The first in the Passage trilogy 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.
The Passage begins a little like a Raymond Carver story, describing how the novel’s enigmatic central figure, Amy Harper Bellafonte, came to be...The story of Amy’s first few years is a piercingly naturalistic tale of downward mobility amid truck stops and cheap motels. Like much of the book, it’s suffused with the doomed yearning of adults who want to protect children from the brutality of the world. Then, suddenly, you’re reading documents about an ill-fated scientific expedition to ‘the jungles of Bolivia,’ and the weird virus brought back by the handful of survivors … Yes, there are vampires, although they’re semiconscious beasts, a far cry from the suave, politicking predators of True Blood or the immortal dreamboats of Twilight...they stand for the ravening external forces — time, violence, madness, death — that are forever battering against the walls of every hopeful community.
The Passage, the first volume of a planned trilogy, doesn't have any interest in pursuing ol' Count Dracula; it's all about stitching together the still-beating scraps of classic horror and science fiction, techno thrillers and apocalyptic terror. Although a clairvoyant nun plays a crucial role, Cronin has stripped away the lurid religious trappings of the vampire myth and gone with a contemporary biomedical framework … Cronin proves himself just as skillful with the dystopic future as he is with the techno-thriller that opens The Passage. This second section sinks deep into the exotic customs of these beleaguered survivors. We meet a vibrant cast of citizen warriors, who have to ask themselves each day if it's worth fighting against the dying of the light.
What's happening in other countries isn't known. Communications are cut off. Commerce, manufacturing and government are wiped out. What does exist are a smattering of isolated outposts where self-sustaining humans live in barricaded fortresses and bright lights run by dying generators keep the virals away at night. This throwback to a pre-technological world makes for a credible and hypnotic narrative … Always simmering in the background of this frightening thriller — first in a trilogy — is a heartfelt portrayal of the human capability to fight, endure and hope for a better world.