AUTHOR | PAUL HOFFMAN
PUBLISHER | DUTTON ADULT
RELEASE | 6.15.11
The Left Hand of God is an alternate-universe/alternate-history novel following the escape of three teenage boys and a pampered girl from a compound run by the zealous Redeemers, where the boys were trained from a young age as soldiers for a holy war against the Antagonists (who don’t like the Redeemers, apparently). Suffice it to say, the book is … interesting, in exactly the sort of “emphasis-on-the-ellipsis” way that last sentence should lead you to expect.
What’s strange about the alternate-whatever that Hoffman constructs is that it’s not strikingly different from actual history. There’s no magical high-fantasy here, just a straight medieval aesthetic. Recognizable (but altered) references are peppered throughout the novel. For example, a character mentions Jesus as the dude who was trapped in the whale. So, Jesus instead of Jonah—which seems important.
The Left Hand of God is first in a planned trilogy, so sometimes rushed characterization is understandable. What really ends up defining the novel—for better or worse—is the skewed, not-so-alternate-universe, and the overpowering sense that Hoffman is, in this tale of fanaticism and warrior-teens, trying very hard to say … something.