Cover image for The child goddess
The child goddess
Marley, Louise, 1952-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Berkley Pub. Group, [2004]

Physical Description:
324 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
"An Ace Book"--T.p. verso.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.1 16.0 85317.
Format :


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FICTION Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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A priest and anthropologist, Isabel Burke has been called to the barren planet of Virimund. The ExtraSolar Corporation, developing Virimund as an energy source, has encountered an "incident" that has stopped their work...There is human life on Virimund after all-and there are children born here who do not age. One little girl has been captured by ExtraSolar, which hopes to discover the secret to her ageless existence. For ExtraSolar, she's a resource to be used and discarded. But for Isabel, she's an innocent who needs help...

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Oa appears to be a 10-year-old, taken by Dr. Adetti from her home planet, Virimund, a lost-colony world that ExtraSolar Corporation considers ideal for its power park. Isabel, a priest of the Magdalen Order, is called in to investigate and act as Oa's guardian. Slowly, with help from Simon Edwards of the World Health and Welfare Organization, she realizes Oa's secret. Oa and the other children of the Sikassa are infected with a virus that makes them perpetually prepubescent and practically immortal. Adetti and ExtraSolar administrator Gretchen Boreson see Oa as a potential fountain of youth, not as a person. Of course, things aren't that simple, and when Boreson and Adetti go to Virimund for further study, the immortality virus exacts a higher-than-expected price. All Oa and the other children want is to become normal and grow up. Fortunately, immortality is never easy, although it is curable. Marley attacks the problems she poses satisfactorily, with a well-placed plot and characterizations, in particular, that are engaging even amid the tangles of interpersonal relations. --Regina Schroeder Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

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) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

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. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.