Author Justin Cronin wouldn’t like his book, The Passage, described as “zombie vampires cause an apocalypse,” but that’s pretty much the gist of it. If you’re not into genre fiction, there’s still a lot to like from this respected author. Following the tradition of The Walking Dead and I am Legend, Cronin delves deep into exploring the human condition by turning people into prey.
The Passage is the first book in a survival epic that blends science fiction and fantasy elements. It opens with the following:
“Before she became the Girl from Nowhere–the One Who Walked In, the First and Last and Only, who lived a thousand years–she was just a little girl in Iowa, named Amy.”
After learning about Amy, the reader is transported to a secret underground facility wherein the government is experimenting with a Bolivian virus that might be the key to immortality. It all goes horribly wrong, however, when the test subjects escape. The massacre of humanity begins as those who survive an attack turn into blood-hungry monsters themselves. In a matter of weeks, the population of the United States is all but wiped out.
The narrative then jumps about 100 years into the future where an isolated colony of humans survives night-to-night under the constant glow of stadium lights. Here the human drama goes on relatively unhindered; the colonists lie, cheat, love, and labor. But the lights are about to go out, and the monsters in the night are hungry. All seems lost, until the Girl from Nowhere becomes the One Who Walked in.