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-->''"What strange places our lives can carry us to, what dark passages."''

A 2010 horror[=/=]post-apocalyptic novel by Justin Cronin, the first of a planned trilogy. ''The Twelve'' came out in October 2012 and ''The City of Mirrors'' is scheduled to come out in 2014.

The novel concerns a secret government experiment with a virus that makes [[OurVampiresAreDifferent vampires]]. So far, there have been thirteen subjects: the Twelve, inmates on death row convinced to join the program in exchange for not dying, and Zero, one of the scientists that discovered the virus.

Brad Wolgast is an FBI agent assigned to finding and convincing the death row inmates to join the program - until the last subject he needed to find was Amy Harper Bellafonte, a six year old girl.

Wolgast has no choice. He has to turn her over, but as soon as he does something catastrophic happens. The Twelve escape. The virus gets loose.

Though that story is an epic in itself, it is merely the introduction to a larger conflict set decades later, following a young man named Peter Jaxon trying to make sense of himself and the world Wolgast wrought. Disaster befalls his settlement, prompting a journey that takes him across the former North American continent, searching for the truth behind the virus.

A film adaptation of the novel will be directed by Matt Reeves, who previously directed ''LetMeIn'' and ''Film/{{Cloverfield}}''.

The sequel, titled ''The Twelve'', continues Jaxon's story five years later with flashbacks to the time of the viral outbreak covering the story behind Wolgast's ex-wife Lila and the forebears of important characters in Jaxon's time. The threat of the viral progenitors, twelve death-row inmates and one scientist who underwent experimental treatments, looms larger and Peter Jaxon and Amy race to find a true solution to the world-ravaging virus.
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* ZeroPercentApprovalRating: Despite the propaganda spread throughout the Homeland, nobody likes 'Director' Horace Guilder but most are too scared and beaten down to do anything about it. Even his own allies gradually begin to fear and dislike him.
* AbandonedLaboratory: After the outbreak, the Colorado facility becomes this. [[spoiler:Except it isn't fully abandoned: Lacey resides there.]]
* AbusiveParents: More than a few characters have them.
** Babcock's mother put out cigarettes on him, hurt him physically and taunted him verbally; her abuse ultimately drove him to kill her.
** Lawrence Grey endured a series of sexually abusive stepfathers and 'uncles'.
** Tifty Lamont was beaten by his drunken father to the point where bones were broken.
** Horace Guilder's father was emotionally distant and unloving.
* AccidentalMurder: Amy's mother kills a frat boy by accident when he tries to force her into his frat house for a gang-rape.
* AchillesHeel: The virals' only weak spot is right above their breastbone. A knife or bullet anywhere else will just inconvenience them.
* ActionGirl: Alicia Donadio is the most prevalent due to her status as a [[OneManArmy One Woman Army]], but Lore [=DeVeer=] is no pushover and Nina is the second-in-command to the Insurgency. Sara becomes an ActionSurvivor and even Amy gets in on the act.
* ActionSurvivor: If someone isn't instantly killed, they're pretty much forced to become this to survive.
* AdultFear: The series is rife with these: miscarriage, mental illness, the death of your only child, isolationism and terminal illness are all fears which plague the characters (and happen to them).
* AfterTheEnd: The first part ("The Worst Dream of the World") takes place JustBeforeTheEnd, but after that the majority of the book is spent after the fall of America (and likely, the rest of the world).
* AllLoveIsUnrequited: A recurring theme seems to be the pain of unrequited love.
* AlwaysChaoticEvil: The Red-Eyes have all become insane, sadistic and detached from human feelings after so long under the influence of [[spoiler:Grey's]] blood.
* AmbiguouslyBrown: Just about everyone in the Colony, due to the mixing of the races over so many years. Very few people are completely one ethnicity anymore.
* AnachronicOrder: The second book jumps back in time for a good few chapters before leaping forward, and many of the ApocalypticLog excerpts come from an unspecified time.
* AndIMustScream: [[spoiler:Grey is subjected to this.]]
* AndThenJohnWasAZombie: Due to the Virals infecting others with ease.
* AnyoneCanDie: So far, [[spoiler:Cole, Paulson, Sykes, Richards, Doyle, Lear, the Colonel, Arlo, Elton, Mira, Billie, Gus, Caleb, Jude, Vorhees, Babcock, Kittridge, Nelson, Satch Dodd, Ceps, Wilkes, Guilder, Tifty, Wolgast, Martinez and all of the Twelve save for Carter and Zero.]]
* ApeShallNeverKillApe: The Twelve don't fight or hurt each other. [[spoiler:Possibly subverted by Zero, who appears to have manipulated his brothers to die.]]
* ApocalypticLog: A few, in the form of Auntie's books, newspaper clippings, and Dr Jonas Lear's e-mail correspondence. For some parts of the book AfterTheEnd, the POV switches to a diary Sara Fisher is keeping.
* ApocalypseHow: Either a Class 0 or a Class 1. Class 0 if the quarantine was successful, Class 1 if the virus escaped the North American continent. Largely left ambiguous.
* ArcWords: There are a few recurring sayings.
-->''"I am Babcock, One of Twelve."''
-->''"I was called Fanning."''
-->''"They always go home."''
-->''"Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?"''
* ArmiesAreEvil: Played both ways. The army personnel at the Colorado Compound are a mix of sociopathic monsters and jaded suicidal types, but the Army of the Republic of Texas are mostly reasonable nice guys. There are also many examples of soldiers disobeying orders because they have a moral objection, such as those [[spoiler:ordered to bomb civilian sites to stop the virus spreading.]]
* TheAtoner: Several characters are atoning for their past sins, most notably Wolgast, Grey and Carter.
* BadDreams: Several characters have them, due to the Twelve having the ability to influence people through dreams.
* BadassAndChildDuo: Amy and Wolgast, later Amy and Peter.
* BecauseDestinySaysSo: A reason for many of the more jarring plot developments.
* BeneathTheEarth: Where many Virals like to sleep during the day, packed into underground caves.
* BigBad: Overall, Tim Fanning AKA Subject Zero, but there's a seperate BigBad for ''The Passage'' and ''The Twelve''; Giles Babcock and Horace Guilder.
* BodyHorror: The Virals, and [[spoiler:Ignacio.]]
* CeilingCling: A favoured method of the Virals.
* CharacterDevelopment: Quite a few examples, although characters don't always change for the better.
** Theo Jaxon is bitter, jaded and completely disillusioned with life. He later finds more purpose [[spoiler:with the revelation of the world outside the Colony and his new life with Mausami.]]
** Anthony Carter is a passive man of low intelligence who just lets people walk all over him [[spoiler:but he gradually becomes a self-sacrificing and noble man at odds with his own nature.]]
** Horace Guilder was a lonely but well-intentioned man who slowly turns into a monster.
** Amy is just a little girl who's shy and near-mute, but ultimately takes a stronger leadership role and forms strong bonds with the Colony Apostles.
** Sykes begins as a WellIntentionedExtremist but becomes disillusioned and self-loathing as Project Noah progresses.
* AChildShallLeadThem
* ClassicalMovieVampire: The characters sort of poke fun at this when they join in when the Army soldiers have a viewing of the Bela Lugosi ''Dracula''.
* CreepyChild: Amy, for a short while.
* CreepyLongFingers: The Virals' fingers grow and extend into long, thin claws.
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: Many characters end up being ripped apart by Virals.
* DeadGuyJunior: Mausami's baby is named after [[spoiler:Caleb.]]
* DecoyProtagonist: The book has numerous POV characters, but the ones who gain initial focus are Brad Wolgast and Lacey the nun in ''The Passage'', and Lawrence Grey and Lila in ''The Twelve''. All of them are major supporting characters, but Peter Jaxon and Amy are the ones who the story revolve around and have the most significant page-time. Interestingly, in both books, Peter is the last character to be introduced, but arguably the main protagonist.
* DeadpanSnarker: Several characters, most notably Michael, Lore, Nelson and Richards.
* DividedStatesOfAmerica: During the initial cataclysm, both California and Texas break off from the Union, causing minor civil wars. [[spoiler:The latter survives so well that 100 years later it is beginning to perform sweep-and-clear operations.]]
* DoomedHometown: The Colony where Peter was born.
* {{Doorstopper}}
* DrivenToSuicide / PsychicAssistedSuicide: How Babcock wipes out so much of the Colony.
* DyingAsYourself: Many characters adopt this attitude in the event they're infected, such as [[spoiler:Corporal Muncey]].
* EmergencyTransformation: [[spoiler:Alicia and later, Amy.]]
* TheEpic: A huge amount of viewpoint characters cover the story from all sides across decades and spanning the entire continent.
* ExpectingSomeoneTaller: When [[spoiler:Lacey]] first meets Peter, she thought he'd be taller.
* EvilFormerFriend: Richards and Skykes discuss this in relation to Fanning and Lear.
* EvilIsPetty: Many of the Homeland characters.
* FightingFromTheInside: When [[spoiler:Theo is imprisoned at Haven]] he does his best to resist Babcock's dream.
* FiveManBand:
** TheHero: Peter Jaxon
** TheLancer: Alicia Donadio
** TheSmartGuy: Michael Fisher
** TheBigGuy: Hollis Wilson
** TheChick: Mausami Patal
** TheSixthRanger: Amy
** TheMedic: Sara Fisher
* FriendlyNeighborhoodVampires: [[spoiler:Lacey, Alicia, Carter and Wolgast.]]
* FromBadToWorse: The US of 2018 is already a WorldHalfEmpty due to a terrorist massacre in the Mall of America and the reaction to it, showing definite fascist tendencies. Then the virus hits.
* GoneHorriblyWrong: Who'd have thought that [[spoiler:giving convicted murderers superhuman powers]] would be a bad idea?
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler:Sister Lacey sets off a small nuclear bomb to kill Babcock and herself. Grey and Lila later do something similar to stop Guilder, while at the same time Wolgast suicide-bombs the Master Virals.]]
* HiveMind: Each of the Twelve controls all the vampires he created or that those vampires created.
* TheHorde: It's rare to see a lone Viral, and they usually travel in packs of three but there are plenty of terrifying examples of thousands of Virals getting together for an unstoppable attack.
* HorrorHunger: What guides and curses the Virals.
* HospitalHottie: Sara Fisher.
* HowWeGotHere: Chapter 19 starts with Peter on the wall and then jumps back in time for several chapters.
* IconOfRebellion: SERGIO LIVES.
* JustThinkOfThePotential: Project Noah was built on this idea. Only in retrospect does anyone realize just how horribly doomed the project was to begin with.
* KillItWithFire: A method of destroying Virals.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters
* LongLived: In the beginning of the book, Amy is six years old. Almost a hundred years later, they characters say that she looks fourteen. The first lines of the book call her "The Girl who Lived A Thousand Years."
* MeaningfulName: [[spoiler:Jude (Judas) of the Haven colony works to provide the viral Babcock four cows and two fellow humans to be eaten each month, effectively betraying the human race to ensure his own survival.]]
* MercyKill: Many prefer to be killed than change into Virals.
* MoreTeethThanTheOsmondFamily: The Virals have mouths filled with needle-like teeth. The Twelve seem to lose their teeth and grow more with some frequency.
* MysteriousProtector: Theo and Maus seem to have a protector whose identity is as yet unclear.
* NonhumansLackAttributes: Part of the transformation to Viral causes the genitals to...'smooth out' or otherwise become useless. This even happens to [[spoiler:Guilder and the Red Eyes.]]
* MoreThanMindControl: Fanning and Babcock's long and subtle process of influencing the minds of humans, involving showing the victims [[FakeMemories their own memories]].
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: It's mentioned that Jenna Bush is Governor of Texas.
* NotQuiteDead: Various characters who seem to be dead later turn up alive, such as [[spoiler:Jude, Theo and Sara.]]
* NotUsingTheZWord: Played with. In the beginning, "vampire" is used to deride the project with the virus. After the virus is let loose, people come up with various names for them - virals, smokes, jumpers - but they all admit that they are vampires.
** The point is underlined when, in the future, most viral hunters and soldiers refer to ''Dracula'' as an excellent introduction to the basics of defense against jumpers because the weaknesses detailed happen to be surprisingly accurate. Presumably, in the universe of the books, the story of Dracula was influenced by ancient reports of infected virals.
* OurVampiresAreDifferent: They have a mental link with each other and with the Twelve. Each of the Twelve may control a large portion of the vampires they created - Babcock controlled the Many [[spoiler:and when he died, Amy helped them to die too]]. They are very tough due to the virus changing their skin into a "protein-based exoskeleton" that is stronger than Kevlar.
* PoliceState: The 'present-day' USA has adopted increasingly fascist, Big Brother policies.
* PosthumousCharacter: Mark Cole, who only appears in email correspondence and flashbacks.
* PublicExecution: Guilder has a fondness for doing this to his enemies. [[spoiler:Amy uses this to her advantage.]]
* PuttingOnTheReich: The Homeland is a dictatorship heavy with propaganda.
* TheQuisling: [[spoiler:The Haven and the Homeland are filled with both.]]
* RapidAging: [[spoiler:How Guilder and the rest of the Homeland's Red Eyes die following the death of Lawrence Grey, the "source" of their immortality.]]
* ReallySevenHundredYearsOld: Every character who's taken some of the virus.
* ReluctantMadScientist: Dr. Jonas Lear, who wanted to solve the mystery of death. He quickly becomes disillusioned and broken.
* ScavengerWorld: Everything has pretty much just been left to rot. Vorhees even has a theory that other countries probably tried to take advantage of America's collapse to get their hands on gold deposits and valuable nuclear weapons. Chances are, they brought the Virus back to their countries with them.
* SealedEvilInACan: The Twelve Virals, at first.
* SomeoneToRememberHimBy: Theo and Mausami name their child [[spoiler:Caleb.]]
* SpiderSense: The Twelve can sense each other. Babcock also seems a little concerned when he begins to sense Amy coming.
* StepfordSmiler: There's certainly something 'off' about the residents of Haven.
* SuperHumanTrafficking: The U.S. government experiments on human test subjects and plans to use the result as a weapon against its enemies.
* SurvivalHorror
* SuspiciouslyStealthyPredator: For every one Viral you see, there are usually two you don't.
* ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill: [[spoiler:Jude, who gets shot in the face, survives and then gets two clips emptied into him before finally expiring.]]
* TimeSkip: The narrative of both books begins TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture, before skipping forward nearly a hundred years. There's also a time skip of a few years between the books.
* TookALevelInBadass: Many characters have to. The ones that don't, die. Special mention to Michael, who goes from a skinny, pale tech guy to a tanned, muscular, sex-havin' 'oiler' and GeniusBruiser.
* TortureTechnician: The Homeland's very own Sod is a nasty piece of work.
* TownWithADarkSecret: The Haven. Later, Voorhees recalls a similar settlement.
* TrackingChip: Amy and the Twelve Virals have these.
* TraintopBattle: Most of it takes place in the train, but there are still some segments on top.
* TragicMonster: The Virals themselves are very tragic; they're not mindless beasts, but more scared animals who just happen to be hungry all the time.
* TrueCompanions: The First Colony Apostles.
* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture: The book begins in 2018.
* UnusualEuphemism: 'Took the trip' for suicide, and 'taken up' for infected.
* [[ZombieApocalypse Vampire Apocalypse]]: We see part of it during "The Year of Zero" and during Auntie's journals.
* VegetarianVampire: Amy and later [[spoiler:Lacey and Alicia]] are infected with the "final" stage of the virus, which means they have no bloodlust.
* VerticalKidnapping: The Virals under Babcock's control tend to do this.
* TheVirus: A literal virus, too.
* UsedFuture: Comes with the post-apocalyptic world the characters live in.
* TheWarOnTerror: A terrorist attack on the Mall of America results in the United States adopting a number of fascist tendencies, including military checkpoints at state borders and an expanded form of the Patriot Act.
* WeakenedByTheLight: Most vampires can't stand sunlight, though some can tolerate it (both Amy and [[spoiler:Alicia later]] can travel during the day).
* WellIntentionedExtremist: Many of the characters involved with Project Noah, such as Lear and Sykes. Lear is still grieving for his dead wife and wants to stop death and Sykes wants to improve the military to protect his country. They both gradually realize they're being used by the higher-ups for more sinister purposes and there won't be a happy ending.
* WillTheyOrWontThey: Peter and Alicia, Hollis and Sara [[spoiler:who do]].
* WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds: There's several in such a bleak setting with superpower-granting viruses spilling here and there.
** Lawrence Grey is a paedophile who [[spoiler:gains incredible powers and ends up indirectly allowing the Homeland to exist by keeping Guilder alive. He was also mercilessly abused by a variety of father figures after his real father killed himself. Grey found the body. He's also kept a prisoner for almost 100 years, immobile and frequently humiliated.]]
** Horace Guilder, the BigBad of The Twelve, had an emotionally abusive father and was loved by nobody, while slowly dying of Lou Gehrig's Disease.
** Giles Babcock, the Viral who kills millions was horribly abused by his mother and sentenced to death despite clearly being too insane to be deemed responsible for his own actions.
* WouldHurtAChild: Guilder and the Virals. The Virals at least have an excuse, due to their HorrorHunger and the fact that most of them are mindless beasts. Guilder and his men are just murderous bastards.
* AWorldHalfFull: Due to the whole vampire virus thing that went on for a bit.
* YouAreInCommand: [[spoiler:Greer is promoted following the death of his commanding officer Vorhees in the field.]]
* YouHaveFailedMe: Guilder tends to do this to his subordinates.
* ZergRush: How the Virals tend to attack, particularly during the initial outbreak.
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