I won't review the plot; others have done that before me quite thoroughly. I will explain my rating. "The Stand" is one of my favorite books of all time, as a great King novel, a great horror novel, a great post-apocalypse novel and great fiction. "The Passage" isn't quite that good, but it's close, which is why I gave it 4.5 stars. It's quite long, but the pages fly by, so don't let that scare you off. And if you're going to order it on PBS.com, you'd better order the sequel (and the threequel, when it's published next year?) at the same time, because you won't want to wait any longer than you have to for the next book in the series.