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Joint Review: The Left Hand of God & The Last Four Things by Paul Hoffman

The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman (The Left Hand of God #1)


library copy


Synopsis from Goodreads
“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 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 now they call him Thomas Cale. He is strange and secretive, witty and charming, violent and profoundly bloody-minded. He is so used to the cruelty that he seems immune, but soon he will open the wrong door at the wrong time and witness an act so terrible that he will have to leave this place, or die.

His only hope of survival is to escape across the arid Scablands to Memphis, a city the opposite of the Sanctuary in every way: breathtakingly beautiful, infinitely Godless, and deeply corrupt.

But the Redeemers want Cale back at any price... not because of the secret he now knows but because of a much more terrifying secret he does not.


 Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle UK | The Book Depository US/UK

8.5/10


The Last Four Things by Paul Hoffman (The Left  Hand of God #2)



Review copy thanks to Penguin UK


Synopsis from Goodreads
Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell. These are the Last Four Things. Now there are Five. Meet Thomas Cale. Returning to the Sanctuary of the Redeemers, Thomas Cale is told by the Lord Militant that the destruction of mankind is necessary; the only way to undo God's greatest mistake. Cale seemingly accepts his role in the ending of the world: fate has painted him as the Left Hand of God, the Angel of Death. Absolute power is within his grasp, the terrifying zeal and military might of the Redeemers a weapon for him to handle as simply as he once used a knife. But perhaps not even the grim power that the Redeemers hold over Cale is enough - the boy who turns from love to poisonous hatred in a heartbeat, the boy who switches between kindness and sheer violence in the blink of an eye. The annihilation that the Redeemers seek may well be in Cale's hands - but his soul is far stranger than they could ever know.

 Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK

7.5/10 

* * *
 *spoilers ahead*

Both books are quite fascinating in a unique way. I can not make heads or tails of what this world is about, it's such a mishmash of fantasy and reality. The closest historical parallel I can come up with, judging by customs and armour is 16-17th century Italy and strong resemblance of Reedemers to Spanish Inquisition.

Not this lot.



More like this.

Like any other expression of religious fanaticism, Redeemers are a scary, obsessed and utterly blind lot. The absolute cruelty and degradation they show boys brought up in The Sanctuary make sure that only the hardiest, toughest of them survive.

All in the name of Redeemer and ultimate destruction of the world of course.

Thomas Cale is fascinating. As a young boy he receives a head trauma which makes him able to predict the moves of anyone he fights and also turns him into a brilliant tactician and strategist. In fact, battle sequences in both books are to die for. (I'm weird like that. The only thing I liked in War and Piece were battle sequences!)

He is also due to his upbringing a sociopath, a cold and ruthless bastard, prone to viciousness and violent mood swings. His friends have a saying that wherever Cale goes, funeral follows. Even his love life becomes an utter disaster when his beloved "betrays" him for the sake of saving her people. (Not really as she didn't have much choice, but Cale wouldn't put himself in her shoes to understand her decision).

Cale is the central figure of both books. In the beginning he escapes The Sanctuary with his friends believing that if they stay they will be executed for the murder of high ranking Brother.

However what he doesn't realise is that Lord Militant needs his talents so much for his grandiose plans of wiping the world's population, his many misadventures will be forgiven and forgotten just to force him cooperate which in the end he'll do anyway.

First book where Cale and his friends make their way in the new and unknown world away from Redeemers is stronger and has more integrity than the book two. In book #2 Cale too often feels robotic and goes along with the flow, which I found irritating. His friends possess more character and grant him loyalty he doesn't deserve. 

However, there is much more to the series than just Thomas Cale, plenty of players and new developments, which still make me look forward to the next instalment to find out how it will all end.

Dark, bloody, disturbing, has an unlikeable main character with occasional acts of kindness, but the strength of this series undeniably lies in warfare.

* * *
Интересно читать книгу с очень негативным главным героем, социопатом, гением военного искусства, ассасином и просто трудным подростком.

Томас Кейл растёт в атмосфере религиозного фанатизма, обильно приправленного пытками и членовредительством в Убежище, где выживают только сильнейшие из детей.

В раннем детстве травма головы привела к тому, что у Кейла открылись способности предугадывать движения противника и разрабатывать талантливую тактику и стратегию. Лорд Милитант Убежища взял того под своё крыло (читай, прибавил тому учёбы и жестоких наказаний за малейшую провинность), но когда Кейл совершил убийство одного из старших Братьев Убежища и посчитав, что его и его друзей ждёт смерть, сбежал, он разворошил осиное гнездо.

Куда-бы Томас с друзьями не направился, его нрав и неуживчивость приведут к быстрому наживанию могущественных врагов, к тому же Лорд Милитант не готов отпустить Томаса их своих рук, так как тот, совершенно не подозревая, служит главной движущей силой в планах последнего о мировом господстве.

Книги тёмные, полные насилия и жестокости, но в то же время лучшими их моментами я считаю именно битвы и бои, описанные автором.

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