Drums are already beating for Ballantine’s big summer gamble; The Passage by Jason Cronin, due in June. It’s the lead title in the Wall Street Journal‘s 2010 “Books Preview.”
The entire Random House sales and marketing team appears to be behind the book, including the Library Marketing group, who will have ARC’s available at MidWinter (it’s 700 pages; imagine the shipping charges!)
News first broke about the book over two years ago, when Variety reported that Ridley Scott had optioned the film rights for $1.75 million and that rights to it and two other books in a planned trilogy had sold to Ballantine for $3.75 million (the next month, in a NYT story, the book’s editor said that figure was “not correct, but in the ballpark”).
This is quite a change from the author’s previous two titles, which are characterized by the WSJ as “sober, literary fiction, including Mary and O’Neil, a short story collection that won the Pen Hemingway Award.”
What’s The Passage about? Cronin’s agent compares it to both Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Stephen King’s The Stand (with vampires). The WSJ reports that Stephen King himself hails the book ”…as a captivating epic.”
It also has an appealing back story. Cronin’s daughter told him that his books were “kind of boring” and challenged him to write a book about a girl who saves the world.
Looks like her college fund is assured.
Given the number of pages, it’s no surprise that the audio will be abridged:
Random House Audio; $45; 6/1/10; 9780739366509