The first part of this hefty novel takes place in the present day, beginning with a scientific expedition uncovering what seems to be vampires in South America. Then it goes to a government agent, Brad Wolgast, who is recruiting death-row prisoners for a secret experiment which has to do with what was discovered down South. However, one of the individuals he's assigned to recruit is a young girl, Amy, and he has a problem with this as it causes emotional flashbacks to when he lost his own daughter several years before. He tries to save her but they are captured and both kept at a secret government facility where the experiments are being held. But while the prisoners all transform into monstrous creatures Amy goes into a sort of coma. Then, the creatures escape and spread this deadly virus which quickly infects the populace. Brad manages to escape with Amy, who is now awake, and they are able to survive for a while.
Then, the story moves forward a hundred years in the future, with a small group of a hundred and fifty people living in an isolated village protected by UV lights. It's sort of like the society in the movie THE VILLAGE. We're introduced to who are going to be the main characters from here on out and learn that the power grid is going to fail very soon, which means the virals (vampires) will attack and slaughter everyone. A group of the townsfolk, while exploring a nearby abandoned town, come across a young teenaged girl who has somehow managed to survive--and she soon shows up in the village. They allow her in, amazed she somehow survived. Yet she is mute and can't tell her tale. This turns out to be Amy, who has aged maybe a decade in the past hundred. She can communicate with the virals but is a very different being. They discover she has a tracking device implanted in her, which eventually leads a search party to the army installation where the original experiments were done. And they gets answers, specifically where the virals come from and what is controlling them. The original prisoners experimented on are basically "The Masters". And they are creepy creatures, too, along the lines of the infected from I AM LEGEND, hairless, strong, and sort of Nosferatu-like. There is lots of action, new revelations about some of the characters, lost loves and new life. And an epic journey with the prerequisite battles.
My only complaint about THE PASSAGE, and it's sort of a big one, is that if I'm reading a book that's nearly 800 pages long I want some type of conclusion of what happens to the main characters. No matter how well it's written I want an honest to gosh ending that sums everything up, not a lead-in to what is obviously going to be another lengthy novel.