The Last Four Things (Left Hand of God Series #2)

The Last Four Things (Left Hand of God Series #2)

3.6 30
by Paul Hoffman

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The epic story of Thomas Cale-introduced so memorably in The Left Hand of God--continues as the Redeemers use his prodigious gifts to further their sacred goal: the extinction of humankind and the end of the world.

To the warrior-monks known as the Redeemers, who rule over massive armies of child slaves, "the last four things" represent the

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The epic story of Thomas Cale-introduced so memorably in The Left Hand of God--continues as the Redeemers use his prodigious gifts to further their sacred goal: the extinction of humankind and the end of the world.

To the warrior-monks known as the Redeemers, who rule over massive armies of child slaves, "the last four things" represent the culmination of a faithful life. Death. Judgement. Heaven. Hell. The last four things represent eternal bliss-or endless destruction, permanent chaos, and infinite pain.

Perhaps nowhere are the competing ideas of heaven and hell exhibited more clearly than in the dark and tormented soul of Thomas Cale. Betrayed by his beloved but still marked by a child's innocence, possessed of a remarkable aptitude for violence but capable of extreme tenderness, Cale will lead the Redeemers into a battle for nothing less than the fate of the human race. And though his broken heart foretells the bloody trail he will leave in pursuit of a personal peace he can never achieve, a glimmer of hope remains. The question even Cale can't answer: When it comes time to decide the fate of the world, to ensure the extermination of humankind or spare it, what will he choose? To express God's will on the edge of his sword, or to forgive his fellow man-and himself?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this underwhelming sequel to 2010's The Left Hand of God, escaped acolyte Thomas Cale is captured and returned to the forbidding Sanctuary, a massive fortress run by a sect of cruel monks who train their young male charges to become soldiers in their ongoing war against the Antagonists. Impressed by the darkly gifted young Cale, the Redeemer Bosco continues molding him to become the Angel of Death who will bring about the end of the world. As Cale becomes a renowned military leader and his mythical stature grows, he remains deeply troubled by personal questions, namely the betrayal of the beautiful Arbell Materazzi. While readers will be impressed by the depth of the setting and the elaborate action sequences, the lack of any substantial character development other than Cale's fretting over his insecurities leaves this installment with a classic case of middle book syndrome. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Death, judgment, heaven, and hell are the title concerns in this follow-up to The Left Hand of God. The jilted Thomas Cale has somewhat accepted his destiny as the "anger of God," the leader of Redeemer forces that will rid the earth of the rival Antagonists and their allies. His mentor Bosco twists Cale's skills to his own means, while Cale's friends try to extract him from the fray before he brings the whole world to conflagration. Rival Kleist finds love with a utilitarian girl from the scavenging Klephts, but his leadership may change her people in ways that are ultimately dangerous. VERDICT Hoffman mixes cynical farce with military fantasy action to raucous effect. This is a big step forward from his debut, with great battle scenes and graveyard, cackle-inducing black humor. It flags only in the last 50 pages, where attempts to prepare the way for the trilogy's final book are disjointed from the rest of the plot. Hoffman's ongoing depictions of degraded, objectified women may not sit well with some readers. [See Prepub Alert, 2/14/11.]—Neil Hollands, Williamsburg Regional Lib., VA
Kirkus Reviews

Second installment of Hoffman's bleak, ultra-violent pseudo-medieval trilogy, followingThe Left Hand of God(2010).

Redeemer General Bosco deems tormented boy-warrior Thomas Cale the Angel of Death, a suitable tool to help Bosco conquer the world, wipe out humanity and thus redeem it. Cale accepts the role, part of which involves a scheme to make Bosco the successor to the ailing Pope, despite numerous better-placed rivals. Scorning the brainwashed child-rabble that serves as the Redeemer army, Bosco helps Cale form a small but far more thoughtful and accomplished cadre of troops. After a few demonstrations of Cale's berserker skills, these Purgators believe in Cale utterly. One of them even invents gunpowder. Despite Cale's battlefield victories, the Redeemers still have powerful enemies, most consequentially the Laconics, who employ highly trained pederast mercenaries; Cale's engagement with them, the book's most significant battle, reenacts one that actually occurred during the Boer War. Beautiful Arbell Materazzi, Cale's lover and betrayer, complicates matters. Of Cale's former companions, Kleist enjoys adventures of his own, while Vague Henri eventually turns up accompanied by much jolly banter. Plotwise, that's about it. This time, the tone is predominantly grumpy. Hoffman continues to throw in random geographic references, mostly for comic relief (Spanish Leeds, for example, is in Switzerland). For the rest, readers will observe the erudite advantages conferred by an Oxford education, while the gnarled chunks of verbatim theology can only be interpreted as the author's grim attempt to manage the rage engendered by an overly zealous religious upbringing.

Less a novel than a fictionalized dissertation on angst.

From the Publisher
Praise for The Left Hand of God

“Brooding and magnificent. Hoffman has created a terrifying world and fitted it with strange and complex characters.” —Eoin Colfer, New York Times Bestselling Author of Artemis Fowl

The Ender’s Game-meets-the-Inquisition premise should draw fans like moths to a flame. Clever phrasing and innate humor shine through...This novel will make a rousing next step for fans of Terry Goodkind, R.A. Salvatore, and their ilk.”—Library Journal

“Writers like Hoffman are too rare. This wonderful book gripped me from the first chapter and then dropped me days later, dazed and grinning to myself.” —Conn Iggulden, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Dangerous Book for Boys

“The plight of poor, tormented, invincible Cale beguiles, and the book’s true power is its utter unpredictability…engrossing.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A riveting, powerful tale, with irresistible characters, humor and a brilliantly imagined world.”—Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
Left Hand of God Series, #2
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.22(h) x 1.26(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Paul Hoffman studied English at New College, Oxford before becoming a senior film censor at the British Board of Film Classification. He lives in the United Kingdom. The Left Hand of God is the first in trilogy following Cale.

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