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The Passage: A Novel (Book One of The Passage Trilogy) Paperback – May 17, 2011
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“Cronin has given us what could be the best book of the summer. Don't wait to dive into The Passage.”—USA Today
“Cronin’s unguessable plot and appealing characters will seize your heart and mind.”—Parade
“Great storytelling … vital, tender, and compelling”—O, The Oprah Magazine
“A blockbuster…astutely plotted and imaginative”—The New York Times Book Review
“Cronin gets it just right; the combination of attentive realism and doomsday stakes makes for a mesmerizing experience.”—Salon.com
“We’ve just found our summer escape!”—Elle, “Top 10 Summer Books for 2010”
“Magnificently unnerving . . . A The Stand-meets-The Road journey.”—Entertainment Weekly, A-
“Addictive, terrifying, and deeply satisfying. Not only is this one of the year's best thrillers; it's one of the best of the past decade—maybe one of the best ever."—Men’s Journal
“A literary richness that rivals Stephen King’s The Stand.”—Time
“Fans of vampire fiction who are bored by the endless hordes of sensitive, misunderstood Byronesque bloodsuckers will revel in Cronin’s engrossingly horrific account of a postapocalyptic American overrun by the gruesome reality behind the wish-fulfillment fantasies…manages to engage the reader with a sweeping epic style.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review and “Pick of the week”)
“Literary author Cronin turns in an apocalyptic thriller in the spirit of Stephen King or Michael Crichton. . . . The young girl as heroine and role model is a nice touch.”—Kirkus
“[An] apocalyptic epic . . . Expect a lot of interest in this title.”—Booklist
“The monsters in this compulsive nail biter are the scariest in fiction since Stephen King's vampires in Salem's Lot. . . . This exceptional thriller should be one of the most popular novels this year and will draw in readers everywhere.”—Library Journal, starred review
“Meet what is likely to be one of the biggest blockbusters of the summer.”—People
“Imagine Michael Crichton crossbreeding Stephen King’s “The Stand” and “Salem’s Lot” in that lab on Jurassic Park, with rich infusions of Robert McCammon’s “Swan Song,” “Battlestar Galactica” and even Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road.””—The Washington Post
About the Author
Justin Cronin is the New York Times bestselling author of The Passage, The Twelve, The City of Mirrors, Mary and O’Neil (which won the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Stephen Crane Prize), and The Summer Guest. Other honors for his writing include a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Whiting Writers’ Award. A Distinguished Faculty Fellow at Rice University, he divides his time between Houston, Texas, and Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
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The Passage is one of the finest written examples of apocalyptic horror—lurid, meditative, and epic in scope. Despite being a vampire saga, the book is peppered with such human themes as love, hope, destiny, friendship, and sufficient pathos to satisfy top-notch literature enthusiasts. The language is both poetic and beautiful, the dialogue believable and appealing, while the narrative shifts tempo—both in style and time period—in order to keep things intriguing.
Set in the near future, The Passage entwines a convoluted but convincing tale that spotlights a six-year-old girl named Amy, whose hapless mother abandons her to a Memphis convent, home of clairvoyant African-born nun Lacey Kudoto. Meanwhile, FBI Agent Brad Wolgast and his partner are assigned to acquire Amy and twelve death-row inmates for Project NOAH, a military-bankrolled biomedical experiment using a longevity virus found in some nasty Bolivian bats. Naturally, mankind is punished for its jingoistic hubris and the project soon runs amok, unleashing grotesquely mutated vampires—virals—on the world, bringing the human race to near-extinction. Fast-forward 93 years to the ravaged wastelands of the once-great ‘Merica, wherein an isolationist community of beleaguered descendants employs high-wattage lights to protect the colony from the photophobic dracs. However, an expedition to recharge the failing batteries is elevated to a chance prospect of reclaiming the world after renegade protagonist Peter Jaxon happens upon a strange girl who not only appears ageless but can communicate telepathically with the virals.
Cronin takes the time to explore his ensemble cast, masterfully imbuing each character with life and personality, and ultimately reveals the depths of their convictions in the face of impossible odds. From the tormented FBI Agent who steps into the role of surrogate father to ensure a young girl’s safety as the world they know crumbles around them, to the unwavering band of colony warriors who persist in their struggle against inhuman monsters even in the face of the dying light. Readers will find themselves cheering for the book’s badass heroine, Alicia “Lish” Donadio, a Valkyrie warrior who could go toe-to-toe with the headstrong likes of Lara Croft (even without the superhuman vampire serum thrown in); just as readers' hearts will bleed for Anthony Carter, the benign death-row inmate turned government guinea pig whose sole crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You may even feel a pang of compassion for the misunderstood virals. By all outward appearances they are indestructible, merciless spawns from Hell, and yet inside each of them is a small perpetual voice that wonders who they are, a voice yearning for identity.
Fellow readers, do not be daunted by this 766-page behemoth, for The Passage is a worthwhile investment that pays dividends in panache prose, compelling characters, and show-stopping action sequences. Mark my words; once the crossbows are firing overhead and bloodthirsty virals are flying at you from amidst the darkened rafters and billowy treetops, you’ll be running so fast that you’ll be left breathless by the final page—an evocative, albeit ambiguous caesura that's sure to have you clawing for the next volume, eager to learn the fates of these sympathetic heroes. Interestingly, Cronin offers glimpses of his master plan, using brief excerpts to imply that the human race will endure, though it may take a thousand years for things to return to normal.
The story revolves around a little girl named Amy, who is dragged into the orbit of a secret government project, bent on harnessing a virus discovered in the uncharted reaches of South America. This virus doesn't kill the host, but it does make them preternaturally strong, sensitive to sunlight, and gives them an overwhelming thirst for blood . . . .
Naturally, as with all things governmental in literature, the situation heads south, and the virus breaks loose. Justin Cronin takes us from the time of the outbreak to nearly 100 years after the fact (with hints that the later books in the trilogy will take us even further down the timeline). While it would be easy for such a broad book to either lose itself in this vast expanse of time, or else become bogged down under the weight of such a plot, Cronin keeps the book moving at a thriller pace, and his vivid characterizations, of both heroes and villains, make it easy for the reader to stay involved
More reviews on my blog!