Ancestor: “The ancestors are out there…you have to believe me.”
From acclaimed author Scott Sigler—New York Times bestselling creator of Infected and Contagious—comes a tale of genetic experimentation’s worst nightmare come true.
Every five minutes, a transplant candidate dies while waiting for a heart, a liver, a kidney. Imagine a technology that could provide those life-saving transplant organs for a nominal fee … and imagine what a company would do to get a monopoly on that technology.
On a remote island in the Canadian Arctic, PJ Colding leads a group of geneticists who have discovered this holy grail of medicine. By reverse-engineering the genomes of thousands of mammals, Colding’s team has dialed back the evolutionary clock to re-create humankind’s common ancestor. The method? Illegal. The result? A computer-engineered living creature, an animal whose organs can be implanted in any person, and with no chance of transplant rejection.
There’s just one problem: these ancestors are not the docile herd animals that Colding’s team envisioned. Instead, Colding’s work has given birth to something big, something evil.
With these killer creatures on the prowl, Colding and the woman he loves must fight to survive — even as government agents close in to shut the project down, and the deep-pocketed company backing this research proves to have its own cold-blooded agenda.
As the creators become the prey in the ultimate battle for survival, Scott Sigler takes readers on the ultimate thrill-ride—and offers a chilling cautionary account of what can happen when hubris, greed, and madness drive scientific experimentation past the brink of reason. – Goodreads
It feels like it had been a while since I’d read a genetic experiment / monster book. So, needless to say, I was very happy to get my hands on Ancestor. It provided a refreshing change to my reading schedule. It’s not a breathtaking book by any means, but it is an enjoyable one. I found myself staying up about an hour later than I should have to finish it. In the notes in the back of the book, Sigler credits an earlier version of this story with being one of those stories that helped propel him to his current status. I can see why, but at the same time, it’s not nearly as good as it could be.
Sigler has proven in his other works that he can deliver unique, imagination-engaging works of fiction that can surprise you or send shivers down your spine. That is not the case with this story. Instead, Ancestor is a fairly generic story of genetic experimentation gone wrong. Most of the book is lead-up to what you’re really wanting to experience. It could have been about a 1/3rd shorter and been just as good. It feels like a good chunk of it was filler for the re-vamped version.
Probably the most interesting thing for me had nothing to do with the monsters at all. Instead I was fascinated by Jian, a scientist, and the lengths that people went to keep her working. She’s the classic case of a brilliant mind hampered by mental and emotional disturbances. How people interact with her is fascinating to think about. I felt extremely sorry for her.
In terms of the monsters – well, they were actually scarier in utero than they were once they were born. Once they were born, they were fairly unmemorable. But in utero? Man, some of those scenes will send shivers down your spine! I have to say, I did like the reveal behind their creation at the very end. It wasn’t what I was expecting, and it wasn’t what I wanted. It was, however, interesting enough to make me go “Hm, I can see that.”
Overall, whilst engaging enough to keep you up to finish it, it wasn’t anything spectacular or worth recommending to any of your friends. Sigler’s other works are definitely better. Still, if you see it for a couple bucks at the local bookstore, it wouldn’t be a total disappointment. The paperback cover alone is worth it. So cheesy and awesome. Also available on Amazon if you prefer to do your shopping online.