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The Left Hand of God (The Left Hand of God #1)

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  12,830 Ratings  ·  1,054 Reviews
Paul Hoffman's novel of astonishing scope and imagination, featuring a darkly gifted teenage boy at the center of a brutal holy war, grabs the reader from its incredible opening lines and refuses to let go. The Left Hand of God is the first novel in an epic, ambitious trilogy that will prove irresistible to the readers who have turned the Inheritance Cycle, Twilight, and t ...more
Hardcover, 372 pages
Published June 15th 2010 by Dutton (first published January 7th 2010)
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Alison Slade It's a fantasy/dystopian setting with some nationalities, places etc. named after real places, however most of the nationalities mentioned are…moreIt's a fantasy/dystopian setting with some nationalities, places etc. named after real places, however most of the nationalities mentioned are European so I would say it's not supposed to be Memphis, Tennessee.(less)
Seraphine313 I believe it's because of its marketing. Interesting picture on the front side, title "expected bestseller" etc. And the fact, that Hoffmann has…moreI believe it's because of its marketing. Interesting picture on the front side, title "expected bestseller" etc. And the fact, that Hoffmann has written only five books, three of them about Cale. First non-Cale book is rip-off of some movie, the second one is slightly well-known comedy. (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Stephen
Tis the season…

...and this book sorta grinched my jolly with some flaws, faults and literary faux pas that marred what could have been a terrific tale. However, before I hand the keyboard over to Captain Critical for the inevitable feeling-bruising remarks to come, let me start off chummy and Kris Kringley by stating that the novel’s literate prose and compelling main character were of sufficient quality to raise this to the 3rd floor of the Rating Star Building. That is the "I like it" floor.
...more
Simcsa
The premise sounds great, but that's all. Don't get cheated. This book is poorly written, the characters and their feelings are flat and unbelievable and their decisions often unreasonable. It lacked suspense, I was just bored and didn't care about the characters. Yeah, true, it had its bright moments, yet it wasn't enough to keep me interested.

I don't know, where and when the story happens. Normally I woudn't mind it, but there occurred some cities and countries which exist. Was it just a coinc
...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
The Left Hand of God starts out very dreary and grim. It was hard going reading such a dark story, but I found Cale's character compelling enough to keep reading. Reading books in which most of the religious people are the bad guys is difficult for me. Especially when the religion is either Christianity or a thinly veiled, ugly version of what people assume Christianity is. It seems as though Christianity is the religion that gets the most criticism in fiction, and this book is no different. Of ...more
Laz
Dec 20, 2013 Laz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: epic/high fantasy lovers
“Listen. The Sanctuary of the Redeemers on Shotover Scarp is named after a damned lie for there is no redemption that goes on there and less sanctuary.”


The only reason this didn't get 5 stars is because I'm saving it for the rest of the series. Gotta admit that this came as a surprise. I was most positive that I would not like this & I've been holding back. So, when I picked it up & immediately lost myself in it, I couldn't help feeling stupid for not having read this earlier.

This is e
...more
Edward's Ghost Engine (also known as.......... Jinky Spring)
First of all.. spoiler: (view spoiler) ...more
Dan Schwent
Jun 03, 2010 Dan Schwent rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2010
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gavin
Jul 27, 2014 Gavin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This book had a ton of flaws, but despite that I still really enjoyed reading it. Paul Hoffman has an incredibly weird writing style. It was all over the place. Sometimes told by an omnipotent narrator and at other times by cycling through a bunch of third person perspectives. The changes happened often and with no warning. Sometimes the transition between styles, or even just character viewpoints, was smooth and other times it was quite jarring. Even the passages of description were of varying ...more
Amanda
“The Sanctuary of the Redeemers is a vast and desolate place without joy or hope. Most of its occupants were taken there as boys and for years have endured the brutal regime of the Lord Redeemers whose cruelty and violence have one singular purpose – to serve in the name of the One True Faith.

In one of the Sanctuary’s vast and twisting maze of corridors stands a boy. He is perhaps fourteen or fifteen years old – he is not sure and neither is anyone else. He has long-forgotten his real name, but
...more
Thomas Edmund
I wasn’t sure if this book was a joke. I’m still not. Hoffman’s early publications are both non-fiction, and his first fiction work is filled with enough cliché, anachronisms and just general bad writing to make me wonder if I missed the punch line.

The first hurdle is the Point of View. Hoffman chooses an omniscient narrator to tell our story “Listen.” He tells us as he launches into prose which can’t decide between attempted poetry, lower-class plain speak or comradely story-sharing. The narrat
...more
Chris Dietzel
Nov 23, 2015 Chris Dietzel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quick and easy read, which means the author is doing a lot of things right. One of the things I liked was that the world-building is on the light side, keeping the reader from being burdened with large information dumps. The glaring weakness in the book is its ending, which serves no purpose but to set the stage for the next book (a pet peeve of mine).
Lanie
Mar 16, 2016 Lanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Something for the weekend, sir? A book, perhaps? The first in a trilogy?

Ah, thank you, my good man. I see that the cover shows a hooded man wielding swords. Should I therefore assume that the hero is an enigmatic young warrior-monk, brought up in a isolated sanctuary where he was beaten regularly while being taught the arts of war? And should I also assume that he escapes from this terrible place to find excitement and adventure beyond its grim walls?

Indeed. Sir is most perspicacious.

And woul
...more
Bex
Feb 24, 2010 Bex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
The Left Hand of God is set in some unspecified place, possibly around the year 1000, perhaps in an alternative world but from a common history. In this world a fanatical religious group has established a fortress, The Sanctuary, from which it wages a war against the sinful and depraved world at large. A fortress in the sense that it a stronghold, but stronghold to keep its adherents in rather than keep invaders out, for no one would willing want to go there. Within The Sanctuary the Lord Redeem ...more
Jonathan

The Left Hand of God is a novel with a great premise, but that ultimately promises more than it delivers. The action is solid, the storyline full of intrigue, but there is some character development which lacks in comparison to other fantasy stories.

I'll begin by stating that there is a mix of tenses in this novel that did not work for me. I understand that the present tense segments were utilised by the author to explain what characters were up to at particular points in time, however they came
...more
Liviu
A mix of the inventively weird human cultures of Jack Vance's Reach novels (Night Lamp is the first I thought of but others also) and the cynicism worthy of Joe Abercrombie's excellent novels make this book a compelling, strange experience and possibly the best debut I read in a long time and one that will be hard to equal in 2010. Ultra-dark but a page turner and with very compelling characters, the novel is probbaly best described as a far future post apocalyptic tale set on a reverted pre-ind ...more
Ludgero Cardoso
É um livro que não desilude, mas que também não agrada de todo. No início, a proposta do livro parecia interessante. Estava a gostar do clima de medo no Santuário dos Redentores, mas rapidamente a estória tomou outro rumo, que me desagradou. Ainda assim, a escrita do autor é boa o suficiente para prender. Só tive pena de não ter lido nada de surpreendente. O grande segredo está praticamente revelado no título do livro. Não pretendo continuar a trilogia.
Arual
Feb 20, 2011 Arual rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Surely this book goes to my list of favorite books.
Jason
4 Stars

I am giving the book an overall 3 stars as I enjoyed it a great deal more the second time through. This is a flawed first novel, make no mistake about it. It suffers in pacing, in structure, and even in point of view. That being said, the roots of a great author and great story are easily visible through.

Hoffman has created a very dark and dirty world. Fantasist's rule most of this world and this novel. Our young protagonist Thomas Cale is an "Odd" sort of a different type. Without spoile
...more
JJ DeBenedictis
This is a seriously odd little book. The writing is very good, and the author does a great job of sucker-punching you with the fact this world's mythology is a disturbingly-warped version of Christianity, but it wouldn't be accurate to say I liked the book. The three stars are more because it's so memorable.

The story is intensely cynical, and I can see some readers being delighted by how brutal its view of humanity is and other readers being very put off by the same fact. The book is fairly soph
...more
Eamonn
Feb 11, 2013 Eamonn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
imyril
Feb 13, 2016 imyril rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I don't think I've been so disappointed in a long time. I'm not sure what I expected and I do appear to be in the minority - this gets good ratings from other readers. But I really didn't get on with it. At all. I finished it only because it was easy reading and I was too busy at work to fish it out of my handbag and go pick something else off the shelf. And I resented that the whole way through, clearly.

All the reasons this book wound me up
Despina
Jul 08, 2013 Despina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the kind of books I usually read,but since my boyfriend insisted on me reading it,I did. It was very very very good,with and interesting and fast plot. The main character was very interesting and well-built.
Anasylvia
Oct 27, 2014 Anasylvia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: boring, 2014, dnf
DNF at 115 pages.
Madeleine (papertigermaddy)
Oh dear, Mr Hoffman. Where do I even begin.

Yes, I admit it. Seduced by the sexy cover, awesome title and exciting plot snippets, I fell for this novel's hype hook line and sinker. And wasn't I a sucker.

The novel's main strength is that the narrator is witty and engaging, of the kind prone to diverting tangents which flesh out the world and plot. The novel's main weakness is.. well... mostly everything else.

Hoffman's fantasy world - does it even have the right to be called that? - is a hideous
...more
Mike
Jul 30, 2010 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Alternate reality, pseudo-history, or distant future Paul Hoffman’s The Left Hand of God takes known elements of Christianity and history and weaves them into a dark and fascinating story that will grab you and drag you forward. Thomas Cale is an orphan apprenticed to the Redeemers; a harsh order of warrior monks and fanatics devoted to a twisted version of Christianity (with definite Catholic overtones) to the point of fanaticism. Subject to cruelty not limited to daily beatings and insufficien ...more
Audrey
Apr 09, 2010 Audrey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't even remember the last time I was so immediately drawn into a book. Seeing the cover, my brother said "That looks good." My response was "It's the best book I've read in a long time." I was only on page 8. And as the book continued, I felt more and more that my initial response was right on.

The Sanctuary, with the Redeemers and the Accolytes, is gruesome and dry, creating a fearful and fearsome world I know I won't be forgetting for ages. Life in the Sanctuary, placed in the middle of an
...more
Kira
May 14, 2011 Kira rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shaun Duke
The rise of fantasy has, in my opinion, produced two kinds of cliche-oriented reactions within the publishing spectrum: entertaining, inventive, and/or enjoyably derivative trilogies, and fascinating ideas and worlds mired by barely serviceable prose, lackluster plotting, and/or a general failure to maintain cohesion (in the plot, worldbuilding, character development, and/or the writing). Both groups aren't always separate, since sometimes a book with weak prose can still be a thrilling read, bu ...more
Dana Elmendorf
YA? The main character, Thomas Cale, is fourteen. He discovers who he really is, he falls in love, there is light youthful humor but he finds himself living a very adult life, sort of. I’m not sure the average teen would find this interesting because of the dark subject matter of religion, death and war. There are swear words, and sex is mentioned though not described. I would recommend it to an older person who can handle some heavy subject matter. Fantasy? This does not have your heavy alterna ...more
Tanabrus
Cos'è a rendere interessante un libro?
Voglio dire, quali sono gli ingredienti che rendono piacevole, avvincente, bello un libro?

Me lo chiedo perché questo libro mi ha preso, mi ha trascinato di peso nelle sue pagine e mi ha costretto a leggerlo con voracità.
Ma se ci penso a freddo, se ci penso razionalmente, trovo solo difetti.

Il mondo fantastico con i nomi dei luoghi reali, per esempio, è una cosa che aborro. Norvegia? Gerusalemme? Memphis? Che diavolo c'entrano? No, è una cosa che non sopporto
...more
Contrarius
Nov 03, 2011 Contrarius rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This book has an interesting setup, and at least some interesting characters (in addition to some boring ones). Unfortunately, it gets quite annoyingly precious at times -- "ooooooo, look how BAD this world is", "oooooo, look how DISGUSTING we can be", "ooooo, look how EVIL these guys are" and so on. Instead of just BEING bad or disgusting or evil, Hoffman seems to make a special effort to point those bad/disgusting/evil things out to the reader. This self-congratulatory self-awareness really di ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: 9780718159542 2 28 Aug 28, 2012 01:38AM  
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Possibly the only novelist of his generation to be born by the light of a paraffin lamp, Paul Hoffman spent much of his childhood on airfields all around the world watching his father – a pioneer of sports parachuting and European Champion – jumping out of aeroplanes. After a long battle with the English educational system which involved avoiding school whenever possible he was offered a place to ...more
More about Paul Hoffman...

Other Books in the Series

The Left Hand of God (3 books)
  • The Last Four Things (The Left Hand of God, #2)
  • The Beating of His Wings (The Left Hand of God, #3)

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“To be sociable is a risky thing—even fatal—because it means being in contact with people, most of whom are dull, perverse and ignorant and are really with you only because they cannot bear their own company. Most people bore themselves and greet you not as a true friend but as a distraction—like a dancing dog or some half-wit actor
with a fund of amusing stories.”
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“Where have you come from boy?'
He looked at her again.
'From hell, to take you away in the night and eat you.”
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