Dylan is involved in a deadly train crash in a tunnel in Scotland after she took off to meet the father she has never known. She wakes up and begins to make her way out of the wreckage. Her cell phone doesn’t work, and she has no idea where she is. She thinks she has survived unscathed, but she couldn’t be more mistaken. She is dead and actually in a wasteland that is being created by her own memories, thoughts and fears. She must cross this wasteland to get to her afterlife destination. After she emerges from the tunnel, she meets a teenage boy sitting on a rock. Tristan tells her she is to come with him, and since she has no other choice, she follows him. Gradually she learns that she is dead and that Tristan is her Ferryman. It is his job is to guide Dylan’s soul safely across the treacherous landscape, a journey he has made a thousand times before. Only this time, something’s different. What occurs between Dylan and Tristan is not the usual things that have occurred during crossings.
What happens to us when we die is a question that is ever in our minds. The answers we accept are determined by our understanding of the essence of man–his soul. Our concept of death and the possibility of life after death is the major theme of this book. McFall pulls ideas from several religions and mythologies of the past to explain what is going on in her story. The idea of a ferryman is, of course, taken from the myth of Charon who ferried the dead across the River Styx. Tristan is not the dirty fearful image of Charon. He is able to take on whatever form is needed for the newly dead to willingly agree to go with him on the journey to the next life. In this case, he is a young teen-age boy who is attractive to the girl who has been killed in a train wreck. Is it possible for the dead to love another being? Is it possible for the ferryman to love someone? Is it possible for the dead to return to this world? All these questions McFall answers very satisfactorily for the reader. I highly recommend this novel for teen readers.
I understand that Ferryman (with its sequels,Trespassers and Outcasts) is in development to be a major motion picture.