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Swan Song

Just RY

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If I was forced to choose my favourite novel, this would be it.


The book is about post-nuclear America - as well as being science fiction (to a point), it also has a hint of the fantastic about it. The book follows groups of people as they struggle to survive the nuclear winter which lasts for several years, some good, some evil, who will of course ultimately clash. The fantasy part of the book is that some of the characters have "special" powers.


Critics say it is a rip off of King's The Stand, but although similar in concept, I just feel that this is written so much better. To be fair to King, it has been 15 years or more since I read The Stand, so perhaps I should give it another go.


To summarize, a brilliantly written, unputdownable classic mind-candy book. If you enjoyed The Stand, then I am almost certain that you will enjoy Swan Song, probably even more so. Give it whirl, I strongly recommend this book.

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Just RY recommended this book to me a year or more back and I have to agree it is absolutely superb.


Just thinking about it now sends a shiver up my spine - I loved "The Stand" but this is better without a doubt.


800+ pages IIRC, and a real treat. The descriptions of the nuclear war ripping through the land and how the survivors got through it will stay with you for a long time.


If you are even remotely into fantasy / "end of the world as we know it" books, you must read this.


PS Just RY recommended another EndOTWAWKIt book to me that was even better, but let's save that one for another day...

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  • 16 years later...

We begin this long story of the aftermath of nuclear destruction by being introduced to a few central characters, a homeless woman, a wrestler, a young girl who has ‘green-fingers’ and a malevolent teenage boy. We experience the doubts and contradictions of the American President as events hurtle towards him, advice and contradiction, confliction and chaos swirl round like the blast wind vaporising any coherent thought until the button is pushed and unlike the pop song by The Sugababes the resulting explosion is far from pleasurable.  


What follows is the expected piecing together of lives and story threads, expanding on the waste and destruction, the breakdown of law and order and the inevitable ‘wars’ for what’s left of ‘civilisation’. Accept McCammon blends the expected with the unexpected, creates characters you want to succeed and some you hate (in a good reading way) from the first words they speak. The journey, because this is a journey not just in the metaphorical sense but a travelling across the States searching for a place, the place, a person, the person.


Likened to Stephen King’s The Stand, there are definite similarities, the mystical aspect, the breakdown of societies mores, the breadth of characters. But McCammon goes his own way and takes the reader on a different path. Nearly a thousand pages long, at no time was this reader bored or did feel like we were treading (pure) water.


If you like a post-apocalyptic novel then this is definitely one to try.

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