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SWAN SONG. Paperback


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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: New York: Pocket Books,
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067162413X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671624132
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 9.9 x 5.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,796,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
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. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Jean Michel on 23 Feb 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the first book I have ready by Robert McCammon and I look forward to reading more.
In common with some other commentators here, I was drawn into this book thoroughly. It is a long book at 850 odd pages, but being one of those rare books which are hard to put down, the pages zip by: especially once the story gets going.
The story mixes the realities of a post-nuclear war that has experienced MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) between Russia and the USA with the fantasies of the powers of good and evil, where evil is having a party. The story is set in the US and moves from the immediate pre-war situation into the plight of three key groups of survivors whose lives are scattered between New York - near Wichita, Kansas - and a mountain refuge in Idaho. McCammon initially focuses upon the usual post-nuclear exchange devastation; the skeletons of buildings, grey clouded skies, incessant storms and plunging temperatures that mark the nuclear winter. So far one can anticipate the usual stories of survival in this harsh landscape with people forced to choose between trying to maintain some of the codes of their civilisation, whilst others turn to their darker side. This is the substance of Cormac McCarthy's novel, The Road (2006).
However, pretty soon after the initial nuclear exchange, one realises that there are other forces at work in the story. This is where the adventures really start to take-off; powers of good and evil slowly begin to emerge and one realises that another dimension has been opened for the reader.
Gradually, the survivors are to be drawn towards one another, but along the way one is never sure who is going to survive the next ordeal; and who if any, will make it to the end.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Walsh VINE VOICE on 15 Jun 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found out about this book by accident and as I LOVE the Stand I thought I would give it a try having never heard of Robert before. I had to admit to being a little sceptical to start with as I could never see anything living up to Stephen Kings masterpiece, but I have to say it run it a very close race, with The Stand coming just out on top. Regardless of this, this book is a masterpeice in its own right and I really cared about Sister and Swan and Josh and I hated the baddys with a vengance and I, for one really liked the ending....

All in all I am very happy that I found this book, if you fancy reading it dont let it large size put you off....it is an easy good read and very well worth the effort.

On the strength of Swan Song I have bought a couple more of Roberts books....I will reveiw at a later time :)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Phillip H on 21 Jun 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
It starts like a fairly traditional nuclear apocolypse novel, with various characters caught in a world-ending MAD nuclear exhange but surviving by luck, however it seems to drift apart quite quickly with the introduction of supernatural elements whose origin and cause are not explained at all. These deus-ex-machina give the characters their sole plot direction meandering about a devastated USA until they inevitably meet. There is a reasonable amount of suspense "what will happen when X meets Y, which clearly is gonna happen at some point ..." but the sheer invitability of these plot lines means they grow tired really quickly and by the time the event happens its pretty much a dull affair.

More supernatural/superhuman threads actually detract from the really grotesque sequences where "armies" of survivors battle it out for ever dwindling resources in a bleak nuclear winter. However even here the plot drifts apart - many years after the apocalypse with nothing growing in the irradiated landscape (but also puzzlingly few dying from radiation sickness) tens of thousands still survive on "bottled water and canned food", all of which seems to be scarce but never actually scarce enough.

One last gripe is the authors corny dialogue and endless metaphors; nothing happens unless its a metaphor "he drove the car like a wrecking ball going through a timber house", etc. etc. etc.

Having said all that, its an OK novel, but does not compare to Steven King, even if it uses much the same structure as the Stand.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Mar 2002
Format: Paperback
A friend lent me this book in 1993. I didn't sleep for days as I *had* to finish it, absolutely mesmerised by the characters. Even now I have mental pictures of all the characters and I've never forgotten them. I gave the book back and lost touch with the friend... I found this book on amazon.fr just before christmas (I'd been looking for it for 9 years) and I know it is a treasure to savour and so I've resisted reading it until now. I go on holiday on saturday and I already know I'm going to have the best read of my life.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By emil on 25 Dec 2011
Format: Paperback
I finished the book and had fun. But:

the author doesn't beat around the bush with all it's biblical references and the way it hammers the point across. There are no subtle meanings, characters or dialogues here. Every character has one motto, so that we all understand what motivates them, which they repeat throughout the entire book. And if it's not clear enough then characters rise from the dead with eyes aflame to tell them what to do. "Protect the girl!"

I shook my head numerous times, it's almost sort of demeaning us readers. Also, as an atheist, it's okay for me to read a book where people believe in God, but when the book does not have one doubt whatsoever about the existence in the Christian God and every character shares this lack of doubt, it sort of does not suspend my disbelief. So for future readers: God exists in this story. Once you've accepted that the rest becomes easier to believe/read.

Also this book could've used some proper editing. First off; the entire first part of the book is unnecessary backstory; it's a post-apocalyptic story that starts about a hundred pages too soon. You know - when the apocalypse hasn't happened yet. I've already mentioned the lack of subtlety, the repetitions of motto's, the black and whiteness of characters with either good or bad souls, characters named Joshua, towns named Mary's Rest and diseases called Job's Mask.

But as I said, I both liked and finished the 900 plus paged story, but I felt the need to sort of make a complaint to all the other raving 5 star reviews for this book, because it certainly isn't a brilliant literary masterpiece. Swan Song is a fun to read post apocalyptic story about faith and hope and goodness of the soul, written by a christian devout who's seen a bit too many B films.
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