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The Left Hand of God [Paperback]

Paul Hoffman
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (230 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Dec 2011
“Listen. The Sanctuary of the Redeemers on Shotover Scarp is named after a damned lie for there is little redemption that goes on there and less sanctuary.” The Sanctuary of the Redeemers is a desolate place – a place where hope and joy are not welcome. Most of its occupants have been brought here as young boys, against any will they might have once had. They cower under the terrifying regime of the Lord Redeemers whose cruelty and violence have one singular purpose – to serve the name of the Hanged Redeemer. No one knows their way around all of the Sanctuary, so vast and twisting is its maze of corridors – corridors filled with the stench of centuries old religious fervour. Standing in one of these corridors is a boy, looking out of a dark window, looking out at the latest unfortunate arrivals to this hell. His is perhaps fourteen or fifteen years old – he is not sure and neither is anyone else. He has long-forgotten his real name, but now they call him Cale. He doesn’t remember anything of his former life. He doesn’t know anything of his future life… Meet the Angel of Death.
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Joseph; WH Smith (CPD) edition (1 Dec 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718159543
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718159542
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 10.1 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (230 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,811,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Writers like Hoffman are too rare. This wonderful book gripped me from the first chapter and then dropped me days later, dazed and grinning to myself. (Conn Iggulden )

Brooding and magnificent... Hoffman has created a terrifying world and filled it with strange and complex characters. (Eoin Colfer )

Brilliant. Mervyn Peake takes on Dickens in a head to head clash with a manga comic that takes no prisoners. Strange, funny, violent and intriguing. (Charlie Higson )

A dark novel, haunting and exciting. If you do not enjoy this book something has died in your soul (Harry Sidebottom ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Paul Hoffman read English at New College, Oxford. After graduating he worked in many varied jobs, including as a senior film censor at the British Board of Film Classification. His first novel, The Wisdom of Crocodiles was made into a film starring Jude Law and Timothy Spall. His second novel, The Golden Age of Censorship, was a black comedy based on his experiences as a film censor. As a screenwriter he has written or co-written three films and worked with, among others, Francis Ford Coppola. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Something missing 21 Jan 2010
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The competent, easy-flowing prose makes this book an accessible read, but in the end I thought it didn't add up to much. It is a fantasy (although with no magic) set in an alternative version of history in an unspecified part of Europe and a time resembling the 15th Century. It follows the adventures of three boys escaping from a hideously repressive Sanctuary, and their subsequent adventures. Some - but by no means all - of the narrative is quite gripping and there are some decent action set pieces, but I'm afraid I felt that there was a rather off-the-peg feel about the whole book, making sure the usual hooks were all covered. The hideously brutal Redeemers, the aristocratic and sneering Materazzi, the beautiful just seemed a bit by-numbers.

Similarly, the targets for satire - sneering aristocrats, brutal and hypocritical religious zealots, vacuous and self-regarding bimbos, and so on - are worthy subjects but were all so grotesquely exaggerated that it took much of the sting out of it. Also, the style is often gently ironic which simply doesn't fit the story it is telling.

I don't want to be too critical because it's by no means dreadful. It's perfectly readable but I can't give it four stars
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read 27 Oct 2010
There are many many reviews here. Most of the negative ones I have read seem to come from people who have no appreciation of fantasy.

This book is set in an alternate medieval setting with many references to our world - Spanish, Dutch, Jesus, etc but clearly very different with the Redeemers regime a brutal example of what religion at its worst can become. This for me is the strength of the book. The opening chapters in the Sanctuary are exceptional. The control the Redeemers exert over the boys bodies and minds and the vicious punishments meeted out, set a tone that spreads throughout the rest of the book, maintained by Cale's indifference to death and killing after his escape. Ok, there aren't many strong female characters but the setting of the tale doesn't allow for them. Hoffman could as easily be criticised for shoe-horning one or two in as for leaving them out.

Cale's character (or at least the reasons for it) is revealed gradually more than it changes and from that point of view, I thought the story was well paced and generally well written.

I enjoyed Cale's trials among the Materatsi, his being a rather reluctant and disinterested hero (if indeed that is what he is ...) and the ending with the chilling appearance of Redeemer Belasco was strong in setting up the next book.

I can see why people can dislike it though. There's no positive message here about religion, with its power to corrupt the minds of people to do unspeakable things under a veil of self-righteousness. It's not rammed down the readers throat but it's there all the same. Readers of a religious persuasion may well balk at that aspect. It is a bit bleak all round but then the Spanish Inquisition was pretty bleak to as was much of the middle ages.

But ...
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but flawed 27 Sep 2010
It's interesting to read other reviews after just finishing the final page. I read this over the last few days and I must admit it had me hooked. It's well written, compelling in places but there are flaws.

Elements of the book seem rushed, as if Hoffman couldn't wait to get to the end of the story (or at least, this being the first part in what will undoubtedly become a trilogy); in particular, the battle at the end - which Hoffman openly admits draws on the history of Agincourt - left me feeling a little cold. The battle sequence should be the third act climax, but either due to lazy writing, or that he was in a rush, or that he simply can't construct a thrilling battle scene, it kind of fell on it's sword (if you'll excuse the pun). Certainly he would have benefited from reading Bernard Cornwell's Azincourt to get a feel for how it SHOULD be done.

Anyway, back to the main story - as I've said twice already, it feels rushed. He's got some fantastic concepts in there but I felt there wasn't enough to suck us into this alternative world. Relationships, plotlines and characters should be fleshed out more and given scope to develop. But it was one mad dash to get through the story, which doesn't help the reader to suspend their disbelief - in particular I felt that Cale was much older throughout the story, and whatever anyone says the pure strength of a 14 year old would end up with all of them dead (a 14 year old boy cocking a crossbow which can fire 300 yards accurately? Puuuuurrrlease!)

Niggles, yes, but annoying ones when the quality of research - even into fictional worlds - is so well done by others.

The only other thing that jarred were some modern day references - "dollars", "Jesus" and "Jews" are things which spring to mind.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 16 April 2013
By Deborah TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
I saw this book while shopping, the cover appealed to me so I read the blurb on the back and thought I'd give it a go I'd nothing else to go on since the book had just come out so I started reading with an open mind. I loved it, the descriptions and details were amazing I felt like I was there, I couldn't read it fast enough, the reviews I've read since are such a mixed bag but I will say without giving too much away that I think the battle scene was perfect I couldn't picture it any other way.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars bought this for a holiday read
Bought this for a holiday read well I also bought the other two in the series at same time and am I glad I did I can't wait too start on the next one a great read with a mysterious... Read more
Published 12 days ago by Brian Dornan
4.0 out of 5 stars Can't wait to read the sequels!
Apart from a few plot points, this is a very well written, interesting and thrilling story! I would certainly recommend this if you like the darker side of fiction.
Published 1 month ago by Kris Hewitt
5.0 out of 5 stars A page turner
This book was an excellent read mixing anti heroes and dark deeds with a growing sympathy for the characters. The final end is unexpected and delivers a twist.
Published 1 month ago by Robert swallow
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story
Well written. One of the best fantasy novels written in recent years. Intriguingly a nasty nobleness. This is the best of the trilogy.
Published 1 month ago by Mr. Ben Parer
4.0 out of 5 stars review
While it isn't the best written book in the world the characters are interesting enough and the setting mysterious enought to put up with those small problems. Read more
Published 1 month ago by duowolf
3.0 out of 5 stars Average Story. Good Writing Style.
I took a chance on this book, never having read this author's work previously. The reviews are very mixed but overall, after reading the sample I decided to give it a go. Read more
Published 1 month ago by L. M. Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I have read in a long while.
In the boring tedium I often find myself stuck in, unable to find a decent book that really captures my imagination and attention, The Left Hand of God is a pleasant respite. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Joe
2.0 out of 5 stars Simple
Had its charms but as a whole when compered to many in this genre it was very simple and obvious.
Published 3 months ago by Mr. M. C. Russon
4.0 out of 5 stars Weird and wonderful
I thoroughly enjoyed this book .. Was definitely something that captured my attention, I read it in 2 hours :)
Published 3 months ago by Aimee Dobson
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read
I love the constant references to our world and its myriad faiths. Cale is complex and his problems and issues are certainly entertaining. Well worth the read and so onto book two.
Published 3 months ago by snape62
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