Synopses & Reviews
“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.
"Enthralling....You will find yourself captivated." Stephen King
"Magnificently unnerving...The Stand meets The Road." Entertainment Weekly
"Great entertainment...[a] big, engrossing read." The Dallas Morning News
"Mythic storytelling." San Francisco Chronicle
"[A] magnificent beast of a new novel...a story about human beings trying to generate new hope in a world from which all hope has long since been burnt....What makes The Passage special is the extraordinary level of verbal craft and psychological insight....Cronin has taken his literary gifts, and he weaponized them." Time
"Imagine Michael Crichton crossbreeding Stephen King's The Stand and Salem's Lot in that lab at Jurassic Park, with rich infusions of Robert McCammon's Swan Song, Battlestar Galactica and even Cormac McCarthy's The Road." The Washington Post
"A wild, headlong, sweeping extravaganza of a novel, The Passage is the literary equivalent of a unicorn: a bona-fide thriller that is sharply written, deeply humane, ablaze with big ideas, and absolutely impossible to put down." Jennifer Egan
"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 blockbuster...astutely plotted and imaginative" The New York Times Book 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 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
Named one of the ten best novels of the year by Time
and Library Journal
— 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
An epic and gripping tale of catastrophe and survival, The Passage is the story of Amy — abandoned 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 escape — but he can’t stop society’s 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.
About the Author
Justin Cronin is the author of The Passage, 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 professor of English at Rice University, he lives with his family in Houston, Texas.