The Passage was a fun read– sharp prose, engrossing plot, maybe too large a cast of characters. Part 2 of of Justin Cronin’s trilogy will be called The Twelve. Good interview w/ the author over at io9.
Justin Cronin explains his vampires in “The Passage,” and drops spoilers for the next book
If I was going to place these characters in a great deal of jeopardy and send them across the continent, where many would die, I had to earn the right to do that to them. And you earn that by giving them the full dignity of their humanity. Who are you? You live in a town you have friends and connections and associations. [In my book] it’s a medieval town – life is short, brutal and brief. The meaning of having a child isn’t sentimentalized. Marriage is a big question. And yet the arrangement of the community is familial, domestic. I had to do some world building. A lot of time [books like this are] about technology and physical circumstances. Well [my characters] have very little technology and the physical world is simple. So I had to create this social matrix, this lifeboat, which has continued with stability through an apocalypse. These people have found a way to exist socially that’s resilient.
For the most part what’s left are the good people. Unconsciously that was what I was advocating for. In this particular community, which was based on domestic patterns, they survived. I’m holding that up as a virtue. It’s a source of their courage too. You gain your courage via your connection to other people.