The Sparrow

Mary Doria Russell
The Sparrow Cover

The Sparrow


This was a very moving story about a crisis of faith without being about religion. The ending seemed a bit trite and easily resolved but until that point it was beautifully paced.

A Jesuit mission is sent to make First Contact with the newly discovered civilization of Rahkhat. Years later a second mission discovers the sole survivor of that mission, Sandoz, in extraordinarily suspicious circumstances. Sandoz is returned to Earth to answer before a tribunal to explain the deaths of all his fellow travelers.

The story is told alternately from the beginning and end and works towards the denouement somewhere in the middle. I was sure from the beginning that he would be exonerated but the journey to get there was compelling.

As things fell into place it all made so much sense and if I believed in a God of all Creation it would shake my faith. In the end though it is a lesson in the dangers of anthropormorphising. I must be careful how I talk to my cats in future...