The Swarm: A Novel

The Swarm: A Novel

by Frank Schatzing


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The Swarm: A Novel by Frank Schatzing

For more than two years, one book has taken over Germany's hardcover and paperback bestseller lists, reaching number one in Der Spiegel and setting off a frenzy in bookstores: The Swarm.

Whales begin sinking ships. Toxic, eyeless crabs poison Long Island's water supply. The North Sea shelf collapses, killing thousands in Europe. Around the world, countries are beginning to feel the effects of the ocean's revenge as the seas and their inhabitants begin a violent revolution against mankind. In this riveting novel, full of twists, turns, and cliffhangers, a team of scientists discovers a strange, intelligent life force called the Yrr that takes form in marine animals, using them to wreak havoc on humanity for our ecological abuses. Soon a struggle between good and evil is in full swing, with both human and suboceanic forces battling for control of the waters. At stake is the survival of the Earth's fragile ecology-and ultimately, the survival of the human race itself.

The apocalyptic catastrophes of The Day After Tomorrow meet the watery menace of The Abyss in this gripping, scientifically realistic, and utterly imaginative thriller. With 1.5 million copies sold in Germany-where it has been on the bestseller list without fail since its debut-and the author's skillfully executed blend of compelling story, vivid characters, and eerie locales, Frank Schatzing's The Swarm will keep you in tense anticipation until the last suspenseful page is turned.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060859800
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/08/2007
Pages: 912
Sales rank: 417,293
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.82(d)

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.

Read an Excerpt

The Swarm

A Novel
By Frank Schatzing

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Frank Schatzing
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060813261

Chapter One

4 March

Trondheim, Norwegian coast

On the face of it, the city was too cosy for a university or a research institute. In districts like Bakklandet or Møllenberg it seemed almost inconceivable that Trondheim could be a capital of technology. Its old timber houses, parks, rustic churches, colourful water warehouses on stilts, picturesque gardens and courtyards belied the advance of time and knowledge, but the NTNU, Norway's principal university for the sciences, was just round the corner.

Few cities combined past and future as harmoniously as Trondheim, which was why Sigur Johanson felt privileged to live there. His apartment was in old-fashioned Møllenberg, in Kirkegata Street, on the ground floor of an ochre-coloured house whose pitched roof, white steps and lintel would have captured the heart of any Hollywood director. Johanson was a marine biologist and a thoroughly modern scientist, but nothing could persuade him of the merits of his times. He was a visionary and, like most visionaries, he combined his love for the radically new with an attachment to the ideals of the past. His life was defined by the spirit of Jules Verne, whom he admired for his old-fashioned chivalry, his passion for theseemingly impossible and his celebration of technology. But as for the present . . . the present was a snail, its shell piled high with practical problems and the vulgar business of everyday life. There was no real place for it in Sigur Johanson's universe. He served it, knew what it expected from him, enriched its store of knowledge, and despised it for the uses that it put it to.

It was late morning by the time he steered his jeep along the wintry Bakklandet road, past the shimmering waters of the Nid towards the university campus. He was on his way back from a weekend spent deep within the forest, visiting isolated villages where time had stood still. In summer he would have taken the Jaguar, with a picnic hamper in the boot: freshly baked bread, goose-liver pâté wrapped in silver foil from the deli, and a bottle of Gewiirztraminer--a 1985, if he could find one. Since he had moved from Oslo to Trondheim, Johanson had hunted out the quiet spots, far from the hordes of tourists and day-trippers. Two years ago he'd come across a secluded lake, and beside it, to his delight, a country house in need of renovation. It had taken a while to track down the owner--he worked in a managerial capacity for Statoil, Norway's state-run oil company, and had moved to Stavanger--but when Johanson finally found him, the deal was quickly done. Pleased to be rid of the place, the owner had sold it for a fraction of its value. A few weeks later a team of Russian immigrants had restored the dilapidated house. They didn't charge much, but transformed it into Johanson's ideal of a proper country residence--a nineteenth-century bou vivane's retreat.

During long summer evenings he sat on the veranda, which looked out over the lake, reading visionary writers like Thomas More, Jonathan Swift or H. G. Wells, and daydreaming to Mahler or Sibelius. The house had a well-stocked library. He owned nearly all of his favourite books and CDs in duplicate--he wanted them with him wherever he was.

Johanson drove on to the NTNU campus. The main university building lay straight ahead, covered with a dusting of snow. It was an imposing, castle-style edifice, dating to the turn of the twentieth century, and behind it lay lecture halls and laboratories. With ten thousand students, the campus was almost a town in itself It hummed with activity. Johanson sighed in contentment. He had enjoyed his time at the lake. Last summer he'd spent a few weekends there with a research assistant from the cardiology department, an old acquaintance from various conferences. Things had moved swiftly, but he'd ended the relationship. He hadn't been in it for the long term--and anyway, he had to face facts: he was fifty-six, and she was thirty years younger. Great for a few weeks, but unthinkable for a lifetime. In any case, Johanson didn't allow many to get close to him. He never had.

He left the jeep in its bay and headed for the Faculty of Natural Sciences. As he entered his office, Tina Lund was standing by the window. She turned as he walked in. 'You're late,' she teased him. 'Let me guess--too much red wine last night, or was someone reluctant to let you go?'

Johanson grinned. Lund worked for Statoil and seemed to have spent most of her time lately at one or other of the SINTEF institutes. The SINTEF Group was one of the biggest independent research organisations in Europe, and the Norwegian oil industry in particular had benefited from its groundbreaking innovations. The close links between SINTEF and the NTNU had helped to establish Trondheim as a centre of technological excellence, and SINTEF centres were dotted throughout the region. Lund had risen swiftly through the Statoil ranks and was now deputy director of exploration and production. She had recently set up camp at Marintek, the SINTEF centre for marine technology.

Johanson surveyed her tall slim figure as he took off his coat. He liked Tina Lund. A few years ago they'd nearly got together, but instead they'd decided to stay friends. Now they just picked each other's brains and went out for the occasional meal. 'An old man like me needs his sleep,' he said. 'Coffee?'


He popped into the adjoining office, where he found a fresh pot. His secretary was nowhere to be seen.

'Milk, no sugar,' Lund called.

'I know.' Johanson poured the coffee into two mugs, added a splash of milk to one, and returned to his office. 'I know all about you, remember?'

'You didn't get that far.'

'Heaven forbid! Now, take a seat. What brings you here?'

Lund picked up her mug, but remained standing. 'A worm, I think.'


Excerpted from The Swarm by Frank Schatzing Copyright © 2006 by Frank Schatzing. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

Kolner Stadt-Anzeiger

“At once intellectual and intoxicating, this novel is alarming, unnerving, and overwhelming in every respect.”


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

Peter Constantine

“A gripping novel with fast-paced action, interesting and believable characters ... Enthralling. I was engrossed and on tenterhooks throughout.”

Customer Reviews

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Swarm 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
LV2READMO More than 1 year ago
A GREAT book to read anytime. Mr. Schatzing has done his homework. This book is an easy read but is crammed full with so many facts from various different areas of study that at first the reader can not see where the book is heading. It may be a long book but it keeps the reader engrossed with the action, inter- and intra-personal relationships that the reader can not put the book down. I would recommend this book to anyone who like to become engrossed in a world that is based on our world and is slightly out of our world. The facts that this book is based on is researched and explained so well that it makes the reader believe that this could be our world. Mr. Schatzing shows the reader how he sees us as a society and how we "work" together. He make the reader think about how we as a society, a country, and as a person should relate to each other, other societies, our environment, and the unknown. This book would be a great book for a book club to discuss. It could brings up topics of: the environment, politics, science, the energy crisis, religion, relationships of all kinds and much more. Don't let the size of the book scare you. READ IT! LEARN FROM IT! LIVE FROM WHAT YOU LEARNED! BECOME A BETTER YOU!
Mary_T More than 1 year ago
Among the burgeoning sub-genre of cautionary eco-thrillers, Frank Schatzing's SWARM is standout. Swarm is a perfect marriage of intellectual heft with compelling storytelling; the kind of book we used to see from the late Michael Crichton. It starts with the main character suddenly and inexplicably confronted with a ring of eerily motionless orcas in the middle of the ocean. A scientist and an inuit, he is an experienced waterman. The whales lifting their heads out of the water to regard him with their giant eyes is that more horrify because he knows how utterly impossible it is. This compelling opening scene starts a rollercoaster of wonder and horror that does not let up until the last page. Each revelation is grounded in understandable science. Each bit of nerd-ism and tech-speak is surrounded by plausible story. I'm already pining for a sequel.
humaneisfact More than 1 year ago
This book has all the elements needed to create an engaging epic adventure.Intelligently written,characters who are likeable and engaging,and international locations and action.If you appreciate the theme of mankind finally having to work together to prevent the destruction of the planet and humanity-you will love this book.It never disappoints. Mother nature proves once again she is still the boss.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an action packed thriller that you cannot put down. A very large book that has no dull parts. Great story and unusual. Will make a fantastic movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
it clearly shows how and what would happen if we continue ocean 'abuse'. the Yrr may be the enemy, but they show us what exactly we're doing. amazing page turner.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the first week of March off Trondheim, Norway research scientist Dr. Sigur Johanson notices that polychaetes have been found in a methane environment particularly harsh for that species these bristleworms should never have survived let alone multiply into a colony of millions in Norwegian continental shelf. By the twelfth of March, marine biologist Dr. Leon Anawak wonders why the whales he has watched for years are two weeks late on their annual migration along Vancouver Island. Not long afterward, Leon learns that four different species of whales attacked with military precision a cargo ship and two tugboats towing it. Leon scoffs at the report as these whales do not cohabitate. --- Other sea related incidents occur as crabs poison Long Island's water supply and in Paris lobsters explode like suicidal bombers while deadly bacteria enters the drinking water. World leaders become concerned that the worms will disturb oil deposits on the North Sea Shelf. Scientists struggle to understand why and how the seven seas seem to be taking back the world. When the North Sea Shelf collapses from the burrowing worms, thousands of Europeans die leading to an international panic. Scientists discover the intelligent Yrr are enacting revenge for the environmental abuse that humanity has wrecked upon their ecological system deep in inner earth. War is now with the losing species cleansed from this orb. --- Reminiscent of the 1950s environmental horror movies and the works of HG Wells, THE SWARM is a terrific science fiction thriller. The action-packed story line contains insightful interwoven scientific explanation that is easy to comprehend leading to a powerful cautionary tale that brings Rachel Carson¿s warnings of The Silent Spring into the twenty first century. Though the intelligent design crowd will scream bush level fiction, readers will appreciate this deep tale wondering What¿s Going On? --- Harriet Klausner
the_hag on LibraryThing 17 hours ago
The Swarm mixes equal parts beach thriller and ecological disaster to bring the reader a mostly satisfying romp around the world and with plot elements deftly combined from nearly every underwater thriller you¿ve ever read or seen and I believe that the heavy-handed anti-Americanism in this book is actually part of its charm (yes, I am American). It is certainly weighty (both literally ¿ nearly 900 pages and figuratively). It touches on a number of contemporary environmental issues but isn¿t terribly preachy, it has sound science and still retains the human element. That is to say, for all it¿s science it manages to hold on to the human element throughout. Since this book isn¿t about a single ¿disaster,¿ it would seem out of place if it had a single protagonist, so it doesn¿t! There is quite a large ¿cast¿ which helps tell the story from many different perspectives, weaving together an interesting and compelling whole cloth. The only drawback to its large cast is, at times, it is hard to keep track of all the people and individual story lines.Schatzing takes us on a whirlwind, non-stop journey starting with crazed whales on the Canadian coast and includes nearly every conceivable marine disaster that one could think of¿hydrate devouring ice worms destroying the continental shelf off the Norwegian Coast, disappearing boats and fisherman off the coast of South America, toxic jellyfish, deadly exploding crustaceans, luminous gelatinous mass¿and that¿s just the beginning! As with most books/movies in this genre, a crack team of scientists and military consultants is convened to study the problem and help save the world (complete with evil undercurrent from certain American elements). All in all, it¿s a fine read¿though I wouldn¿t touch it with a ten foot pole if I were on a beach and reading it there would most certainly make me want to leave IMMEDIATELY. The Swarm is compelling, entertaining, informative, and exciting. I think my only complaints here are that it was a bit too long and I was a tad disappointed in the ending, for all its 900 pages, The Swarm¿s ending felt rushed and contrived. At the end, I was left thinking ALL THAT for THIS ENDING!?! Despite those two complaints, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and could hardly put it down each night! I¿d recommend it for anyone who loves ¿nature bites back¿ movies or books, this is definitely worth the time. Four stars!
xbri on LibraryThing 17 hours ago
I read 'The Swarm'during my summervacation on Crete and I was hooked from the very first moment. This book was one of the most amazing one I've read this year or even the last years. I just couldn't put it down and I couldn't stop thinking about it when I had finished. The story is so intriguing and fascinating. Right now my son is reading it and we always enjoy to discuss it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What just saying could have rapid growing sharks in this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So first off I must say this is one of my favorite novels of all time. It is incredibly detailed, considerably scientifically accurate, and really makes you think about how what you do affects the planet. I read it the first time 4 years ago, since then I have had to purchase 3 more copies as I loan them out and they get passed on. I started reading it to my brother while he was in the hospital after a terrible car accident that left him there for months on end. Listening to parts of it gotmy sister interested in it, after she finished it. It was passed to my father (who has never read a book outside of the bible and a few Zane Gray novels.) who read it cover to cover in a month, followed by my mother, and then fought over by my nephews... This isnt a short book, and they ate it up. I sincerely reccommend this to anyone capable of reading. You won't want to read it only once, I just finished it again for the 4th time. A+ and a :)
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