At long last, Justin Cronin has delivered book three of The Passage trilogy. It’s called The City of Mirrors. What a thrill it will be to read it! If you don’t know the story, it’s a tale blending vampires and The Walking Dead. Humans battle for survival against vampires created by lab experiments gone awry. The opening pages of volume one are quite chilling, and Cronin handles his many battle scenes with admirable pacing, even if the human side of the story lags a bit in volume two. In a way, I now know what the original audience in England felt like as they awaited volume three of The Lord of the Rings in 1955. There was almost a year between “Frodo was alive, but taken by the enemy,” and the explanation of what happened to him. It’s been longer than that for Cronin’s final book. I shall review the book when I finish reading it.
A final, brief, perhaps pedantic word: neither The Lord of the Rings nor The Passage is really a trilogy, although, in modern usage, we all use the word “trilogy” to describe them. (I just used it in the paragraph above.) What they are is what the British used to call “three-decker novels,” a single, continuous tale, with the same cast of characters, spread out over three volumes. A “trilogy” is, in fiction, a set of three tales, in the same place with at least some of the same characters, but whose plots are different. The story line is not continuous. For example, Lawrence Durrell’s The Alexandra Quartet, or Isaac Asimov’s The Foundation Trilogy. As I say, the distinction is a small one, but it does help us differentiate between a continuous tale and tales that are not.