Children of God by Mary Doria Russell
(Ballantine Reader's Circle)

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Synopsis

Mary Doria Russell's debut novel, The Sparrow, took us on a journey to a distant planet and into the center of the human soul. A critically acclaimed bestseller, The Sparrow was chosen as one of Entertainment Weekly's Ten Best Books of the Year, a finalist for the Book-of-the-Month Club's First Fiction Prize and the winner of the James M. Tiptree Memorial Award. Now, in Children of God, 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, Chil-dren 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.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Mary Doria Russell

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Mary Doria Russell received her B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Illinois-Urbana, her M.A. in Social Anthropology from Northeastern University, and her Ph.D. in Biological Anthropology from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. In the process of earning her degrees, Russell studied linguistics, genetics, anatomy, archaeology, and geology-all of which have found their way into her critically acclaimed debut novel. Prior to The Sparrow, Russell had only written scientific articles-on subjects ranging from bone biology to cannibalism-and technical manuals for medical equipment as complex as nuclear magnetic resonance scanners. In her own words, she admits, "I had a great time, published a lot of stuff, won a bunch of awards and grants, but eventually got fed up with academia and quit." Making the transition from scientific and technical writing to fiction wasn't easy. Russell estimates, however, that "only about twenty-two anthropologists, world-wide, read my academic publications and nobody reads computer manuals, so I figured that if even just my friends read my novel, I'd be way ahead in terms of readership because I have a lot of friends." A recent convert to Judaism, Russell has nevertheless maintained a strong connection with the Catholic education of her childhood. Asked why she created such a detailed look at faith in a higher power and religion in her debut novel, Russell explains, "I wanted to evaluate, as an adult, issues that had lain dormant for me since adolescence, to study the religion of my youth, to revisit the source of my values and ethics. That's why I chose to write about men who are collectively among the most admirable and best educated of Catholic priests, the Jesuits. Writing The Sparrow allowed me to weigh the risks and the benefits of a belief in God, to examine the role of religion in the lives of many people." Mary Doria Russell lives in Cleveland, Ohio, ("and likes it very much, thank you") with her husband, Don, and their son, Daniel. She is currently working on the sequel to The Sparrow, titled Children of God.
 
Published January 1, 1999 by Fawcett Ballantine. 438 pages
Genres: History, Religion & Spirituality, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Children of God

Kirkus Reviews

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 Sequel to The Sparrow (1996), Russell's account of a 21st- century Jesuit-led expedition to planet Rakhat with its two intelligent, kangaroo-like alien races, the carnivorous Jana'ata and their prey, the enslaved Runa.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Children of God (Ballantine R...

Publishers Weekly

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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

Mar 02 1998 | Read Full Review of Children of God (Ballantine R...

AV Club

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Children Of God, Russell's sequel to The Sparrow, opens with Sandoz still plagued by feelings of guilt, believing that a combination of his own incompetence and God's cruelty led to the failure of the mission.

Mar 29 2002 | Read Full Review of Children of God (Ballantine R...

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