Dark Inheritance

Dark Inheritance

4.0 6
by W. Michael Gear, Kathleen O'Neal Gear

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After being asked to study Umber, a bonobo chimpanzee, Dr Jim Dutton begins to expect that his primate pupil has been genetically altered and joins forces with Canadian journalist Valerie Radin to uncover the truth.  See more details below


After being asked to study Umber, a bonobo chimpanzee, Dr Jim Dutton begins to expect that his primate pupil has been genetically altered and joins forces with Canadian journalist Valerie Radin to uncover the truth.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal - Library Journal
The Gears tap into some of our primal fears--and today's headlines--with the story of an anthropology professor who has volunteered to raise a chimpanzee in his home. He soon suspects that the amazingly bright chimp has been genetically altered. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Adult/High School-The 21st century meets H. G. Wells's The Island of Doctor Moreau and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein in this latest venture by the Gears. The length may seem daunting, but a few pages should be enough to capture the attention of most scientific-fiction lovers. Anthropologist Dr. Jim Dutton has raised a Bonobo pygmy chimpanzee for the past 12 years alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Brett, as part of a research project for pharmaceutical giant SAC (Smyth-Archer Chemists). As it turns out, Umber not only knows sign language, but she can also read, speak through a computerized voice synthesizer, and write. Even more alarmingly, she ponders God, her soul, and the consequences of actions. Dutton fudges results to SAC for fear of losing the animal to experimentation if her true abilities were known. Worried, he consults an old friend and colleague to determine why Umber seems so mysteriously human, and those inquiries bring the attention of SAC on his family and friends. In their attempt to keep Umber as part of their family, Dutton, Brett, and her estranged mother (a well-known investigative reporter) end up in Africa, battling for their survival against an insane blue-eyed ape and the greedy director willing to kill to preserve the SAC financial empire and the secrecy of the ape project. The action-packed story is fascinating, but its real value is the questions it poses, including: Does one have to be a "human" to be a "person?"-Carol DeAngelo, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Heartfelt story about an ape raised to human intelligence. The Gears are best-known for their earlier archeological novels, usually about the First North Americans (The Visitant, 1999), though this time out they choose a subject that would appeal to the Steven Spielberg, who not only made E.T. but adapted Michael Crichton's dino novels. SAC, a British pharmaceuticals firm, searching for an HIV antivirus, has given apes human antibodies to make them good test subjects. Later developments lead to an amazing leap in intelligence, raising some test anthropoids to hominid status. Umber, a bonobo ape, is raised from birth with anthropology professor Dr. Jim Sutton's daughter Brett, a girl Umber's age. Umber speaks with a Stephen Hawking—like mechanical voice, wonders about God, etc. Then the chimp must be introduced to the wilds of Africa, where the Duttons find SAC far outstripping Umber as a test subject. Once again, first-rate storytelling from this immensely prolific team. Author tour; TV satellite tour

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Product Details

Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
4.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are saying about this

Douglas Preston
A truly fascinating story with all the heart-pounding experiment of Michael Crichton's work.
— (Douglas Preston, bestselling co-author of Riptide and The Ice Limit)

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Dark Inheritance 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
To summarize the book tells the story of an English drug company's project to create genetically enhanced bonobos so that the species will have a better chance of survival and escape extinction. First off the book shows very little originality--at least a third of it, I'd estimate, was taken from Robin Cook's 'Chromosome 6.' Locations, events, and results were all borrowed. The principle difference between them is that Cook's book is much better written, and far more believable. More than half the characters in this story are either disgusting themselves or stupid beyond belief. We have a spoiled, obsessed with sex thirteen year-old girl, a mother who abandoned her daughter, profit driven 'hunters'/ poachers, and a colossal group of idiots pouring money, a good deal of which is obtained illegally, into an impractical, doomed-from-the-start endeavor. The book is a perfect example of unoriginality, filth, and a few other things wrapped into a single package. If you want to buy this book, get it as an exa
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel was hard to put down from the very beginning. You don't find that too often in a book. The characters and story line are very close to being real and possibly happening in our life time. I found Umber to be truly funny at times and then sad. Highly recommended from a long time reader.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was totally caught up in this thrilling story of two very different children who face terror with ingenuity and intelligence. Umber, a genetically altered, bonobo, with her human 'sister' face a variety of challenges that carry them across two continents. Although this is a different sort of story by these two authors, I think it's one of their best. I was totally wrapped up in the story.
harstan More than 1 year ago
After thirteen years of living with Umber the bonobo ape, Jim Dutton feels the primate is part of his family, a sister to his human daughter Brett. Umber communicates with his family through computers and sign language. Over the years, Umber has developed a distinct personality with a sense of humor and a bit of flamboyance.

Two events shatter Jim¿s complacent world. He learns that Umber¿s owners Smyth-Archer Chemists somehow changed and enhanced his ¿child¿ and other bonobo apes into something more human than ape. Worse than accepting that revelation, SAC demands he return Umber to them. Rather than meekly handing Umber over, Jim, accompanied by his two children, travels to Africa where SAC has a facility allegedly helping endangered species. Once Jim realizes the true objective of this remote site, he knows he places himself and his charges in danger from a corporate group that will do anything for silence to prevail.

DARK INHERITANCE is an exciting genetic engineering tale that never eases up on the throttle. The story line is fast-paced and refreshing, especially the scientific and investigative aspects of the plot that is not just anther Moreau rehash. The Duttons are a warm, heroic family who readers will hope that SAC fails in their efforts to break them up. Though SAC¿s vision seems myopic, W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O¿Neal Gear provide a smart, spry splicing of the gene pool story.

Harriet Klausner