Thursday, 11 February 2010
The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman
The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman is Hoffman's first fantasy novel and a huge leap from his previous outings – The Wisdom Of Crocodiles an odd and harsh look at modern life, and The Golden Age of Censorship, a black comedy based on Hoffman's experiences as a film censor – it follows Thomas Cale, an acolyte from the barren and vicious land of The Sanctuary of Redeemers, and his friends on a journey as they escape their torturous existence at the hands of the brutal and zealous Redeemers, through to a blissful life of sinful pleasure in the city of Memphis, but the Redeemers will not give them up easily.
The book is soon off at a blistering pace and rarely slows down to catch its breath. Hoffman brings in new characters, gives them a beating and then kills them off almost without warning. If you like your novels violent in a fun kind of way, you can't go wrong with The Left Hand of God. It does, however, have a softer side, introducing love interests for some of the main characters, even though they are often treated by the author as badly as the Redeemers treat their unfortunate acolytes – torturing them with miscommunication, misunderstandings and wrongly assumed hostility.
The pace of the book is one of its best qualities, but it is also where it falls down slightly. Because of this urgency to get to the next fight scene, some of the sections that deal with the politics of the land are built up to seem important only to be forgotten about straight after and not really mentioned again. As well as this, some of the characters are slightly underused (such as the great Kitty Hare), but the ones that survive the book will hopefully be brought back in the sequels (which, by the way, are planned).
Well worth a look!