Ancestor Scott Sigler

Ancestor

First Published 2007
320 Pages

ISBN-10: 1896944736
ISBN-13: 978-1896944739

Listen To Podcasts of the First Three Chapters
EPISODE #1
EPISODE #2
EPISODE #3
Reviewer
Steve
March 2007

Organ transplants save lives, but unfortunately the demand for organs always exceeds the supply. Businessmen Dante and Magnus Paglione are banking their entire future on providing a solution to this imbalance.

To this end they have assembled a small team of geneticists who have begun a controversial project one to create creatures from an artificial genome by analysing the Ancestor genes present in our DNA sequence, and then using cattle to gestate the creatures. Their theory being that organs harvested from these creatures would be compatible with humans needing organs.

The project though has more obstacles than just overcoming the technical scientific issues of creating a viable clone. For one thing there is the legality issue, one which quickly becomes apparent with the attentions of the CIA.

Then the scientists and their backup team have the problem that the man they are working for is a ruthless killer with Special Forces training. And all this is before you consider the fact that, this being a science fiction novel, something is going to go awry with the creatures they are engineering I don't think I am giving anything away by mentioning that, if nothing went wrong it wouldn't make much of a story.

This is many ways is a book that gives you what you expect to see in a near future sf thriller. There is little of great surprise in these pages. The scientists are all brilliant although somewhat odd. The support team feels familiar - the haunted hero ex-CIA type; the gung-ho annoying ex-grunt soldier; the former Air Force Pilot "Woman-In-A-Man's-World" and her team. The bad guy Magnus is, in many ways, stereotypical and the monsters the scientists create are exactly what you would have imagined.

With these facts you would think that this is a bad book, but it isn't. This is a very tense enjoyable thriller. Yes, the characters read, on first inspection, as a bit "rent-a-cast". Yes the fact that something was going to go wrong with the experiment was so obvious you would have bet your house on it. But the writing is good, the character interactions well written and the science holds together.

When I read the first Scott Sigler novel I thought he had good ideas but needed to bring some light into the book. This time he has refined his style somewhat, and introduced optimism into some of his characters. Another thing that shows the improvement in his prose is the fact that this plot is a little less original. If the author had not improved his craft this could well have been dull.

He writes very quick fiction. What you get in a Sigler novel is action after action after action. He's brought some slight humour into this book as well. As the scientists had given the cows nicknames like Molly McButter, when the creatures emerge he has killing machine called Baby McButter. Nice touch!

Okay this may have a few small faults but I found it a hugely enjoyable book. One method I us to judge a book as good is whether is causes me to lose sleep. This one did, as I always wanted to read just one more chapter.








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Synopsis
On a remote island in Lake Superior, scientists struggle to solve the problem of xenotransplantation -- using animal tissue to replace failing human organs. Funded by the biotech firm Genada, Dr. Claus Rhumkorrf seeks to recreate the ancestor of all mammals.

By getting back to the root of our creation, Rhumkorrf hopes to create an animal with human internal organs. Rhumkorrf discovers the ancestor, but it is not the small, harmless creature he envisions. His genius gives birth to a fast-growing evil that nature eradicated 250 million years ago -- an evil now on the loose, and very, very hungry.