The Ferryman: A Novel (Hardcover)
May 2023 Indie Next List
“The Ferryman was such an engrossing speculative fiction! With the flavor of The Giver at the beginning, and something entirely different by the end, Cronin comments on social class, society, and what makes us human. A must read!”
— Danica Ramgoolam, Townie Books, Crested Butte, CO
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Passage comes a riveting standalone novel about a group of survivors on a hidden island utopia—where the truth isn't what it seems.
Founded by the mysterious genius known as the Designer, the archipelago of Prospera lies hidden from the horrors of a deteriorating outside world. In this island paradise, Prospera’s lucky citizens enjoy long, fulfilling lives until the monitors embedded in their forearms, meant to measure their physical health and psychological well-being, fall below 10 percent. Then they retire themselves, embarking on a ferry ride to the island known as the Nursery, where their failing bodies are renewed, their memories are wiped clean, and they are readied to restart life afresh.
Proctor Bennett, of the Department of Social Contracts, has a satisfying career as a ferryman, gently shepherding people through the retirement process—and, when necessary, enforcing it. But all is not well with Proctor. For one thing, he’s been dreaming—which is supposed to be impossible in Prospera. For another, his monitor percentage has begun to drop alarmingly fast. And then comes the day he is summoned to retire his own father, who gives him a disturbing and cryptic message before being wrestled onto the ferry.
Meanwhile, something is stirring. The Support Staff, ordinary men and women who provide the labor to keep Prospera running, have begun to question their place in the social order. Unrest is building, and there are rumors spreading of a resistance group—known as “Arrivalists”—who may be fomenting revolution.
Soon Proctor finds himself questioning everything he once believed, entangled with a much bigger cause than he realized—and on a desperate mission to uncover the truth.
“A mind-bending novel full of big ideas and a roller coaster’s worth of twists and turns—so powerful and thrilling!”—Andy Weir
“Fiction doesn’t get better than this. A transcendent meditation on the human condition, delivered through gorgeous prose, characters who steal your heart, and riveting storytelling that is guaranteed to put the rest of your life on hold until you’ve turned the final page.”—Blake Crouch
“Cronin’s shrewd world-building allows us to have it both ways: We sink into aspirational fantasy even as we relish the author’s sly commentary on a certain species of coastal elite. . . . It’s a careful book with a limited cast, animated by the bonds of parental and romantic love. An undercurrent of grief, organized around a pure, almost unobjectionable family tragedy, forms the book’s emotional core.”—The New York Times Book Review
“An intricate mystery that deals with loss and devastation on levels both personal and global. It’s a love story as well, or rather a catalog of love stories.”—The Boston Globe
“A wondrous epic both brilliant and terrifying . . . As complex as his imagined worlds become, Justin Cronin is always reminding us, masterfully, of the simplest and deepest bonds. The Ferryman, to me, is a novel about love.”—Amanda Eyre Ward
“Complex and brilliant . . . a carefully weaved and detailed world . . . This was not just a novel, but an experience.”—The Fantasy Review
“Unique, spellbinding and utterly thought-provoking. Just when you are convinced that you have anticipated the ending, The Ferryman delivers a heart-wrenching twist, leading you down another road entirely. The Ferryman was non-stop action, all leading to the inevitable conclusion that will stick with you.”—Mystery and Suspense Magazine
“Cronin’s firm command of the plot’s sinuous dynamics, and his creation of believable characters shaped by well-wrought strengths and flaws, make this bold gesture work. The result is a sensational speculative tale that is sure to get people talking.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“It’s a hefty book that moves with an astounding quickness—yet another excellent offering from an author with a boundless imagination and talent to spare. Twisty, thrilling, and beautifully written.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A page-turner that is impossible to put down . . . a profoundly genius culmination of every twisty event and unveiled secret caps off this mind-bending masterpiece. . . .”—Library Journal (starred review)
“A great option for fans of the accessible, compelling, and thought-provoking [science fiction] of authors such as Blake Crouch, Cherie Dimaline, and Neal Stephenson.”—Booklist (starred review)