The Left Hand of God

‘Short & Snappy’

The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman follows the story of Thomas Cale, an acolyte of the vicious and mysterious ‘Redeemers’ and begins with the simple premise of a boy trained solider who wants to escape. Set in an alternate medieval world full of lies and deceit Cale fights the regime he was brought up in that is both controlling and religiously orientated. Breaking the stereotype of teen protagonists with super abilities, Hoffman’s novel is often said to be a story of strange contrasts. On one hand Cale & Co. experience common themes of teenage coming-of-age, love and light-hearted humour but are also dealt gritty adult cards such as war, anti-Catholicism, rape and murder leaving the story with dark tones that intensify the plot when you least expect it.

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What may be an arguable point on this novel is that Cale’s character often vacillates between super hero and mid-teenage crisis creating a few uneven plot conventions but at the same time making it accessible to both teens and adults. Hoffman presents a vast array of colourful secondary characters that interweave enthralling sub-plots and despite the common themes of the novel make the plot difficult to predict.

Hoffman’s work can be compared to that of Jack Vance and Joe Abercrombie, with a spell binding  sense of mystery my fingers eagerly turned the pages from start to finish. The alternate world of the Materazzi sets the scene for an epic fantasy, with quirky names like Chacellor Vipond and Idris Pukke Hoffman creates a unique tale skillfully crafted in its ability to keep the ending ambiguous the whole way through. Readers will be left Sherlocking after answers while searching for the two follow-up novels to find out what happens next.

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