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This strange, ambitious science fiction novel has already won enough attention for its first-time author to make it a selection by both the Book of the Month and QPB clubs. Father Emilio Sandoz, a Jesuit linguist, heads a team of scientists and explorers on an expedition to the planet Rakhat, where contact has been established with two apparently primitive races, the Runa and the Jana'ata. The narrative shifts back and forth between 2016, when contact is first made, and 2060, to a Vatican inquest interrogating the maimed and broken Sandoz. A paleoanthropologist, Russell makes the descriptions of the inhabitants of Rakhat both convincing and unsettling. Check out Amazon.com's Sparrow feature and read an excerpt from the book! --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
An enigma wrapped inside a mystery sets up expectations that prove difficult to fulfill in Russell's first novel, which is about first contact with an extraterrestrial civilization. The enigma is Father Emilio Sandoz, a Jesuit linguist whose messianic virtues hide his occasional doubt about his calling. The mystery is the climactic turn of events that has left him the sole survivor of a secret Jesuit expedition to the planet Rakhat and, upon his return, made him a disgrace to his faith. Suspense escalates as the narrative ping-pongs between the years 2016, when Sandoz begins assembling the team that first detects signs of intelligent extraterrestrial life, and 2060, when a Vatican inquest is convened to coax an explanation from the physically mutilated and emotionally devastated priest. A vibrant cast of characters who come to life through their intense scientific and philosophical debates help distract attention from the space-opera elements necessary to get them off the Earth. Russell brings her training as a paleoanthropologist to bear on descriptions of the Runa and Jana'ata, the two races on Rakhat whose differences are misunderstood by the Earthlings, but the aliens never come across as more than variations of primitive earthly cultures. The final revelation of the tragic human mistake that ends in Sandoz's degradation isn't the event for which readers have been set up. Much like the worlds it juxtaposes, this novel seems composed of two stories that fail to come together. BOMC, QPB and One Spirit Book Club selections.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I really wanted to like this but I couldn't.
I think it would have fared better if it were written in a chronological time frame.
Also, Ms. Read more
This is a good sci fi story. Haven't finished yet. The story thread weaves an interesting approach to this mans life.Published 22 months ago by Kathleen
What an absolutely amazing book! I was afraid to read this book for a LONG time. It came highly recommneded by a friend...twice he went into it, explaining how interesting it was. Read morePublished on July 9 2012 by Love Reading
The Sparrow is a book about the existence of an alien race on another planet, and the expedition of a space crew to explore and learn from this newly discovered race. Read morePublished on March 1 2010 by Sleuth Review
Theology can become a distant logical exercise of dry doctrine and easy theoretical conclusions. When it comes down to the wet choices of real life most such theoretical Theology... Read morePublished on May 1 2008 by NeuroSplicer
I found the book to be very strong, in fact all of the members of our band Metaphor read it and decided to write and record a concept CD or rock opera, based on the book! Read morePublished on Sept. 11 2007 by Malcolm C. Smith
This book grabs you and throws you into the world of M.D.R's imagination. My wife read it after I was done with it and had to put it down because she became so attached to the... Read morePublished on Dec 3 2004 by Paul J. Redmond
What a truly amazing book! I think it must be close to the best book I've ever read. Although it's classed as science fiction, it's better described as a book that examines the... Read morePublished on June 17 2004 by Amazon Customer
I tried to read this book a few years ago, and I struggled just to get a quarter of the way through... Then I just put it down. Which is something I rarely ever do. Read morePublished on June 15 2004 by K. L. Obrien