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Swan Song by Robert McCammon

Swan Song (original 1987; edition 2009)

by Robert McCammon

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,791583,909 (4.24)1 / 92
Title:Swan Song
Authors:Robert McCammon
Info:Gallery Books (2009), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 864 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:fiction, audio, post-apocalyptic, read in 2012

Work details

Swan Song by Robert McCammon (1987)

  1. 80
    The Stand by Stephen King (jseger9000)
    jseger9000: Another post apocalyptic horror novel that is often compared to this one.
  2. 40
    The Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition by Stephen King (infiniteletters, Scottneumann, BeckyJG)
    BeckyJG: Dark, detailed tale of post-apocalyptic survivors fighting supernatural evil.
  3. 20
    The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell (cmwilson101)
    cmwilson101: Another post-apocalyptic book with fantasy elements woven in.
  4. 00
    Zombie Fallout (Volume 1) by Mark Tufo (cmwilson101)
    cmwilson101: Epic, apocalyptic tale of survival with supernatural elements of good v evil
  5. 00
    A Plague Upon Your Family (Zombie Fallout, Book 2) by Mark Tufo (cmwilson101)
    cmwilson101: Epic, apocalyptic cross-country tale with supernatural elements of good v evil
  6. 00
    Speaks the Nightbird by Robert McCammon (Scottneumann)
  7. 00
    The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway (BeckyJG)
    BeckyJG: Industry gone wild creates apocalypse, yet survivors still work for the company. Surprising and touching ending
  8. 01
    The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro (Phantasma)
  9. 01
    Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons (Scottneumann)

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English (56)  German (1)  French (1)  All languages (58)
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
Swan Song is an epic post-apocalyptic novel similar in certain ways to Stephen King’s The Stand, but certainly not at the same level of awesomeness. The novel starts off with a nuclear holocaust, which wipes everything out. A group of characters who survive the bombings work toward each other all with the purpose of saving a mystical young girl called Swan, protecting her from the Man of Many Faces. McCammon assembles an excellent cast of characters, my favorite being the former professional wrestler known as Black Frankenstein, who really develops a bond with Swan.

The plot in the novel is compelling and progresses well. The writing is also top notch. I thought the novel was fantastic for about 4/5ths of the way through. It was really shaping up to be one of my favorite horror/fantasy novels, and then the end absolutely falls apart. The last fifth of the novel was poorly thought out and a serious let down. It didn’t kill the entire novel for me, but it really knocks it down a couple of notches. Without spoiling the novel, I won’t give away what happens, but I found it absolutely preposterous and not worthy of the rest of the novel. I would still recommend the novel, but not as enthusiastically as I would if it had a better ending.

Carl Alves – author of Blood Street ( )
  Carl_Alves | Sep 27, 2014 |
It took me ages to read this book but I am glad that I preserved with it until the end. I changed format in the end and read it as an audio book. Through this method I greatly enjoyed the book and found it easy to get to the end. I have a theory that it depends whether you read this book first or Stephen King's The Stand as to which one you enjoy the best. I completed reading The Stand many years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it which is why I would say Swan Song is good but not as good as The Stand.

The two stories have many similarities throughout and the structure of the book is also very similar. The characters in this book are well written and totally believable I loved Swan, Sister and Josh and towards the end I considered them my friends as I really invested in what happened to them. Unlike The Stand there are less main characters in this book and I think that is one area where Swan Song has the advantage. At all times you can keep track of the characters and how they develop. The chapters are short and swap from one character to the next which keeps you wanting to read on. I have to admit to liking the book a lot more when these characters joined together and became one unit.

The ending to the story is a little predictable and is the classic good versus evil. However, the predictability of the ending may be due to the fact I had previously read The Stand. Overall this is a classic novel which I urge anyone to read. ( )
1 vote samarnold1975 | May 28, 2014 |
I read this book when it first came out and I really, really liked it. The process of transformation the characters undergo totally creeped me out then and creeps me out to this day. I didn't remember the name of the book until I saw it as a recommendation, but the story stayed with me and the minute I saw the pic of the cover, I had a flash of the picture I made in my mind all those years go and got creeped out all over again.
I'm going to have to look up in the attic and pull this one down again for a re-read. ( )
1 vote shevener | Mar 5, 2014 |
Included in the experience of reading a particularly wordy and thick book is the hunger and the desire to see and the feeling of wonder regarding how the said book will end. Tolkien knew how to end his books. Of course he had the luxury of appendices and posthumous notes. But he really knew when to stop. Robert McCammon, sadly, lacks this skill. His last concluding chapters use every muscle they have to try to make one forget the good work of earlier chapters.

When a book begins with a nuclear holocaust, the room for a happy ending is not much. But if you believe in a post Ragnarok like post scriptum, then you may buy into the happy ending that was hastily worded. Anyway I remember the pulsating few reactions from some of the passages, like the mystery of the Friend, and the recovery of Sister Creep's sanity, and the feeble powers of Leona Skelton, and the stark madness of a criminally insane ward's residents unleashed, and the clash between the wild and lost men, and the unending winter, and you have a not bad book. And that is reflected in my rating. ( )
  Jiraiya | Dec 8, 2013 |
I was introduced to this by a dear friend who as soon as she found out I thought The Stand was the be all to end all threw up her hands and said oh no you don't READ this! Boy am I glad she did. It sat hidden on my shelf for months before she finally politely asked for it back. So happy that it came out in Kindle so I can always have a copy. Earlier this weekend someone said they had finally finished The Stand and wanted a good Post-Apocalyptic book to read. Quickly myself and one other (Justin Bog of Sandcastles and Other Stories) suggested this one, and although others were suggested the requester is currently reading Swan Song. I cannot wait to hear how he feels about one of my top reads of my lifetime!


ENTRANCED is the word I will use for this grand epic novel. Each and every time I read it I am completely moved and engaged. Each visceral moment, with its approachable characters I am engaged and magically stuck in the time, feeling the hunger in my belly, and the sand grate at my eyes and skin. The book goes in every direction. And unlike The Stand, which sits on an arguable fence as to whether it is an epic novel or not, this sits on no fence, it is in the pit and pureity of definitive literary Epic fiction within the sub-genre of Post Apocalyptic Horror.

Evil, heroic (within the stories mythos) and benign threads and story arcs are woven into the overall tapestry of this tale. Numerous sub-plots easily coloring the flavor and experience of this book. And believe me, this is not just a great read this is an experience meant to be enjoyed over and over. Each time you do you will bite down into something else you missed when you were chewing to fast the last time, or to slow to enjoy the POP of that spicy flash of color. It never balances out, always leaving you feeling a bit topsy-turvy, sometimes the foam of your latte has the perfect swirl .. and the next moment destroyed by the plunk of a story devices spoon.

If you love a dense read, if you have a love that goes beyond just a great book with The Stand and are tired of Young Adult Dystopia? Go grab this and hang on, because you are in for a ride!
( )
1 vote AKMamma | Nov 25, 2013 |
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For Sally, whose inside face is as beautiful as the one outside. We survived the comet!
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Once upon a time we had a love affair with fire, the president of the United States thought as the match that he'd just struck to light his pipe flared beneath his fingers.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0671741039, Mass Market Paperback)

Swan Song is rich with such characters as an ex-wrestler named Black Frankenstein, a New York City bag lady who feels power coursing from a weird glass ring, a boy who claws his way out of a destroyed survivalist compound. They gather their followers and travel toward each other, all bent on saving a blonde girl named Swan from the Man of Many Faces. Swan Song is often compared to Stephen King's The Stand, and for the most part, readers who enjoy one of the two novels, will enjoy the other. Like The Stand, it's an end-of-the-world novel, with epic sweep, apocalyptic drama, and a cast of vividly realized characters. But the tone is somewhat different: The good is sweeter, the evil is more sadistic, and the setting is harsher, because it's the world after a nuclear holocaust. Swan Song won a 1988 Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel. It's a monster of a horror book, brimming over with stories and violence and terrific imagery--God and the Devil, the whole works.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:57:21 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"An ancient evil roams the blasted, nightmare country, an evil as old as time. He is the Man with the Scarlet Eye, the Man of Many Faces, gathering under his power the forces of human greed and madness. He is seeking to destroy a child, the one called Swan."--Cover.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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