The Left Hand of God is a mixture of fantasy and sci-fi written by a British author Paul Hoffman. It is the first part of a trilogy bearing the same name (second book is announced to be released on August 4th, 2011). It is doubtful that any other recent book release created so much controversy – people are both loving and hating it.
Truth being told, you probably have to be a sci-fi or fantasy fan to truly enjoy this book. Hoffman throws his readers right inside a vast world without doing much explanation and it’s up to us to catch up. Luckily, it’s not that hard…
As usual, let’s take a look at some basic information:
- Author: Paul Hoffman
- First Edition: 2010
- Genre: Science Fiction / Fantasy
The world is in a pre-industrial state. There are no mentions of any advanced technologies, just bows, arrows, horses and such. Many nations are dispersed across the globe; most important of which are the Roman-like Materazzi, fanatical Redeemers and their eternal opponents, Antagonists.
The book focuses the most on the gigantic conflict between Redeemers and Antagonists (not unlike our World Wars). The Redeemers train their new soldiers by either kidnapping or buying small children, bringing them into a half-prison, half-military training center called the Sanctuary and through fear and pain transform them into soldiers (with a 50% mortal rate of the process).
Thomas Cale, a 14-years old boy is just another recruit of the great conflict between Redeemers and Antagonists – or so he thinks. Along with his two “friends” (friendship is forbidden and Cale is in general reluctant to make any closer bonds) named Kleist and Reluctant Henry, Cale not only finds a room full of delicious food, much different from their usual nurture, but they also witness something they’ve been told is Devil’s temptation and sinful – two beautiful girls entertaining a crowd of their jailors.
Putting himself and his companions in a mortal danger, Cale assassins the Lord Redeemer Picarbo as a revenge for killing one of the two girls; he also rescues the other one, Riba, and then engineers and executes an escape from the Sanctuary, something unthinkable for most of his fellow prisoners.
On their way to Memphis, a major city of the Matterazzi and their nearest safe haven, their encounter a slaughtered group of Matterazzi delegates with only one survivor, chancellor Vipond. Cale and his mates are eventually captured by a Matterrazi armed group and escorted to Memphis, where they are eventually given a limited freedom and assigned to assist the local Nobility.
Cale manages to beat up a couple of the best local young warriors, lead by his temporary superior Conn Matterazzi. This act immediately draws a great amount of attention towards him and when Cale manages to rescue the Matterazzi princess Arbell Swan-Neck from the Redeemers who kidnapped her, the three former Redeemer recruits become a personal guard of the Matterazzi princess, who is both impressed and intimidated by Cale (and he falls in love with her as well).
Redeemers continue in their provocative attempts to obtain princess Arbell and eventually, they silently declare a war against the Matterazzi – which seems like a reckless and foolish act given the fact that Matterazzi army is better trained, equipped and superior in all aspects.
The final confrontation however goes gravely ill for the favored side. Redeemers emerge victorious from the decisive battle and they seize Memphis; but are willing to leave Matterazzi alone in exchange for one thing: a boy named Thomas Cale.
The Battle lord of Redeemers, Bosco, who was also responsible for the most of Cale’s training back at the Sanctuary, claims that he had a vision of Cale being a God creation, sent to fulfill the destiny of Redeemers and cleanse humanity. Cale is betrayed by his lover Arbell and given to the Redeemers in exchange for peace.
- 9 out of 10
Yes, as the rating suggests, I’m one of those who enjoyed The Left Hand of God. The story flows very well and as for the so called unclosed story lines (such as the little stone Picarbo gets out of the stomach of the girl he kills), well… let’s keep in mind that this book is just the first and it is doubtless Hoffman will merge these little pieces together.
Thank you for reading!
More Interesting Stuff