I knew next to nothing about this book before going in to it except that the basic description seemed pretty interesting. It sounded like a school for Ferrymen … those who help the recently departed cross over from life to the after-life. The book was so much more than that and both more and less than I was anticipating based on the general description.
Charles Dawson is a Ferryman. In fact, he’s one of the best that there has ever been according to all who work for the Ferryman Institute. He arrives just prior to someone’s death and kindly, gently helps them recognize that they are now deceased and accompanies them to their next destination. He doesn’t know what lies in store for each individual. But he assures them that it will be fine and they trust him. Charles has been doing this for over two centuries when he was recruited to the office by one William Cartwright.
But as good as he is, Charlie doesn’t want to do it any longer. Being present at every person’s demise is taking a mental toll on Charlie. He keeps requesting a transfer out and his requests keep being denied. On his off time he cliff dives … not into water, but off a cliff onto solid rock. Charlie, like all Ferrymen, is immortal – a fact which causes much frustration for the fed-up Ferryman.
But one day, Charlie is given a special assignment: Be a Ferryman or save the girl.
It’s against Institute policy, but since his assignment had an option, Charlie interrupts Alice Spiegal, who is about to kill herself, and convinces her that she has a bright future.
But because it’s against policy, Ferryman Javrouche (who has it in for Charlie anyway) sets out to make matters right by killing Alice and bringing Charlie to Ferryman court.
This book is … wow. It is a humorous fantasy action romance.
Author Colin Gigl moves the story along rapidly and smoothly and he creates some delightful chemistry between Charles and Alice but also between Charles and Javrouche and between Charles and his immediate superior, Melissa.
I totally bought in to the concept behind this book and I absolutely love the characters. Even Javrouche, despite the fact that he goes a little over-board in his pursuit of Charlie. Because I bought in to the concept of the Ferryman Institute, I can’t help but believe that there’s something good in Javrouche all the same.
There are surprises in store for the reader which should delight and add to the enjoyment of the book. This was truly the sort of book that one picks up and really enjoys reading. It’s a perfect vacation book.
I note that the publisher is comparing it to Jasper Fforde and Christopher Moore, but I think that does this book a disservice. I don’t believe this book is primarily interested in providing humor (despite having plenty of it) the way that Fforde and Moore do. This is a story about a guy who’s trapped in a job he hates and manages to find love.
Gigl has set us up for a sequel, but I’m not sure I need (or want that). I liked this story enough. Another volume is likely to be a bit of a downer (given the circumstances) or a laugh-a-minute riot. Neither seems right for these characters and this setting.
Whether or not there’s another volume to come, you should take a chance and read this book.
Looking for a good book? The Ferryman Institute by Colin Gigl is an absolutely delightful read; part romance, part fantasy, part thriller, filled with humor and genuine characters that will feel so real.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Ferryman Institute
author: Colin Gigl
publisher: Gallery Books
paperback, 426 pages