-dramatic reading doesn't detract from the listening experience.

I certainly thought it was worth the credit!

87 people found this helpful

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  • Renee
  • 2011-11-15

You'll be up all night listening to this classic

Swan Song has been my all-time favorite book, since I first read it in the 1980's, even when compared to other post-apocalypse dramas, like The Stand, or Lucifer's Hammer.

I still have my old dog-eared paperback copy on my book shelf after all these years!

I'm excited to purchase the audiobook and re-experience the edge-of-your seat thrills, and ultimately the hope for humanity that Swan Song delivers.

105 people found this helpful

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  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 2013-08-23

I Don't Think We're In Kansas Anymore

HIS EYES GLAZED OVER LIKE POND ICE
RM has divided this into 14 parts. Part one follows the President of the United States, who is a former astronaut who can't make a decision. Then goes to Professional Wrestler to a Bag Lady to a Trailer Park. I thought the characters were going to be cliche and that the writing was going to be very simple.

YOU AIN'T GOT THE SENSE GOD GAVE A PISS ANT.
Part 2, 3 and 4 got better, but I was thinking this was a cheap copy of "The Stand". Is there really an insect called a piss ant?

AS COLD AS A VIRGIN'S BED
Around part 5 or 6 they get to Matheson, Kansas. Holley crap the story really picks up then. From chapter 37 to 52 it is intense, it is scary, you will not be able to stop listening during these chapters. These chapters are some of the best written and scariest stuff I have ever read or listened to.

LET'S QUIT SHIRKIN AND GET TO WORKEN.
Chapter 54 till the finish is not as scary or intense, but is still a great listen. I am very impatient with most long books, but I found myself every morning, excited about getting to continue the story. Parts of this book will remind you of Stephen King, Orson Scott Card, Robin Hobb, and or Road Warrior.

HOPE IS A DISEASE
This was my first McCammon book, but I see one of his books is on sale in a 3 for two sale, and I will be getting it.

FORGIVENESS CRIPPLES EVIL
I will give the narrator a 95%, he did really well on all the voices and he was easy to listen to. i did think he used the clenched teeth mad a little too often, when a different response was called for, but that could just be my opinion. I have no problem listening to him again.






134 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Christopher D Harryman
  • 2014-04-10

Someone has to point out this books weaknesses.

What disappointed you about Swan Song?

Where to start? I think it would be easier to say what is good about this book. If you liked The Stand, despite all it's wordiness and boring characters (I did), then you will probably enjoy Swan Song. It has a few unique ideas but I began to suspect, about five hours in, that I could tell where this story was going.

What was most disappointing about Robert McCammon’s story?

1) There was ultimately no price paid by humanity for destroying the Earth. Nuclear winter was over in 7 years? Everyone good got a new face? Complete tripe.
2) The crown was introduced as protection for Swan and then never used. Did the author forget about it?
3) Everyone is backwards. Like the world had reverted to the Dark Ages in just seven years. Someone smart must have survived.

How could the performance have been better?

The narrator did not help raise the seemingly low IQ of the characters. He performed them all as sniveling dullards.

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

Every other sentence.

Any additional comments?

For what it's worth, I did listen to the whole book.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2011-11-15

don't miss out on this book!!!

I have been waiting for this book to come out in audio for years. I thought about waiting until I finished listening to the entire book before writing a review, but didn't have the willpower. Anyone who likes sci-fi will love this book. Although is is an older book it is so well worth the listen. It has everything a good book needs; it pits the forces of good and evil against one anther and is superbly written. I can comfortably and with confidence highly recommend this book. Thank you audible for bringing it to me!!!

76 people found this helpful