Sara Purinam

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Interior art from the novel Ancestor by Mark Hester, depicting the character Sara Purinam

Sara Purinam is a fictional character in Scott Sigler’s novel Ancestor. She is the pilot of the Genada Corporation C-5 Mobile Lab.

Character Background

Life Prior to Genada

Sara grew up in Cheboygan, Michigan and spent summers vacationing near Saul Saint Marie.

Sara served as a C-5 pilot in the U.S. Air Force, along with her copilot Alonzo Barella and crewmates Harold Miller and Andre ‘Cappy’ Capistrano, who were also known as “The Twins”. After their tour of duty was complete, Sara and her crewmates pooled their money, bought a 747 that had been converted for pure cargo hauling, and started their own shipping company. They took jobs from FedEx and UPS when they had overflows in time-sensitive loads but stayed away from shifty jobs.

However, their collective business sense proved to be less than adequate and soon the payments on the 747 became too much for them to handle. That’s when Danté Paglione came to their rescue.

In the Employ of Genada

Danté paid off Sara and her crewmate’s 747 and paid each of them $100,000 dollars a year to be on retainer to fly at a moment's notice in Genada’s C-5 Mobile Lab. But there was a caveat to this arrangement: if they finish the job of relocating the Ancestor project, they would own their 747; however if they don’t finish the job Genada would own their plane and end their shipping company. The crew made a group decision to fulfill their obligation and fly the lab from Baffin Island to Black Manitou Island. P.J. Colding helps to woo Sara into the arrangement with an initial romantic relationship that abruptly ended after she agreed to the terms.

C-5 Galaxy used as the Genada Mobile Lab

Habouring a strong dislike for Colding's for the abrupt end of their relationship, Sara is terse towards him during the evacuation of the Baffin Island facility. Colding realizes he is still secretly smitten by her but just after take off, as Sara assesses Colding’s injuries, she makes it clear that she wants nothing to do with him romantically. During the flight, Sara wards off advances from Andy Crosthwaite and performs minor first aide Dr. Liu Jiandan. She then lands the C-5 on Black Manitou Island where she and Colding are greeted by Clayton Detweiler and his son Chris. Clayton and Colding get off to a cool start while he and Sara get along famously. Clayton proceeds to familiarize them with the island’s layout, residents, and his responsibilities.

During their sequestered stay on Black Manitou Island, Sara and Colding reconcile their relationship and misunderstandings. As they take an intimate night walk on the beach of Rapleje Bay, Colding reveals his former CIA experience. He also reveals that the reason for his abrupt end of their relationship was the guilt he felt over the recent death of his wife. They reveal their mutual feelings for each other and share a kiss. Their closeness proves to be an asset for Sara and suffice it to say that their relationship saves her life. This is because as soon as Magnus kills Jian, Colding alerts Sara that she is in danger and needs to leave the island immediately.

Unfortunely, neither Sara or Colding anticipate the depth of Magnus’ ruthlessness and therefore neither of them were aware of the explosives Magnus placed on the C-5. Magnus forces Sara to relocate the C-5 to Manitoba but really he intends to destroy the plane and recoup the insurance money. Sara luckily finds the explosives in time to crash-land the plane with barely seconds to evacuate. But blinded by his ego, Dr. Ruhmkorrf lets loose all of the cows carrying the Ancestor creatures leading to the death of Sara’s crew as the plane explodes.

The next morning after the fateful flight, Sara and Tim Feely are found by Clayton shivering in a snow bank. He hides the two women from Magnus in a church in the deserted Black Manitou town and equipps them with emergency supplies. While Clayton tries to call his son for help, Sara and Tim wait patiently in their hiding spot. Clayton’s son Chris comes to the rescue but the Ancestor creatures are already running amok and he has to abandon his rescue effort. Magnus tortures Clayton into divulging where the survivors are hidden and soon Sara and Tim find themselves cornered by the madman. To their relief, Clayton and Colding come to their rescue and the pursuing Ancestor creatures eliminate Magnus. With Ancestors in hot pursuit, these survivors make it to the boat where Clayton’s son Chris is able to pull them aboard and escape the creatures.



The character’s full name is Sara Purinam. Magnus referred to her with several nicknames, all meant to sound condescending and derogatory. Examples of these nicknames are “cupcake”, “hot shot” and “sweet cheeks”. Similarly, Andy Crosthwaite referred to Sara as “toots”. On the other hand, Sara had the affectionate nickname of “doll” that Clayton Detweiler used.

Outward Appearance

Sara is described as being 5 feet 10 inches (177.8 cm) tall with short blonde hair and light blue eyes. She has a tanned complexion, sporting freckles on her nose, and she does not wear makeup as it would have detracted from her natural beauty. She also has a demeanor in her walk that shows she is military trained. Colding describes Sara as a “surfer girl gone Air Force”.


Sara has two distinct sides of her personality – commanding and girlish.

The commanding side of her personality is seen in her take-charge tone and demeanor as a leader. Sara shows decisive and sound leadership, earning her the unquestioning loyalty of her flight crew. She has to the top of a man’s world and learned how to gain the respect of some of the most misogynic men. She has the bravado to stand up to Magnus Paglione and to put Andy Crosthwaite in his place. She also has the ability to blend in as one of the guys, best indicated by her ability to deliver an insult while having it sound like two friends making fun of each other.

The girlish side of her personality was manifested when she was away from her crew, usually when she was in the presence of P.J. Colding, to whom she was attracted. In this mode, even Sara’s body language changed to reflect a feminine and flirty attitude.

In addition, Sara has a caring attitude that allows her to connect with people of varying personality types. For instance, Clayton Detweiler immediately befriends her as she grew up in the Michigan area and can emulate Clayton’s unique Yooper dialect. This endears Sara to Clayton and allows him to slowly grow to like Colding.

When first dealing with Colding, who was technically her superior, she used a firm tone in order to get him to comply with her request to look at his injuries. At first Colding, felt as if she was being insubordinate but the glint in Sara’s eyes was disarming and conveyed a true concern for his welfare.

Also, upon first meeting Dr. Liu Jiandan, Sara recognized that she looked like a woman that had been beaten and wanted to make a connection with her. Sara stroked Jian’s hair and inquired about her injuries, all the while insisting on Jian using Sara’s first name. Sara is the only person Jian feels comfortable calling by her first name. Further in the story, Sara and Jian bond again as Sara encourages Jian to name the cows. Sara renamed cow number 34 to Molly McButter (surrogate mother to Baby McButter) and cow number 1 was renamed to Pinky Tuscadero.

C-5 cockpit where Sara pilots


Sara exhibits proficiency in both her technical skills as well as her people skills.

In her arsenal of technical skills, Sara could fly multiple types of planes ranging from a 747 to a C-5. Furthermore, she displayed the ability to fly the Genada C-5 in night mode, which consisted of flying below the radar deck with no lights, utilizing only night vision to navigate. She exhibited the ability to assess injuries and complete basic first aid as displayed by her handling of Colding’s injuries upon leaving the Baffin Island facility. She also shows some familiarity with handling small firearms.

Sara also displays a deft handling of people as described above.

External Links

See Also