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Ancestor by Scott Sigler
Review by Steve Sawicki
Dragon Moon Press Trade PB  ISBN/ITEM#: 1896944736
Date: April 2007 List Price $19.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Once more man, with the help of woman, meddles with things that only God should meddle with.

Dragon Moon Press is a new one on me so I picked this up with no small amount of trepidation. I've been handed books like this in the past and all too often the end result has not been pleasant. This is why, somewhere around page 20 I realized that there was not only a story here but that it was competently written. The book opens with a genetic experiment gone awry and barely kept at bay by a containment field. In short order a hit team is called in and the facility is bombed to pretty much nothingness. As a result, it is decided that the other three facilities, run by competing companies, eager to produce an animal from which human organs for transplant can be harvested, should also be destroyed. Next on the list is Genada, a small company with a small staff, working to recreate an early ancestor of man as the perfect organ carrier.

Genada is run by a pair of somewhat psycho brothers who see this kind of research as a potential limitless gold mine--provided a few minor obstacles can be overcome, such as the actual production of this human ancestor. But, they've hired the best, if not the most balanced, scientific team to do the work. Dr. Rumkorrf is the hard barking head scientist for whom every failure equates to hundreds of humans not being saved. Dr. Claudette Overgard and Dr. Jian struggle to put the DNA together in such a way that a cow will be able to carry a manipulated egg to birth. So far all they have, after spending a lot of time and a lot of money, is a lot of failure. And now someone is coming to shut them down. Into this comes pilot Sara Purinam, flying her C5 in to airlift the scientists, the cows and the security crew led by PJ Colding, off to a remote Island in Lake Superior.

This book has some interesting elements and holds up very well as an action adventure novel with SF trappings. The characters are interesting and Sigler does a good job with the pacing and with humanizing what would otherwise be just a bunch of stereotypical muppets. The plotting twists and turns work to provide some interesting situations and the driving force of the book, the creatures themselves, serve to keep things interesting. This is a well written book. I recommend it if you're looking for a fast paced, action story.

Our Readers Respond

Feedback from the Author Scott says:
    Thanks! It's phenomenal to get a strong review from a staunch SF/F site - most of my stuff reads like a modern thriller with a backbone of hard science. I think the phrase <> sums it up nicely. I really tried to grab the reader's attention with the opening scene, and that scene is a set-up for the rest of the story.

    Xenotransplantation is becoming a reality. Someday, not so far from now, we will be replacing human organs with animal parts (and I hope it's a bit more successful than a Rob Schneider movie). This will save millions of lives, but creates an inescapable risk. As this becomes commonplace, were facing a basic evolutionary fact: life adapts to a new environment. Viruses that are relatively harmless in their native animal have the potential to adapt to a new animal, and that creates the potential for a new plague. So perhaps this will be a fairly typical scientific trade-off - solve a problem, and the solution creates more problems that need to be solved.

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