• The Twelve

  • A Novel
  • By: Justin Cronin
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 26 hrs and 23 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (11,170 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best seller

The end of the world was only the beginning. 

In his internationally best-selling and critically acclaimed novel The Passage, Justin Cronin constructed an unforgettable world transformed by a government experiment gone horribly wrong. Now the scope widens and the intensity deepens as the epic story surges forward.... 

In the present day, as the man-made apocalypse unfolds, three strangers navigate the chaos. Lila, a doctor and an expectant mother, is so shattered by the spread of violence and infection that she continues to plan for her child’s arrival even as society dissolves around her. Kittridge, known to the world as "Last Stand in Denver", has been forced to flee his stronghold and is now on the road, dodging the infected, armed but alone and well aware that a tank of gas will get him only so far. April is a teenager fighting to guide her little brother safely through a landscape of death and ruin. These three will learn that they have not been fully abandoned - and that in connection lies hope, even on the darkest of nights. 

One hundred years in the future, Amy and the others fight on for humankind’s salvation...unaware that the rules have changed. The enemy has evolved, and a dark new order has arisen with a vision of the future infinitely more horrifying than man’s extinction. If the Twelve are to fall, one of those united to vanquish them will have to pay the ultimate price. 

A heart-stopping thriller rendered with masterful literary skill, The Twelve is a grand and gripping tale of sacrifice and survival.

Look for the entire Passage trilogy:

The Passage
The Twelve
The City of Mirrors

Praise for The Twelve  

“[A] literary superthriller.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“An undeniable and compelling epic...a complex narrative of flight and forgiveness, of great suffering and staggering loss, of terrible betrayals and incredible hope.” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

The Twelve is even better than The Passage.” (The Plain Dealer)

“A compulsive read.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Gripping... Cronin [introduces] eerie new elements to his masterful mythology.... Enthralling, emotional and entertaining.” (The San Diego Union-Tribune)

“Fine storytelling.” (Associated Press)

“Cronin is one of those rare authors who works on two different levels, blending elegantly crafted literary fiction with cliff-hanging thrills.” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

©2012 Justin Cronin (P)2012 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

Named one of the Ten Best Novels of the Year by Time and Library Journal, and one of the Best Books of the Year by The Washington Post, Esquire, U.S. News & World Report, NPR/On Point, and St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Magnificent...Cronin has taken his literary gifts, and he has weaponized them.... The Passage can stand proudly next to Stephen King’s apocalyptic masterpiece The Stand, but a closer match would be Cormac McCarthy’s The Road." (Time)

What listeners say about The Twelve

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

TWO IN THIS SERIES IS ENOUGH


I listened to the first of this series "The Passage".This title was fun and fairly well written, but it was a little hard to follow and jumped around a bit. It was a new take on an old idea "vampires", and how they were created by the government to be super human fighters.
The second in this series "The Twelve" is more of the same, except it jumps timeline and from place to place so much that it is very hard to follow. I did like that it gave some more missing details and background. But I don't think it was worthy of an entire second part in this continuing series. It could have easily been edited and added to the first book. This second book seemed forced and predictable. Since it seemed to come to a satisfactory conclusion I will opt out on a third and final in the series.



124 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Expanding The Story In Every Direction

There are very few books that I've waited as long for, or in as much anticipation of. I was a big fan of "The Passage" when it came out, and made a point of reading it again just before the release date of "The Twelve". This turned out to be a much smarter thing to do than I had anticipated, and I encourage anyone that's considering doing so to do it. "The Twelve" takes the surface story we got in "The Passage", and adds depth, breadth, and context to it. One of the main ways Cronin does this is by fleshing out the background and history of the characters; some of which were not major players in the first book.

Readers of "The Passage" know that part-way through, there was a very... unexpected (and for many readers, myself included) unwelcomed turn of events that meant we were not going to continue with many of the characters and plot lines we'd come to care about. I know from other people's reviews that some readers even stopped reading at that point. I made the choice to continue, and was incredibly glad that I did - but it was still a hard pill to swallow at the time.

Now I realize that I should have given more credit to Justin Cronin's grand plan for his trilogy.

The first thing that really struck me as I began was that the quality is just as good as the first novel; the tone, the pacing, and the mood were all consistent and it was great to have Scott Brick back as the narrator. Once the story begins, we are promptly taken BACK to Year Zero. We see what happened to other characters we knew, and get a view of how the country handled the beginning of the crisis. More importantly, we slowly start to understand how these people end up affecting the world of 97 AV. I really enjoyed being able to fill in these holes, and the connections that are artfully woven between the characters in both times.

Time moves fluidly in this novel; transporting us not just to Year Zero and 97 AV, but also too a "mid-way point" of 79 AV, which allows for more background and history of the world and people in 97 AV.

This novel crystallizes what a huge, clear vision the author has for this trilogy. While I hate that it's over, and waiting until 2014 for the final chapter, I thought this book was fantastic and took the level of story-making to the next level, compared to the first book.

Finally, I just want to note that although we visit a few different times to allow for more plot development, I never felt I was being kept from the characters I wanted to spend time with. The book was done so incredibly well, it leaves me at a loss - so all I'll say is 5 stars, and enjoy the adventure.

(The kindle version of this book provides a list of all characters, organized by what year and place they were in, at the very end of the novel. After not having much luck online finding a list to help clarify a few things for myself, I got the Kindle version and just opened up the cloud reader option to open the book. If you choose "Table of Contents" from the books menu, right near the end you'll find an option in bold caps: "Dramatis Personae". If you click on that, it pulls up the characters. For me, this ended up being worthwhile. I have a feeling there are even more character connections than I picked up on yet; and I'm sure more are coming with book 3.)

97 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

'Come To Me, Come To Me, Come To Me..."

Cronin's continuation of The Passage finally pulls us readers left gripping the edge of the cliff, up over the rim and into -- Year Zero: Twelve death row inmates, infected with a man-made virus [known as project Noah] which transformed them into malevolent vampire-like creatures with psychic powers, and an unquenchable thirst for blood, escape and sweep across the land, creating a new apocalyptic world of devastation and terror. Then, with a jump ahead 97 years (5 yrs. after the blow-out ending of The Passage) to finish what was started with Lacey's sacrifice in the first book -- hunting down and exterminating the Twelve (minus bombed-out Babcock - ?!). Yes, Cronin still jumps around in time and requires some rigorous tracking by the reader, but The Twelve stays largely in 97 a.v. and focuses on the hunt for the Twelve, and the new viral run settlement, The (horrific) Homeland -- all in all providing 26 hrs. of transportive, and eerily believable, entertainment.

Cronin's strength in The Passage was creating absolute terror in the struggle to survive, and the nail-biting moments of life or *death/life*; The Twelve continues with the well-thought out story, focusing more on the development and complexities of the characters as they deal with the forces that shape their personalities -- the trauma, and the unrelenting despair of fighting to keep their world from completely ending, and thus an unimaginably darker world from truly beginning. Even fellow humans can't be trusted, and Cronin leads us to look inside ourselves--what are we capable of doing to survive, what is our personal belief system, our level of tolerance before cracking? Cronin capably uses his prolific prose to meld this thriller with psychological drama.

Some major problems with The Twelve, once you've learned the art of break-neck time traveling within this millennium: keeping track of the dozens of characters and their connecting arc with all the plots going on. An index of characters, as well as a data-base, would be a small book itself -- and helpful. Can you remember that Lila, the new *Queen,* is the ex-wife of Wolgast? How about defining: the Twelve, Zero, Dracs, virals, spinners, jumps, smokes, dopeys, red-eyes...*I am Fanning-Morrison-Chavez-Baffles-Turrell-Winston-Sosa-Echolos-Lambright-Martinex-Reinhardt-Carter* -- it can get confusing. There are also several instances where things are just a little tooo convenient, or the facts don't substantiate the events (curtains that have held up perfectly over 100 yrs.?). And at 26 hours, 550 pages...there were times my interest either flagged or was just overwhelmed. Usually these issues would knock off a star for me, but in the shadow of such an epic they boil down to minor issues.

Cronin's world is similar to King's world of The Stand (very similar), del Toro & Hogan's The Strain (the suffocating creepy atmosphere), and McCammon's Swan Song (especially with the ever-budding religious allegory..the Twelve, the biblical verse as a prologue, the bright heaven-like vision, Guilder's pope-ish appearance)...and the length of each one of these tomes...but still is original and enjoyable--in a terrifying way. It will be a long wait for the concluding The City of Mirrors release in 2014, and it will be interesting to see what Ridley Scott does with the movie rights, but with Cronin's vivid literary creation, it might seem like a re-run. It's hard to do this genre right -- but Cronin nailed it. I struggled with the few issues I stated above, but overall was so engaged that I have to highly recommend.


52 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Zero Regrets, Buy this book.

This is a Must Listen. This book is very much worth $45.50 and worth way more than a credit. If you haven't read The Passage buy it, hear it, love it and come back here. Both Novels are wonderfully written and filled with fantastic characters and stories. They are both filled with excitement, some sadness/madness, and a few scoot to the edge of your seat jump up and whoop moments. And when it isn't all tension it's like gravity.

40 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Definitely good but slightly different than Book 1

The Twelve is Book 2 of the the Passage trilogy by Justin Cronin which I read about a year ago. While this book is a continuation of the story, it reads somewhat like a different story. The action is faster and moves from scene to scene and character to character much more swiftly and with much less intimacy than the first installment of the trilogy. The less than intimate treatment of characters makes for a cast of characters we care less about. We seem to spend less time with them and more with the action and that action sometimes seems a bit disjointed and less cohesive than in Book 1.

This is one of the darkest and horror-filled series I’ve ever read. Bram Stoker or H.P. Lovecraft have nothing on this guy. Normally, while I often gravitate to dystopian novels, Cronin’s books, I believe, are in a class by themselves. Horror in many books seems to go on and on in detail and I either have to turn away or stop reading completely. In those it is gratuitous, horror for horror sake and how really nauseated can I make the reader feel. I don’t think Cronin is that type of author. Truly, this book is intense but the horrific scenes are within the context of the whole dystopia and not focused on to the extent of disgust and revulsion. It is the entire landscape, the entire dark and formidable continent of North America that jumps off the pages.

The writing is excellent the narration impeccable if you like Scott Brick and I do. There are passages where Scott Brick seems to talk like Scott Brick and they’re not great but once the characters come in, he disappears and it is only the actors who remain; Scott Brick completely disappears. I felt that way about the first in the trilogy and this one is no different.

The Random House Audio or Audible production (whoever can take credit for it) has its shortcomings. It is another one of those books where scenes sometimes change within a chapter and the way the narrator continues from one scene to the next without any kind of interlude, it can leave the listener confused. Like, where are we? How did we get Here? And, when the text goes between the present and future, it can get downright disconcerting. But that aside, I think the book was done well. I don’t think many who enjoyed the first of the trilogy will be disappointed by its sequel. I would not recommend reading the two out of order.

38 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Hard to follow audio might be a better read

I read The Passage and was engrossed. I bought the audio sequel the day it was released at audible. I had a difficult time following the story line. It jumps from past to future and back like a game of ping pong. If you lose attention for a minute you find yourself entirely confused. In a print version you can flip back to find the time transition. In audio format it's difficult.

Although I love Scott Brick, the story is just too complex with too many characters. I expect the print version would be better format to consume this book. Normally I almost always like audio more than print. After 12 hours of listening I just put aside for a later date. Maybe when I am sitting on a beach with nothing else to do I will pick it up again.

36 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Can I get my money back?

Would you try another book from Justin Cronin and/or Scott Brick?

Scott Brick is the best! He really needs to watch who he lends his voice to. I loved the first book of this trilogy and looked forward to the Twelve....I finally gave up waiting for it to get better by chapter 10. It's like being inside a schizophrenic mind. If you don't believe me read the Washington Post review. Wish I would have read it first.

What could Justin Cronin have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Wrote with some semblance of order.

Which character – as performed by Scott Brick – was your favorite?

None

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Twelve: A Novel?

How about all of it?

34 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Piece of crap

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

6 year olds.

Has The Twelve: A Novel turned you off from other books in this genre?

yes

Would you be willing to try another one of Scott Brick’s performances?

no

What character would you cut from The Twelve: A Novel?

i would cut the book

Any additional comments?

having read and enjoyed The Passage immensely, i was eagerly awaiting to read the twelve. Only when I started, none of the stuff that I enjoyed in the previous book - the apocalyptic atmosphere, the chapters where Amy and Woldgast spend his last days in the cabin, utterly alone, none of it was anywhere to be found.
In fact this book is probably the biggest piece of crap i read in the recent years. A mediocre adventure book, which I at least three times forced myself to read to the end. Avoid it at all costs.

33 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Pointless

This book adds precious little to the story, but manages to do so for twenty six hours.

32 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A Must Read Middle Book In The Passage Trilogy

This is, in a word, tremendous. Why? Here are a couple of very solid reasons...

This is entertaining and thoughtful, and BETTER that the first novel, in my opinion. That makes this a wonderful middle book in any trilogy. A middle book needs to re-capture us, and propel us along to the next and final novel, is such a way that's not rushed nor abbreviated. Cronin does this beautifully. Cronin has GROWN as an author, and it definitely shows here. His style is richer, his descriptions are more robust, and he does both without being excessive. That's what good writing does, and this most definitely IS good writing.

Also, Cronin captures the story with exceptional competency and depth. Cronin has a strong literary handle on the ideology, facts and terminology of the separate stories that he weaves together in this telling of the initial events of the outbreak, and each unique perspective of the main characters in each story within this novel - And that's no mean feat for an author.

Finally, the plots (yes, there are many!), characters and major points of the story are woven together perfectly to make any reader of the Passage satisfied at the turning of the last page in the wonderful middle novel.

Again, I do NOT give plot lines, spoilers, nor even quotes from audiobooks that I love. Remember, self-discovery of great listening is paramount. Any reveals on my part would be unforgivable in this strong writing. But...I will say this:

Don't hesitate on this one. It's a MUST.

30 people found this helpful