The book has sat atop reading lists all summer even though it only went on sale June 8. The publisher is so confident in the book, that they ordered a first print of 250,000 copies. Ridley Scott’s production company has already snapped up the film rights to the story, at a price of $1.75 million.
Not bad for a book that you probably haven’t heard of yet. The Passage is an epic, sprawling novel by Justin Cronin.
First, a brief synopsis of the story so you can glimpse what I’m talking about:
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.
Twilight, this is not.
I personally just finished reading the 766 page book last weekend. I honestly could not put it down. Cronin has created a dark world filled with death and despair – yet you find yourself racing through the story needing to find out what happens next and hoping for the impossible for the characters.
Most of the book is set in post-apocalyptic time – long after the virus escaped. The survivors are few, and they’re forced to live their life in the light. At nighttime, when the stars are set to appear, blinding lights appear over a small colony somewhere in the desert by Palm Springs, California.
Ever-present is the threat from the virals…smokes or jumps they call them. It’s a new twist on the old vampire tale and Cronin masterfully paints a vivid image of this vicious and blood-thirsty enemy.
What makes me excited for the film is simply how epic the tale is. At 766 pages, it’s not a lazy weekend novel, but Cronin makes good use of every page. The characters have emotion to them and I found myself simply enraptured with what would happen next.
I was rooting for the survivors when there was simply no hope left – and Cronin is a genius when it comes to cliff-hangers.
No sooner would I finish a chapter or a book (within the novel) than I would voraciously turn the page to start a new one. I lost a lot of sleep staying up late with the characters from The Passage.
Undertaking a film seems like a monumental feat. The very-capable John Logan (Gladiator) is working on the screenplay for Ridley Scott, but I really can’t imagine condensing this first book into a two-hour movie.
And that’s just the beginning. Two more books are planned from Cronin, though no publishing dates have been set. I’m excited to see what Cronin brings to his dystopian world with future installments. The futuristic America where The Passage takes place is all we know about the world. Very little is mentioned in regards to the other continents. Maybe we’ll learn more about the outside world in the next novel?
The official website for The Passage has a wealth of information about the story and Cronin himself. There is also a standalone site designed to spread buzz about the story, but it hasn’t been active since early July. Nevertheless, go check out Find Subject Zero if you’re fan of the book or want to delve a little deeper.
News about the forthcoming film is beyond scarce, but we will keep you updated as new stuff arrives. For the time being, get off your computer and go read The Passage. It’s an impressive feat of fiction. Right now Amazon has it for about $16.