"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...."
In the Redeemer Sanctuary, the stronghold of a secretive sect of warrior monks, torture and death await the unsuccessful or disobedient. Raised by the Redeemers from early childhood like hundreds of other young captives, Thomas Cale has known only deprivation, punishment, and grueling training. He doesn't know that another world exists outside the fortress walls or even that secrets he can't imagine lurk behind the Sanctuary's many forbidden doorways. He doesn't know that his master Lord Bosco and the Sanctuary's Redeemers have been preparing for a holy war for centuries--a holy war that is now imminent. And Cale doesn't know that he's been noticed and quietly cultivated.
And then, Cale decides to open a door.
It's a door that leads to one of the Redeemers' darkest secrets and a choice that is really no choice at all: certain death or daring escape. Adrift in the wider world for the first time in his young life, Cale soon finds himself in Memphis, the capital of culture--and the den of Sin. It's there that Cale discovers his prodigious gift: violence. And he discovers that, after years of abuse at the hands of the Redeemers, his embittered heart is still capable of loving--and breaking.
But the Redeemers won't accept the defection of their special subject without a fight. As the clash of civilizations that has been looming for thousands of years draws near, a world where the faithful are as brutal as the sinful looks to young Cale to decide its fate.
Title: The Left Hand of God
Author: Paul Hoffman
Genre: Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Publication Date: June 15, 2010
My Rating: 4/5
The first words or feelings that come to mind when reading the first several pages of this book, are those of desolation, loneliness, and cruelty. Cale has not had an easy life, and nobody seems to care about him. He is only good for being trained in the art of war. He is not allowed to make friends, lest he be punished. He has been made an example of, many times, in his young life. Sadly, he can't even tell anyone how old he is, as he doesn't know. He thinks that he is either 14 or 15, but doesn't honestly know for sure, and he can't ask anyone because they either don't know, or don't care. This book definitely captured my interest.
I really enjoyed Cale's character. He is multi-faceted and although he has had a rough start to his life, he still has a lot of depth. He learns about foreign emotions that had previously been withheld from him. He never knew that there were other emotions or feelings that he could feel, and it is interesting to see him explore these emotions, and therefore learn more about himself.
I enjoyed the world-building, and thought it was quite well done. The only drawback that I really found, was that certain places, or names were mentioned. These names are not "fantasy" based, and are more "real world" based, so I found that quite distracting. However, other than that, the book was quite well done. It was a fast-paced, engaging read, and I can't wait to read the next installment.
All in all, a great read. It had some distracting qualities, but overall, it was a really good debut fantasy novel. It has the markers for being the start of an epic story.
Many thanks goes to Bronwyn from Penguin Canada for sending me this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.