A man wakes up in present-day Alaskan wilderness with no idea who he is, nothing on him save an empty journal with the date 1898 and a mirror. He sees another man hunting nearby, astounded that they look exactly alike. After following this other man home, he witnesses a wife and child that brings forth a rush of memories of his own wife and child, except he’s certain they do not exist in modern times—but from his life in the late 1800s. After recalling his name is Wyatt, he worms his way into his doppelganger Travis Barlow’s life. Memories become unearthed the more time he spends, making him believe that he’d been frozen after coming to Alaska during the Gold Rush and that Travis is his great-great grandson. Wyatt is certain gold still exists in the area and finding it with Travis will ingratiate himself to the family, especially with Travis’s wife Callie, once Wyatt falls in love. This turns into a dangerous obsession affecting the Barlows and everyone in their small town, since Wyatt can’t be tamed until he also discovers the meaning of why he was able to be preserved on ice for over a century.
Okay, I’m going to be honest with you and say that my hackles were up as soon I read the opening scene.
PICTURE IT…SICILY, 1922. Just kidding, but seriously…PICTURE IT, Alaska, 2020…
Two of the main characters are out in the Alaskan wilderness rifle hunting for Caribou when they shoot and kill three Caribou for food…
They lift two Caribou into the truck and plan on leaving the third there because there’s not enough room–THIS is the moment I throw a flag on the play, my coffee goes flying, and blurt out (scaring the crap out of my cat by the way). ‘Why didn’t you do a field dressing?!?’ ‘You could have fit all three in the back of the truck!’
Don’t worry, no coffee went flying and no hackles were raised at any time when reading THE ANCESTOR 😉
My Dad used to be a Hunters Safety instructor, so I’m guessing it was his voice in my head at that moment.
Seriously though, I really enjoyed reading THE ANCESTOR, which I just finished about three this morning. There are some cringeworthy, absolutely heartbreaking, and surprising moments in this book, and I’m not going to spoil any of them for you.
I will say, as the reader, at times, it’s easy to empathize with Wyatt throughout the book, that is–up to a point.
THE ANCESTOR – Recommend!
‘[A]s I’ve learned from life, happiness sometimes only greets us in fits and starts. For tragedy often follows merriment. Without strife, we would not know the true meaning of gaiety. That’s what I like to tell myself to ease the pain.’
~About Lee Matthew Goldberg~
Lee is the author of the novels THE DESIRE CARD, THE MENTOR, and SLOW DOWN. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the 2018 Prix du Polar. The second book in the Desire Card series, PREY NO MORE, is forthcoming in 2020, along with his first Sci-Fi novel ORANGE CITY. His new endeavor will be as the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Fringe Press and Fringe Digital, dedicated to publishing fiction that’s outside-of- the-box. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Book Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests.
After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in the anthology DIRTY BOULEVARD, The Millions, Cagibi, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Underwood Press and others. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series and lives in New York City.
Follow him at leematthewgoldberg.com.