Part apocalyptic tale, part allegory, and all great storytelling, Justin Cronin's The Passage
is a genre-whirling novel that includes such characters as a
PTSD-scarred African nun, a female warrior with a heart of titanium, and
a villain who threatens victims through their dreams. The novel—the
first volume in a planned trilogy—begins with a desperate woman
abandoning her little girl, Amy, at a convent. Amy winds up in the care
of an FBI agent named Wolgast and the pair must flee the "virals"—humans
turned vampires during a military experiment gone awry. For all the
semihuman characters and disastrous military subterfuge, The Passage
is ultimately a very long novel about a young woman's journey to
understanding herself: "Amy felt their sorrow, but it was different now.
It was a holy soaring. A thousand recollected lives were passing
through her, a thousand thousand stories—of love and work, of parents
and children, of duty and joy and grief...." Let others quibble over
whether The Passage is thriller or literature; we see it as vital, tender, and compelling.
— Bethanne Patrick