In his internationally bestselling and critically acclaimed novel The Passage, Justin Cronin constructed an unforgettable world transformed by a government experiment gone horribly wrong. Now the scope widens and the intensity deepens as the epic story surges forward with . . .
In the present day, as the man-made apocalypse unfolds, three strangers navigate the chaos. Lila, a doctor and an expectant mother, is so shattered by the spread of violence and infection that she continues to plan for her child’s arrival even as society dissolves around her. Kittridge, known to the world as “Last Stand in Denver,” has been forced to flee his stronghold and is now on the road, dodging the infected, armed but alone and well aware that a tank of gas will get him only so far. April is a teenager fighting to guide her little brother safely through a landscape of death and ruin. These three will learn that they have not been fully abandoned—and that in connection lies hope, even on the darkest of nights.
One hundred years in the future, Amy and the others fight on for humankind’s salvation . . . unaware that the rules have changed. The enemy has evolved, and a dark new order has arisen with a vision of the future infinitely more horrifying than man’s extinction. If the Twelve are to fall, one of those united to vanquish them will have to pay the ultimate price.
A heart-stopping thriller rendered with masterful literary skill, The Twelve is a grand and gripping tale of sacrifice and survival.
About Justin Cronin
Justin Cronin is the author of The Passage, Mary and O’Neil (which won the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Stephen Crane Prize), and The Summer Guest. A Distinguished Faculty Fellow at Rice University, he divides his time between Houston, Texas, and Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
The good citizens of Texas might like nothing better than to calve off into a republic and go to war with someone with their very own army and navy, but you wouldn’t want to wish the weird near-future world of Cronin’s latest on anyone, even if it means that Rick Perry is no longer governor. Readers of The Passage will recall that weird things have happened to humankind thanks to—sigh—a sort-of-zombie-inducing virus unleashed by, yes, sort-of-mad-scientists who were trying to create supersoldiers out of ordinary GIs. You may be forgiven for thinking of The Dirty Dozen at that point in the plot, but the “virals” in question are far badder than Telly Savalas and John Cassavetes. Enter Amy Harper Bellafonte, known Eastwood-esquely as The Girl from Nowhere, whose job it is to save humankind from its own dark devices. Amy’s chief butt-kicking sidekick is a virally compromised cutie named Alicia Donadio, “scout sniper of the Expeditionary,” who has a weirdly telepathic way of communicating with the baddies. The tale that ensues is pretty generic, in the sense that the zombie/virus/sword-and-sorcery genres allow only so much variation from convention; if you’ve seen the old Showtime series Jeremiah, then you’ll have a good chunk of the plot down. Cronin serves up a largely predictable high-concept blend of The Alamo and The Andromeda Strain, but his yarn has many virtues: It’s very well-paced. It’s not very pleasant (“A strong smell of urine tanged in her nostrils, coating the membranes of her mouth and throat”), but it’s very well-written, far more so than most apocalypse novels, and that excuses any number of sins. And it’s always a pleasure to see strong women go storming around as the new sheriffs in town in a world gone bad, even if they’re sometimes compelled to drink blood to get their work done. – Kirkus Reviews
Justin Cronin’s ‘The Twelve’: Bloodless sequel to best-selling ‘Passage’
The Washington Post Book Review – October 9, 2012 (Excerpt)
In 2010, just when we’d all had enough of Bowflex vampires, the Count got a desperately needed transfusion from an unlikely donor: An English professor at Rice University named Justin Cronin had been patiently digging in the graveyard of literary fiction for 20 years. He’d graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He’d received nice reviews and won a PEN/Hemingway Award and a Whiting Award — prizes that can drive dozens of people to buy your books. . . .
But then his 9-year-old daughter suggested he write about a girl who saves humanity from destruction, and the undead swooped in with a multimillion-dollar book-and-movie deal.
“The Passage,” Book 1 of Cronin’s vampire apocalypse, was the scariest, most entertaining novel I’d read in a long time. The story described a government experiment that accidentally unleashes a dozen rapacious vampires who kill or enlist almost everyone in the United States, toppling the government, destroying the economy and leaving the country with just a few isolated pockets of terrified survivors struggling to keep the lights on. Somehow, the author of such quiet, tender stories as “Mary and O’Neil” had a facility with suspense and terror that could make you check the locks (twice), mix up a garlic smoothie and rush through pages till long past midnight. Here were the necrotic limbs of classic horror and biomedical thrillers zapped back to life by a writer of engaging characters, transporting scenes and elegantly creepy language.
Now, finally, comes the long-awaited second volume, and as much as it pains me to say it, “The Twelve” bites. [Read the full article...]
‘The Twelve,’ by Justin Cronin
The San Francisco Chronicle Book Review – October 22, 2012 (Excerpt)
When Justin Cronin published “The Passage” in 2010, it felt as if he were raising the bar on the current trend for all things vampire. In his novel, the vampires didn’t merely nibble on a human or two, looking sexy without their shirts on; his man-made “virals” were a new vampire breed – crossing the creepy exoskeleton and superhuman power of the beasts from “Aliens” with the dining habits of Dracula. They brought about the end of civilization, leaving the remaining humans to scrabble about in a postapocalyptic agrarian landscape, battling the undead with crossbows and gumption. His vision of a vampire-plagued America was sweeping in scope, intelligently written and devastatingly haunting.
“The Twelve,” the much-anticipated second book of Cronin’s trilogy, does not take up where the previous book left off – 92 years after the plague began, with a straggling group of survivors embarking on a quest to kill the original 12 virals – though it does get back there eventually. Instead, it rewinds back to the first days of the plague and introduces us to a mostly new group of characters, including a PTSD-riddled doctor named Lila Kyle, the pedophile janitor Lawrence Grey and an amputee Marine named Kittridge. Through their eyes, we witness the war between viral and human up close – Army bombs whistling overhead – before abandoning most of these characters entirely and jumping ahead to 97 A.V., where those survivors from “The Passage” are now scattered across a settlement in Kerrville, Texas. [Read the full article...]
It’s Spreading - ‘The Twelve,’ by Justin Cronin
The New York Times Book Review – October 26, 2012 (Excerpt)
These are confusing times to be a vampire. In the early days, things were clearer: you were a filthy, exsanguinated revenant, doomed to wander graveyards after dark, feeding on the blood of living humans (often children), sleeping in coffins, biting necks and hiding your face from sunlight, mirrors and God. You were a rat whisperer. One step up from a zombie. You were neither rich nor sexy. You did not sparkle.
But then the Romantics discovered you, and you went from being an underground word-of-mouth legend to a supernatural star of page, stage, screen and cereal box. The newly industrialized culture was mesmerized by you. No longer a mere monster, you ascended to metaphor.
But transformation is as much a staple of the genre as bats and bloodsucking. Every new vampire story absorbs and reconfigures the tradition, as Justin Cronin aptly demonstrates in “The Twelve” — the second installment to a vampire trilogy that began in 2010 with Cronin’s blockbuster novel “The Passage.” If that book was a bit twee at times, it was also smart, well crafted and entertaining. Fans will be happy to learn that “The Twelve” delivers much of the same vitality and vision. Like its predecessor, it is a strange new creature for the 21st century: the literary superthriller, driven at once by character and plot. [Read the full article...]
Vampires’ Second Coming - ‘The Twelve’ by Justin Cronin
The New York Times Book Review – November 1, 2012 (Excerpt)
For a best-selling book that spanned a thousand years, demolished human civilization, unleashed marauding, virus-infected vampires on much of America and turned a sweet little girl named Amy into an unlikely superhero, Justin Cronin’s “Passage” made a remarkably weak impression. It had insufferable pretensions. It was both overwritten and overrated. It sprawled all over the post-apocalyptic map as a horror story, western, father-daughter tear-jerker and paramilitary action-adventure. And its timing was terrible. When “The Passage” arrived in 2010, the market for splashy vampire tales was already drenched in blood.
Did anyone’s heart leap at the thought of a sequel? Or two? The second installment in Mr. Cronin’s trilogy is “The Twelve,” and it will spoil nothing to reveal that this book is strictly a gap filler. It moves from the steaming wreckage left by “The Passage” to a battle cry for the third installment: “You bastard. Here I come.” [Read the full article...]
We are the only country that makes guns, including military-style assault weapons, available to anyone who wants to buy them. This is not freedom. It is a tyranny of death and destruction — a tyranny of which the National Rifle Association is proud. The Washington Post
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