The Twelve

The Twelve - Justin Cronin The Twelve is the second book in the Passage trilogy by Justin Cronin, I bought this when it came out in October 2012 and it’s taken me nearly 12 months to finally start, should have fit this in much earlier.

The story follows several different groups of people, some we’ve met before, some new to the story and is set at 3 separate points in the history of this new world.

The Twelve initially takes us back to the beginning, year zero of the virus to better understand the outbreak and the aftermath of a seemingly unstoppable force running riot across the land. Chaos follows swiftly as various outposts are overrun by the virals and mankind must forge a new life, ever watchful of the night and the horrors within.
The virals or near as damn it vampires are bred as a unit, they move and act within a pod, their orders and their dreams governed by a master, the one who turned them. The conjoined mind is an interesting concept for these virals, and the twelve former death-row inmates who control them but ultimately Zero who we have yet to meet, coerces them all.
The Twelve subjected to the initial viral strain from Tim Fanning aka patient Zero and the names Babcock- Morrison-Chavez-Baffes-Turrell-Winston-Sosa-Echols-Lambright-Martinez-Reinhardt-Carter, somewhat revered, are still in my head now like an olden day rhyme to scare children into behaving.

The time spent in year zero introduced new characters, many fated to die but the story and deep characterization has you completely invested in these people and amazingly some re-surface in the final timeline, the present 97 years later.

The middle timeline is set 79 years after the outbreak where we again meet new characters that encounter the virals, both this and year zero is a taster and introduction to the characters who will all come together, join those introduced in the first novel The Passage and face off for the coup de grâce at the human farm called Homelands.

It really is compelling the sheer depth and scope of the story, the way you can discern remote connections between the characters and the storylines. The descriptive prowess is captivating; you don’t want to skip a word, the land, the towns and the people all contribute to a dread post-apocalyptic atmosphere. The story however for me was somewhat uneven and I didn’t really get into it till half-way through, the back story while interesting was not completely immersive and it was only when everything started to come together that I became fully attentive. Definitely interested to see where it goes from here though, I guess its going to concentrate on patient Zero