'The Sparrow is one of my favourite science fiction novels and it destroyed me in the best way when I read it. It is so beautifully written and the construction of the narrative is masterful.'
Emma Newman, acclaimed author of Planetfall
Set in the 21st century - a number of decades from now - The Sparrow is the story of a charismatic Jesuit priest and talented linguist, Emilio Sandoz, who - in response to a remarkable radio signal from the depths of space - leads a scientific mission to make first contact with an extraterrestrial culture.
In the true tradition of Jesuit adventurers before him, Sandoz and his companions are prepared to endure isolation, suffering - even death - but nothing can prepare them for the civilisation they encounter. Or for the tragic misunderstanding that brings the mission to a devastating end. Once considered a living saint, Sandoz returns alone to Earth horrifically maimed, both physically and spiritually, the mission's sole survivor - only to be blamed for the mission's failure and accused of heinous crimes.
Written in clean, effortless prose and peopled with memorable characters who never lose their humanity or humour, The Sparrow is a powerful, haunting fiction - a tragic but ultimately triumphant novel about the nature of faith, of love and what it means to be 'human' and widely considered to be a classic of the genre.
'One of those rare books that takes you to its heart and refuses to let go'
'Compulsive reading and may be the year's best science fiction novel'
'Brilliant first novel about the discovery of extraterrestrial life...Shades of Wells, Ursula Le Guin and Arthur C. Clarke, with just a dash of Edgar Rice Burroughs - and yet strikingly original'
'One of the years's most powerful and disturbing books'
'A parable about human life on Earth, with all its imperfections, failings, doubts, wisdom and erudition...The Sparrow is a startling, engrossing and moral work of fiction'