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

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  8,024 ratings  ·  763 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 Adult (first published January 7th 2010)
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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
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
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
Dan Schwent
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Gavin
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
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
T. 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
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
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
(´*•.¸ღBexღ¸.•*´)
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
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
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
Kira
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Audrey
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
Mike
I got this book from a friend that won it here on Goodreads. (thanks april) Ok first of all a spoiler alert!!!! This is not actually about God's left hand. At all. In fact neither one of his hands were in the story.

Now my review.

I was suprised that I liked this book. It started kinda slow but after reading further I found that the slow start was full of key background info that helped me understand Cale (main character). I liked how the author didn't have Cale doing the predictable thing or maki...more
Mike
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
Arual
Surely this book goes to my list of favorite books.
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
Contrarius
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
drey
Thomas Cale has only ever known one reality--that which the Redeemers provided in the Sanctuary, with the daily abuse and revolting food. You learn two things quickly there--keep your head down and your mouth shut. Unfortunate for Cale, who doesn't seem to possess either skill in any quantity... Then he discovers there's a whole world outside Sanctuary.

Cale reminds me a bit of Kvothe, star of Patrick Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicles. They're both smart, brash, and just a wee bit too full of thems...more
Anna
To tell you the truth, I didn't know what to expect when I started this book. From what my friends had told me about it, it was a much anticipated release in 2010 and later everyone gave positive reviews on it so I felt compelled to dusty it up and start reading it.

However, I wasn't impressed. The whole thing is fast paced and full of action but it lacks that depth of plot that makes a novel make you want to reread it over and over again. Hoffman concentrated more on creating a dynamic story rat...more
Neil
This is a good first fantasy novel. There are dozens of sparkling sentences throughout and Hoffman is particularly good at building the characters of Cale, his protagonist, and his companions Vague Henri and Kleist. They grow up in a place that is part military school, part monastery, part abbatoir, trained to be warrior soldiers for the Redeemers, an order of nasty military monks who have created a sort of Inquisition on steroids.

Afters years of torture, starvation, and other assorted cruelties...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
Elizabeth
I saw this book on the library shelf, read the synopsis, noticed that it was part of a trilogy, and thought that I would take a chance. I assumed that because two more books were planned that this fact should make this novel a pretty good read.

I found the writing uneven, with some passages descriptive and smooth while others were choppy and poorly executed. The author builds tension in the storyline in certain characters or situations only to rush to a hasty end that deflates all his work with...more
Ben Galley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cristiano Martins
Just read it... ignore my sadness and big feeling of emptiness but it appears to be the way I react to first volumes of trilogy's. You simply want more after reading the very last page of the book, mostly when it's such a great, original, passionate, violent, very well written and with some characteristics such as the humor and the skill to describe scenes you can very well imagine happening Book.

The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman is no less than an awesome beginning for what I expect to be a...more
Eamonn
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
Melissa Hayden
Shotover Sanctuary is the religious grounds of the Redeemers. Boys are sent here under the age of ten and only about half of them make it to fifteen... or leave by way of a blue sack, to the grave yard. This is where Cale has lived since he can really remember, he is now fourteen or fifteen years old. One of the many strict rules here is you are not allowed to have friends, and there are plants to "befriend" you - planted by the Redeemers - and you pay dearly for being caught with friends. But C...more
Lucy
I really wanted to give this book more than 3 stars but on reflection, there were some glaring issues I just couldn't look past.

Positives
- The world-building is thorough and really interesting. It's a dark, brutal world but I do like that sort of thing so contrary to some people reviewing this book, it really drew me in and kept me reading. The same part of the brain that keeps you watching a trainwreck, perhaps.
- The main character, Cale is an interesting character. Not admirable or enviable bu...more
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Goodreads Librari...: 9780718159542 2 23 Aug 28, 2012 10:38AM  
The mutilation of the beautiful young woman 3 119 Jul 22, 2012 04:33AM  
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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...
The Last Four Things (The Left Hand of God, #2) The Beating of His Wings (The Left Hand of God, #3) The Wisdom of Crocodiles The Golden Age of Censorship

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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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“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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