The Ferryman: A Novel

Written by:
Justin Cronin

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
May 2023
19 hours 55 minutes
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “Next to impossible to put down . . . exciting, mysterious, and totally satisfying.”—STEPHEN KING
From the 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.


The islands of Prospera lie in a vast ocean, in splendid isolation from the rest of humanity—or whatever remains of it.

Citizens of the main island enjoy privileged lives. They are attended to by support staff who live on a cramped neighboring island, where whispers of revolt are brewing—but for the Prosperans, life is perfection. And when the end of life approaches, they’re sent to a mysterious third island, where their bodies are refreshed, their memories are wiped away, and they return to start life anew.

Proctor Bennett is a ferryman, whose job it is to enforce the retirement process when necessary. He never questions his work, until the day he receives a cryptic message:

“The world is not the world.”

These simple words unlock something he has secretly suspected. They seep into strange dreams of the stars and the sea. They give him the unshakable feeling that someone is trying to tell him something important.

Something no one could possibly imagine, something that could change the fate of humanity itself.
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Elena D.

Proctor, a fortunate resident of Prospera, inhabits one of three islands in a small, isolated archipelago, and isolated from the rest of the decaying world. The main island, named after the archipelago itself, is the home of a privileged part of society, who live fulfilled and comfortable lives until the monitor they all wear in their arm dwindles to below 10%. When this happens, the person in question is taken by the Ferryman to the boat that will take them to the Nursery, the island where they will be rejuvenated and start a new life, to be taken back to Prospera at the age of sixteen, and start a new cycle. There's a third island called the Annex, where the support staff lives, and which is connected to Prospera by a causeway. This idyllic scenario is thrust into chaos for Proctor when he has to retire his own father, who starts to utter nonsensical rambles on the way to the Ferry. It could just be the babble of an old man, but the existence of the Arrivalists--a group of dissenters residing in the Annex--sows seeds of doubt. Their opinions add an unsettling layer to the otherwise serene environment, challenging the status quo of Prospera. This is a mind-bending book that had me hooked from the get-go. In a world where almost everyone wears a smart tracker, it was easy to see the parallelism with a society where a similar device was the deciding factor in retiring a person, especially if that didn't mean the death of the person, but just kind of a new opportunity to start again, similar to the cyclical reincarnation concept seen in certain religion. This made Prosperans' lives relatable, especially on those many mornings when my smart watch alerts me that my battery hasn't charged enough to have an active and productive day. I wouldn't live long lives in Prospera, but at least there would be many. After getting comfortable with how things worked in Prospera, the incident involving Proctor's father stirs things up, signaling to the reader that not everything that glitters is gold. Could there be something sinister about the Nursery? Why was Proctor's father, a prominent man in Prospera's society, so unsettled? If I was already hooked from the start, this was the moment I couldn't stop listening. Even though this is an almost 20-hour book, I stole so many moments to know what came next, that it was over much earlier than anticipated. There's a twist toward the last quarter of the book that completely changes things. It's mentioned in almost every review, so this isn't a spoiler. My only comment is that I would have either added the twist closer to the end or made the part after it shorter. Although a necessary part of the story, the narrative loses some charm after it. I loved both narrators of this book. I found both Scott Brick and Suzanne Elise Freeman very expressive in their narrations. I was confused a couple of times when Scott Brick was doing dialogs, as voices didn't differ much, but he compensated it with great interpretative skills and passion.

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