The Sparrow last week and it was really different! The chapters skip back and forth between 2019, 2039, and 2060. In 2019 a group of four Jesuit priests, a male astronomer, a female doctor and her engineer husband, and a female computer expert depart on the first journey to an alien planet, Rakhat. In 2039 we follow their exploration of the planet and it's inhabitants. In 2060 we follow Father Emilio Sandoz, the only survivor of the expedition who was found in a very compromising position as he tries to take control of himself again and is forced to explain what happened on Rakhat. The Sparrow was a really interesting piece of fiction AND science-fiction. Russell did a good job of building the suspense by moving the story between times and characters. The ending was equal parts predictable (I realized early on the Sandoz is not likely responsible for his or his fellow traveler's demise) and surprising (how one action changed everything).
If you like science-fiction, and even if you don't, The Sparrow is a great read!