THE PASSAGE by Justin Cronin


From the "Passage Trilogy" series, volume 1
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Literary author Cronin (Mary and O’Neil, 2001, etc.) turns in an apocalyptic thriller in the spirit of Stephen King or Michael Crichton.

You know times are weird when swarms of Bolivian bats swoop from the skies and kill humans—or, as one eyewitness reports of an unfortunate GI, off fighting the good fight against the drug lords, “they actually lifted him off his feet before they bored through him like hot knives through butter.” Meanwhile, up north, in the very near future, gasoline prices are soaring and New Orleans has been hit by a second hurricane. Wouldn’t you know it, but the world is broken, and mad science has something to do with it—in this instance, the kind of mad science that involves trying to engineer super-soldiers but that instead has created a devastating epidemic, with zombie flourishes—here called “virals”—and nods to Invasion of the Body Snatchers and pretty much every other creature feature. Bad feds and good guys alike race around, trying to keep the world safe for American democracy. In the end the real protector of civilization turns out to be a “little girl in Iowa,” Amy Harper Bellafonte, who has been warehoused in a nunnery by her down-on-her-luck mother. Mom, a waitress with hidden resources of her own, pitches in, as does a world-weary FBI agent—is there any other kind? Thanks to Amy, smart though shy, the good guys prevail. Or so we think, but you probably don’t want to go opening your door at night to find out.

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.

Pub Date: June 8th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-345-50496-8
Page count: 720pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2010


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