Trained as a paleoanthropologist and the author of scientific articles on subjects ranging from bone biology to cannibalism, Mary Doria Russell received her B.A. in cultural anthropology from the University of Illinois, her M.A. in social anthropology from Northeastern Univer-sity and her doctorate in biological anthropology from the University of Michigan. She lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with her husband and their son and is at work on her third novel.
A Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club
Believing himself the sole survivor of a disastrous Jesuit mission to the planet Rakhat, Emilio Sandoz struggles to repair his broken body and ravaged spirit. Fate‘or God's will‘takes a hand in his life, however, demanding more from a man who has already given his all. Firmly grounded in science yet informed and illuminated by an inherent spirituality, this sequel to Russell's highly praised The Sparrow (Villard, 1996) examines the problem of faith under fire with insight and clarity. Powerful prose and memorable characters make this a prime purchase for all sf and speculative fiction collections.
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. (Mar.)
-- The Orlando Sentinel