Summary and book reviews of The Passage by Justin Cronin

The Passage

By Justin Cronin

The Passage
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  • Hardcover: Jun 2010,
    784 pages.
    Paperback: May 2011,
    784 pages.

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Book Summary

“It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born.”

First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear—of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.

As civilization swiftly crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary. FBI agent Brad Wolgast is a good man haunted by what he’s done in the line of duty. Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte is a refugee from the doomed scientific project that has triggered apocalypse. He is determined to protect her from the horror set loose by her captors. But for Amy, escaping the bloody fallout is only the beginning of a much longer odyssey—spanning miles and decades—towards the time and place where she must finish what should never have begun.

With The Passage, award-winning author Justin Cronin has written both a relentlessly suspenseful adventure and an epic chronicle of human endurance in the face of unprecedented catastrophe and unimaginable danger. Its inventive storytelling, masterful prose, and depth of human insight mark it as a crucial and transcendent work of modern fiction.

Excerpt
The Passage

Wolgast had been to the Compound only once, the previous summer, to meet with Colonel Sykes.  Not a job interview, exactly; it had been made clear to Wolgast that the assignment was his if he wanted it.  A pair of soldiers drove him in a van with blacked out windows, but Wolgast could tell they were taking him west from Denver, into the mountains.   The drive took six hours, and by the time they pulled into the Compound, he’d actually managed to fall asleep.  He stepped from the van into the bright sunshine of a summer afternoon.  He stretched and looked around.   From the topography, he’d have guessed he was somewhere around Telluride.  It could have been further north.  The air felt thin and clean in his lungs; he felt the dull throb of a high-altitude headache at the top of his skull. 

He was met in the parking lot by a civilian, a compact man dressed in jeans and a khaki shirt rolled at the sleeves, a...

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Reviews

BookBrowse

There's no getting around it; Justin Cronin's first novel will give fans of Stephen King's classic, The Stand an acute sense of déjà vu, with its notable similarities in plot, characters and settings. What makes this arguably forgivable is that Cronin's writing style is more refined than King's, and his characters more likable and well-rounded. Despite the derivations, I was able to enjoy The Passage in its own right.... it has depth, literary appeal, mysticism, creepy, low-key horror (it isn't a gore-fest), a good vs. evil theme, and interesting characters. It is not so much a "vampire" book as it is a story about human beings in a post-apocalyptic battle for survival.   (Reviewed by Cindy Anderson).

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Media Reviews
Author Blurb Stephen King
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.

Kirkus Reviews

The young girl as heroine and role model is a nice touch. Otherwise a pretty ordinary production, with little that hasn't been seen before.

Booklist

This door-stopper of a novel is such an homage to Stephen King’s The Stand (in length as well as plot), along with Firestarter and even Salem’s Lot, that it required some fact-checking to ascertain it was not written under a new King pseudonym.

Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week

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.

Library Journal

Starred Review. Although the novel runs 700 pages, Cronin is a master at building tension, and he never wastes words.

Reader Reviews
flee

Fantastic
This is an awesome book that moves! Super exciting read.

Reggie

A Must Read
Excellent from beginning to end. Do not let the length of the novel deter you. Just dig in and let the pages turn. You will find yourself recommending to fellow readers.

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Vampires - Monsters or Romeos?

The vampires of folklore are hideous and frightening figures, walking corpses that feast on the blood of the living. But during the Victorian era, writers began to create stories about a different kind of vampire, typified by an aristocrat who represented both death and sexual desire, a possible reaction to the repressiveness of the times. An early example of such a tale is John Polidori's The Vampyre, (1819) in which the title character, Lord Ruthven, is a seductive nobleman.

Another example is Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla (1871), notable because it features a sexy female vampire who seduces and drinks the blood of a female victim. Yet, the most famous and influential of all 19th century vampire fiction was Bram Stoker's ...

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