The Passage is a novel by Justin Cronin, published in 2010 by Ballantine Books a division of Random House, Inc., New York. The Passage debuted at #3 on the New York Times hardcover fiction best seller list, and remained on the list 7 additional weeks. It is the first novel of a planned trilogy; The Twelve and The City of Mirrors are due to be released in 2012 and in 2014, respectively.
The Passage begins in the near future and details an apocalyptic and, later, post-apocalyptic world that is overrun by vampire-like beings that are infected by a highly contagious virus. What begins as a project to develop a new immunity-boosting drug based on a virus carried by an unnamed species of bat in South America eventually becomes the virus that transforms the world. The novel begins in 2018 and spans more than ninety years as colonies of humans attempt to live in a world filled with superhuman creatures who are continually on the hunt for fresh blood.
Cronin first began developing his ideas for The Passage in 2006 when his daughter asked him to write a book about a "girl who saves the world." He set out to write a book that combined elements of multiple genres, most predominantly horror, science fiction, and fantasy. Cronin wanted his vampiric creatures to seem like real-world organisms that might have inspired the vampire stories he knew from his childhood and the vampire-like creatures found in the folklore or numerous cultures. Cronin described writing the book as feeling "natural", and having come "very quickly". Cronin said that the title is a reference to the characters' journeys, and the journey "from life to death". Cronin said that many of the places featured in the novel were selected because they were places he had lived, and that he decided to "travel every mile my characters did, in order to capture not only the details of place, but the feeling of place."