The fantasy genre is a crowed market, it is easy enough to throw in a few dwarfs and call it a book. Cliches and stereotypes abound, finding something worthwhile is getting trickier with each passing month.
Step forward The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman, WARNING spoilers follow.
A brief explanation sets the scene and then straight into the intrigue and action, The Left Hand of God is a novel that never lets up. Be it in a gladiatorial fight to the death a tense rescue from the clutches of unquestioning sycophants or a pitched military battle. The first in a trilogy has it all, while not particularly hard to fathom there are some plot strands that require a keen mind to untangle. Nothing too unfathomable but enough to keep the reader on his or her mental toes.
A quick pace that hardly pause for breath quicken the pulse as the star of the show, Thomas Cale, discovers that something is rotten at the very core of his order. His motives revolve around staying alive only to transcend into something slightly more altruistic. His journey is one of action, a page turner if ever there was one.
It may not have the depth of The Lord of the Rings or the impenetrable scenarios of The Malazan Book of the Fallen, nor the melancholy heartache of Robin Hobb’s Farseer trilogy but Paul Hoffman’s read has many hidden gems, such as macabre crowd chants pre deadly fisticuffs, the use of everyday phrases that I shall keep hidden on purpose and a whole host of interesting characters.
Throw in some military strategy, a developing love story and religious overtones and you have a smash hit well worth your time. The bigger picture becomes more noticeable towards the end, as plans are outlined and pieces fall into place, setting the scene nicely for the second installment.
The blurb sums it up “His name is Cale.They told him he could destroy the world. Maybe he will”