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Children of Godby Mary Doria Russell
Synopses & Reviews
Sweating and nauseated, father Emilio Sandoz sat on the edge of his bed with his head in what was left of his hands.
Many things had turned out to be more difficult than he'd expected. Losing his mind, for example. Or dying. How can I still be alive? he wondered, not so much with philosophical curiosity as with profound irritation at the physical stamina and sheer bad luck that had conspired to keep him breathing, when all he'd wanted was death. "Something's got to go," he whispered, alone in the night. "My sanity or my soul . . ."
He stood and began to pace, wrecked hands tucked under his armpits to keep the fingers from being jarred as he moved. Unable to drive nightmare images away in the darkness, he touched the lights on with an elbow so he could see clearly the real things in front of him: a bed, linens tangled and sweat-soaked; a wooden chair; a small, plain chest of drawers. Five steps, turn, five steps back. Almost the exact size of the cell on Rakhat--
There was a knock at the door and he heard Brother Edward Behr, whose bedroom was nearby and who was always alert for these midnight walks. "Are you all right, Father?" Edward asked quietly.
Am I all right? Sandoz wanted to cry. Jesus I'm scared and I'm crippled and everybody I ever loved is dead--
But what Edward Behr heard as he stood in the hallway just beyond Sandoz's door was, "I'm fine, Ed. Just restless. Everything's fine."
Brother Edward sighed, unsurprised. He had cared for Emilio Sandoz, night and day, for almost a year. Tended his ruined body, prayed for him, watching appalled and frightened as the priest fought his way back from utter helplessness to a fragile self-respect. So, even as Edward padded down the hall to check on Sandoz tonight, he suspected that this would be the soft-voiced reply to a pointless question.
"It's not over, you know," Brother Edward had warned a few days earlier, when Emilio had at long last spoken the unspeakable. "You don't get over something like that all at once." And Emilio had agreed that this was true.
Returning to his own bed, Edward punched up the pillow and slid under the covers, listening as the pacing resumed. It's one thing to know the truth, he thought. To live with it is altogether something else.
In the room directly beneath sandoz's, the father general of the Society of Jesus had also heard the sudden, gasping cry that announced an arrival of the incubus who ruled Emilio's nights. Unlike Brother Edward, Vincenzo Giuliani no longer rose to offer Sandoz unwelcomed help, but he could see in memory the initial look of bewildered terror, the silent struggle to regain control.
For months, while presiding over the Society's inquiry into the failure of the first Jesuit mission to Rakhat, Vincenzo Giuliani had been certain that if Emilio Sandoz were brought to speak of what had happened on that alien world, the matter could be resolved and Emilio would find some peace. The Father General was both administrator and priest; he had believed it was necessary--for the Society of Jesus and for Sandoz himself--to face facts. And so, by methods direct and indirect, by means gentle and brutal, both alone and aided by others, he had taken Emilio Sandoz to the moment when truth could free him.
Sandoz had fought them every step of the way: no priest, no matter h
The acclaimed author of The Sparrow offers an imaginative, quirkily humorous novel featuring a priest named Emilio Sandoz, whose quest to demystify God's providence leads him to question the possibility of faith. Reprint. Tour.
A priest named Emilio Sandoz embarks on a quest to demystify God's providence that leads him to question the possibility of faith.
About the Author
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.
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