Children of God

(sequel to THE SPARROW)

An excerpt

Children of God (Hardcover: Villard, 1998) (Paperback: Fawcentt Books, 1999)

Children of God (Hardcover: Villard, 1998) (Paperback: Fawcentt Books, 1999)

“I made a cloister of my body and a garden of my soul. The stones of the cloister wall were my nights, and my days were the mortar. Year after year, I built the walls. But in the center I made a garden that I left open to heaven, and I invited God to walk there. And God came to me.” Sandoz turned away, trembling. “God came to me–and the rapture of those moments was so pure and so powerful that the cloister walls were leveled. I had no more need for walls. God was my protection. I could look into the face of the wife I would never have, and love all wives. I could look into the face of the husband I would never be, and love all husbands. I could dance at weddings because I was wedded to God, and all the children were mine.”

He came back to the table and placed his ruined hands on its battered wood and looked at Lopore with eyes alive with rage. “And now the garden is laid waste,” he whispered. “The wives and the husbands and the children are all dead. And there is nothing left but ash and bone.”

Kalingemala Lopore sat back in his chair, the long strong fingers folded loosely in his lap, his faith in hidden meaning, and in God’s work in God’s time, granitic. “You are beloved of God,” he said softly. “And so you will live to see what you have made possible when you return to Rakhat.”

“Non serviam,” Sandoz said. “I won’t be used again.”

“Not even if We ask it?” the Pope pressed.


“So. Not for the Society. Not for Holy Church. Nevertheless, you must go back,” the Holy Father told Emilio Sandoz with a terrifying, joyful certainty. “God is waiting for you in the ruins.”


A beautiful engine of thought and story…Children of God is almost impossible to put down… From its first words, [it] carries on at a run from The Sparrow, and this in itself is a miracle of telling… The rest is a luxury of story.― John Clute, Sci Fi Weekly

Even more ambitious in scope than The Sparrow, the sequel addresses issues of peace, justice and belief, handling complicated spiritual and moral questions with depth and sensitivity.― USA Today

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.― Library Journal

This sweeping operatic storyline is…a foundation for the intelligent examination of towering existential themes… Russell’s gift for dialog and the novel’s questioning of our very souls at the dawn of a new millennium give Children of God a quality that transcends genre… a sequel that is worthy of The Sparrow… It’s a gem.― Toronto Globe and Mail

As in her first book, Russell uses the entertaining plot to explore sociological, spiritual, religious, scientific and historical questions…. 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 these books.― Publishers Weekly

A brutal and deliberate tale … that will challenge and sometimes shred the reader’s preconceptions.― Kirkus

Children of God, like its predecessor The Sparrow, combines a compelling story with intelligence and careful research… Russell’s exploration of the psychic rift and its healing is eloquent, illuminating all the dark corners of the mind in great novelistic style.― Cleveland Free Times

This is the God of Job, and his world is a moral thicket, a vale of tears, a place of terrors and wonders almost beyond human understanding. You don’t have to be a believer to find Russell’s portrait of courage and endurance and humanity … both moving and exhilarating.― Locus

Children of God brings the tale Russell began in her first book to an immensely satisfying conclusion… Russell, who has a doctorate in anthropology, understands the issues that a collision of cultures involves. But it is her skill at storytelling that makes these questions come alive. Children of God … is a fine novel, with a compelling plot, intriguingly complex characters and enough poetry in the writing to convey the heartbreaking tragedy that even the best-intended actions can cause.
― Cleveland Plain Dealer

Riveting… Near impossible to put down… The story Russell tells is not only incredibly entertaining and imaginative, but morally provocative. ― Book Page

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