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The Swarm: A Novel Paperback – May 8, 2007

3.9 out of 5 stars 155 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“... a mind-bending, Crichton-esque fate-of-the-planet thriller ... enormously entertaining ... I recommend you dive right in.” (Fangoria)

“An effervescent cocktail of adventure.” (Der Spiegel)

“A gripping thriller starring nature unleashed. A monster of science-fiction, rich in facts.” (Stern)

“The world could collapse around you [while reading The Swarm], and you wouldn’t notice.” (Die Welt)

“After these 1,000 breathtaking pages you see the sea with different eyes.” (Focus)

“A gripping novel with fast-paced action, interesting and believable characters ... Enthralling. I was engrossed and on tenterhooks throughout.” (Peter Constantine, award-winning translator of Thomas Mann's Six Early Stories)

“The outside world could disintegrate and the reader wouldn’t notice because of the spellbinding power of ... Frank Schatzing’s apocalyptic thriller. (Die Tageszeitung)

“With The Swarm, Frank Schatzing lifts the German suspense novel up to the international level.” (Süddeutsche Zeitung)

“Whoever read[s] Frank Schatzing’s novel will be thankful for every inch of dry land and will certainly avoid waterbeds.” (Die Zeit)

“With The Swarm, Frank Schatzing competes with the likes of Michael Crichton.” (Brigitte)

“At once intellectual and intoxicating, this novel is alarming, unnerving, and overwhelming in every respect.” (Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger)

“It’s doubtful you’ll ever come up for air ... this ultimate summer read that recalls the best of Crichton and King.” (Contra Costa Times)

About the Author

Frank Schatzing is the author of the international bestseller The Swarm. A winner of the Köln Literatur Prize, the Corine Award, and the German Science Fiction Award, Schatzing lives and works in Cologne, Germany.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 912 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (May 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060859806
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060859800
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #401,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bjørn Chr Tørrissen on July 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Swarm is massive, and large parts of it are really good. I picked it up at random in a bookshop, opened it and found that my country, Norway, was being devastated in there. This is usually a quiet corner of the world, so I figured I had better take a closer look at what on earth was going on inside that book.

Turns out there are forces we, the people of the Earth, do not control, and the hard earned moral of the story is that we'd better behave, or we might be thrown off the planet.

The build-up is really good, with lots of strange things happening that are explained semi-scientifically, but not so complicated that I couldn't follow it. Then there's an action movie bit, and in the end it's all kind of falling apart, with lots of unexplained bits, and not something that I would be inclined to mistake for realism. Too bad, because this could be a good sci-fi story. Instead it's just an average ecological thriller.

The translation must have been done really fast. A lot of the German language shines through, and that's not necessarily a good thing. Some embarrassing spelling mistakes annoy me. If a book sells two million copies in one language, they should be able to afford a couple more proofreaders in the next language than they actually used.

I like the flow in the writing, but there are a bit too many clichés in there. The US President has a ridiculously religious attitude towards everything, and stereotypes in general abound. "His partner was a small Frenchman with bushy eyebrows and a very large nose." Oh, please.

Some knowledge about genetics, chemistry and bacterias is likely to increase the reader's satisfaction with the book. (How often do you hear that about a book that sell millions?)

Viel vergnügen!
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Format: Hardcover
Frank Schaetzing's "Der Schwarm" has been so immensely popular in Europe because it combines technological (science) fiction with characters who think (and don't constantly just act) and thought provoking passages between the action pages. If you forgive me this comparison, this novel is not for the fast food pizza consumer, but a delicate feast that requires deliberate tasting and chewing.

I was disappointed, yet not suprised by some reviews that complain about volume, style and scarcity of heavy action. Sorry my friends, this ain't AVP or StarWars. I recommend this novel only for the ones amoung you who still like to use the brain they have. You'll love it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Yeah, guess what, I just reread it. Actually, I gave my copy away and had my daughter send her English copy over to me for a re-read. I was absolutely floored by this book, which is so good I read all eight hundred and something pages both times in four days. There is just so much interesting information in here that it can be read over and over. It's kind of like watching the best bits of the National Geographic channel with no commercials. It is absolutely mesmerizing.

What its about. I don't think any other reviewer actually mentioned this. What the book is about is a superior intelligence existing since time immemorial on earth...a sort of hive mind consisting of microbes and inhabiting the oceans and seas. It is everywhere, knows everything and forgets nothing. And humans have become a plague polluting its environment. And it decides to fight back and get rid of this thing. So the book is about the discovery of this entity and(well, of course, politics rears its ugly head) how to contact it and what to do about all the damage it is causing to humans.

There is so much interesting information in this book that it becomes an obsessive read. As well, the main characters are very well developed, not just card board figures functioning in the midst of a lot of scientific jargon.

Yes, this is an eco-thriller, I guess, but so packed with information that I, at least, couldn't put it down through two readings. And, it asks quite a few philosophical questions about humans and their place on this planet and in the universe. I recommend this book absolutely. As a reader who reads three or four books a week, running into something like this is stupendous. Books like this, filled with such a wealth of information and so many intense ideas are very rare indeed.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It goes without saying that a 900 page books is going to have great character development. How could it not. A lot of the 900 pages is devouted to a few of the main characters lives. And it's a good thing too, because the cast is huge and I would have never remembered who was who otherwise. At the same time, some of the minor characters got totally lost in the shuffle and I couldn't remember if I'd seen them prior.

And the plot...what a plot. It's as immense as the book. A very original end of the world scenario. From armies of poison toting crabs to brute force attacks by conglomerates of whales (varied species working together) the book kept me turning pages. A small complaint is that for all the pages in the book, I longed for a little more action. Of course, when the action came it was of gargantuam proportions, so the wait almost always paid off.

So why not five stars? Though the book should be long, I do think it's a little to long at 900 pages. I think a lot of techincal details (I skipped several sections containing info I really didn't need to believe or enjoy the story---they only slowed things down) muddled the story some and the book could probably lose 200 pages without sacrificing too much story or character development. It would have been impossible to put down had the action been more compressed. My other complaint is that seemingly out of no where, the author inserts an anti-Christian rant that has absolutely nothing to do with the novel. It hadn't been a theme throughout. It just appeared, out of the blue, as though someone had taken a few pages from The Last Templar and inserted them in The Swarm. It totally pulled me out of the book.
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