Justin Cronin created a stir in 2010 with The Passage, a literary thriller that spans nearly 100 years in setting the story of a vampire apocalypse, the result of a military experiment gone terribly wrong. Many readers have been waiting impatiently for the second book in the series, and now The Twelve continues the story with a handful of survivors introduced in the first book meeting an intriguing cast of new characters.
As in The Passage, Cronin deftly moves between timelines. At time zero, readers follow three dominant characters who must cope with the evolving viral epidemic and its horrifying consequences of death, despair and ultimately slavery. Then, about a hundred years in the future, Cronin picks up the story of Amy, Peter, Alicia and others from The Passage as they come together with new leaders of the post-apocalyptic revolution to take down the original vampires in a dramatic climax.
Cronin fulfills the hope of many fans by living up to the intricately plotted, character-driven story of The Passage. Though The Twelve leaves the reader with a satisfying ending, one can't help wondering how he'll conclude the epic tale in the final volume of the trilogy. If you haven't yet read The Passage, then you need to get started immediately; you'll have time to catch up before the third book's arrival in 2014. --Roni K. Devlin, owner, Literary Life Bookstore