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The Left Hand of God

(The Left Hand of God #1)

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  16,399 ratings  ·  1,245 reviews
His name is Cale.
They told him he could destroy the world.
Maybe he will.

To read The Left Hand of God is to discover a world of wonder and cruelty, epic grandeur and unspeakable tragedy. It is Thomas Cale's story and before it is done he will have loved, killed, outwitted, saved or betrayed those who cross his path. He will have no choice ... the fate of the world lies in h
Paperback, 498 pages
Published August 19th 2010 by Penguin Books (first published January 7th 2010)
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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 writt…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)

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Average rating 3.65  · 
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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" floo
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
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
 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
Dec 20, 2013 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 epic, h
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
Tracey the Lizard Queen
3.5 stars

Enjoyed this book, would have been a better rating, but the whole thing felt very impersonal and detached.
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.
Jenny Jo Weir
I'm so tempted to add this one to my all time favorites shelf! It was freaking amazing. The plot, the characters, the's all incredible and enrapturing. I cannot wait to jump into book two.
Jul 27, 2014 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
“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
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  ·  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
Feb 24, 2010 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
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
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  ·  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).
Oct 08, 2019 rated it liked it
2.75 stars
Feb 11, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Surely this book goes to my list of favorite books.
Michael Sliter
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 13, 2016 rated it did not like it
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
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  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
May 08, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have been curious about Paul Hoffman’s The Left Hand of God for a long time, it’s a book that has been on my to-read list from the first time I stumbled upon it. I had high hopes it would be a fantasy series I’d happily devour, but after reading this first book I was disappointed.

The Left Hand of God isn’t the epic fantasy I had been made to believe it was. In fact, the elements that could be considered fantasy, were buried under so many other details that they became irrelevant to the story.
Despina Frantzi♡
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.
Mark Harrison
Apr 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Dark story of a young man brutally treated by religious zealots for years who, after witnessing the shocking experiments being conducted, escapes but is dragged into court politics and plotting the military campaigns of another state. He is a dark, brutal hero with little conscience and few saving graces but I loved him. Loyal, clever but remorseless with any who cross him. The battles are well written and realistic, there are several nasty twists and surprises and the story is clever. I read th ...more
Jul 30, 2010 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
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Fantasy Buddy Reads: The Left Hand of God [September 2019] 68 57 Nov 29, 2019 11:34AM  
Goodreads Librari...: 9780718159542 2 31 Aug 28, 2012 01:38AM  
The mutilation of the beautiful young woman 3 151 Jul 21, 2012 07:33PM  

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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

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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
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“Where have you come from boy?'
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'From hell, to take you away in the night and eat you.”
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