From internationally bestselling travel writer Will Ferguson, author of Happiness™ and Spanish Fly, comes a novel both epic in its sweep and intimate in its portrayal of human endurance.
A car tumbles through darkness down a snowy ravine.
A woman without a name walks out of a dust storm in sub-Saharan Africa.
And in the seething heat of Lagos City, a criminal cartel scours the Internet, looking for victims.
Lives intersect. Worlds collide. And it all begins with a single email: “Dear Sir, I am the daughter of a Nigerian diplomat, and I need your help…”
Will Ferguson takes readers deep into the labyrinth of lies that is “419,” the world’s most insidious Internet scam.
When Laura Curtis, a lonely editor in a cold northern city, discovers that her father has died because of one such swindle, she sets out to track down—and corner—her father’s killer. It is a dangerous game she’s playing, however, and the stakes are higher than she can ever imagine.
Woven into Laura’s journey is a mysterious woman from the African Sahel with scars etched into her skin and a young man who finds himself caught up in a web of violence and deceit.
And running through it, a dying father’s final words: “You, I love.”
About the author
Travel writer and novelist Will Ferguson is the author of several award-winning memoirs, including Beyond Belfast, about a 560-mile walk across Northern Ireland in the rain; Hitching Rides with Buddha, about an end-to-end journey across Japan by thumb; and most recently the humour collection Canadian Pie, which includes his travels from Yukon to PEI.
Ferguson's novels include Happiness™, a satire set in the world of self-help publishing, and Spanish Fly, a coming-of-age tale of con men and call girls set amid the jazz clubs of the Great Depression. His work, which has been published in more than twenty languages around the world, has been nominated for both an IMPAC Dublin Award and a Commonwealth Writers' Prize, and he is a three-time winner of the Leacock Medal.
- Winner, Scotiabank Giller Prize
“419 is more than a drugstore-rack police procedural: It’s a deeply ironic, thoroughly engaged politico-philosophical thriller from a comic writer best known for winning a trio of Leacock Awards…. you won’t sleep until you finish, and then rest won’t come easily. Riveting. Provocative.” - The Globe and Mail
“A sweeping story with complex twists and turns that spans continents, breaks hearts and ruins lives.” - The Chronicle-Herald (Halifax)
“The story [Ferguson] weaves is heart-wrenching, fascinating, and scary. A thriller with a raw nerve ending…. Ferguson … dazzles us in 419 with an intricately woven, urgent story. It is an unflinching, ambitious work, flinging us back and forth across the Atlantic, and taking us into danger…. It is a persuasive work of fiction based on a very original premise. Ferguson who swings so deftly from humor to thriller is a writer who can genuinely surprise.” - Toronto Star
“Ferguson’s revenge novel will appeal to everyone…. A sprawling but beautiful third novel. It is a mixture of intrigue, storytelling, parenthood, sorrow, vengeance and fun. It reads a little bit like a Ludlum spy saga, a little bit like a Dickens character novel, a little bit like an Oscar-seeking movie…. [Ferguson] designed  as a page-turner. He succeeds fully.” - Winnipeg Free Press
“This book shimmers. Tautly paced and vividly drawn, 419 captures the reader in a net of desire and deceit drawn tight by the interconnections of humanity in the twenty-first century.” - Vincent Lam, Giller Prize-winning author of Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures
“419 is an ambitious, fast-paced global thriller which I found impossible to put down.” - Camilla Gibb, author of Sweetness in the Belly and The Beauty of Humanity Movement
“Will Ferguson’s 419 unveils the brilliant layers of a Nigerian cyberspace sting that brings devastation to an entire family. Ferguson’s characters live by their wits, employing techno-wizardry and the cold ingenuity of the old-fashioned con. Intrigue, coercion, shame, and torqued suspense unfold with harrowing speed and the illuminating elegance of a cyber click.” - Lisa Moore, author of Alligator and February
“Though there is a touch of humour in its pages, 419 is much more of a showcase for Ferguson’s travel-writing talents…. A truly enjoyable book…. Ferguson is a keen observer of landscapes and cityscapes, and has a brilliant ear for dialogue and accent…. you will never see those creative 419 emails in your inbox in quite the same way.” - The Gazette (Montreal)
“A powerful read…. Ferguson is a heavy-weight now.” - NOW Magazine
Other titles by Will Ferguson
Hope that Remains, The
Canadian Survivors of the Rwandan Genocide
The Hope That Remains
Canadian Survivors of the Rwandan Genocide
The Shoe on the Roof
The Look Book
Fall 2017 Sampler
Road Trip Rwanda
A Journey Into the New Heart of Africa
Coal Dust Kisses
A Christmas Memoir