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The Ancestor

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Member Reviews

I was not quite sure what to expect from this book but the cover and the synopsis grew me in.  I'm glad they did.  Two men connected by blood come face to face in 2020 Alaska.  The twist?  One was born in 1860, the other is his great-great grandson.  This unusual premise will be explored and explained as the two men meet and work through the personal issues that led to their being in this era together.  It's a stretch, but a really good one.  The story is not a happily ever after, there are plenty of ways this story will keep you wondering how it could end.  If you are looking for something a little different, yet still full of suspense and drama, you've found it.
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What would you do if you woke up 120 years later, with no memory, and meet someone who looks like your identical twin? So begins the story of Wyatt Barlow. The action begins in the first paragraph, and the suspense is a slow, constant build. We learn who Wyatt really is alongside him as he tries to get back to what he's lost ... Or maybe it's been right in front of him the whole time. 

The Ancestor is part mystery, part suspense, a lot of Alaskan wilderness, and overall a great read. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough, and the conclusion was heart stopping all the way to the last word. Thank you to NetGalley and Down and Out for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to the publisher for a copy of this book via netgalley! 

This book brings you on a journey where the past and present of a man are intertwined. You are taken on a roller coaster adventure as Wyatt explores the life of Travis while trying to figure out where did he come from. will he be able to unravel his identity or forever be living in confusion...
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The Ancestor by Lee Matthew Goldberg

Wyatt Barlow, an 1890s man wakes up from a frozen state, not knowing who he is at first or what is going on.  As he thaws, he hears shots fired nearby and slowly makes his way in that direction.  He is shocked when he finds one of the two men looks just like him.  He doesn't want to lose the connection to this twin person, so he hides in their truck and rides with them.

Travis Barlow sees a man in town, that looks like his doppelganger.  It's uncanny.  If Travis were to grow his beard long, they would be twins.  They run into one another in the local bar and introduce themselves.  Wyatt gives a different last name, he wants to figure out what's going on, before he reveals his true identity.

Wyatt finds himself falling in love with Travis' wife Callie and son Eli.  They remind him of the wife and son he left back in 1898.  He is 160 years old, so he knows he will never see them again.  He finds himself wanting Travis' family for himself, at any cost.

Wyatt makes some friends in the local village, as he gathers intel so he can initiate his plans.

The book was fast paced, held my attention.  Lots of twists and turns.  Perfect for those looking for a thriller.

Many thanks for the complimentary copy from Net Galley and All Due Respect with no obligation to post a review.
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This book was really different and I enjoyed it. The premise of someone being frozen in ice, then waking up 100 years later and meeting his descendants is pretty creative to me. Plus, I am really into genealogy so that's what kind of caught my interest in this book.  There were a few times where I was slightly confused about the generation of men in the Barlow family but other than that, it was a good read. The summary for the book made me think that the plot was headed in a different direction at first, but everything made sense in the end.
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I'm not entirely sure what I think about The Ancestor written by Lee Matthew Goldberg. I didn't much like Wyatt from the get-go. He is a narcissist pure and simple. He can try to reframe things as much as he likes, rewrite the narrative a million times but he will still be a selfish, arrogant a-hole.  He isn't going to be a better man for Caillie and Eli than he was for Adailade and Little Joe; heck, I don't even consider him A MAN. A man does the right thing, he doesn't put himself before his wife and child, a man doesn't desert his family, a man doesn't steal a family a man doesn't rape. This novel glosses it over, perhaps because as narrator Wyatt doesn't consider it rape but rather what is owed to him but it is rape. 

Chinook figures it out and it seems that Eli sensed something is different, I hope in the future they find a way to be safe but I doubt it. Look at what happened to anyone who sees him for what he is.  Wyatt only cares for Wyatt whatever he chooses to call himself and just because he gave money to Aylen doesn't mean he is a good guy. He was just paying his way. 

I guess if pressed, I'd have to say maybe this book isn't quite for me; perhaps, more accurately, this character isn't for me. I did complete the book, hoping for a different outcome but it was a page turned in its way. The characters drew me in, I cared about them. I guess there are already so many jerks in the world, I just done want to spend my downtime reading about them.
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3 stars
The Ancestor
by Lee Matthew Goldberg

Truly unlike any other book I have ever read. This book will appeal to many readers. Very interesting, a bit slow at times but well wroth the read.
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"Time has no meaning. Birth, death, and everything in between. We are simply in debt, paying for every mistake. You may not realize it but you are paying for things that haven't even occurred yet."

A slip time novel with a premise that requires even more suspension of disbelief than is typical for the genre, The Ancestor is a very bleak tale of the search for self through wealth and love in modern-day Alaska.

Wyatt Emmett Barlow wakes up from a deep frozen sleep to find himself in the cold Alaskan wilderness fending off a wolf. No idea who he is, how he got there, or why he is carrying a small silver mirror and a mostly-blank journal, he sets out in search of food and answers. Almost immediately, he happens upon two men on a hunting trip, and is shocked to discover that one of the men, who he hears is called Travis, bears an absolutely uncanny resemblance to himself. As he sneaks into the bed of the men's truck and hitches a ride into town, he soon discovers that his encounter with his doppelganger is perhaps the least confounding surprise of the day--a day that is, in fact, in the year 2020, a full 122 years later than the last one Wyatt remembers.

As Wyatt works to acclimate to the new world he finds himself in, he begins to remember snippets of his old self, helped along somewhat by the minimal journal entries he carried with him. Drawn to Alaska in search of gold, he left behind a family so much like Travis's, a wife with the same red hair, a boy of about the same age. Being a simple observer to Travis's life is excruciating; he must find a way to get in closer. It soon becomes clear to Wyatt that Travis Barlow is indeed his great-great grandson, and his ticket to getting to know the family that was taken from him far too soon. Of course, not all of the memories coming back to him are good, and in order to understand the man he is to become, Wyatt must reckon with the man he once was.

Definitely an easy and captivating read overall, but I found Wyatt (and literally every character in this book except maybe Eli, a small child) to be extremely unlikeable. The best parts of this book for me were Wyatt's journal entries. I found that story much more interesting and that version of Wyatt much more palatable. Modern Wyatt's complete self-centeredness and fixation on getting what he wants at any expense with no regard for others makes for a protagonist who is exceptionally hard to invest in. He is creepy, shady, and downright cruel on several occasions. But you can't even root against him because there are no satisfying alternatives. I would have DNF'd this book if I hadn't agreed to review it. If you're really into thrillers and looking for something with a wildly different premise, this one might really appeal to you though.

Also of note: Heroin addiction is a primary theme in this novel, and while it is met with both disapproval and compassion by other characters, the consequences are significantly downplayed (e.g., a character gets high and misses work, but within a few chapters his boss apparently doesn't remember that and he is still a model employee; heroin is apparently very close to free; overdose can be prevented by a trip sitter alone, etc.). Any consequences it does have are felt ten-fold by American Indians (sigh), with addiction being both source and symptom of their generational poverty (double sigh), but not for the primary character who is using in this story. This depiction feeds much too deeply into the exceptionalism narrative that many people who misuse substances experience. It's an irresponsible narrative of addiction that I would avoid if the subject is one that hits close to home for you.

Thanks to All Due Respect and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for the review.
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Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

At this time, I am not going to rate this one. For now, it is a DNF for me. I hope to revisit it later, but I am having a very hard time connecting to this one. I appear to be in the minority here, as it appears this story is a hit with many readers. The overall concept is interesting, however, I am struggling with the way it is written. The mix of sentence fragments and choppy statements is offsetting to me, and I feel it really disturbs the flow of the book. I have picked it up and put it down many, many times. Each time I read, I start to become engaged and then the choppy writing loses me again.
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This is an interesting tale about an individual who becomes frozen and thaws out many years later.  He runs into his grandson and the story takes off from there.  It's well written and well worth a read.
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This title is difficult to categorize. It wasn't what I was expecting from the author, but I enjoyed it anyway.  It certainly put many things in perspective. A great read for those who like alternative lives.
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I'll let the large number of high ratings and reviews speak for themselves, and simply recommend this for historical mystery/suspense fans.

I really appreciate the review copy!!
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this was a really unique read, the characters were great and I enjoyed that the different genres worked well together.
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The Ancestor
By Lee Matthew Goldberg

I’ll be honest – it was the title that got me! An ancestor coming back to life. . .my dream come true.

Brace yourself. This novel is that-ish. . .and but down a different road. There’s murder, theft, Alaska, snow, blood, family, lust – bridled and unbridled, shapeshifting, indigenous people, culture and shamanism and gold. This was not the warm, fuzzy genealogical tale I bargained for! The ending was completely unexpected.

A Sincere Thanks to Lee Matthew Goldberg, All Due Respect and NetGalley for an ARC to read and review.
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I was very intrigued by the book description and the book lived up to it. 

This is the story of Wyatt and Travis, great-great-grandfather and great-great-grandson. Wyatt was somehow frozen in time and thawed centuries later only to learn that his entire family was long-dead. Except for his descendants. 

Of course, he can't just tell people he was frozen in time and who he really is so he has to make up a story. Travis likes Wyatt, although sometimes he feels like something isn't quite right. And there are others around Travis who are a bit suspicious as well but no one can quite put their finger on what it is that bothers them. 

Ultimately, Wyatt decides he needs a new life in the present time and figures out exactly how he's going to accomplish that. And it's the pursuit of that goal that makes this book so interesting because it's not as simple as "I'm going to accept where I am and simply start over." 

The book is a bit slow at times. There are some areas where it's quite repetitive and you could easily skip a few pages without missing anything. Some of the characters are a little annoying. But overall this was an excellent book that I would highly recommend to others.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Lee Matthew Goldberg for the advanced reader's copy.

Wyatt Barlow from the late 1800s is somehow frozen while searching for gold and for some reason defrosts alive in the modern day.  Great concept.  How does he deal with the modern world?  And when he connects with his decendents, how does that go?  Another great question.  I couldn't wait to find out.

I really had a tough time getting through this book.  I couldn't find a single character that I could connect with.  Everyone just seemed so unpleasant, they writing seemed to drag for me and I saw the ending coming.  I had read there was a surprise ending, so I kept reading to see what it was, but it was exactly what was obviously coming.

I give the book 2 stars for an excellent concept.
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The Ancestor was a thriller?  A mystery? An adventure? A puzzle?  Yes, all of these things.  I enjoyed the description of life in Alaska, back in the 1800's and also in the current day.  This book also gives a glimpse into the mind of a true narcissist.  Try as he might to be caring and sensitive in some areas, Wyatt turned out to be mostly about himself.  
An intriguing read.
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Have you ever wondered what it must seem like to reincarnate? Or, for the matter, survive for a really prolonged period, perhaps longer than a centenary!? How will that feel?

When I selected this novel by reading just the title, I assumed it must be something representing the protagonist's lineage and how that influences their world. I took a gamble and really ran in blind, without actually knowing the book's blurb. And I am happy that I decided to do that as the book was a wonder in all manners. I could never believe that a narrative could scheme in such a refined yet effective way.

Two characters are isolated because of different circumstances, yet connected together in such a way that can't be readily agreeable. Some sections of the tale, I think, run very quick while it pulls down a bit in some others. I wish the consistency could hold better. Nevertheless, the writer has made a notable investigation on the topics of Alaskan History, the Gold Rush Expeditions, the indigenous Indian tribes, and the likes.

Overall, I wouldn't complain about going back to this page-turner book once again and re-live the offbeat experiences of the heroes. The premise is very unique and leaves a beautiful remark.

I would like to thank the Publisher, All Due Respect, the Author Lee Matthew Goldberg, and NetGalley for the book's ARC. In exchange, I am giving an honest evaluation; all the views and conclusions are of my own.
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You know when you’re on to a winner when you’re gripping your kindle and shouting, ‘Nooooo!’   It took me a while to get into the Alaskan dialect but once there I was frozen back in time with Wyatt Barlow and the search for his descendants!  There they all were waiting for him, deeply ensconced in their own family troubles.  .  Back we went to the Klondike of the late 19th century where Wyatt found what he was looking for and brought knowledge back with him - would it help or destroy his family!  Well, I had a gold rush all of my own in the need to discover how it would all enfold!  I was not disappointed!
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This book was a bit like a time travel story for me. A man from the 1800’s wakes up in present-day Alaska, having been frozen for almost 200 years. I liked how the story takes the reader through the initial confusion of Wyatt, our frozen-in-time character. He is unsure of where he is and who he is. I thought that Lee Matthew Goldberg did an excellent job of bringing the reader into the story right from the beginning with this opening scene.

As the story progresses, we find Wyatt spiraling into this obsessive character. When I chose this book, I didn’t realize it would have this thriller aspect, so I was surprised when Wyatt finds who he believes is his great-great grandson, and becomes overly-attached to him, and his family. This obsessive behavior really turned this into an interesting read for me!

I thought that the story was well-written, and worth reading! It had this mix of historical fiction, science fiction, and thriller that kept me interested from start to finish! I loved the insight into the main character’s mind. His adaptation to the world he wakes up in was interesting, and I enjoyed watching him learn and change.

The connection between Wyatt, and his great-great-grandson Travis, was deep and emotionally written. I found their stories to both hold interest for me. At times, I found the narrative to be a bit lengthy, and I would have liked a most concise story, but overall, this was an exciting story.

To Read or Not To Read:
I would recommend The Ancestor for readers that enjoy a what-if story, and a mix of historical and science fiction!

I was provided a gifted copy of this book for free.  I am leaving my review voluntarily.
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