Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Left Hand of God (The Left Hand of God, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Left Hand of God (The Left Hand of God, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Left Hand of God

(The Left Hand of God #1)

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  15,088 ratings  ·  1,174 reviews
“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 Sanctuary of the Redeemers is a vast and desolate place—a 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 vi
Hardcover, 436 pages
Published January 7th 2010 by Michael Joseph
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Left Hand of God, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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
3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  15,088 ratings  ·  1,174 reviews

Sort order
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.
May 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
 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
Rusty's Ghost Engine (also known as.......... Jinky Spring)
First of all.. spoiler: (view spoiler) ...more
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
EPIC!!!! Can't wait to read the rest of the series!

This book tells the story of Cale, a 14-year-old boy who grows up in a joyless place called the Sanctuary. The Redeemers, who run the monastery grounds, are cruel religious fanatics who are constantly exercising violence in order to disciple the children. Cale, who has known no love or affection, seems to have lost himself in this place and remains apathetic whenever he is punished. His impassivity renders him profoundly violent and dangerous.
Dec 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Odi et amo. Al netto della critica questo libro può essere definito con questo verso Catulliano. Io faccio parte della cerchia degli "amo". Hoffman scrive bene, scrive male? Il libro è un fantasy, uno storico o un distopico? Devo ancora capirlo. Sicuramente è uno dei libri più irriverenti, ironici e satirici che abbia mai letto, Hoffman è il re della presa per il culo, come Abercrombie è il re del Grimdark. Se vi va fate un tentativo, potrebbe farvi spaccare dalle risate oppure potrebbe farvi
Tracey the Lizard Queen
Jan 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-reads
3.5 stars

Enjoyed this book, would have been a better rating, but the whole thing felt very impersonal and detached.
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
Jul 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Dan Schwent
Jun 03, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2010
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 14, 2010 rated it it was ok
“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
Thomas Edmund
Sep 01, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Read this one a while ago and I remember enjoying it overall, though it was a bit hard to follow at times. All the religious babble was a bit much.

I did really like the characters, though, and that it was a bit more savage than other fantasy. I remember random things like something gruesome involving a mouse or a rat, and rocks falling. (Memory is weird.)

Sadly, the follow up was such a disappointment for me that it's somewhat my tainted my memory of this one.

I did really enjoy this - enough to
Chris Dietzel
Nov 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
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).
Michael Sliter
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars (but I always round up).

I've rarely been so split on a book before. There was a lot to like about The Left Hand of God. The dark, gritty setting (at least during the first third). The deprivation. The interesting, religion-based story, and the somewhat unclear time period.

But, there are a lot of questionable portions of the book. The shifting POVs, sometimes in a single paragraph. The strange mix of the main characters being completely ignorant and yet somehow knowing a great deal abo
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
Feb 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 11, 2013 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 13, 2016 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
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.
Feb 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Surely this book goes to my list of favorite books.
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
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
May 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
JJ DeBenedictis
Aug 17, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Despina Frantzi♡
Jul 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Бранимир Събев
Доста интересна и зарибяваща книга, очаквах фентъзи, а всъщност е някаква постапокалиптика, където благодарение на куп войни сме се върнали в Средновековието. И все пак, готина и яка, ще се чете цялата поредица!
Mar 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Fantasy Buddy Reads: The Left Hand of God [September 2019] 3 10 Jan 24, 2019 02:18PM  
Goodreads Librari...: 9780718159542 2 30 Aug 28, 2012 01:38AM  
The mutilation of the beautiful young woman 3 146 Jul 21, 2012 07:33PM  
  • The Conqueror's Shadow (Corvis Rebaine #1)
  • A Vingança do Assassino (A Saga do Assassino #4)
  • A Darkness Forged in Fire (Iron Elves, #1)
  • The King of the Crags (The Memory of Flames, #2)
  • O Medo do Homem Sábio - Parte 2 (A Crónica do Regicida, Livro 2 - Parte 2)
  • Shadow's Son (Shadow Saga, #1)
  • A Passagem - Volume II (The Passage #1, Part 2 of 2)
  • Den of Thieves (Ancient Blades, #1)
  • Whisper
  • Ventos do Norte (Acácia, #1)
  • The Last Page (Caliph Howl, #1)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)
  • The King's Bastard (King Rolen's Kin, #1)
  • Demonstorm (Legends of the Raven, #3)
  • The Stormcaller (Twilight Reign, #1)
  • Irenicon (The Wave Trilogy, #1)
  • I Know Not (The Legacy of Fox Crow, #1)
  • The Unremembered (The Vault of Heaven, #1)
Note: Paul^^Hoffman

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

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)
“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.”
“Where have you come from boy?'
He looked at her again.
'From hell, to take you away in the night and eat you.”
More quotes…