The Passage by Justin Cronin
The Passage is first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic vampire novels. The novel opens with the story of a friendless girl, Amy, who is taken up by an FBI agent who is to transport her to a secret facility where she will be a test subject. The scientists have been using death row inmates for their experiments on immortality. Something goes horribly wrong, of course, and the former inmates start attacking people. The FBI agent, who has forned a touching relationship with Amy, escapes the facility with her and hides in the wilderness.
The narrative then flashes forward about 90 years, and North America has been overtaken by the creatures. A few humans remain in a small community, and the story follows a few of these as they struggle to survive. They encounter Amy and eventually start to learn about the origins of the creatures and how they can be defeated. By the end of the book, the stage has been set for a war on the vampires that humanity actually has a chance at winning. The fast-paced story nevertheless has plenty of philosophical interludes and attention to language. The main characters are admirable, even heroic, but full of human flaws and failings. One of the most interesting aspects of the book is its explorations of the small societies that get set up after the world has ended. It’s a very long novel, at over 700 pages, but worth the time if you like thrillers and postapocalyptic settings.
The next novel, The Twelve, is on my reading list.