Check out this article from 2007 in The New York Times for information about the hype--even pre-manuscript completion, not just pre-publication--for Justin Cronin's The Passage (2010).
Yes, that's a reported $3.75 million for the book, plus $1.75 for the movie rights, before he even finished writing the book. And this is only the first of three books in a series.
Add this gushing commentary from none other than Stephen King:
Every so often a novel-reader's novel comes along: an enthralling, entertaining story wedded to simple, supple prose, both informed by tremendous imagination. Summer is the perfect time for such books, and this year readers can enjoy the gift of Justin Cronin's The Passage. Read fifteen pages and you will find yourself captivated; read thirty and you will find yourself taken prisoner and reading late into the night. It has the vividness that only epic works of fantasy and imagination can achieve. What else can I say? This: read this book and the ordinary world disappears.
Why am I sharing all of this? Just to let you know that, just under halfway through reading the 784 pages in only this first book of the series, I may be the only person not feeling the love for Cronin's vampires, viruses, and just plain writing style.
Starting in the not-so-distant, and not-so-improbable in some ways, future, The Passage covers right around ninety years of the downfall of the world as we know it, brought at the hands of the American government and the unleashing of a horrifying experiment. Convicted criminals, people with "no one to miss them," have been turned into vampires--and not the sparkly, romantic type. No, these are the in your worst nightmares kind of vampires, and the destruction they create is epic.
Who appears to be the likely savior (or maybe even the only survivor?) of the new world? A six-year-old named Amy who is also taken because she supposedly has "no one to miss her." (Yes, I managed to walk unaware into reading another book where horrible things are done to a child!!!)
With half of this first book in the trilogy read, I'm already certain I won't be reading the remaining books. I'm not even sure I'm going to finish this first book because the writing drones on, the government people are more terrifying (by far) than the convicted murderers, and there are plenty of other books on my TBR list.
Are you planning to read The Passage? I'm anxious to read others' views.
My overall personal rating, halfway through, of The Passage is a C+.