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The Passage

A Novel (Book One of The Passage Trilogy)
Written by: Justin Cronin
Series: The Passage Trilogy, Book 1
Length: 36 hrs and 49 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (107 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best seller

This thrilling novel kicks off what Stephen King calls “a trilogy that will stand as one of the great achievements in American fantasy fiction.”

Now a FOX TV series! THE PASSAGE airs Mondays at 9/8c.

Named one of the 10 best novels of the year by time and one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post, Esquire, U.S. News & World Report, NPR/On Point, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, BookPage, and Library Journal.

“It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born.”  

An epic and gripping tale of catastrophe and survival, The Passage 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. But Special Agent Brad Wolgast, the lawman sent to track her down, is disarmed by the curiously quiet girl and risks everything to save her. As the experiment goes nightmarishly wrong, Wolgast secures her escape - but he can’t stop society’s collapse. And as Amy walks alone, across miles and decades, into a future dark with violence and despair, she is filled with the mysterious and terrifying knowledge that only she has the power to save the ruined world. 

Look for the entire Passage trilogy: 
 

  • The Passage
  • The Twelve
  • The City of Mirrors

Praise for The Passage

“[A] blockbuster.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“Mythic storytelling.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

“Magnificent... Cronin has taken his literary gifts, and he has weaponized them.... The Passage can stand proudly next to Stephen King’s apocalyptic masterpiece The Stand, but a closer match would be Cormac McCarthy’s The Road: a story about human beings trying to generate new hope in a world from which all hope has long since been burnt.” (Time)

“The type of big, engrossing read that will have you leaving the lights on late into the night.” (The Dallas Morning News)

“Addictive.” (Men’s Journal)

“Cronin’s unguessable plot and appealing characters will seize your heart and mind.” (Parade

©2010 Justin Cronin (P)2010 Random House

What the critics say

“Read this book and the ordinary world disappears.” (Stephen King)

“Magnificently unnerving...The Stand meets The Road.” (Entertainment Weekly)

“Justin Cronin has written a wild, headlong, sweeping extravaganza of a novel. The Passage is the literary equivalent of a unicorn: a bona fide thriller that is sharply written, deeply humane, ablaze with big ideas, and absolutely impossible to put down.” (Jennifer Egan, author of A Visit from the Goon Squad)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing story!

Liked the different voices!
Great across the time spans! Voice acting amazing. Details of the world very vivid.

2 people found this helpful

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Amazing

This is one of my favourite books of all time, and getting to listen to the audio version was wonderful. I just love the descriptive writing by Justin Cronin. Highly recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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great epic tale

an epic post apocalyptic tale that doesn't include zombies. quite a journey can't wait for more.

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Excellent all around...

Compelling story with wonderfully drawn characters and powerful narration that really places you in the minds of those characters.

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Very engaging!

The story unfolds slowly and builds with action at various stages to keep the reader engaged. I like longer books, and this one keep me entertained - so much so that I decided to get the 2nd and 3rd book in the series. The narrator was excellent as well.
#Audible1

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Great read with great value!

I read the book because I saw they were coming up with a show on FOX. I'm usually a fan on the post apocalyptic zombie genre so I figured I'd give this a shot. I was confused initially with the time jump but things fell in place quickly. it's definitely a detailed listen and you get great value for your credit! I'm excited to finish the rest of the series! #Audible1

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  • Tia
  • 2018-09-13

Amazing!

I fell in love with this series by selecting this audiobook on a whim. The narration and story were my second favourite audiobook of all time (and that's second to Harry Potter so that's saying A LOT). Scott Brick is one of the best audiobook performers i have ever listened to; i think he could turn any book into a work of art. #Audible1

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Couldn't listen to it fast enough!

Not only this book but the entire series was excellent. I really enjoyed the story line and the charters and they way they developed.

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loved it!

Every time I listen to it it gets even better! now, on to "The twelve"

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ZZZZZ *snort... wait, what happened to Amy?

I really wanted to read this book. I looked forward to my credit to get this book. Part 1 was great... action packed! I liked the characters and the storyline. I even waited to watch the TV show to see how it compared to the book. I didn't have to go very far to realise it's NOTHING like the TV show. After getting to part 3, I understood why the show is arranged the way it is. It is mind-numbing, tedious, and confusing. It was like listening to the Bible... this one begat that one. That one begat that other one over by the well. The well was filled with cool water with a slight taste of burnt almond. Is the water safe to drink? Mouse Patel scurried past the barn filled with screaming littles... but I digress. And the narrator... after suffering through his monotoned weird manner of speaking, I looked forward to the others listed in the credits. Part 2! A new woman! It lasted about ten minutes and we're back to Boring McMonotone. What happened? We had magic girl, hooker mom, tortured FBI agent, creepy vampires... suddenly we had a list of log reports, unrequited (yet boring) love, cooking jack rabbits, and drawn out one hundred years later. I made it to Chapter 25... I can't even imagine getting to Chapter 87!!! Terrible... just terrible.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Randall
  • 2018-06-29

A new type of vampire


The Passage is a well written novel about vampires, with a new and creative twist. I thought the first several hours laid out a good foundation to the rest of the story. Justin Cronin did a wonderful job in the introduction of all the main characters. They were well thought out and interesting. Overall the book was pretty good. I look forward to book number two.

120 people found this helpful

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  • James
  • 2012-01-28

This became The Neverending Story...

What would have made The Passage better?

I felt that this book was too long. Typically, I enjoy long sagas but this tale started to get stale at part 4. The Virals were projected to live a thousand years and I began to think that we were going to read about each one. Also, the cliff-hanger situations at the end of chapters in parts 4 and 5 became predictable.

Would you recommend The Passage to your friends? Why or why not?

No, probably not.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of the narrators?

No one as Scott Brick is one of my favorite narrators.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It is a novel yarn that is entertaining in parts 1 through 3. It grew boring and predictable in parts 4 and 5.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Crab McNasty
  • 2013-01-27

Thank god it's over!

This book is laughably bad! I can't believe Stephen King had anything positive to say about this book since it seemed like a such a weak emulation of his well established skills. I bought this one because of the positive reviews but I should have paid more attention to the negative reviews since in hindsight, I've realized I agree with almost everything they say. I have to assume the positive reviews were paid for by the author because they don't seem to be written for the same book I read.

Anyone thinking of buying this book should be aware of a few things.

First, the narration is terrible. If you've ever heard a high brow intellectual reading incomprehensible poetry in a dramatic and pained voice than you will recognize those same qualities in Brick's narration. If you are like me this affectation will annoy you through the whole book. The two ladies who read briefly do an excellant job and I wish they had been given more chapters.

Cronin's dreadful overuse of simile should have been laid to waste by any semi-intelligent editor, like an overzealous forest service employee on a rampage with his powerful chainsaw (that's the way the author might state such an assertion). If the exraneous similes and adjectives were edited from this book it could easily be 20% shorter.

Perhaps what annoyed me most about this book is the absurd social structure adopted by the small band of survivors that the author describes. Specifically, the fact that they sequester all children until the age of 8 to prevent them from learning about the nature of the world they live in. This might be the dumbest thing I've ever read in a work of fiction.

Also demonstrating a stunning level of stupidity is the author's description of the scavanging activities carried out by humanity's remnants. Almost a hundred years after complete social collapse they are going to malls to find sneakers, using batteries, getting old vehicles running, eating canned foods, using computers, driving on roads... I could go on and on. Rubber would be simply unusable after a fraction of that time in the dry American southwest and all the hoses, seals, and wire coverings would be dust. There would not be a usable battery anywhere. Roads would have long reverted to their natural state (not to mention train tracks. ugh!). If, like me, you are unable to suspend disbelief for such a goofy scenario then you will not enjoy this book.

I could write pages and pages about how bad this book is. If I didn't spend so many hours with my ipod every day I would have given up after part one. I guess I have strong feelings about this book because the first part wasn't too bad and then the rest of it was so awful, and required such a commitment of time. If you're just looking for a long book to buy with one of your credits and you don't care about quality, this might be a decent purchase for you. Otherwise, my recommendation is that you keep looking!

26 people found this helpful

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  • Jeremy
  • 2011-12-03

Barren, dry, and way too long.

What disappointed you about The Passage?

Ordinarily I love good, long books. But this book wasn't long because of an intricate, or even an epic plot. It was long because the author spent so much time on descriptions of feelings. I kept wanting to tell him to move it along. Further, while the story seems to be trying to be somewhat realistic, too many elements of the story didn't make enough sense- how can fuel still work and wind turbines still spin 100 years into the future? They can't keep the turbines in my state spinning for more than a few months without needing major maintenance. How can these super predators survive without food, having hunted so much into extinction? The things they do demand enourmous expenditures of energy. How can the mind control aspect be unknown to the people in the colonies? Surely that would have been discovered by the time the story takes place.

Has The Passage turned you off from other books in this genre?

No, it was just a bad example.

Which scene was your favorite?

Can't really name one.

What character would you cut from The Passage?

Peter. He starts out as a loser and supposedly transforms and gains confidence, but acts just the same through the whole book and never become likeable.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Sandra L. Jacob
  • 2010-11-14

Rambling and depressing

Well, this guy can write, there's no question of that. But the story itself is depressing, winding, gory, disjointed. A dystopian world after a government experiment gone wrong that creates vampires while trying to discover immortality. Bah. And he never calls them vampires -- they are 'fliers', 'viral's, weird blood thirsty things, all born from the original 12 subjects who were culled from death row for gruesome murders. One small girl is given the virus, and she is the only thing that can stop them. Hmmm.

17 people found this helpful

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  • BRUCE
  • 2013-01-27

This book is terrible!

I have listened to hundreds of Audible books. Before that I listened to hundreds of tapes from the public library and Books on Tape. This is one of the worst. Scott Brick was great, as usual. The first part of the book is reasonably interesting, but the rest is disjointed and increasingly boring. It is like the author had two or three partially written vampire books, and he just jammed them together with minimal connections. I'm with the prior reviewer who wanted to scream with frustration.

25 people found this helpful

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  • Roman
  • 2012-08-23

Another post apocalyptic disappointment

What disappointed you about The Passage?

Despite the typically brilliant performance (reading) of Scott Brick, this book was a major disapointment. I had hoped that old age would make me more discerning, but it seems to have made me more stubborn, as I stayed with this interminable tale way too long. Speaking of "long," there are way too many extraneous and irrelevant narratives in this book. Based upon some of the more positive reviews, I had hoped for something approaching The Stand---maybe too high an expectation----or Swan Song, but alas, it didn't come close.

16 people found this helpful

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  • M.W.
  • 2012-11-15

Exceedingly Long and Tedious

If ever there were a candidate for an abridged version, surely this is it. I cannot believe that I got this book based upon the strength of the reviews. I am in the process of "unfollowing" any of the reviewers that raved about this one.

Where to start? Like other reviewers, I think the beginning of the book was the most interesting, then it fell off a cliff. I don't think it was well written. I mean, really, at one point the author must have filled an entire page with the phrase "who am I?" Then later, filled several pages with names that were probably pulled from a random phone book..."you are Smith" "you are Rodriguez" "You are Patel" and on and on. This was the first time I've ever used the skip ahead button that many times.

Given the abrupt and disjointed ending, I'm sure there is a sequel. I have no intention of wasting any more credits or time on this.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Jenny
  • 2012-11-06

Really weird!

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

If you like Sci Fi and monsters you will like this book

Would you ever listen to anything by Justin Cronin again?

No. Not my thing

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I was disappointed. I got it because I really like Scott Brick. This book was way too "out there" for me!

15 people found this helpful

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  • AzDayton
  • 2011-10-21

Story Okay, Narration Good, Ending SUCKS

I've noticed the last 10-15 years or so, there seems to be a trend of authors leaving their readers dangling at the end. Personally, I don't like that. It ruins an otherwise perfectly good story, and this is no exception. Overall, I enjoyed the story, and the narration was pretty good. And then, when it came time for the wrap-up, the writer decided to end it on a depressing note that completely failed to wrap up the story in any meaningful way. It's about as satisfying as the much maligned, "and then the little boy woke up" ending.

23 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lily
  • 2019-03-11

A masterpiece

I started my audible membership with this book and it made me want to hear more.
The narrator is just great and the story thrilling. It’s a real roller coaster !

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  • ChiCan
  • 2016-12-13

A road trip like no other

Captivating while not completely original, a book that is difficult to put down. Not for those unwilling to stay the course.