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The Child Goddess

The Child Goddess

5.0 1
by Louise Marley

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Winner of the 2005 Endeavour Award

There is something mysterious and terrifying about a young child, discovered and imprisoned by Port Force workers on the ocean planet of Virimund. Mother Isabel Burke, of the Priestly Order of Mary Magdalene, a medical anthropologist, is called to be the child's guardian, but Isabel finds she must also be the girl's protector


Winner of the 2005 Endeavour Award

There is something mysterious and terrifying about a young child, discovered and imprisoned by Port Force workers on the ocean planet of Virimund. Mother Isabel Burke, of the Priestly Order of Mary Magdalene, a medical anthropologist, is called to be the child's guardian, but Isabel finds she must also be the girl's protector against the powerful corporation trying to exploit her. Isabel leads the effort to discover who the child is, and how a young girl could be the only survivor of a colony assumed lost for more than three centuries.
Though Isabel has sworn never to see Dr. Simon Burke again, she needs him to help her solve the enigma of Oa of Virimund, and to try to thwart the powerful people who suspect that Oa's small body holds the key to extended life.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Louise Marley's powerfully edifying science fiction thriller pits a woman priest against a transnational corporation bent on using an idyllic oceanic planet as an energy-producing power park -- and determined to exploit a group of extraordinary children from a lost colony.

Mother Isabel Burke is a member of the Priestly Order of Mary Magdalene, a struggling order of celibate female priests devoted to the search for truth in all things. After an "incident" on the supposedly uninhabited planet of Virimund, where hydro-workers stumbled across a small colony of human children and accidentally killed one, Isabel is assigned as the guardian of a wounded child captured and inexplicably taken to Earth for alleged research. The child, named Oa, has been the unwilling subject of callous corporation-employed doctors who have kept her imprisoned for over a year. When Isabel meets Oa, she vows to somehow free the girl and return her to her homeworld.

But Oa, it seems, isn't a child at all; she is centuries old and has somehow found a way to exist without aging -- and the corporate researchers will do anything to find out her potentially lucrative secret.

Like Marley's other novels (The Terrorists of Irustan, The Maquisarde, et al.), The Child Goddess is a passionate and deeply spiritual story powered by her adept characterization. Like a master sculptor, Marley crafts realistic, three-dimensional characters that readers can't help but empathize with. If the famed Trappist monk and poet Thomas Merton ever wrote science fiction, it would read like a Louise Marley novel. Paul Goat Allen

Publishers Weekly
Initially a conventional first-contact story, Marley's sensitive, lyrical SF novel, set on 23rd-century Earth and the oceanic world Virimund, swiftly evolves into a meditation intertwining spiritual values, godhood itself and romantic love. Marley's feminist springboard is her acceptance of Mary of Magdala, long considered a reformed prostitute, as Christ's first disciple. The Magdalenes, a celibate Roman Catholic order of women priests known as Enquirers, travel the galaxy as anthropological investigators, "to shed light into dark places." Assigned to probe Oa, a mysterious child discovered on Virimund, empathetic Isabel soon learns that Oa represents one of humanity's deepest yearnings, for the fountain of eternal youth. Torn between her forbidden love for Dr. Simon Edwards, like herself a healer, and her sacred vow of celibacy, Isabel asks Simon to help Oa escape the megaworld ExtraSolar Corporation, whose general administrator, Gretchen Boreson, has her own devious reasons to claim Oa and her few fellow "anchens," the abandoned children of Virimund. Told in alternating glimpses through Isabel's and Oa's viewpoints and reintroducing the enigmatic character Jin-Li Chung from the author's The Terrorists of Irustan (1999), the book treats feminism's central issues gently, skirting the strident swamps of passion and the fatal abyss of sentimentality, with tender insights into love and sacrifice all too rare today. Agent, Peter Rubie. (May 4) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
When the ExtraSolar Corporation started mining hydrogen on Virimund, it was supposed to be an uninhabited planet. So where did this group of ragged children-armed with stones and knives-come from? That is partially what Isabel Burke, a thirty-six-year-old priest in the Order of Mary Magdalene, is supposed to find out. But first she must wrest control of the child Oa, a Virimund native who has been brought to Earth, from the sinister clutches of ExtraSolar's administrator and doctor. They are performing secret experiments on Oa, and nobody knows what they are so intent on finding. With the help of the handsome doctor/diplomat Simon, with whom she has had an affair in the past, Isabel becomes Oa's guardian. The entire group-good guys and bad-journeys back to Virimund to try to uncover the mystery of Oa and the other children on the planet. The main characters are likeable, and readers will root for them despite the lack of subtlety in characterization. The book often reads like a romance novel, with Simon and Isabel's love for each other expressed in breathless prose, but the improbabilities in the plot are sometimes hard to ignore. Even harder to accept, however, is Isabel's supposed anthropological expertise. Readers will quickly grasp what Oa is trying to communicate to Isabel, but Isabel remains blind to the most obvious clues and never asks the kinds of questions that an anthropologist should. Although it is an entertaining read, the book is hardly essential for any collection. VOYA CODES: 3Q 2P S A/YA (Readable without serious defects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2004,Ace, 325p., Ages 15 to Adult.
—Rebecca Barnhouse
Library Journal
An exploratory trip by ExtraSolar Corporation to the planet Viridium goes wrong, which results in the deaths of an ExtraSolar employee and a child, a native of the supposedly unoccupied world. Mother Isabel Burke, a priest of the Order of Mary Magdalene, is assigned guardianship of a surviving child and, through her investigations, discovers the existence of a unique civilization on Viridium. Marley (The Glass Harmonica; The Maquisarde) has crafted a luminescent tale of faith under fire as Isabel and the child Oa confront their deepest fears and discover their inner truths. Unforgettable characters and a compelling plot make this essential for sf collections of any size. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Fairwood Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.71(d)

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Child Goddess 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the distant future energy is needed to keep the expansion of the human race into the galaxy going. Power parks on uninhabited planets are built to supply that need. On the planet Virmund, a colony of lost children is discovered but nowhere on that orb are any adults. The Extra Solar Corporation, responsible for the building of the power park, takes back one of the children, keeps her in isolation, and runs medical tests for fourteen months...................... Isabel Burke, a priest in the order of Magdalene, is appointed as guardian for the child. However from the time she makes contact with the child, she is also put in isolation, unable to communicate in person with anyone from the outside. Thanks to the help of a gentle worker in the complex, Isabel is able to make contact with her ex-lover. Simon who has a lot of political clout is also a highly regarded physician. He discovers that Oa is over hundred years old but acts and thinks like a child and the powers that be want the secret of her inability to grow old. A group flies to Virmund to find out what is keeping the children young and killing the adults on the planet. ......................... Louise Marley has written a very entertaining science fiction novel that deals with current social issues such as women becoming priests in the Catholic Church. The mystery of the children on Virmund is handled in a believable way using scientific methods based on research used today. The children who have no desire to be Peter Pans want to experience the wonders of aging. The tale belongs to the heroine facing adversity but determined to dot he right thing..................... Harriet Klausner