I only found this book because book three of the trilogy is out. I don't know how I had missed such an epic. The Passage is a saga, a mega story, an adventure, chilling action, science fiction and post apocalyptic and everything else I love about stories. It is in plain language the Bomb!
The story as it says on Cronin's website:
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.
That's a great story that encompasses 93 years of time. A lesser writer would have broken this into a trilogy itself, but instead we are served a whole measure in one book. And this introduction really covers only the first part of the book which is divided into two sections with 11 smaller parts. It involves vampire like creatures that are created in a lab and of course it doesn't end well. In a way it reminds me of World War Z (the book not the movie which was nowhere near as good), although its only commonality is post-apocalypse and some survivor narration.
The plot itself is magnificent - I have the terrible issue of guessing plot twists and turns before they happen and ruining a story for myself. This book however never laid out the trail in a straight line, lovely twists that I never saw coming. It parallels Game of Thrones for me in the way I never knew what would or could happen next.
But the real reason I loved this book is the writing. The beautiful use of metaphor and imagery that was dripped onto my tongue. It was the sweetness that made the story all that more delectable. Here's one:
“The lie had worked so far, but Lacey felt its softness, like a floor of rotten boards beneath her feet.”
And another on grief
“Sara waited a respectful time, knowing there was nothing she could do to ease the woman's pain. Grief was a place, Sara understood, where a person went alone. It was like a room without doors, and what happened in that room, all the anger and the pain you felt, was meant to stay there, nobody's business but yours.”
“Rust, corrosion, wind, rain. The nibbling teeth of mice and the acrid droppings of insects and the devouring jaws of years. The was of nature upon machines, of the planet's chaotic forces upon the works of humankind. The energy that man had pulled from the earth was being inexorably pulled back into it, sucked like water down a drain. Before long, if it hadn't happened already, not a single high-tension pole would be left standing on the earth.
Mankind had built a world that would take a hundred years to die. A century for the last light to go out.”
Be tempted, get the book and read it for yourself. Or do what I did and listen to it on audible.