82 pages 2 hours read

Mary Doria Russell

The Sparrow

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1996

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Chapters 1-7Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 1 Summary: “Rome, December 2059”

It’s December 7, 2059, and Father Emilio Sandoz is released from the isolation ward in the middle of the night and secretly transported to the Jesuit Residence near the Vatican. The next morning, a mob of reporters gathers outside Emilio’s room, and a spokesperson for the Jesuit Residence offers:

To the best of our knowledge, Father Emilio Sandoz is the sole survivor of the Jesuit mission to Rakhat. Once again, we extend our thanks to the U.N., to the Contact Consortium and to the Asteroid Mining Division of Ohbayashi Corporation for making the return of Father Sandoz possible. We have no additional information regarding the fate of the Contact Consortium’s crew members; they are in our prayers (5).

The spokesman goes on to say that Father Sandoz is too ill to talk about what happened during the mission. Emilio is suffering from anemia, scurvy, and exhaustion—all a product of space travel—and he sleeps twenty hours a day.

The Father General of the Society of Jesus, Vincenzo Giuliani, looks after Emilio and notes that in his sick and virtually-mute state, he’s “unlikely to give up his secrets any time soon” (6). Despite this, Giuliana has Father John Candotti come to Rome to see Emilio, in the hopes that John can assist Emilio, and get him talk about his experience.

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By Mary Doria Russell

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Mary Doria Russell
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Mary Doria Russell
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