Monday, 19 March 2012
The Passage by Justin Cronin
The story starts with a little girl named Amy, born to a mother who loves her but isn't in a position to look after her. So Amy is left in the care of the nuns at the Covent of the Sisters of Mercy. That is until the men from the government come to look for her. From here we go to reading the e-mails of Jonas Lear, a scientist who is part of an expedition to the jungles of Bolivia. the expedition is looking for something (at this stage the reader doesn't know what), and Jonas is concerned about the number of American military personnel who are accompanying the expedition. Something goes wrong and people start falling ill with an unknown disease. The disease finds its way into the general population of the US, and society begins to break down.
This takes up about the first third of the book and then the action leaps forward about 100 years. A small colony of people are living in California. Their whole lives are built around protecting themselves from the virus which has wiped out most of the population. Their small settlement is surrounded by a high wall, and to leave the safety of the wall is a dangerous business. It has to be done sometimes to gather food and to perform maintenance on the electricity generator which provides the settlement with power. The generator is vital because people infected with the virus are very, very sensitive to light, so the lights are kept on at all times. However, unknown to the majority of residents, the generator is wearing out.
The final part of the book involves a trek to try and link up with other outposts of survivors, a brave task as they aren't sure if there is anyone else out there. For all they know they might be the only ones left.
I thought this was a great book and I raced through it. I love stories that are set in the future but have enough of our own world in them to make them recognisable. This was a beautifully realised world, there was nothing that jarred. It seemed entirely possible that in a world where a deadly virus escaped that this could be the result. I've just read on Twitter that the sequel The Twelve will be available in the UK on the 25th October this year. I'm really looking forward to it. This is the trailer for it.