In Children of God, Mary Doria Russell further establishes herself as one of the most innovative, entertaining and philosophically provocative novelists writing today.
The only member of the original mission to the planet Rakhat to return to Earth, Father Emilio Sandoz has barely begun to recover from his ordeal when the So-ciety of Jesus calls upon him for help in preparing for another mission to Alpha Centauri. Despite his objections and fear, he cannot escape his past or the future.
Old friends, new discoveries and difficult questions await Emilio as he struggles for inner peace and understanding in a moral universe whose boundaries now extend beyond the solar system and whose future lies with children born in a faraway place.
Strikingly original, richly plotted, replete with memorable characters and filled with humanity and humor, Children of God is an unforgettable and uplifting novel that is a potent successor to The Sparrow and a startlingly imaginative adventure for newcomers to Mary Doria Russell’s special literary magic.
Russell follows her speculative first novel, The Sparrow, with a sequel that will please even readers new to her interplanetary missionaries. Having returned from a disastrous, 21st-century expedition to the planet Rakhat, Jesuit Father Emilio Sandoz, the sole survivor of the mission, faces public rage over the order's part in the war between the gentle Runa and the predatory Jana'ata--fury more than matched by the priest's own self-hatred and religious disillusionment. In the sequel, he is forced to return to Rakhat with a new expedition more interested in profits than prophets. When they discover the planet in turmoil and the Runa precariously in power, the temptation to interfere is more than they can withstand. As in her first book, Russell uses the entertaining plot to explore sociological, spiritual, religious, scientific and historical questions. Misunderstandings between cultures and people are at the heart of her story. It is, however, the complex figure of Father Sandoz around which a diverse interplanetary cast orbits, and it is the intelligent, emotional and very personal feud between Father Sandoz and his God that provides energy for both books. 50,000 first printing; BOMC selection; audio rights to Random House Audio; author tour.
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“She had read Yeats in Jimmy’s memory, and thought now of The Pensioner:’I spit in the face of time/that has transfigured me...’”
Father Emilio Sandoz has been returned to Earth, assumed the only survivor of the Stella Maris and Magellan explorations. However, he has no idea... what G-d has in store for him next, nor does he care. He’s lost the use of his hands. He’s very ill. He’s truly in the valley of shadow, as we learned at the end of “The Sparrow”, and is sure he’s been abandoned so he abandons everything he’s ever known, sinks into hopeless despair and constant pain. The Jesuits have taken him in, but nothing helps... until a little 4 year old finds an answer that all these learned minds have been searching for when she takes his sleeve and brings him into her world of simple...love.
As the Father General calls for inquiries into the Rakhat situation, Emilio shows great restraint when all he really wants to do is die. THEY know why he does. HE knows there’s another mission planned and that he’s the only one who knows Rakhat well enough to teach others the language and customs. Healing comes slowly, and with it new choices. However....
Will Emilio be able to comprehend what changes have happened since he left Rakhat? Can he still do the work he was called, and now forced to do? And when he finds out another member of the original Stella Maris crew survived and that things changed because of that?
In a “Conversation with Mary Doria Russell” added to this paperback, she was asked what the themes were for this book. Her response was that *The Sparrow* was about the role of religion in peoples’ lives, no matter if they believe or not; and that history transcends from “The Age of Discovery to The Space Age”. Then, when asked about *The Children of G-d*, Ms. Russell explains, is about time and memory after extreme tragedy and how hope can fade or sharpen our reaction even many years after.
These two books were simply amazing. *Children of G-d* is a much smoother story than *The Sparrow * but that just might be because it’s the “aftermath” of a rather uncomfortable situation. This might be summed up in quoting Numbers 23:23 :”What hath G-d wrought”...and now what? Highly Recommended 5/5
Superb and smart science fiction with beautifully developed characters and story lines.
The author does such an incredible job with this book... I really liked The Sparrow and wanted to learn more about Rakhat and what happened there. This book takes you in a front seat luxury tour of EVERYTHING that happened, the beautiful, the horrible, the unthinkable. Just finished it mere minutes ago and feel such a deep longing for a third book. Must read!