Children of God reveals author Mary Doria Russell's training in cultural, social, and biological anthropology before turning to the writing of fiction. Russell deals with the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) sending a second mission to the planet Rakhat to make up for the debacle of their first mission from which only Emilio Sandoz returns alive. The second mission aims at liberating the majority population on Rakhat, which is bred for service and food by the master race. In the interim, the revolution has already taken place and the masters are an endangered species. Much of the novel describes this Earth-like world and its Earth-like social problems.