Book Review | The Ancestor by Lee Matthew Goldberg

Book Review | The Ancestor by Lee Matthew Goldberg

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Ancestor!

The Ancestor cover

Genre: Thriller, historical fiction

Publication date: August 21, 2020

Publisher: All Due Respect, an imprint of Down & Out Books


Purchase here:

Amazon India:

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Ancestor has an unusual plot that makes it a fascinating, dark, and gritty story about greed, identity, love, sacrifice, and belonging. The author draws detailed word portraits that make the prose sound like poetry.

He brings the Alaskan topography alive with his descriptions and educates readers about the Klondike Gold Rush. I could feel the Alaskan cold in my bones–the writing is that good! I also learned about the Tlingit people–their practices, customs, and beliefs.

Death is a pervasive theme throughout the novel–it is present in every character’s point of view in some form or the other–the death of beliefs, of relationships, of connections or memories. The havoc caused by drugs also plays a part in the story, although it has been used by the main character to dredge up long-lost memories.

I felt the ending was shaky, but to appreciate the novel, the reader has to suspend belief right from the start. The story is a kind of cross between science fiction, historical fiction, and psychological thriller. I could think of alternate endings, but they would be too convenient. The way the author has written the story, it leaves me with a restless feeling–I want more!

Nevertheless, I felt the book is an excellent piece of work written with a whole lot of heart and feeling. It’s going to stay with me for some time because there are so many things to unpack.

(I received a copy from Blackthorn Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.)


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.

A meditation on love lost and unfulfilled dreams, The Ancestor is a thrilling page-turner in present day Alaska and a historical adventure about the perilous Gold Rush expeditions where prospectors left behind their lives for the promise of hope and a better future. The question remains whether it was all worth the sacrifice….

About Lee Matthew Goldberg

Lee Matthew Goldberg photo

Lee Matthew Goldberg 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

Website –

FB –

IG –

Twitter –

One response to “Book Review | The Ancestor by Lee Matthew Goldberg”

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.