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Swan Song

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  60,901 ratings  ·  4,149 reviews
An ancient evil roams the desolate landscape of an America ravaged by nuclear war.

He is the Man with the Scarlet Eye, a malevolent force that feeds on the dark desires of the countless followers he has gathered into his service. His only desire is to find a special child named Swan—and destroy her. But those who would protect the girl are determined to fight for what is l
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Mass Market Paperback, 956 pages
Published June 1st 1987 by Pocket Books
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Kymberly Blake Swan Song is probably my favorite book ever...I've read this book every 3 years or so since 1987...love it still. The Stand is nowhere near as good, a…moreSwan Song is probably my favorite book ever...I've read this book every 3 years or so since 1987...love it still. The Stand is nowhere near as good, and I can't believe Swan Song hasn't been made into a movie...but do not think they could ever do it justice...Its like Mad Maxx Thunderdome meets The Stand plus so so much more... 5 stars(less)
Cheryl Oh my goodness, this is not YA material. I had nightmares the entire time I was reading it. It is a very brutal, albeit I think realistic, look at wha…moreOh my goodness, this is not YA material. I had nightmares the entire time I was reading it. It is a very brutal, albeit I think realistic, look at what would happen to those few members of society who survive a nuclear holocaust. Definitely not YA. (less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.28  · 
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 ·  60,901 ratings  ·  4,149 reviews


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Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
This is one of the darkest post-apocalyptic books I've read in a while... totally satisfied that craving.
I may have had a few bad dreams about it!

What I would have liked knowing beforehand:

- Nuclear war with Russia
- There are fantasy elements in here
- Yes, it's long...
- There's a war going on so if you're not really into military fiction... won't be for you!
- Overall it was almost too realistic...
- Did I say it was really dark?

I would recommend it!
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Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
$1.99 on Kindle today 6-10-17



Once again, thank you to goodreads friends for finding me another book to love!

There are so many people I fell in love with in the book. Also, Mule and Killer! Let's just begin. . .



The book is about us stupid humans trying to bomb each other into extinction, but I digress.

I fell in love with Sister Creep, Swan and Josh. I also loved Artie and Paul and Mule and Killer and . . . . there are so many.

We start out with each person's story, where they are in the world
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Dan
Aug 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
What if the apocalypse that befell the poor souls in The Stand was nuclear instead of viral in nature and the whole thing was written in a style more like Richard Matheson's than Stephen King's? Well, you'd probably have Swan Song.

Comparisons with the Stand are inevitable. Both are about the survivors of an apocalyptic event and both have a devil type figure walking around stirring things up. Swan Song doesn't have that final battle between good and evil thing going like the Stand did, although
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Matthew
My official last book of 2020 – I still had a few pages left in 2021, but most of it was read in 2020. As the main theme of the book is don’t give up hope in a beat-up world, it seems an appropriate way to end 2020 and begin 2021.

5+ Stars

The word “epic” does not even begin to describe Swan Song. While it took me many months to finish it, it is not because it was not good or hard to stay interested in. It was just that there was so much in the book that I had to savor the journey. Now that it is
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Jeffrey Keeten
”The sky was filled with waves of moving, blinking stars. Wheels of light rolled across the darkness over the trailer court, and streaks of yellow fire zigzagged upward into the haze that obscured the moon. Thousands upon thousands of fireflies were passing overhead like galaxies in motion, their signals forming chains of light that stretched from west to east as far as Swan could see.”

 photo apocalypse_zpsbn5ibjzt.jpg

It would be pretty, right? All those missiles streaking across the midnight sky. The end of the world wrapp
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Becky
Taking a quick glance through reviews of this book, they seem to have two things in common. One, they all start with a reference to the book's size. And two, they all remark about the comparisons to The Stand.

And now mine is no different.

Holy SHIT, this was a long ass book... but it doesn't at all compare to The Stand, in my opinion.

Was it good? Yeah, good, but for a book this ambitious and huge, I expect more than just good. Part of that is that I think I'd have appreciated it a lot more had
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Stephen
4.5 to 5.0 stars. I am a big fan of The Stand by Stephen King and I thought it was the "standard" in apocalyptic fiction...UNTIL NOW. Swan Song is THE BEST apocalyptic science fiction book I have ever read. At over 950 pages, this book could have been a chore to get through but that was not the case at all. I flew through it and never found my attention wandering or my interest waning. A truly spectacular novel with a superb cast of really good peeople and REALLY BAD PEOPLE!! Highest possible re ...more
Maiden Misty's Musings
Out of all the books I randomly picked up to read, I had to choose this one. The book with missiles and nukes being shot at the USA. Wonderful choice. McCammon came damn close to how I imagine nuclear winter would be like. The story is terrifying, but beautiful. The characters were well written. I could place myself inside the lines with them. This book will leave an impression on your soul. Highly recommend!
Swrp
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it


And now he was about to go down into the deepest, darkest dungeon to save the King, armed with fire and steel.

"But this ain't my home. If a person's gotta die, he oughta die tryin' to go home to somebody he loves, don't you think?"

Swan Song is interesting and engaging. I realised that the book was 956 pages after finishing it.
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Laurie
Sep 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, favorites
I read this book back when it was first published in the ‘80’s. I was still in high school, had big frizzy hair, wore too much blue eyeliner and pretty much hated my life. I spent most of my free time haunting the local Osco drug for the newest horror paperbacks to escape it all. When I saw this huge tome (900+ pages) I scurried back home with it thinking I had just hit the jackpot. And I had. It turned out to be one of the best horror novels I’d ever read and I was reading a lot back then. This ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Jun 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror
Well, I approach this review with some trepidation. A large number of readers here love this book, including a "Goodreads friend" whom I usually agree with (I mean with whom I usually agree)...(sorry Stephen, Stephanie, Rose). But I just didn't care for it. I found it a "poor man's The Stand". The book is full of stereotypes, cliches and tropes. There are old hackneyed ideas "guns are BAD", if you look nonthreatening your less likely to be threatened, war is evil...on and on. Some of the story t ...more
Fabian
Dec 11, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Percentage composition of previous or later works of postapocalypse (of a sort) in the DNA of R. McCammon's enormous horror epic "Swan Song":

41% The Stand novel
10% The Road novel (which is actually, in itself, like 7% Mad Max--a source which must NOT go completely ignored)
10% Blood Meridian novel (so about 60% of S.S. can be found in King & McCarthy alone)
10% Lord of the Rings (6% Two Towers battle + 4% magic ring emblem)
5% Lonesome Dove novel
5% Dawn of the Dead films (mall battleground, motorcy
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Ginger
Jun 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021, horror
5 stars!! This book was epic and fantastic!
And I loved the 80s feel to the whole story.

I think I might be one of the last horror lovers to read this door stopper, but I’m glad that I finally got to this.

I’ve been a McCammon fan for some time.
He’s a favorite author of mine but I’ve never read Swan Song.
It was due to book size, not because I wasn’t interested in the overall plot or genre.

Why do we struggle to pick up big books?! Ha!
It’s going to be a commitment, but most of the time it’s worth it.
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Sadie Hartmann
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So in a month and a half, I finished Swan Song.
This epic, apocalyptic story has been a part of my life, forever in the background of my mind for so many days, it will feel weird for awhile to not be continuing on in the journey-but I know that it doesn't really completely go away. Now it's a part of the framework.
I've heard a lot of people compare this book to Stephen King's The Stand.
I have no idea why, other than this is a story that is both apocalyptic and horrific. There is a prolific antago
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carol.
Feels like The Stand, only with greater amounts of mysticism and nuclear war instead of disease.

Not quite sure why McCammon needed to jump 7 years into the future. Further degeneration of societal breakdown? Need to age the lead characters? What was he thinking? If the nuclear winter lasted 7 years, I think there'd be almost no one left--there's only so much scavenging one can do for canned food and gasoline. Shelf life, people, shelf life. That jump tested my patience. Fairly believable until
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Joe Valdez
The next stop in my end-of-the-world reading marathon was Robert McCammon's post-apocalyptic epic Swan Song. Published in 1987, nine years after Stephen King's The Stand, the story follows two bands of survivors -- one representing good, the other evil -- as they make their way across what used to be America while a supernatural being no less than Old Scratch himself seeks to undermine the good souls and shift the battle onto the side of evil. Yes, kids, eeriely similar to The Stand. More on tha ...more
RedemptionDenied
Sep 29, 2018 marked it as to-read
The Kindle edition is currently on offer: £2.05p in the UK, possibly $1.99 in the States (it's showing as $2.69) - and $1.99 in Canada Considering the price it's usually going for - the current price is more than copasetic.

I bought it eons' ago, and still haven't read it, yet. I'll have to rectify that, sometime, soon. Hopefully.
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The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon)

Swan Song by Robert McCammon

Every now and then, you come across a book where it seems that the complexities of life have been disassembled from reality and reformed within the pages and text. A story that, sometimes in its simplicity, captures the moving parts and varying angles of spirituality, psychology, physiology and sociology like a prism, separates them by colour, strength and depth. Then uses the differing colours to paint a kaleidoscopic tableau that opens our minds to that which is kn
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Lou
May 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
An epic story it made me reminisce of other epic stories with similar good versus evil characters, like those of Lord of the rings and the dark tower series.
The black Frankenstein, is what he used to be called in his wrestling days, known as Josh and the Bag lady known as Sister creep are two memorable characters that are courageous with plenty of heart. They really made the story that much more great, and obviously Swan a young girl who is a main character through the whole story. She can right
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Bradley
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Maybe if I'd have read this one before I had read The Stand or Lucifer's Hammer, I might have given this a full five stars, but epic length and nuclear holocaust doesn't automatically make a perfect book.

However. If you like your dystopias full of a long buildup and full cast and a slow decline into being in the evil camp versus learning you're in the good camp, then I totally recommend this book to you. It's the journey more than anything else that makes this a good read.

And then there's also t
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Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Jan 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
I have read some 15 years ago The Stand by Stephen King. There are some parallels that could be drawn between that story and Swan Song. Both novels are dealing with the collapse of civilization following an apocalyptic event (virus infection in one case, nuclear war in the second) , both are set in the North American Midwest and follow the struggles of scattered bands of survivors. And both books feature supernatural beings as avatars of the forces of Good and Evil fighting for supremacy.

Stephen
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Randy
Sep 09, 2009 rated it it was ok
I came close to liking this. Look, the dialog is...awful. There are weird factual errors. For example, wolf packs roaming the I80 corridor near Hazleton Pennsylvania. I live here. I can tell you...not even close. But I have a bigger problem with this text.

Okay, so here we have a writer that takes Chekhov's 'Loaded Gun' postulate, tears it out with his teeth, rips it up, craps on it, then puts it in a burning paper bag, drops it on your porch, knocks on the door and runs away. What do I mean? Wit
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Maciek
Now this was a big monster of a book. Swan Song is huge, huge like the Xbox. My copy spans 850 pages and is hard to carry around because of its size - it'll never fit into a pocket and will take significan space when deposited in a bag (why it was released by a publishing house named "Pocket Books" then?).
It's about the end of the world. Written in the 80's, when words like Cold War were used often, it's no wonder that in the novel the relationship between Soviet and American governments has det
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Zoeytron
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
'All that was is lost.' The trees are burning in Central Park. Grand Central Station and the Empire State Building - gone. Mountains of ruined debris tower over everything. Wait . . . the electric lights on the marquee at the Empire State Theatre are still merrily twinkling, the movie house itself seemingly untouched. Currently showing is the film 'Face of Death', while a lone cinema patron sits in the front row giggling manically.

Swan is a little girl with an old soul and a knack with growing
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Jen
Jul 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, horror
Here's the bottom line: Swan Song is one of my favorite books of all time. It stills impacts me every bit as much as the first time I read it.

Swan Song is very dark, and it's scary, but it's also one of the most beautiful and hopeful books I have ever read.

Weighing in at 956 pages, it's a huge story in every sense of the word. There are characters you will hate and fear as well as characters you will fall in love with and care about long after you've finished reading. There is magic, evil, goodn
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Vickie
My goodness! So right off the bat, since everyone compares this with The Stand, I will say, for me, this was 10x better. Where McCammon may lack with his characters, compared to King, he more than makes up for it with his pacing, setting, and atmosphere. Never once was this tome a slog to get through. Now does this mean it didn't have issues? Of course not, but I just didn't care enough about those issues for them to affect my overall reading experience. Yes, at times there needed to be major su ...more
Claudia
Apr 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"Everybody's got two faces, child - the outside face and the inside face. A face unde the face, y'see. It's your true face, and if it was flipped to the outside, you'd show the world what kind of person you are."

How can one say about a horror story that is beautiful? But that's exactly what I'm going to say: it was so beautiful! McCammmon is a wizard of words: he knows how to transform the ugly into beauty, and he does it so well!

The evil wearing human faces doesn't discriminate between races; i
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Karl
Feb 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dark_harvest-own
This is copy 252 of 650 signed numbered copies.
Warrengent
Jan 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you have not read Stephen kings, The Stand read swan song first and I guarantee that you would say that it is better,although one is about a virus and the other is set in the aftermath of a nuclear world war.
There are to many comparisons and I feel they both deserve equal about of credibility.
Swan song is a awesome book, long but definitely worth it, a brilliant story that does not disappoint.
If you read this novel don't compare it to any other and just go with it, and I am sure by the en
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LIsa Noell "Rocking the Chutzpah!"
Goodreads deleted my review for this book. I just read it again maybe 2 or 3 months ago.
This is a fucking classic! People often try to compare this book to The Stand, by King. Truth is that there is no comparison. Both rock! Each are very separate. The end of the world as we know it? Yep. Both have that.
There are still vast differences between.
I've worn out 5 hardback editions of The Stand.
Swan Song? I've never worn out a single edition. Why! Because I'm usually too busy giving them away!
Nob
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Robert Rick McCammon was a full-time horror writer for many years. Among his many popular novels were the classics Boy's Life and Swan Song. After taking a hiatus for his family, he returned to writing with an interest in historical fiction.

His newest novel, The King of Shadows, is the eighth book in the Matthew Corbett series. It will be published in ebook and audiobook formats in June 2022, and
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