Excerpt of A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell
(Page 5 of 5)
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"He's not a bad fellow," one of the novices comments, "for a Nazi."
"Suora!" Don Osvaldo cries.
Dimples disappearing, the white-veiled sister scrubs virtuously at the
mosaics, but Leoni's laughter fills the basilica. Disarmed, Don Osvaldo
scoops his half of the cigarettes out of the case. Leoni offers a light.
"American," Osvaldo notes with some surprise, examining the fine white
tissue paper. "I wonder where he"
"Smoking in a church!" Suora Marta grumbles, trundling down the aisle.
Already annoyed, she smells vomit, and her mouth twists. "Swine!" she
snaps at the insensible German.
"Judge not, Suora!" Leoni reminds her piously. "I'm inclined to
respect a soldier who has to get that drunk before confession. He must have an
admirable conscience to be so ashamed."
She holds out a hand. "Give me the rest."
Leoni's brows shoot upward. "Santo cielo! Do you smoke, Suora?"
"Don't waste my time, Leoni. Tobacco's better than gold on the black
market. We've got orphans to feed."
Excerpted from A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell, pages
9-16. Copyright © 2005 by Mary Doria
Russell. Excerpted by permission of Random House, a division of Random
House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced
or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.