Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Children of God by Mary Doria Russell

Children of God (original 1998; edition 1999)

by Mary Doria Russell

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,244932,857 (3.99)231
Title:Children of God
Authors:Mary Doria Russell
Info:London: Black Swan, 1999, c1998. 509 p. ; 20 cm.
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, read, 2007, january, christianity, space, first contact

Work details

Children of God by Mary Doria Russell (1998)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 231 mentions

English (92)  Japanese (1)  All languages (93)
Showing 1-5 of 92 (next | show all)
I'm not enjoying this and I loved The Sparrow so much that I don't want to change my experience of that novel at all.
  thebookmagpie | Aug 7, 2016 |
The first book in this duology, The Sparrow, stands at the top of my list of favorite books read in the past decade. I strongly recommend that readers read that book first as this book is a continuation of that story and will make little sense without the background provided in the Sparrow.

The Sparrow tells the story of Earth's first contact with alien races and, with a sociologist's eye, the impact that a meeting between two entirely different cultures have upon each other. A facetious example might be if one culture considered a swift kick in the ass as a polite greeting coming into contact with one that does not. Children of God tells the story of Emilio Sandoz' second trip to Rahkat and focuses more on the impact that the first visit had on that planet's civilization in the years since he first departed the planet.

This was a good book but imho it was not as good as the Sparrow. Part of the problem may be that the story skipped around in place and time which can be very confusing when listening to an audiobook. Another part of the problem may be that while the ideas shared in The Sparrow were original and fascinating to consider, the impact of human explorers on indigenous cultures is all too familiar.

Bottom line: Mary Doria Russell is still one of the few authors on my if-they-write-it-I-will-buy-it list. I encourage readers to read all of her books, including this one. I just don't think this is her best effort. ( )
  Unkletom | Jun 30, 2016 |
Children of God - Mary Doria Russell
4 stars

“Philosophy, I discovered, is now more of an attitude than a career path - the job market has fallen off somewhat, since the Enlightenment. Fat Frans ”

This is the sequel to Russell’s shattering debut novel, The Sparrow. The first book tells the tragic story of a first contact space mission funded by The Society of Jesus. This book continues the story of the broken Father Emilio Sandoz . It begins on Earth with his recovery and follows his reluctant return to the planet Rakhat.

In some ways this is a time travel story. Russell doesn’t spend a lot of time on the technology of her near future, but she makes good use of the relative effects of acceleration on time. Each time Sandoz or any other character is in space, time on their respective planets gallops ahead of them. The story unfolds on two planets and in space, all in different time frames. And it works. It’s not confusing. She is truly an incredible writer.

The book is full of wonderful, engaging characters. They struggle, they suffer, and they have articulate, thought provoking conversations. Not one character, even the ones that I loved to hate, turns out to be completely evil. (And just for fun, Russell throws an autistic savant into the mix.) I lost count of the ongoing human and cultural conflicts that this story tackled, from the existence of God to planetary ecology. In conversation the characters struggle with forgiveness and redemption, loss, grief, and moral responsibility. The only complaint I have, and it’s a minor one, is that with so many serious issues to contemplate, I was distracted from the action of the plot. The ending of this book leaves me much more satisfied than I was with the tragic ending of the first one. I wish I hadn’t waited so long to get to this one.

( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
“The Sparrow” is a very hard act to follow, but Russell does a pretty good job of continuing the story of the spacefaring Jesuit priest Emilio Sandoz. She spends so much time tackling weighty issues that she didn’t really have to time to make the B-string Jesuit characters as twee as all of Sandoz’s mission companions in the first book (but they still got on my nerves).

Love, hate, forgiveness, war, slavery, genocide, faith, justice, identity… I could go on and on. All (and more) are explored in this lengthy read. Combined with the jumps back and forth and time, the plot holes and dropped sub-plots (as well as the cartoony Jesuits) made it impossible for me to overcome my annoyance and give it a higher rating… but it made me examine my thoughts and feelings on any number of subjects. I just didn’t identify with the characters as much as I did in the first book. Not an easy read.
( )
  memccauley6 | May 3, 2016 |
Essentially, Children of God and The Sparrow are one story separated into two volumes. While I count The Sparrow as one of my favorite books, in reality my appreciation encompasses both books and they must be read (and reread) together. On the surface, they are science fiction, but on a deeper level together they examine faith under fire and why God allows evil to occur in the universe. There won't be any spoilers about the plot in this review. Both my copies of The Sparrow and Children of God included an interview with the author and a readers guide.

Mary Doria Russell says: "The Sparrow was about the role of religion in the lives of many people, from atheist to mystic, and about the role of religion in history, from the Age of Discovery to the Space Age. I suppose that Children of God is about the aftermath of irreversible tragedy, about the many ways that we struggle to make sense of tragedy. It's about the stories we tell ourselves, and the ways we justify our decisions, to bring ourselves to some kind of peace. And I guess it's about the way time reveals significance, strips away self-serving excuses, lays truth bare, and both blunts pain and sharpens insight. (pg. 441, in Children of God, "A Conversation with Mary Doria Russell")

The title, Children of God, refers to the concept that we are all children of God and needed to complete God's plan. Each individual is valued and part of the plan, whether they know it or not. But the title also literally refers to the effect of children on society and, over time, their role in God's plan. Russell's science fiction format allows one character, Emilio Sandoz, to experience how much our perceptions of events and actions can change and evolve over time. She meant time itself to be a character.

When asked if there is a moral to the story, Mary Doria Russell says, "Don't be so damned quick to judge! The less we know about someone, the easier we find it to make a snap decision, to condemn or sneer or believe the worst. The closer you get, the more you know about the person or the situation in question, the harder it gets to be sure of your opinion, so remember that, and try to cut people a little slack. Like Emilio says, 'Everything we thought we understood--that was what we were most wrong about.' So the moral of the story is to be suspicious of your own certainty. Doubt is good." (pg. 447, in "A Conversation with Mary Doria Russell")

My rereads have only confirm how much I appreciate both of these novels. While The Sparrow has a greater emotional impact, Children of God completes the story.
Very Highly Recommended - one of the best; http://shetreadssoftly.blogspot.com/

( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 92 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mary Doria Russellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
di Bodone,GiottoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors

hermanas de mi alma
First words
Sweating and nauseated, Father Sandoz sat on the edge of his bed with his head in what was left of his hands.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (4)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 044900483X, Paperback)

Children of God is the sequel to Mary Doria Russell's 1996 The Sparrow, which saw a Jesuit mission to the planet Rakhat end in disaster. The sole survivor of that mission, a priest named Emilio Sandoz, returned a beaten and broken man, having suffered rape and mutilation at the hands of enigmatic aliens. Now the Jesuits want to go back to Rakhat, and they want Sandoz aboard the new mission. But Sandoz has renounced his priesthood and even found a measure of happiness with his new wife and stepdaughter. Meanwhile, on Rakhat, contact with the humans has thrown the local culture into turmoil, precipitating a war between Rakhat's two sentient races. As forces conspire to send Emilio back to Rakhat--and toward a possible reconciliation with God--the planet verges on genocidal destruction. Children of God is a more polished novel than The Sparrow, and the story is equally compelling.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:11 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A priest named Emilio Sandoz embarks on a quest to demystify God's providence that leads him to question the possibility of faith.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
6 avail.
75 wanted
4 pay3 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.99)
0.5 1
1 4
1.5 3
2 32
2.5 13
3 132
3.5 55
4 268
4.5 50
5 230


2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 108,310,288 books! | Top bar: Always visible