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.
Gr 9 Up-Paul Hoffman's first title (Dutton, 2010) in a projected trilogy is a complex, multilayered fantasy that delves into themes about world domination, personal power, and the fanaticism of religion and warfare. Thomas Cale has been raised by the Redeemers, a religious order that trains young boys to be future warriors in their planned battle against the Antagonists.While Cale is often the victim of more than the usual abuse, when he escapes with three companions-Kleist, Vague Henri, and Riba (a young girl he rescues from a terrible death)-the word goes out that upon capture he should not be killed. When the runaways are picked up by the Materazzi, a militant group from the community of Memphis, we learn that Cale can predict the actions of anyone going into battle againsthim and is also a great strategist.The Materazzi, considered the finest military warriors in the world, have a lot to learn from Cale, whom they do not trust.Romance between Cale and the beautiful Arbell Swan-Neck, daughter of Memphis's ruler, complicates the plot but adds to the story's appeal.Steve West's narration is aloof and seemingly impersonal. His pace allows listeners to feel Cale's innocence as well as his ruthlessness. West seems to be the outside observer, just reporting the facts and their consequences.His narration of the final battle is cold and unrelenting as he dispassionately relates horrific scenes; it's almost too much to bear. A powerful listening experience.-Edith Ching, formerly Washington Latin Public Charter School, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.