What if you took a DNA test and turned out to be part monster? Alberta “Bert” Monte doesn’t know this when a stranger appears at her door, telling her that she’s the last of Montebiancos, a wealthy family centered in a remote part of the Italian Alps. All she knows is that her grandparents emigrated there to the Hudson Valley, and little was ever spoken of their past, though there are rumors of children disappearing from the village. Bert’s at loose ends – she’s recently separated from her husband after a series of miscarriages – and so goes along, as much to learn the truth about herself as to claim her fortune. The twists and turns of The Ancestor are as tortuous as a ragged mountain pass, and Bert is just the companion for this exciting journey into the land of gothic horror.— Daniel Goldin
From the New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author of the Angelology series comes a bewitching gothic novel of suspense that plunges readers into a world of dark family secrets, the mysteries of human genetics, and the burden of family inheritance.
It feels like a fairy tale when Alberta ”Bert” Monte receives a letter addressed to “Countess Alberta Montebianco” at her Hudson Valley, New York, home that claims she’s inherited a noble title, money, and a castle in Italy. While Bert is more than a little skeptical, the mystery of her aristocratic family’s past, and the chance to escape her stressful life for a luxury holiday in Italy, is too good to pass up.
At first, her inheritance seems like a dream come true: a champagne-drenched trip on a private jet to Turin, Italy; lawyers with lists of artwork and jewels bequeathed to Bert; a helicopter ride to an ancestral castle nestled in the Italian Alps below Mont Blanc; a portrait gallery of ancestors Bert never knew existed; and a cellar of expensive vintage wine for Bert to drink.
But her ancestry has a dark side, and Bert soon learns that her family history is particularly complicated. As Bert begins to unravel the Montebianco secrets, she begins to realize her true inheritance lies not in a legacy of ancestral treasures, but in her very genes.
About the Author
Danielle Trussoni is the New York Times, USA Today, and Sunday Times Top Ten bestselling author of the supernatural thrillers Angelology and Angelopolis. She currently writers the Horror column for the New York Times Book Review and has recently served as a jurist for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. Trussoni holds an MFA in Fiction from the prestigious Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she won the Michener-Copernicus Society of America award. Her books have been translated into over thirty languages. She lives in the Hudson River Valley with her family and her pug Fly.
“[A] gripping narrative. Trussoni has created her own distinctive, smart and sly style evident in her rewarding new novel.”
— National Review
"Inventive and entertaining."
"Deliciously creepy...Trussoni plausibly and expertly combines an intense, darkly gothic narrative with elements of mystery, the paranormal, and legendary tales. This odyssey of monsters and family will enrapture readers."
— Publishers Weekly
"An opulently romantic horror tale, with a plucky...heroine who discovers she is part of a family whose dark secrets have been sheltered from the world at large....A gothic extravaganza."
— Kirkus Reviews
"Danielle Trussoni’s vivid and uncanny tale THE ANCESTOR makes the most of her signature blend of science, myth, and mystery. As the pages turn, family secrets come to light against a gothic backdrop that will keep readers following the startling twists and turns all the way to the end."
— Deborah Harkness
"Danielle Trussoni's THE ANCESTOR is a lushly written, dream-like modern gothic with as many dark turns and twists as the Montebianco family tree has branches. Welcome to the family."
— Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Cabin at the End of the World
"A surprise inheritance, remote castle in the Alps, and a cursed family bloodline? Yes, please! The Ancestor is a gloriously modern Gothic novel, blending mythic monsters with modern science in ways that gave me a thrill. Danielle Trussoni has written one hell of a tale."
— Victor LaValle, author of The Changeling
“The Ancestor is a wonderful shape-shifter of a novel. One minute you’ll suppose you’re in a haunted house: think Shirley Jackson. The next, you’re transported into the sort of world Mary Shelley might have created for Frankenstein. Danielle Trussoni is an immensely gifted literary descendant of both storytellers — they are among her ancestors — which is one of the many reasons why I savor her work so very much.”
— Chris Bohjalian, bestselling author of The Flight Attendant and The Red Lotus
"This smart, suspenseful thriller is at once an age-old tale and a fresh, scarily relevant trapdoor into our current genealogical obsession. Danielle Trussoni has written a biological and narrative labyrinth that you will happily get lost in, even as you question everything you think you know about yourself. "
— Benjamin Percy, author of Suicide Woods, Thrill Me, The Dark Net, and Red Moon
"Will sweep readers up in awe and wonder, asking us to examine our own complicated ancestry...Pair it with Jennifer Egan's backlist gem, The Keep."
— Library Journal
“The intermingling of science, legend, and genealogy make for a truly captivating tale of literary horror.”
“Ingenious and entertaining…chilling and inventive…[an] addictive book."
— New York Times Book Review
“[A] dazzling story. In the brilliant imagination of Danielle Trussoni, anything seems possible.”
— Dayton Daily News
“The Ancestor is wildly entertaining and Trussoni is a superb storyteller that pulls elements from many genres and seamlessly weaves together into something that demands to be read.”
— Mystery Tribune
“If gothic literature is your jam, then you absolutely must pick up Danielle Trussoni’s latest novel.”
— SyFy Wire