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Michaelbrent Collings

Because Life Is Too Short Not To Read Michaelbrent Collings is a #1 bestselling novelist and screenwriter. His bestsellers include Strangers, Darkbound, Apparition, The Haunted, The Loon, and the YA fantasy series The Billy Saga (beginning with Billy: Messenger of Powers). He hopes someday to develop superpowers, and maybe get a cool robot arm. Michaelbrent has a wife and several kids, all of whom are much better looking than he is (though he admits that's a low bar to set), and much MUCH cooler than he is (also a low bar). Michaelbrent also has a Facebook page at facebook.com/MichaelbrentCollings and can be followed on Twitter through his username @mbcollings. Follow him for awesome news, updates, and advance notice of sales. You will also be kept safe when the Glorious Revolution begins!

Swan Song - Robert R. McCammon One of the all-time great post-apocalyptic novels. The other one is Stephen King's THE STAND, and both come to largely the same moral conclusion, though by following completely different roads.

In Swan Song, the world has been obliterated by nuclear war. It is never clear whose "fault" it all was, nor is that really of import. What matters is what happens to the survivors, small groups of people who gradually draw into two types. And unlike most post-apocalyptic novels, it isn't so much the "good" versus the "evil" as it is the "barely surviving" versus the "evil." Evil here is in the form of armies that march across the land, raping and pillaging in order to maintain their own forces. One of them in particular, the Army of Excellence, is at the core of the story. Run by a has-been Air Force colonel who found a second chance to matter when the hail of fire fell from the sky, and a young man with a warped sense of reality (he basically believes he is living his own version of a Dungeons and Dragons game), it epitomizes everything wrong with the world, not just now, but all the bad choices that led to the nukes in the first place.

Then there are the others, those who go from place to place, hoping desperately to find somewhere untouched by the nuclear winter, a place with good water and food to eat. And all in vain.

Or so it seems. Because one of the itinerant scavengers is a girl named Swan. And it seems she not only may have the power to save herself, but to bring the world to rebirth.

Of course, because Swan is essentially a Christic figure with no observable character flaws, so author McCammon heightens the stakes by giving her a Devil to contend with: a thing that looks like a man, but can change his shape at will, has super-strength, and a host of other powers that enable him to walk the world, spreading hopelessness and crushing the will to live wherever he finds it.

Swan Song, without becoming preachy, becomes a treatise on the forces of good versus evil, on the powers of light and darkness. There are a few problems with the technical side of the writing - not least of which that McCammon switches points of view often and seemingly without reason or rhyme, leading to some confusion to readers - but they are easily forgiven in light of the book's overall value as a story... and more than that, as a Tale. Adult content, so be warned, but HIGHLY recommended.