The Left Hand of God a novel by Paul Hoffman

Occasionally one is lucky to stumble across a book that is mind-blowing in its intensity that you just have to stop and appreciate the sheer art that went into its creation.

The Left Hand of God is one such book! It was so brutal, gripping and amazing that I had trouble in putting it aside until I had finished, that said it took me three days to finish reading it.

I have not felt annoyance at having to go to bed or to work or in fact do anything other than quietly sit and absorb the story in ages.

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…

So begins the story of Thomas Cale, Kleist, Slow Henry and Riba. Cale’s entire life, and that of Kleist and Henry has been one of deprivation, and cruelty, a life in which they are being moulded in special ways to fight against the enemies of the Redeemers.

Forced to flee the Sanctuary after becoming witness to a crime that was hideous & brutal even to him, he becomes a prize that the Redeemers will never cease to chase. Finding, not exactly sanctuary, but relief with the Materazzi who capture them, Cale and his friends are schooled in the life of a culture that values good food, fine women, humour and the importance of nobility and class over capability, Cale and his friends learn that brutality and heartlessness exist even outside the walls of the Sanctuary.

Thomas Cale remains an enigma throughout, a tactical genius and born fighter, he looks upon battle less an art and rather something to be settled quickly and as brutally as possible. Showing flashes of cruelty and kindness to his few friends and (ever-growing number of) enemies, his back-story is eked out gradually over the course of the book; but the true nature of his importance to the Redeemers is kept a secret until the end.

Part historical epic and theological mystery as well as being a high-octane adventure thriller, The Left Hand of God takes place in a world familiar yet subtly different. Throughout the tale I kept catching glimpses and snippets of historical facts that I recognized but were strangely unfamiliar¬

The Left Hand of God is a book that could easily be my favourite book of the year, the only thing I want to do now is say write faster Paul Hoffman! I need to find out what happens next!

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