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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER This thrilling novel kicks off what Stephen King calls a trilogy that will stand as one of the great achievements in American fantasy fiction.
NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST NOVELS OF THE YEAR BY TIME AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post Esquire U.S. News & World Report NPR/On Point St. Louis Post-Dispatch BookPage Library Journal
It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born.
An epic and gripping tale of catastrophe and survival, The Passage is the story of Amyabandoned by her mother at the age of six, pursued and then imprisoned by the shadowy figures behind a government experiment of apocalyptic proportions. But Special Agent Brad Wolgast, the lawman sent to track her down, is disarmed by the curiously quiet girl and risks everything to save her. As the experiment goes nightmarishly wrong, Wolgast secures her escapebut he cant stop societys collapse. And as Amy walks alone, across miles and decades, into a future dark with violence and despair, she is filled with the mysterious and terrifying knowledge that only she has the power to save the ruined world.
Look for the entire Passage trilogy:
THE PASSAGE | THE TWELVE | THE CITY OF MIRRORS
Praise for The Passage
[A] blockbuster.The New York Times Book Review
Mythic storytelling.San Francisco Chronicle
Magnificent . . . Cronin has taken his literary gifts, and he has weaponized them. . . . The Passage can stand proudly next to Stephen Kings apocalyptic masterpiece The Stand, but a closer match would be Cormac McCarthys The Road: a story about human beings trying to generate new hope in a world from which all hope has long since been burnt.Time
The type of big, engrossing read that will have you leaving the lights on late into the night.The Dallas Morning News
Cronins unguessable plot and appealing characters will seize your heart and mind.Parade
Amazon Best Books of the Month, June 2010: You don't have to be a fan of vampire fiction to be enthralled by The Passage, Justin Cronin's blazing new novel. Cronin is a remarkable storyteller (just ask adoring fans of his award-winning Mary and O'Neil), whose gorgeous writing brings depth and vitality to this ambitious epic about a virus that nearly destroys the world, and a six-year-old girl who holds the key to bringing it back. The Passage takes readers on a journey from the early days of the virus to the aftermath of the destruction, where packs of hungry infected scour the razed, charred cities looking for food, and the survivors eke out a bleak, brutal existence shadowed by fear. Cronin doesn't shy away from identifying his "virals" as vampires. But, these are not sexy, angsty vampires (you wont be seeing "Team Babcock" t-shirts any time soon), and they are not old-school, evil Nosferatus, either. These are a creation all Cronin's own--hairless, insectile, glow-in-the-dark mutations who are inextricably linked to their makers and the one girl who could destroy them all. A huge departure from Cronin's first two novels, The Passage is a grand mashup of literary and supernatural, a stunning beginning to a trilogy that is sure to dazzle readers of both genres. --Daphne DurhamDan Chaon Reviews The Passage
Dan Chaon is the acclaimed author of the national bestseller Await Your Reply and You Remind Me of Me, which was named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, The Christian Science Monitor, and Entertainment Weekly, among other publications. Chaon lives in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, and teaches at Oberlin College. Read his review of The Passage:
There is a particular kind of reading experience--the feeling you get when you cant wait to find out what happens next, you cant turn the pages fast enough, and yet at the same time you are so engaged in the world of the story and the characters, you dont want it to end. Its a rare and complex feeling--that plot urgency pulling you forward, that yearning for more holding you back. We say that we are swept up, that we are taken away. Perhaps this effect is one of the true magic tricks that literature can offer to us, and yet it doesnt happen very often. Mostly, I think, we remember this experience from a few of the beloved books of our childhood.
About three-quarters of the way through The Passage, I found myself in the grip of that peculiar and intense readerly emotion. One part of my brain couldnt wait to get to the next big revelation, and I found myself wanting to leapfrog from paragraph to paragraph, hurtling toward each looming climax. Meanwhile, another part of my brain was watching the dwindling final pages with dread, knowing that things would be over soon, and wishing to linger with each sentence and character a little while longer.
Finishing The Passage for the first time, I didnt bother to put it on a shelf, because I knew I would be flipping back through its pages again the next day. Rereading. Considering.
Certain kinds of books draw us into the lives of their characters, into their inner thoughts, to the extent that we seem to know them, as well as we know real people. Readers of Justin Cronins earlier books, Mary and ONeil and The Summer Guest, will recognize him as an extraordinarily insightful chronicler of the ways in which people maneuver through the past, and through loss, grief and love. Though The Passage is a different sort of book, Cronin hasnt lost his skill for creating deeply moving character portraits. Throughout, in moments both large and small, readers will find the kind of complicated and heartfelt relationships that Cronin has made his specialty. Though the cast of characters is large, they are never mere pawns. The individual lives are brought to us with a vivid tenderness, and at the center of the story is not only vampires and gun battles but also quite simply a quiet meditation on the love of a man for his adopted daughter. As a fan of Cronins earlier work, I found it exciting to see him developing these thoughtful character studies in an entirely different context.
There are also certain kinds of books expand outwards beyond the borders of their covers. They make us wish for encyclopedias and maps, genealogies and indexes, appendixes that detail the adventures of the minor characters we loved but only briefly glimpsed. The Passage is that kind of book, too. There is a dense web of mythology and mystery that roots itself into your brain--even as you are turning the pages as quickly as you can. Complex secrets and untold stories peer out from the edges of the plot in a way that fires the imagination, so that the world of the novel seems to extend outwards, a whole universe--parts of which we glimpse in great detail--and yet we long to know even more. I hope it wont be saying too much to say that there are actually two universes in this novel, one overlapping the other: there is the world before the virus, and the world after, and one of the pleasures of the book is the way that those two worlds play off one another, each one twisting off into a garden of forking and intertwined paths. I think, for example, of the scientist Jonas Lear, and his journey to a fabled site in the jungles of Bolivia where clouds of bats descend upon his team of researchers; or the little girl, Amy, whose trip to the zoo sets the animals into a frenzy--"They know what I am," she says; or one of the men in Dr. Lears experiment, Subject Zero, monitored in his cell as he hangs "like some kind of giant insect in the shadows." These characters and images weave their way through the story in different forms, recurring like icons, and there are threads to be connected, and threads we cannot quite connect--yet. And I hope that there will be some questions that will not be solved at all, that will just exist, as the universe of The Passage takes on a strange, uncanny life of its own.
It takes two different kinds of books to work a reader up into that hypnotic, swept away feeling. The author needs to create both a deep intimacy with the characters, and an expansive, strange-but-familiar universe that we can be immersed in. The Passage is one of those rare books that has both these elements. I envy those readers who are about to experience it for the first time.
Danielle Trussoni Reviews The Passage
Danielle Trussoni is the author of Falling Through the Earth: A Memoir, which was the recipient of the 2006 Michener-Copernicus Society of America Award, a BookSense pick, and one of The New York Times Ten Best Books of 2006. Her first novel Angelology will be published in 30 countries. Read her review of The Passage:
Justin Cronins The Passage is a dark morality tale of just how frightening things can become when humanity transgresses the laws of nature.
The author of two previous novels, Cronin, in