“The Passage” is unlike any book I’ve ever read. It’s a wonderful mix of science fiction, thrilling mystery, horror and an epic human story. Since I opened the first page, it has stayed with me throughout my days and into my dreams.
The story starts out a few years from now. America and the world are very much like it is now, just slightly altered. FBI Agent Brad Wolgast is haunted. He’s haunted by the tragedies that life has dealt him and by the things he’s done in the line of duty. He’s a good man with a lot of regrets. Amy is just a 6-year-old girl who has been abandoned on the steps of a church. She has had a hard life from the start, and things aren’t getting any better for her.
Then the worst thing imaginable happens. There’s a breach at a secret U.S. Military facility doing human experiments. After a terrifying night, the monsters that were produced as part of Project Noah are released onto the world, and things will never be the same. Agent Wolgast and Amy flee into the night, searching for safety in a world where no one will ever be safe again.
Fast-forward decades, and humans have learned to live only in the light. The darkness brings danger, fear, death or an outcome even worse than death. They live in a colony where only the daytime and a night time surrounding of fluorescent lights bring safety. The stars and night sky are things of legend passed down through generations. Amy and a group of colonist set out to put an end to the terror, and the horrible experiment gone wrong.
With “The Passage,” Cronin has written a novel that pulls you into a world that is so different from your own, and he tells the story of human endurance no matter the danger or hopelessness. It is suspenseful and gripping from beginning to end - no small feet at over 700 pages. I can’t remember the last time I read a book that was so engrossing and pulled me into a such a vivid world that I forgot where I was temporarily.
Amy and the rest of the characters have haunted me in my dreams. After reading “The Passage,” I feel sorry for the next book I pick up because I can’t see how it could possibly measure up.
With its original storytelling, beautiful writing, vivid characters as well as the depth and emotion that fill this sweeping epic of a novel, “The Passage” is truly a work of art in modern fiction.
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