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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

The Sparrow

Copyright 1996 by Mary Doria Russell

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Very good (4/5)

I first read this in May 1998.

The most unexpected and wonderful communication has been received from Alpha Centauri. The Catholic Church decide that these aliens must be met and send Emilio Sandoz, a Jesuit priest, on the mission to the planet Rakhat. With him go a small team, including the magnificent Sofia Mendes.

At first sight the world of Rakhat is like Eden with innocent and gentle aliens, the Runa. However, there's another alien race, the Jana'ata, and the relationship between the aliens is not pleasant and is not simple.

Emilio hoped to bring the word of God to the indigenous aliens, instead he unknowingly brings depravation and death upon his party and the world of Rakhat.

Russell makes a stunning debut with this book, and follows up almost as well with the sequel "Children of God". She has managed to create believable human and alien characters and worlds, And what a character she has created in Emilio, to convince us that people really can have such strength in and from their faith. Be warned, if you have absolutely no interest in religion or the concerns of religion, this book is not for you.

Very powerful stuff indeed, and what a love story.

Loaded on the 16th May 2001.
Cover of The Sparrow
Cover art by A. Morton

Reviews of other works by Mary Doria Russell:
Children Of God