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The Passage [Hardcover]

Justin Cronin
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)

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Hardcover, June 8 2010 --  
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Book Description

June 8 2010
The Andromeda Strain meets The Stand in this startling and stunning thriller that brings to life a unique vision of the apocalypse and plays brilliantly with vampire mythology, revealing what becomes of human society when a top-secret government experiment spins wildly out of control.

At an army research station in Colorado, an experiment is being conducted by the U.S. Government: twelve men are exposed to a virus meant to weaponize the human form by super-charging the immune system. But when the experiment goes terribly wrong, terror is unleashed. Amy, a young girl abandoned by her mother and set to be the thirteenth test subject, is rescued by Brad Wolgast, the FBI agent who has been tasked with handing her over, and together they escape to the mountains of Oregon. As civilization crumbles around them, Brad and Amy struggle to keep each other alive, clinging to hope and unable to comprehend the nightmare that approaches with great speed and no mercy. . .

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Review

"Every so often a novel-reader's novel comes along: an enthralling, entertaining story wedded to simple, supple prose, both informed by tremendous imagination. Summer is the perfect time for such books, and this year readers can enjoy the gift of Justin Cronin's The Passage. Read fifteen pages and you will find yourself captivated; read thirty and you will find yourself taken prisoner and reading late into the night. It has the vividness that only epic works of fantasy and imagination can achieve. What else can I say? This: read this book and the ordinary world disappears."
—Stephen King

"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

"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 post-apocalyptic America… [Cronin] manages to engage the reader with a sweeping epic style."
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“[A] breathtaking, late-night-with-all-the-lights-on page-turner.” 
Cleveland.com
 
“Cronin’s vivid descriptions light the reader’s imagination, the scenes coming alive through his smooth writing. “The Passage” is an absolute page-turner, one that will have readers captivated for hours on end.”
—Linsdsay Losnedahl, Las Vegas Review-Journal
 
“A powerful page-turner. . . . an action-packed philosophically powerful novel that, despite its heft, you won’t want to put down.”
Star Tribune (Minnesota)
 
“[An] extraordinary level of verbal craft and psychological insight . . . Like some power-mad scientist, Cronin has taken his literary gifts, and he has weaponized them.” 
—Lev Grossman, Time magazine
 
“It’s a massive tale, in a sense derivative, yet freshly rendered and for the most part perfectly paced.”
Boulder Daily Camera
 
“Nightmare-inducing. . . . The plot-drive narrative benefits from strong character development and combination of genres, but the novel’s greatest distinction is the creation of a truly terrifying take on vampires, known as the virals.”
Boulder Weekly
 
“With all the elements of a blockbuster hit, The Passage is an imaginative piece of literature that will surely satisfy any voracious reader.”
Deseret News
 
The Passage is for readers who judge books by the intensity of their own blurry, sleep-deprived eyes and the number of paper cuts left on their fingers.”
The Salt Lake Tribune

About the Author

Born and raised in New England, JUSTIN CRONIN is the author of The Summer Guest — a Booksense national bestseller — and Mary and O'Neil, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Stephen Crane Prize, both for best debut fiction of the year. Other honours for his writing include a Whiting Writer's Award, fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pew Foundation, the National Novella Award, and an Individual Artist's Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. His short fiction, book reviews and essays have appeared in the Washington Post and the Boston Globe. He is a Professor of English at Rice University and lives with his family in Houston, Texas.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lethal "Passage" June 8 2010
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
"Epic horror" isn't something you hear of very often, unlike "epic fantasy" or "historical epic." But Justin Cronin seems to have done just that in "The Passage," the first book of a new horror trilogy that seems to be equal parts Stephen King and "The Road" -- a gloriously bleak, imaginative book that drags on in places.

It's honestly hard to summarize a book like this, since Cronin hops around between different people, different time periods, and different places. A little girl named Amy is left by her mother at a convent, only for her to be snatched away by a tormented FBI agent. At the same time, the government is attempting a new experiment that might wipe out disease completely and prolong life -- resulting in eleven insectile "vampires."

Of course, something goes horribly wrong. And over the century following that experiment, American civilization is ravaged by packs of vampires ("dracs" or "virals"), leaving the few remaining humans struggling to survive. The one hope for humanity against the vampires is none other than Amy, still a young child who shares a unique tie to the blood-drinking monsters...

"The Passage" is one of the most unique vampire books in years -- it's part military conspiracy, part post-apocalyptic tale, and part vampire horror. And best of all, it reads like a Guillermo del Toro story filtered through the genius of Stephen King -- no drippy "Twilight" romanticism or glamour.

And Cronin's formidable prose is up to the challenge of writing a hundred-year post-apocalyptic horror epic. He writes in a detailed, gritty style that sprawls over several different narratives, sprinkled with moments of poetry ("the spreading darkness, like a black wing stretching over the earth") and lots of ghastly creepiness (oh, the vampires!).
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Ivy League scientists discover evidence of a vampyric virus and get a military grant to help find and study it. Right away, we smell trouble, and before long, but not before they had sufficient warning, a secret military unit is experimenting on death row inmates, who end up escaping with intentions to spread the virus and destroy the world as we know it. Enter Amy, the final test subject, a six-year-old abandoned innocent, who, unlike the others (called "The Twelve," though I count thirteen), doesn't turn into an evil blood sucker and may turn out to be the salvation of the world.

First of all, I should say this was a lot of fun to read, and it was hard to put down -- apart from a few drawn out digressions and bits of melodrama that dragged. I read it, late into the night, for several nights in a row. Cronin has a way with words, and, against the backdrop of a science fiction and fantasy premise, his story depicts a credible and realistic future. The characters are convincing and the situations unique and engaging -- it's both an intriguing new take on what seemed to be an overdone and worn out genre, and an exciting epic in its own right that even those who hate vampire fiction should find fun. In other words, it's guilt-free fun summer fiction.

Having said that, I think it might have been improved with a tighter structure, and the elimination of a few oddball elements.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Fell Into Cronin's World and Was Hypnotized! June 25 2010
By Nicola Mansfield HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Reason for Reading: As soon as I heard of this book, which was before any of the buzz or hype had started, I knew I had to read it as I love apocalyptic novels and this had all the ingredients that made it sound like a book I had to read.

First, all the buzz, the hype, the comparisons to classics in this genre and the talk about this book is true. I fell into this door stopper tome and became hypnotized by the world I had entered. I can't remember the last time I carted an almost 800 page book to the beach with me! But once I had started reading, I was trapped and could only stop reading for the very essentials of life. I have not read Justin Cronin before but this is an author who can write and I will be checking out his two previous works.

Essentially, this is the story of a girl who saves the world. The plot is so complex it is almost impossible to give a summary without writing pages but I'll try. A hideous scientific experiment goes terribly wrong and a virus is exposed in the United States. It eventually destroys modern civilization on the North American continent (the fate of the world is unknown), leaving behind scattered groups of survivors and horrible infected persons who have been turned into something no longer human. Because of their lust for blood and some of their habits such as death by exposure to light the media, in the early days referred to them as vampires and occasionally to the virus as the "vamp virus". However, throughout the book various groups have different names for the infected ones, most commonly called virals, and while some names such as "dracs" refer to vampires, everyone knows these are people who have been infected with a virus. In my humble opinion, this is not a vampire book.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
This book is well written, it features an interesting storyline and setting. Keeps you engaged right up to the end.
Published 2 months ago by Andrea B.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant.
Awesome! One of my favourite reads in a long time. Get wrapped up and transported away.
Clever writing. Cried near the end. Hope the movie gets made! Read more
Published 3 months ago by Suncoaster Girl
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Intelligent story, well written, interesting characters. Must read The Twelve right after.
Published 3 months ago by Blanka
4.0 out of 5 stars Epic dystopian, super long but worth the effort
I really wanted to give this 5 stars because it is pretty damn fantastic; the complex story, the imaginative and often beautiful writing, the suspense, the hopelessness but oh my... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Buggy
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it
Excellent story, excellent characters, excellent writing. I loved it. I've read countless post-apocalypse book and this one is my favourite by far.
Published 7 months ago by hff135
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating and Believable
My title says it all; the novel encompasses a great action/thriller/suspense/drama story, in a surrealist but convincing way. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Simon L.
5.0 out of 5 stars a fantastic read
This was a re-read of this fantastic book! I enjoyed it even more the second time around. Highly recommended if you are looking for a deeply satisfying read with characters that... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Vedrana Gudelj
4.0 out of 5 stars a new twist on an old story
Overall a very enjoyable read. There are times where the author seems to lose focus, but this does not affect the quality of the book
Published 12 months ago by Bob
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
This is an amazing saga and quite the story. It starts in current modern time with some weird government experiment that goes terribly wrong and launches the world into a pretty... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Pat the cat
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
Loved this book. Oh, it was a bit hokey in places and I wish the author had not used the cows, horses and dog as sacrificial plot lines, but on the whole I really enjoyed it, to... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Louise
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