The Sanctuary of the Redeemers is a vast and desolate place – a place without joy or hope. Most of its occupants were taken there as boys and for years have endured the brutal regime of the Lord Redeemers whose cruelty and violence have one singular purpose – to serve in the name of the One True Faith.

In one of the Sanctuary’s vast and twisting maze of corridors stands a boy. He is perhaps fourteen or fifteen years old – he is not sure and neither is anyone else. He has long-forgotten his real name, but now they call him Thomas Cale. He is strange and secretive, witty and charming, violent and profoundly bloody-minded. He is so used to the cruelty that he seems immune, but soon he will open the wrong door at the wrong time and witness an act so terrible that he will have to leave this place, or die.

His only hope of survival is to escape across the arid Scablands to Memphis, a city the opposite of the Sanctuary in every way: breathtakingly beautiful, infinitely Godless, and deeply corrupt.

But the Redeemers want Cale back at any price… not because of the secret he now knows but because of a much more terrifying secret he does not.

Paul Hoffman’s The Left Hand of God has received a fair bit of hype leading up to its release, but this little preview from The Mad Hatter that really caught my attention:

Rarely do I mention a book when I’ve only just begun, but I feel so strongly about Paul Hoffman’s Fantasy debut The Left Hand of God that I had couldn’t hold back. The amount of world-building is staggering considering I am only a few chapters in. The main character Cale has never been shown kindness living in the strictest setting imaginable yet he is still impertinent and snarky. Mark my words when this is release in the US this summer it will make waves. Right now it reminds me of The Name of the Wind only about ten times darker. If Abercrombie and Rothfuss had a baby it might write something as screwed up as The Left Hand of God. I can only hope the story keeps up to the extraordinary start, but so far the hype is well deserved. I’ll most likely do a full review when I’m done.

Abercrombie meets Rothfuss? Me likey. Shockingly standard cover with slightly-higher-than-average ambience? Me give up

  • Patrick January 15, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    That cover reminds me a lot of The Painted Man

  • Patrick January 15, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    I do like the font and implied texture though

  • Patrick January 15, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    And the US cover is terrible as usual. Ok no more comments.

  • The Mad Hatter January 15, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Thanks for the shout out. Hopefully this one doesn’t turn bad in the end. Dave Brendon also had an early peek and has been singing its praise.

    The final UK cover is slightly different with the type and the image a little smaller. I really hope they change the US cover art before publication.

    I’m a bit further in and one thing I’ll mention is the word choice is a little simplistic in an almost Thriller fashion, but it definitely makes it a page-turner.

  • aidan January 15, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    US cover? Where can I find that?

  • The Mad Hatter January 15, 2010 at 6:06 pm
  • N. R. Alexander January 15, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Alright, I’m sold. Had Hoffman’s novel on my radar a few weeks ago but the deluge of dodgy customer reviews on Amazon soured me on the purchase. But for a new hardcover it’s a steal for about £5 at the moment.

    There we go. Bought.

    Thanks to Aidan and the Mad Hatter for the recommendation. Don’t think I won’t come knocking at your doors if it turns out to be guff, though… ;)

  • N. R. Alexander January 15, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    Apologies for the emoticon, incidentally. I’m letting the side down.

  • Dave January 15, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Hmm…. may file this one away for later… been rather in the dumps lately, and that’s usually a bad time for me to read something really dark and disturbing… maybe by Summer all will be sunshine and roses again, and I’ll pick the book up. Thanks for the heads up – duly noted.

  • Jussi January 16, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    “The final UK cover is slightly different with the type and the image a little smaller.”

    The actual cover art can be seen here:

  • aidan January 16, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Thanks Jussi. I’ve gone ahead and updated the post with the final cover art.

    And good god, I hadn’t seen that US cover. I still wish I hadn’t. If they’re trying to sell it as ‘A Novel’ to appeal to a more literary crowd, they should have gone the whole way with the cover. I’ll post about it in the next couple of days.

  • Kris January 16, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Saw this over at Speculative Horizons and followed the link over here. The book sounds interesting and I’m adding it to my list.

    Now that I’m here, I think I’ll have a look around.

  • aidan January 16, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Well I hope you enjoy what you find!

  • Robert January 18, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Hey Aidan! It’s been a while. I hope all is well :)

    Regarding The Left Hand of God, I’m of two minds. On the one hand, I had a hard time putting down the book and enjoyed reading it. But at the same time, I thought it was overhyped. My biggest problem with the novel is that it has no identity. Is it epic fantasy? Alternate history? A literary novel? A young adult book? For adults only? There are just too many weird contrasts going on in my opinion. You can check out my full thoughts on the novel–including Liviu’s different opinion–here:

    I’m still on board for the sequel, but I would like to see the author tighten things up…

  • James January 24, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    I will end up reading this book some time this year.
    The cover is not so bad it, it has some things going for it–coloration, the typography and its placement, and a vagueness to the figure that I rather like. On the other hand, the art itself is no gem and seems abnormally stiff. I will say, however, that compared to the US cover, this one is absolutely superb.
    For lack of better things to blog about in the middle of the night, I decided to bitch about the US cover more over at my blog.

  • […] I gave the UK edition of Hoffman’s The Left Hand of God a hard time, but this is just ridiculous. Are they […]

  • Breeza April 22, 2010 at 3:08 am

    Thought this book was pretty full on, I certainly couldnt put it down but I must admit i was pretty disappointed in the end.
    Though i do have one question. and its possibly a spoiler alert for anyone who hasnt read it yet…. what was the metal thing that Cale pulled from the dead girls body before he ran away? It seemed like a key point to the story but wasnt referred to again. Anyone got any ideas?