Monday, November 05, 2012

Book Club-October

The Sparrow (The Sparrow, #1)
It was predictable, in hindsight. Everything about the history of the Society of Jesus bespoke deft and efficient action, exploration and research. During what Europeans were pleased to call the Age of Discovery, Jesuit priests were never more than a year or two behind the men who made initial contact with previously unknown peoples; indeed, Jesuits were often the vanguard of exploration.

The United Nations required years to come to a decision that the Society of Jesus reached in ten days. In New York, diplomats debated long and hard, with many recesses and tablings of the issue, whether and why human resources should be expended in an attempt to contact the world that would become known as Rakhat when there were so many pressing needs on Earth. In Rome, the questions were not whether or why but how soon the mission could be attempted and whom to send.

The Society asked leave of no temporal government. It acted on its own principles, with its own assets, on Papal authority. The mission to Rakhat was undertaken not so much secretly as privately – a fine distinction but one that the Society felt no compulsion to explain or justify when the news broke several years later.

The Jesuit scientists went to learn, not to proselytize. They went so that they might come to know and love God’s other children. They went for the reason Jesuits have always gone to the furthest frontiers of human exploration. They went ad majorem Dei gloriam: for the greater glory of God.

They meant no harm.

Even though this kind of sounds like a religious preachy book, it is not that at all.  The story alternates betwen 2019 when a signal is received in Arecibo and 2060 when Emilo, a survivor from a mission sent to Rakhat returns.  Inquiries are made as to why he was the only survivor and why he was in such bad shape.  Through alternating view we see the friendships he made and learn some back story on the other characters and why the undertook the mission.  We also see how broken Emilio is and how his faith in God has diminished because of the events that occured in Rakhat.  The ending just blew my mind and all had been building to it.  The author does a great job in keeping the reader interested.  I will definitely be picking up the sequel to this book to see what happens after Emilio's story is told.

The book for November is Godless - Pete Hautman 

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