Ancestor, Scott Sigler (Crown)

sigler

Sigler, the author of the splendid alien-invasion thrillers Infected (2008) and Contagious (2009), veers off into new territory, with a tremendously entertaining horror novel about a motley group of genetic researchers, their maniacal sponsor, and the stalwart government agent who’s determined to shut them down. The premise is thought-provoking: the researchers are trying to engineer an ancient human ancestor so it can be bred and its organs harvested for transplantation. The researchers get their ancestor, but let’s just say they get a bit more than they bargained for. Soon blood and bedlam are everywhere on a small island in Lake Superior. Sigler populates the novel with a lively cast of characters (unlike many thrillers, the heroes are as interesting as the villains), and the action is virtually nonstop—and, at times, quite graphic. If you combined Michael Crichton’s scientific exploration with Matthew Reilly’s lightning-fast pace and colorful characters, you might get something that feels like this book, which, incidentally, would make a great movie.

This review originally appeared in Booklist, May 2010.

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