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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
The Prancestor Project by Christine Morse is a work of contemporary speculative fiction with a strongly tied counterfactual history component as it delves into the discovery of a possible ancient indigenous hominid-type advanced civilization, one which ruled the planet before any meaningful knowledge of the earth's timeline existed. The revelation is made by anthropologist Professor David Denlon, so soft-pedalled and unassuming a man that a Little House on the Prairie slight is about the worst name he can initially level against anyone. Funding soon follows from a benefactor whose true identity is hazy and comes at a massive cost, as David is chased across the globe by the wealthy and power-hungry Patrick Veeder, a wolf in sheep's clothing who will stop at nothing to gain control of the secrets the planet holds on its pre-ancient history.
As I devoured The Prancestor Project by Christine Morse in record time for a book this hefty in size, I couldn't decide if it was more Dan Brown or Michael Crichton, or if at any moment Indiana Jones might leap out from the shadows holding a crystal skull. I came to the conclusion that Morse encompasses the best of all three, with ancient code in a Jurassic Park-style mineral, a dogged chase by a man with the motivation and resources of the Catholic church, and a crystal that holds the key to answer absolutely everything—sans the guy with a whip. Morse gives David a fantastic personal arc that encompasses the women in his life, including his mother who, at the height of intensity, does the most motherly thing ever by turning off the TV because they were saying “terrible things about my Davey.” For a plot with all the chops to have launched a series, it is the characters in the book that make it entertaining. The writing is clean and tight, the pacing is perfect, and everything clicks neatly into place without turning tropey. There are a couple of twists and a moment at the beginning on a train involving a white crystal that comes full circle that is patiently and perfectly executed, making for an excellent book sure to tickle the fancy of speculative sci-fi lovers.