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Ancestor HCUS.jpg
Title Ancestor
Publisher Crown Publishing
Published May 2010
Pages 320
ISBN 978-0307406330
Podcasted 2005 Page

Ancestor is a thriller / horror novel by American author Scott Sigler. Originally released as a podcast audio book, it was first published in 2007 by Dragon Moon Press as a paperback edition. The novel has since been reworked and was released on 22 June 2010 by Crown Publishing as a hardcover edition. This is the second book by Scott Sigler that was initially distributed through a podcast and then released in print form, the first being his 2000 novel EarthCore.


Ancestor offers a chilling tale of what can happen when hubris, greed, and madness drive scientific experimentation past the brink of reason.

Every five minutes, a transplant candidate dies while waiting for a compatible 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 monopolize that technology.

On a remote island in the Canadian Arctic, P.J. Colding leads a group of geneticists who have discovered this holy grail of medicine. By reverse-engineering thousands of animal genomes, Colding's team has dialed back the evolutionary clock and re-created the progenitor of all mammals. The method? Illegal. The result? A computer-engineered living creature, an animal whose organs can be implanted in any person, 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…something very, very hungry.

As creators become prey in an ultimate battle for survival, 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 reveals its own cold-blooded agenda.

Character List

Genada Corporation Executives

Name Information
Danté Paglione CEO of the Privately owned bio tech company Genada
Bobby Valentine Danté Paglione’s private pilot
Magnus Paglione Head of Security; brother of Dante


Name Information
Dr. Claus Rhumkorrf Head Geneticist
Dr. Liu Jiandan (Jian) Bioinformatics scientist and genome specialist
Dr. Erika Hoel Geneticist specializing in extinct animals
Tim Feely Assistant scientist
Galina Poriskova Assistant scientist

Genada Corporation Security

Name Information
P.J. Colding Head of Genada on site security; former CIA agent
Andy Crosthwaite On site security guard; also known as “Andy the Asshole”
Gunther Jones On site security guard
Brady Giovani On site security guard

Genada C-5 Mobile Lab Flight Crew

Name Information
Sara Purinam Captain & Pilot of the C-5 airplane contracted by Genada
Alonzo Barella Co-Pilot
Harold Miller C-5 Crewmember; one half of “The Twins”
Andre “Cappy” Capistrano C-5 Crewmember; other half of “The Twins”

Black Manitou Locals

Name Information
Clayton Detweiler Manager of the Black Manitou Island facility
Gary Detweiler Clayton’s son
Sven Ballantine Farmer and owner of Mookie the dog
James Harvey Farmer
Stephanie Harvey James Harvey's wife

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Agents

Name Information
Murray Longworth Director of the CIA
Colonel Paul Fischer CIA operative specializing in investigating transgenic companies; direct report to Longworth / Coldings former CIA partner


Name Information
Baby McButter Genetically created animal
Baby Moos-A-Lot Genetically created animal

Portrayal of Science


The basis of the plot for Ancestor is the ongoing research to find the ultimate solution for growing animal organs with the intention of replacing failing human organs and supplementing the organ transplant shortage. The process of interspecies tissue transplantation is known as xenotransplantation. Specifically, xenotransplantation is the transplantation of cells, tissues, or organs occurring between species. In contrast, allotransplantation is the transplantation of cells, tissues, and organs between members of the same species.

A great deal of scientific research is currently devoted to xenotransplantation, driven by the worldwide shortage of organs available for transplantation.


Immune rejection remains the biggest challenge for xenotransplantation. The problem exists even for human to human transplants (known as allotransplantation), but is more serious for transplants between different species. Nearly all mammalian cells have markers which enable the immune system to recognize them as being foreign. The more different the genetic code between the donor organ and recipient, the greater the difference between a "self" marker and a "foreign" marker. Some companies are currently developing genetically modified or transgenic animals such as pigs that produce human markers to try and lessen the chance of rejection.


A secondary challenge of xenotransplantation is the potential for infectious disease to spread from the donor animal to the transplant recipient, effectively jumping species. This process is called xenosis or zoonosis. The two major risks with xenosis are:

  • Infection in to the transplant recipient
  • An infected transplant recipient initiating an epidemic in the human population

The novel revolves around scientists struggling to solve the problem of xenotransplantation. Scientists funded by the biotech firm Genada are able to recreate the ancestor of all mammals thereby getting back to the root of our creation. By achieving this, the corporation hopes to create an animal with human internal organs. However, the breakthrough in discovering the Ancestor doesn’t deliver the small, harmless creature envisioned, but rather a fast-growing evil mammal that nature eradicated 250 million years ago -- an evil now on the loose, and very, very hungry.

Release Schedule

Similar to the author’s first book, EarthCore, the book release of Ancestor followed a non-traditional path to print publication. The following timeline details the distribution lifecycle of the novel that culminated with the June 2010 print reboot. The Translations Page also provides a comprehensive listing of languages available for this novel.


Cover Art Edition Publisher Release Date Site
1st Ed. Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-896944-73-9) U.S. Dragon Moon Press April 1, 2007 U.S.
e-book Adobe File (.pdf) (ISBN: 978-1-896944-75-2) U.S. Dragon Moon Press March 2007 -
Ancestor HCUS.jpg
2st Ed. Hardcover (ISBN: 978-0-307406-33-0) U.S. Crown Publishng June 22, 2010 U.S.
2nd Ed. Paperback (ISBN: 9781444700947) U.K. Hodder & Stoughton, Ltd / John Murray April 1, 2010 U.K.
Ancestor Implantiert Germany Heyne.jpg
1st Ed. Paperback (ISBN: 978-3-453-43435-6) Heyne Verlag/Random House Nov 09, 2010


Edition Country Release Date Site
Serialized Podcast Audio book Worldwide (Internet) Sept 2005
Serialized Broadcast Sirius Satellite Radio 2006
Serialized Podcast Audio book Worldwide (Internet) Aug 2006
Serialized Podcast Audio book Worldwide (Internet) June 2010

Promotional Efforts

Characters Named for Fans

As with recent previous works, author this novel contains the names of fans appearing as some of the characters. The luckiest of the fans will also have their character die a horrific and untimely and death. The following link references a table dedicated to tracking these fan-named characters with indicators of which characters become victims.

Ancestor Book Tour

Following the success previous book tours, author Scott Sigler is taking to the road again to promote the release of the novel Ancestor. The following schedule is the confirmed tour dates and locations.

Date City, State Location
2010 June 22 New York, NY Borders Books & Music
2010 June 23 Boston, MA Pandemonium Books and Games
2010 June 24 Washington, D.C Borders Books & Music
2010 June 25 Dallas, TX Borders
2010 June 26 San Antonio, TX Borders at The Quarry
2010 June 27 Phoenix, AZ Changing Hands Book Store
2010 June 28 San Diego, CA Mysterious Galaxy
2010 June 29 Los Angeles, CA Book Soup
2010 June 30 San Francisco, CA Borders Union Square
2010 July 5 Portland, OR Powell's Books
2010 July 6 Seattle, WA Barnes & Noble University Village
2010 July 7 Denver, CO Tattered Cover Book Store
2010 July 8 Minneapolis, MN Magers & Quinn Booksellers
2010 July 9 Chicago, IL The Bookstall at Chestnut Court
2010 July 10 Detroit, MI Barnes & Noble Royal Oak
2010 July 12 Toronto, CAN World's Biggest Bookstore
2010 July 14 Mountain View, CA Books, Inc.
2010 July 15 San Mateo, CA "M" is for Mystery
2010 July 20 Corte Madera, CA Book Passage

Theme Music

The 2010 re-released podcast version of Ancestor used the song Forever Infinity by the band In This Moment. For a comprehensive list of music used in the podcast versions of Scott's works, refer to the Theme Music page.

Episode Downloads

Episode Number Download Link Podcast Date
Episode 1 Download June 6, 2010
Episode 2 Download June 13, 2010
Episode 3 Download June 20, 2010
Episode 4 Download June 22, 2010
Episode 5 Download June 26, 2010

Differences in Versions

2007 to 2010 Versions

Fact Changes

This section catalogs the differences between the intial paperback version of Ancestor and revamped re-released version published in hardcover in 2010.

  • Sydney Chapman was renamed to Col. Paul Fischer (USAMRIID)
  • General Terry Pearcy renamed to General Evan Curry
  • Novozyme Doctor in Greenland renamed from Dr Gunston to Pons Matal
  • One of Genada's shell company named "FN Wallace" as a nod to Matt Wallace
  • Galina Poriskova was a whistleblower disposed of by Magnus
  • Rory & Violet Sherwood renamed to James & Stephanie Harvey
  • Sven's dog Pastie was renamed to immortalize Mookie.
  • References are made to the nuclear bomb detonated over Detroit, MI which happened at the end of Contagious
  • In the previous version, the cows were implanted with 1-3 blastocysts, whereas in the 2010 version, the cows are implanted with only 1 blastocyst
  • Clayton helped a grieving Sven when Sven's wife died
  • Hidden door to the security room was removed from the 2010 rewrite

Character Changes

  • Renamed character to Tim Feely
  • While still an assistant scientist, the character is no longer a CIA plant under an assumed name.
  • Erika Hoel's character inherited the function of being a CIA mole with the motivation of revenge for unrequited love from Dr Rhumkorrf.
  • Wife Clarissa Colding died as a result of Fischer's error, not from cancer
  • Knows Sara Purinam prior to the evacuation of the Baffin Island facility and there is definite dislike of Colding on Sara's part
  • Changes made to Guther Jones' character:
  • Writes vampire romance novels rather than regular romance novels
  • Compares himself to Stephenie Meyer rather than Danielle Steele
  • Book names changed from Lost Innocence, Lost Loves, Lost Lust to Hot Dusk, Hot Evening, Hot Midnight
  • Does not kill all/any of the USAMRIID crew; only uses their arrival to kill the mole.
  • Previously had a masochist streak to his personality which involved cutting himself. This aspect of his personality was removed.
  • Changes made to Jian's character:
  • In the 2010 version, Jian is a psychotic and hallucinating. She was taken from China with their blessings, promising to demonstrate to the world how advanced China was in science. This is different in contrast to the previous version where the investors were all private and Colding had played a large role in sneaking Jian out of China.
  • Because of the psychosis, Jian codes the ancestors as predators rather than docile animals, all in a subconscience effort to kill herself.

See Also

Novels by Scott Sigler

Aliens: Phalanx • Alive • Alight • Alone • EarthCore • Mount Fitz Roy • Ancestor • Descendant • Infected • Contagious • Pandemic • The Rookie • The Starter • The All-Pro  • The MVP • The Champion • The Gangster • The Crypt • Nocturnal