“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.
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.87(d)|
About the Author
SCOTT SIGLER is a popular podcaster and the New York Times bestselling author of Contagious and Infected. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and their dog.
Read an Excerpt
Paul Fischer had always pictured the end of the world being a bit more . . . industrial. Loud machines, cars crashing, people screaming, guns a-blazing. Perhaps a world- breaking bomb shattering the earth into bits. But here in Greenland? Nothing but packed snow, endless rocks, and the towering white vistas of glaciers sitting high on the horizon. No cities burning, no abandoned cars, none of that nonsense. Just a tiny virus, and some pigs.
Paul hopped out of the UH- 60 Black Hawk he li cop ter and onto a snowcovered field lit up by the breaking dawn. A woman in an air force jacket waited for him, fur- lined hood tight around her head to ward off the cold and the stinging wind.
She snapped a salute. “Col o nel Fischer?”
Paul nodded and casually returned the salute.
“Second Lieutenant Laura Burns, Col o nel. General Curry is waiting for you. This way, sir.”
She turned and walked toward three white Quonset huts, their curved roofs blending into the landscape. Two tunnels connected the huts, completing the little human hamster town that had gone up less than twenty four hours earlier. He heard the hum of a diesel generator, saw the curve of two satellite dishes mounted on top of the huts.
Paul followed the girl, their shadows blending together as a long, broken gray shape moving across churned- up white snow. He wanted to get inside, hoped it was heated — these cold temps raised hell with his left knee. Paul absently wondered if the young lieutenant was married, if she was the kind of girl his son would find interesting. He was starting to wonder if the boy would ever settle down and get to the business of making some grandchildren that Paul could spoil rotten.
Overhead, a pair of F-16s shot by, their jet roar echoing off the valley floor. Probably a squadron out of Reykjavík, in to enforce a no- bullshit no- fly zone that had gone up shortly after Novozyme sounded the biohazard alarm.
As he walked, Paul looked out into the shallow valley. Two miles away, he could make out the Novozyme facility: a main building that contained research labs and housing for the staff, a landing strip, light poles, metal guard tower, two small, unblemished sheet- metal barns for the pigs and a head- high electric fence that surrounded the entire compound.
The girl — Second Lieutenant Burns, Paul mentally corrected himself — led him to the middle hut. No airlock. There hadn’t been time to set up a full temporary biohazard center, so the guys at Thule Air Force Base had shipped out the communications and command part of a portable Harvest Falcon setup. Not that it mattered much. Intel was almost positive that the viruses hadn’t escaped the Novozyme facility.
The key word being almost.
Paul opened the door and stepped into the heated interior. General Evan Curry looked up, waved Fischer over to the bank of monitors that covered the rear wall. Several American soldiers sat at consoles in the cramped space. A few ranking Danes stood and watched.
Curry had the permanent scowl and gray- peppered buzz cut of the typical Hollywood general, but he strayed from the script with his five- footfive stature and deep- black skin. The only image that mattered, however, was the shine from his four stars.
“Hello, Paul.” Curry extended his hand for a firm shake. “I’d love to say it’s good to see you again, but this is just as bad as last time. That was . . .what, three years ago?”
“Three years to the day,” Paul said.
“Really? You’ve got a good memory.”
“Kind of a hard thing to forget, sir.”
Curry nodded gravely. People had died under his commands as well. He understood.
The general turned to the Danish brass. “Gentlemen, this is Colonel Paul Fischer of the United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases, or USAMRIID.” Curry pronounced the acronym you-sam-rid. “He’s from the special threats division, and where we go from here is his decision. Any questions?”
The way Curry said the words special threats and any questions made it clear he really didn’t want to hear any questions at all. The Danes just nodded.
Curry turned back to Paul. “I got a call from Murray Longworth. He said you’ve got the ball. I’m here to implement your orders, what ever they may be.”
“Thank you, General,” Paul said, although he wasn’t very thankful at all. If someone else could have been trusted to make these choices, he would have gladly passed the buck. “What are we dealing with?”
Curry simply pointed to the Quonset’s large main monitor.
Paul had somehow expected the images to be fuzzy. In those apocalypse movies, scenes of carnage came with ample amounts of static, flickering lights and sliding doors that randomly open and shut. For some reason, every doomsday vision seemed to be marked by substandard electrical work.
But this wasn’t Hollywood. The lighting was fine, the pictures perfectly clear.
The screen showed the high- angle view from a security camera. A lone man slowly crawled across a laboratory floor. He coughed over and over again, deep and wet, the kind that ties up your diaphragm for far too long, makes you wonder if you might not actually draw in another breath. Each ripping cough kicked out chunks of yellow-pink froth to join the wet bits that coated his chin and stained his white lab coat.
With each crawl, one arm weakly over the next, he let out a little noise, eeaungh. The bottom of the screen read DR. PONS MATAL.
“Oh, Pons,” Paul said. “Goddamit.”
“You knew the guy?”
“A little. I’ve read his research, was on panels with him at a few virology conferences. We had beers once. Brilliant man.”
“He’s going out hard,” Curry said, his jaw rigid and grinding a little as he watched the man. “What’s happening to him?”
Paul knew that answer all too well. He’d seen people die just this way, exactly three years ago. “Doctor Matal’s lungs are filling with mucus and pus, making them stiff. It’s hard for him to draw air. He’s drowning in his own fluids.”
“That’s how he’ll die? Drowning?”
“Could be. If the tissue erosion is bad enough, it can cut into the pulmonary artery. He’ll bleed out.”
“How do we know if that happens?”
“Believe me, you’ll know,” Paul said. “How many survivors?”
“There are none. Doctor Matal there is the last to go. Twenty-seven other staff members at the Novozyme facility. All bodies accounted for.”
Curry nodded to one of the soldiers manning the small consoles. The main monitor stayed on Matal’s futile crawl, while smaller screens flashed a series of still images. It took Paul a second to realize the images weren’t pictures — they were live video, but no one was moving.
Each image showed a prone body. Some had pinkish- yellow stains on their shirts, just like Matal. Others had blood on their mouths and clothes.
A few showed a more apparent cause of death — bullet wounds. Someone, probably Matal, had decided the flu strain was too deadly. That someone had stopped people from leaving the facility whether they showed symptoms or not.
The images made Paul’s stomach pinch — especially images of women. Pink froth covering their mouths, dead eyes staring out. They reminded him of the incident three years ago. Like Pons, Paul had been forced to make a call . . . and Clarissa Colding had died.
Paul took a breath and tried to force the thoughts away. He had a job to do. “General, when was the first confirmed infection?”
“Less than thirty-six hours ago,” Curry said, then checked his watch.“Based on Matal’s notes, he shot seven. Twenty died due to infection.
What ever this bug is, it moves fast.”
An understatement. Paul had never seen an infection move that quickly, kill that quickly. No one had.
“The facility’s contamination control readings are in the green,” Curry said. “Only two ways in, negatively pressurized airlocks and both fully functional. Air purification systems online and A-OK.”
Paul nodded. Negative pressure was key. If there were any breaks in the facility’s walls, doors or windows, fresh air would push in as opposed to contaminated air escaping out. “And you’re sure the entire staff is accounted for?”
Curry nodded. “Novozyme ran a tight ship. The administration helped us locate anyone who wasn’t in the building at the time of lockdown.
They’ve all been quarantined, and none show symptoms thus far. It’s contained.”
On the screen, Matal’s crawling slowed. His breaths came more rapidly, each accompanied by the ragged sound of flapping phlegm. Paul swallowed hard. “Did Doctor Matal make any disease- specific notes for us?”
Curry picked up a clipboard and passed it over. “Matal said it was a new Flu- A variant. Something from the pigs. Zeno zoo nose, I think it was.”
“Xenozoonosis,” Paul said, pronouncing the word slowly as zee- o-zoono-sis.
“That’s it,” Curry said. “Matal said it was worse than the Spanish flu of 1918.”
Paul quickly flipped through the notes. Matal hadn’t had time to properly type the virus, but he’d theorized it was an H5N1 variant or a mutation of H3N1. Paul scanned the lines, dreading what he’d see and wincing when he finally did — Matal’s staff had tried oseltamivir and zananivir, the two antivirals known to weaken swine flu. Neither had done a thing.
“I’m not a scientist, Fischer,” General Curry said. “But I know enough to realize a virus isn’t going to kill everyone. I’m surprised a civilian like Matal would shoot his own people.”
“He saw how fast it spread, had no way to stop it. Matal decided the death of him and his staff was preferable to the potential death of millions.”
“Oh, come on,” Curry said. “I’m not about to go licking that pinkish goo off Matal’s chin or anything, but how bad can it be?”
“The 1918 epidemic killed fifty million people. World population was just two billion people back then. Now it’s almost seven billion. Same killrate today, you’re looking at seventy million dead. No planes back then, General. There weren’t even highways yet. Now you can fly anywhere in the world in less than a day, and people do, all the time.”
“But we just had a swine flu,” Curry said. “That H1N1 thing. That killed, what, a few thousand people? Regular old, standard- issue flu kills a quarter million people a year. So pardon my layman’s approach, Fischer, but I’m not buying into the H1N1 pandemic crap.”
Paul nodded. “H1N1 wouldn’t have killed anyone in the Novozyme facility.
They have medical facilities, doctors, antivirals . . . they knew what they were doing. This isn’t a third- world shit hole, this is a world- class biotech facility. And pandemic is just a term to describe infection over a wide area. The first H1N1 case was reported in Mexico. Just six weeks after that report, it was confirmed in twenty- three countries. It was global. Had that been Matal’s virus, you’d be looking at a seventy- five percent lethality rate across the whole damn world. You know how many people that would kill?”
“Five billion,” Curry said. “Yeah, I can count. Can you believe they actually make you pass math to be a general?”
“Sorry, sir,” Paul said.
Curry watched Matal. The general seemed to chew on imaginary gum for a few seconds before he spoke. “Fischer, you paint a fucking scary picture.”
“Yes sir. That I do.”
Two more chews of imaginary gum, then a pause. “I know what I’d do if I was in your shoes. I’d go all- in. Balls- deep.”
“And if I want to go all- in, General,” Paul said, opting out of the phrase balls-deep. “What are the choices?”
“We’ve got the full cooperation of the Danish government and Greenland’s prime minister. They want this thing wiped out, so they’ll back up what ever story we provide. Thule’s got a Bone online with eight BLU- 96s.”
Paul nodded. A Bone, meaning a B1 bomber. BLU- 96s were twothousand-pound fuel- air explosive bombs. At a predetermined height, the bombs opened and spread atomized fuel that mixed with surrounding air, creating a cloud of highly volatile fuel- air mixture. Once ignited, the temperatures reached around two thousand degrees Fahrenheit, incinerating everything in a one- mile radius — including the viruses and anything they were in, or on.
“General, do we have any other options?”
“Sure,” Curry said. “Two more. We can deploy teams in biohazard gear to examine the place, take the risk of some minor, careless act letting the virus get out, or we can cut our losses and go Detroit on it.”
Paul looked at the general. “A nuke? You’ve got a nuke?”
“Less than a megaton,” Curry said. “But you can kiss everything within a three- mile radius adios. I’ve got evac choppers standing by. We get our people to a safe distance, leave everything here, then light the Christmas tree.”
Curry was serious. A damn nuke. Fischer looked at a monitor that displayed a view just outside the Novozyme facility. It showed the pigs mucking about outside one of the barns. Matal and Novozyme had hoped to turn these pigs into a herd of human organ donors. They had been studying xenotransplantation, the science of taking parts of one animal and putting them into another. Hundreds of biotech companies were pursuing similar lines of research, and each line carried a remote danger. Remote,
but real, as the scene before them so aptly demonstrated.
Ironically, the pigs didn’t look sick at all. They looked as happy as pigs can — eating, digging at the half- frozen, muddy ground, sleeping. Paul felt oddly sad that the animals had to die.
“How long for the B1 to drop the fuel bombs?”
“Two minutes from my order,” Curry said. “The Bone is on station now.”
Paul nodded. “Do it.” He hoped the bombs would land soon enough to end Matal’s pain before the lungs fully gave out.
Curry picked up a phone and made a simple order: “It’s a go.”
On the monitor, a new coughing fit clenched Matal’s body into a fetal position. He thrashed weakly, then rolled onto his back. His arms reached straight up, his fingers curled like talons. He managed one more ragged breath, then another cough shook his body. Blood shot out of his mouth like a spurt from a fire hose, so powerful it splashed against the fluorescent lights above. His body went limp, wet red still burbling up on his lips and dripping down on him from the ceiling.
“Man,” Curry said. “That is truly fucked up.”
Paul had seen enough. “I need a secure line out.”
Curry pointed to another phone, this one built into the equipment thick control panel. “That’s a straight line to Langley. Longworth is waiting for your call.”
Murray Longworth. Assistant director of the CIA and dotted-line boss of Paul’s special threats division of USAMRIID. Longworth oversaw an unnamed group combining elements of CIA, FBI, USAMRIID, Homeland and other departments, a force tasked with combating biologically related threats. The legality? Questionable, at best. The secrecy? Absolute.
The authority? There was never really any question about that, not when Murray Longworth spoke with the voice of the president himself.
Paul picked up the phone. His boss answered on the first ring.
“This is Longworth. What’s your call, Colonel?”
“I’ve ordered General Curry to use the fuel bombs.”
There was a slight pause. “I still can’t believe this,” Longworth said.
“From a goddamn pig? How can a pig virus infect people?”
Paul sighed. Longworth ran the show, but he didn’t get it. Probably never would. One of the main monitors switched from the steady procession of the dead to a shaking, blurry, bird’s-eye view of the Novozyme facility. Bomber-cam.
“The pig genome was modified to include human proteins,” Paul said.
“That has to happen if you want to make the pig organs transplantable into humans. A new swine flu variant incorporated those proteins and it jumped species.”
“Put it in terms that I can understand.”
“Fast-moving, airborne, no known treatment, three out of four people die horribly. Goes global within eight weeks. On a scale of one to ten, this is an eight, and my ten is the complete extinction of mankind. We need to go scorched Earth here, sir.”
Paul heard Longworth’s heavy sigh.
“Finish up there as fast as you can, then get your ass back to D.C.,” Longworth said. “President Guttierez is calling a black meeting. All the European nations, India, China, everyone capable of this kind of work.
We’re shutting everyone down until the WHO can put monitors in place. I need you at that meeting.”
“I see,” Paul said. A black meeting. A disaster of biblical proportions was just a broken airlock away, and the world’s leaders would meet in secret to discuss the options. No one would ever know.
Not even Matal’s family.
On the bomber- cam monitor, Fischer recognized the field he’d just walked through, then the white Quonset- hut hamster town. A fraction of a second later, he heard the roar of the jet’s engine. Only seconds now.
“After the D.C. meeting, you go after Genada,” Murray said. “We’re shutting everyone down, but we get Genada’s facility at Baffin Island first.”
The monitor switched to a view from a camera that must have been mounted up with the radar dishes on the Quonset’s roof. The Novozyme facility was there for a brief second, then a giant orange flash filled the screen. The ground shook. A small mushrooming cloud lifted into the dawn sky.“
Sir,” Paul said, “I think I should be on hand for the Monsanto facility in South Africa, or Genzyme’s Brazilian installation.”
“Genada first,” Longworth said. “We already know those fucking Paglione brothers were conducting human experimentation. They’re a proven threat. Any progress finding the Russian girl?”
The Russian girl. Galina Poriskova, PhD. She’d threatened to blow the whistle on Genada’s human experimentation. She’d contacted Fischer, met with him and claimed to have evidence, but the Pagliones had paid her off before she delivered.
“Just tracking some financials,” Paul said. “Investments and the like. NSA is pretty sure she’s in Moscow, but we can’t get the Rus sians to cooperate.”
“I’m guessing they’ll cooperate now,” Longworth said. “I’ll escalate it to the State Department. P. J. Colding made the human experiments vanish the last time we were chasing Genada. He also took Poriskova right out from under your nose. So we start with Genada before he can do that shit again.”
Paul swallowed, closed his eyes. He should have known P. J. Colding’s name would come up.
“I understand, sir,” Paul said. “But I remind you that I have an asset on the inside at Baffin Island. I can send a message. If anything looks amiss, the asset can cripple transportation, stranding Colding and the entire project.”
“Still rubs my ass raw you won’t tell me who your asset is.”
“Until your people find out how Magnus and Danté Paglione get inside information from the CIA, it’s best I’m the only one to know.”
“I said it rubs my ass raw, I didn’t say it wasn’t the right strategy. But, Colonel, can your asset get a message back to you?”
Paul ground his teeth. He knew exactly where this was going. “No sir.”
“Which means you won’t know when the Paglione brothers find out about the bomb you just dropped. They’ll figure out what happened, and when they do, Colding will take the Genada project on the run. I’m not about to tell the president that there’s a rogue xenotransplantation element unaccounted for, not after what just went down. While you do the D.C. meeting, I’ll call up the special threats CBRN platoon. You’ll go in with them.”
The special threats CBRN team. Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear. Paul didn’t know much about those men, he wasn’t cleared to know, but they would be much more than just enlisted soldiers in hazmat suits. They’d be special forces. Whip-smart killers.
“I’ll have a flight for you out of Thule,” Longworth said. “Tell your asset to take out all transportation so Colding and the Genada staff can’t get away.”
From bad to worse. That action would leave Paul’s asset with no support until the CBRN team touched down. Considering the caliber of Genada’s security forces, that could be very bad indeed.
“Sir, I suggest we just wait. They’ve got fifty animals in the facility . . . they can’t go far in ten hours.”
“Colonel Fischer, we’re done here. As soon as I get approval from the Canadians, you order your asset to destroy all transportation, take out any research data and kill the baboons.”
“Cows, sir,” Paul said. “Monsanto is using baboons. Genada is using cows.”
“Then kill all the cows. Stop arguing with me.”
Paul rubbed his face in frustration. His ex- wife, Claire, used to tell him that the movement made him look like a little kid who needed a nap. He’d never broken the habit, and now every time he did it he immediately thought of her nagging at him to stop.
“Colonel Fischer,” Longworth said. “Will you follow my instructions, or not?”
“Yes sir. I’ll send the order as soon as you give the green light.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have never read anything bad by Scott Sigler and Ancestor is the cream of the crop! From the second I picked this book up, I had to know what was going to happen. Ancestor kept me turning page after page, long into the night. I wanted to cover my eyes to hide from what was coming next but couldn't put the book down until I knew! The science of Sigler is phenomenal and fascinating. I am not a biologist, a chemist, or any other kind of -ist; however the concepts are thorough and clearly laid out, and in such a way that even I can understand what is going on and how things work. The incredible detail really draws you into the story and makes it all the more real. If I find myself in a dark forest (or a cow pasture) any time soon I'll most certainly be looking over my shoulder! And the thing I like best? Scott Sigler writes characters I really care about. My stomach turns when something bad happens, or even when I think it might, and I am genuinely relieved when things turn out okay. The bad guys are really, really bad and I keep hoping they'll get what's coming to them (though I won't tell you if they do or not!). The good guys are not only good, they're also human; with flaws and faults all their own. That's part of what makes me care so much about what happens to them. Any fan of edge-of-your-seat excitement, action, thrills, science, horror and gore needs to add this book to their collection!
This review is for the new hardcover edition of ANCESTOR slated for bookstores in June of 2010. The new hardcover edition of ANCESTOR follows the same plot line as the original. A group of scientist are charged with creating an animal whose organs can be used for Xenotransplantation. The ultimate goal is to provide organs for the growing list of individuals awaiting organ transplants. To reduce the incident of organ rejections the scientists are trying to create an animal, the Ancestor to all mammals. In the process of creating this animal, something goes terrible wrong. In the latest version of ANCESTOR, Mr. Sigler has included prior interactions among the main characters that helps the reader to better understand the underlying dynamics that are occurring. Indeed, I have grown to love some characters that I had no emotional feelings about in the original version of ANCESTOR. Additionally, the science in the new version of ANCESTOR has been upgraded and strengthened to reflect the current scientific knowledge regarding Xenotransplantation and cloning of whole animals which has grown in the past 3 years. Mr. Sigler incorporates characters who are altruistic in their desires and those who are only in the process for the greedy, money end of the deal. The conflict that ensues from these two competing viewpoints is well played out in the book. In my opinion, the plot line is much tighter and the overall general flow of the book is better. Clearly Mr. Sigler has benefited from his contract with Crown Publishing, their editors and agents. He is well on his way to being one of the top Science Fiction/Horror writers. Well done!
Scott Sigler's Ancestor gets an update in 2010 with the release of the Hardcover edition. This is not just a new printing; the story has been updated to include more modern references, and the story has been fine-tuned from beginning to end. Scott's fully formed vision of genetics experiments gone horribly wrong is even more terrifying now. Ancestor is full of characters you want to cheer and others you want to jeer. Scott's rich style of technical science fiction horror explains complicated genetic concepts in a way everyone can understand, at a pace that keeps the reader engaged with the story the entire time. The story starts off with a bang, as the groundwork is set for the Genada Corporation to take their experiments underground and off the radar before the government can shut them down. Along the way, we meet the brilliant geneticists involved with the project, each with their own motivations. The noble project is tainted by all manner of complex factors, and the final result is a pulse-pounding fight for life pitting creators vs. creation. Already a fan of Sigler's work? You'll enjoy this updated story as well. Haven't tried Sigler's work yet? Grab hold of Ancestor and hang on for a thrilling ride!
Ancestor (Hardcover 2010) is an update of one of author Scott Sigler's early novels. This update includes new scenes, characters, an even faster pace and an overall more appealing storyline. In a remote outpost in Canada, a research team is looking for a way to mass produce organs that will save millions of human lives, and hopefully make a pretty profit while they do it. By using the DNA of extinct species they hope to find the Ancestor of all mammals. The Ancestor is a creature so genetically universal its organs can be harvested and transplanted into humans without fear of immune system rejection. What they can only see in their worst nightmares is a patchwork monster born for violence. This is not your normal monster story. Many "monster" books open with the creation of an inhuman force that hunts the cast throughout the story, this is not the case with Ancestor. With Ancestor you get to see the moral and ethical ambiguity behind the science and the people involved. Ancestor's cast is vital to its narrative and the final outcome of the story. From the very beginning you are invested in these people and the role they play. Sigler's novel includes a large cast of characters. As the book picks up in speed, the characters begin to cross paths and merge storylines. As these storylines meet, the cast quickly dwindles in various horrific and gratifying ways. The main cast includes the morally questionable Colding, the beautiful and intelligent Sara and the incredibly irritable and hilarious Clayton. Sigler seamlessly weaves biotech and horror thriller into a novel that is not only a whirlwind experience, but is filled with characters you will find yourself connecting with and rooting for. Having read the original (2007) and having had access to an Advanced Reader Copy of the updated novel it is clear this new edition is FAR superior in almost every way. Many of the concerns posted about the original work have been addressed and corrected in this new version. If you are looking for a great new techno-thriller that starts and doesn't let up until the snow turns red, this book is for you!
This review os for the new edition of "Ancestor," due out June 22, 2010. You can pre-order now! I listened to the original podcast of "Ancestor" some time ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. This version (June 22, 2010) is even better. The basic premise is that a company has funded a project to create an animal that would be bred for organ transplantation. An 'ancestor' that would avoid the problems of rejection by combining genes from many, many mammalian species - bot halive and extinc. A fine, humanitarian mission. Of course, when you have huge amounts of money on the line add human egos and frailties and put that in a pressure cooker, bad things are sure to happen. The plot is tighter in this version and even though there's plenty of science, it doesn't bog down the action. Once I had a day off, I finished the final two-thirds of the book in one day. Mr. Sigler creates facinating characters and great dialog. He's at the top of his game here. There are villains and monsters and heros -- all fully fleshed out so that you can't wait to find out who lives and who meets with (a sometimes grisly) death. No, I won't spoil the suspense, you have to read it for yourselves. If you like action, if you like science fiction, if you like some blood and gore with your stories -- Mr. Sigler is your author (and FDO) and the new "Ancestor" is a must-have.
As a fan of the original version of Ancestor, I was looking forward to reading this new, updated version. It didn't disappoint. This new version shows how much Scott Sigler has improved as a writer since he first released Ancestor as an audio novel, and the original was great! The story is tighter and it's clear he's done quite a bit more research for this release of the story. Ancestor is a thrill ride from the very beginning. I found myself staying up until all hours of the night thinking I would go to sleep when I hit a good point to stop. It never came and the ride didn't let up until the very end. This book is a page-turner; even though I was familiar with the original story, I couldn't put it down!
Not surprisingly we get another winner from Sigler! I have been looking forward to the rewrite and reprint of this book for a long time. And it certainly didn't disappoint. One thing you can always be sure of, any Sigler book will feature lots and lots of violence. Yet the violence is never out of place or violence just for the sake of it, it has purpose and adds to the movement of the plot. If you haven't indulged in this author before, this is the perfect story to start with.
I am one of the lucky folks to have read, and own, the original 2007 printing of Scott's ANCESTOR novel. I was a bit skeptic hearing about the new re-written 2010 ANCESTOR novel, but no more. From page one the action starts and is non-stop throughout the novel. Whether it's in the lab, in the air or on the ground, ANCESTOR will keep you turning page after page. The science behind ANCESTOR has been updated to include the our latest viral threats, current advances and understanding in the field of Xenotransplantation and cloning as well as the possible consequences of such science, and believe me there are consequences! The novels characters are all well developed and believable. The characters run the gamut of despicable and brutal, greedy and conniving, unbalanced and genius to very likable and even crassly funny at times. The ANCESTOR project was a project to save lives. But as the novel unfolds you'll find yourself drawn in as the sheer brutal horror of what the ANCESTOR project is truly creating begins developing within the pages. Even through all the brutality and murderous mayhem you will still find a brief, but good chuckle or laugh. If you are a fan of Scott Sigler's works or just a Sci-Fi horror fan you will find ANCESTOR most entertaining and disturbingly horrific. So with that I say bon appétit, eh!
Having listened to the original podcast and read the original book I was excited to get my hands on a Hardcover of a good fun genetic thriller. The story has been expanded the development of characters was excellent. The maturity of Mr. Siglers writing really shows in this rewrite. The updated science was really good to see. Although at times I felt like I was in science class and having it explained to me. there was one loose thread left untied, and I prefer the original ending. Now, Having said that, 98% of the book I did not want to put the book down. (I have to work to afford my book habit.) as you can see my overall rating is still a four, and the book is well worth the read.
Wow, what can I you say about "Ancestor"! This is a action packed, rock and roll page turner to the end. With characters you love to hate and hate to love there is someone for everyone to root for. Scott manages to take the worlds of Crichton and King and elevate it to a whole new level. I have been a die hard horror fan since my first King novel more then 20 years ago and I have to say that Scott has made a new fan and a whole new hardcore genre just for himself. He can combine science and action with a nightmare and make you dig your nails into your favorite chair waiting to find out what happens next. This novel will take you into a world full of people you can believe sit next to you at work. They are so unmistakably real you will find yourself connected to them in some little way. From a security supervisor's struggle with humanity to a maintenance man's desire to keep a world that has moved on, you will find someone to connect with. When a nightmare of science finds a way to survive in an isolated winter wonderland and only they can escape what will you do? Check out "Ancestor" by Scott Sigler to find out
What if a biotech company finally found a groundbreaking solution to our current world shortage of viable transplantable organs? What if they were able to ensure these organs were genetically free of disease and defects by creating 'Ancestor' mammal as the incubater for those organs? Sounds intriguing, almost altruistic. But what if the timeline to market were stressed and shortcuts had to be taken? What if greed and hubris became the impetus for the project rather than a true desire to save human lives? This novel follows this plotline, providing a raw look at the lengths people are willing to go to bring their goals to fruition and the horrible, horrible consequences of hubris in action and science gone wrong. Part horror, part science fiction and all thriller, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Author Scott Sigler deftly describes both the science nessary to make organ growth a possibility and also the shear terror of facing an animal with no remorse and an insatiable hunger. Parts of the book had me physically squirming! Memorable characters and attention to the details of their personalities and responsibilities make the novel even more engaging. Reader's who have enjoyed Michael Crichton's 'Jurassic Park', will find a similar rollercoaster ride in this book.
But they don't live in closets or under your bed. they were created by scientists in a lab. DNA combined to create the perfect predator. The only problem is, that's not what was supposed to happen. Ancestor tells the story of a good idea gone bad - TERRIBLY BAD! Although the creatures are the stuff of nightmares - and believe me, I'll never look at a cow the same way again - the really scary thing is that at its roots, the story is not all science "fiction". Let's just hope the genius genetic scientists that are messing with DNA read this book before it's too late! If you don't already know, Scott Sigler releases all his books as free podcasts (which you can subscribe to on iTunes). I was lucky enough to hear the original podcast version of Ancestor in its entirety after it was released. In a way, it was a good thing for me that I was turned on to Scott Sigler later in his career as I was able to listen to the entire podcast at my own pace - breakneck! The story was just that good! And now, Mr. Sigler, or Future Dark Overlord as he's known to his rabid fans - who call themselves Junkies - has gone and taken the story and made it all that much better. It's been updated so that some of the minor references and more important technological advances are current for 2010 and it's sleeker, scarier and more fast-paced than ever before. If you like sci-fi, horror, thrillers, medical dramas, blood and guts and non-stop action then this story is for you. So pre-order it now, and while you're waiting, I suggest you become a registered Junkie on ScottSigler.com where you can find and listen to Nocturnal (my personal Sigler favorite), Infected, Contagious, Earthcore, The Rookie and all of the other free Sigler content there. And soon you'll find that you are a Junkie too!
ANCESTOR is about two deadly killers - one of them is a control-crazed millionaire named Magnus and the other is his lab-manufactured genetic horrors. Magnus was trying to create placid herd animals available to donate organs for humans who need transplants, but a delusional scientist tweaked the DNA and ended up making large vicious predators. When Magnus tried to cover-up the project, these smart beasts got loose. Now everyone on an isolated island is at risk of being hunted down and exterminated either by Magnus or by the hungry creatures. I'm not sure who is scarier, Magnus or the Ancestor predators. Both of them seem equally ruthless. And Sigler seems to take great delight in making you love these wonderful quirky characters, and then slaughtering them off several few chapters later. No one seems to be off-limits, which has you alternately cursing the author and biting your nails. You will have a blissful ride of unique action and bloodshed and terror until the ultimate showdown in-between Magnus and his horrible creatures.
Ancestor by Scott Sigler, author of Infected and the New York Times best-selling novel Contagious, is a 2010 reimagining of Sigler's wildly successful bestselling 2007 novel of the same name. Ancestor tells the story of Genada, a Canadian biotechnology company on the cutting edge in the field of Xenotransplantation. Xenotransplantation is the transplantation of living cells, tissues, or organs from one species to another, such as from pigs to humans. A potentially trillion dollar industry, Genada's owners Dante and Magnus Paglione see their project as cornering the market on life itself. There are however risks: when an accident at one of Genada's competitors releases a potentially devastating cross-species plague which is only barely contained, Genada forces their xenotransplantation project, Project Ancestor, underground to avoid being shut down by the world's governments. Now on the frozen island of Black Manitou in the middle of Lake Superior, Genada scientists have brought back an animal from the past, an Ancestor to all mammals. The hopes of millions requiring organ transplant are realized; years of research are triumphant. But there is one problem: while they thought they were creating a docile herd creature, a cow with human organs, they got something...else, something evil, something....hungry. And it sure as f*ck ain't no Cow! Reminiscent of novels like Jurassic Park, Sigler builds the tension of the story to page-turning fear raising heights such that when you're done you'll already be begging for the eventual sequel. The scenes in the novel are so well described you'll feel the chill whether it be from the cold of Black Manitou's raging winter or from the hungry, watchful, gaze of an Ancestor ready to pounce. In fact it is the ancestors themselves, the lab-created beasts of the novel, which will leave you scrambling to turn on the life switch and fear the dark and cold; the ancestor is now the new monster of fear. With Ancestor Sigler once again proves himself to be a force to be reckoned with in the sci-fi/horror genre. More than just a simple re-write, the 2010 version of Ancestor ties the novel to the overall Sigler universe and sets the stage for future novels. What sets Ancestor apart from other at times dubious retellings is not only does Sigler stay true to the original tale, but he genuinely improves the quality of the novel by fleshing out his characters and adding a few surprises; whether you are a longtime Sigler junkie or new to the Siglerverse, Ancestor has something for every reader.
Here's something cool. I was reading the journal Science while ignoring the speaker at a meeting today and I came across a paper by Ortland et al., 317, 1544-8, 2007 in which the authors do a very small part of what is described in Scott Sigler's book Ancestor -- they deduce from modern sequences of proteins what the sequence must have been in a 450 million year old common ancestor. This piece of scientific realism is not all that make Sigler's work exciting -- he knows how to develop characters, build suspense, and generally draw the reader for a time into a frightening but believable world.I'd like to make one other plug. Sigler is a great reader, and you can listen to him reading the entire Ancestor book free of charge as a podcast.
I enjoyed this book. It's fairly fluffy and a bit of a bloodbath, but certainly fast paced and entertaining. The science was interesting too.
I am amazed and wowed again by another one of Sigler¿s books. This one will definitely be on my favorites list. Not only did it have a perfect blend of science, horror, and action, but it was well written and it definitely grabbed my attention from the very start of the book. I really liked how there was a buildup of suspense throughout the first parts of the novel. Obviously, something didn¿t seem right from the start but the suspense was very well done and everything just exploded (literally and figuratively). The science used in the book was a little more complex than the usual novels I¿ve read that are science fiction. Yet what I like about the writing style is, although complex, Sigler provides enough information so you won¿t feel confused, or easily intimidated with all the scientific terms. The subject matter (harvesting organs) is also very interesting and may come across as a really good idea although there¿s lots of violation of moral and ethical codes that go along with it. The scientific idea may or may not seem possible, but it¿s such a fascinating yet horrific idea. I absolutely loved the characters in this book. The villains in it are extremely nasty, brutal, and people you just don¿t want to be near to or mess with. Especially Magnus. Nasty bugger. Yet so well written that he could very well go as most nastiest villain I have ever read in a book. Naturally though, one of my favorites would be Sara. She¿s tough, and not about to back down from a fight but I liked her personality too. She had her girly moments too. Then there¿s Mookie the dog. Whoever thought a character with a minimal role in the book would come out looking like such a grand hero? I was cheering for Mookie all the way! Colding, being the main character of the book is all right. I didn¿t like him, but I didn¿t hate him either. Although at first I thought he was just some sort of whimpy scientist. Eventually he did manage to grow on me though. A little.I also liked the little ¿poke¿ at the Twilight series. Although I haven¿t read that series (yet), I thought it was a small jab, but nothing too offensive (well, maybe for some people?) yet entertaining and funny nevertheless. This book does contain a lot of graphic gore and violence so it may not be for everyone. However I do urge first time readers to seriously pick this one up. It¿s a got a perfect blend of comedy, action, horror, and a bit of romance. There¿s definitely going to be a sequel for this one (though I¿m not sure about the release date)I really do recommend this book to all readers out there. Whether they¿re into science fiction, or horror, or both. It¿s definitely worth the read. The reader will be in for a fast paced book, filled with explosions, mutated monsters, dastardly villains, and a dog hero. What more could you ask for?
Don't get how this book gets reviewed so well. Its "The Thing" with man-made monsters instead of aliens. Didn't like the characters, didn't like the dialogue. Just had too much of the "oh, don't go down in the basement" feel to it.
Biotech firm Genada is after the Holy Grail of genetic research¿transplantable organs with no chance of rejection. All of the other firms have had their research shut down over fears of uncontrollable zoonotic diseases ravaging the world, but one of the brothers running Genada is a former special ops soldier and had laid careful plans for whisking their researchers out of reach of the government. Exiled and isolated on a small island in Canada in the dead of an icy winter, the research continues. Rather than engineering animals to produce human organs, as most firms were attempting, Genada¿s researchers are attempting to use reverse bio-engineering to produce what they are calling an ¿ancestor;¿ that is, the first common mammalian ancestor of all species alive today. The organs would be resistent to zoonotic diseases and would be compatible with all humans. Unfortunately for them, their most brilliant researcher, a Chinese woman named Liu Jian Den, is schizophrenic. She¿s well-controlled on medications, but the project lead has been deliberately shorting her meds in order to promote her leaps of intuitive brillance. And in one of those leaps, she succeeds in creating viable ancestor embryos¿but she has added traits none of the others expected. Traits that create, not the docile, cow-like creatures they expected, but huge, ravening, frighteningly intelligent predators. Now trapped in the snow and ice, hunted by both creatures out of prehistoric nightmares AND the psychotic special ops colleagues of their twisted patron, the researchers must fight for survival.Fast-paced, taut, and exciting, Sigler¿s thriller is marred only slightly by some clunky dialogue and an abundance of genre cliches. But for those looking for Crichton-esque excitement are sure to be delighted.
This was alright Scott Sigler, not great Scott Sigler. The story was pretty good, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had not listened to the podcast of the book in the past. I think it is great that he got to go back and update the book, and enjoyed the science aspects of the book. Overall I was just left with a Meh feeling overall. A recommendation, not just a high recommendation.