The eagerly awaited sequel to The Left Hand of God. Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell. These are The Last Four Things Now there are Five. Meet Thomas Cale. Returning to the Sanctuary of the Redeemers - Thomas Cale is told by the Lord Militant that the destruction of mankind is necessary - the only way to undo God's greatest mistake.
Cale seemingly accepts his role in the ending of the world - fate has painted him as the Left Hand of God, the Angel of Death. Absolute power is within his grasp - the terrifying zeal and military might of the Redeemers a weapon for him to handle as simply as he once used a knife. But perhaps not even the grim power that the Redeemers hold over Cale is enough - the boy who turns from love to poisonous hatred in a heartbeat, the boy who switches between kindness and sheer violence in the blink of an eye. The annihilation that the Redeemers seek may well be in Cale's hands - but his soul is far stranger than they could ever know.
©2011 Paul Hoffman (P)2011 Penguin Books Ltd
"A dark and wildly imaginative story, well told and packed with hair-raising twists." (The Times)
"This book gripped me from the first chapter and then dropped me days later, dazed and grinning to myself." (Conn Iggulden on The Left Hand of God)
"A cult classic...." (Daily Express)
I could quite easily believe it was written by a different, much less talented, author. Really dissappointing.
"Grateful for the negative reviews - but I loved it"
Change your expectations of this second book in the series, and you might just love it!
I had grave reservations about choosing to download this audiobook after reading some of the negative reviews, criticising the pace, the narration, and the plot comparison to the first book.
But I couldn't believe that Sean Barrett's narration could be anything other than brilliant, so I bought it, but with altered expectations for the plot and pace. It paid off! I was right about Sean Barrett who was as brilliant as ever, and by not holding this book up as comparison with the first, I found the plot to be rich and interesting.
Not as innovative and awe-inspiring as the first book, but there are other qualities in abundance. A good sequel in that it develops the plot. The first book could have been called Kane: Boy, Man or God? This one could have been entitled Kane the Strategist: The Best Laid Plans. The book showcases Kane's military genius but highlights the importance of even a single flaw in a masterplan. Bosko's character is developed wonderfully in this book too.
Thanks for the negative reviews, folks. It helped me enjoy this!
Anyone not convinced that this is worth a try, listen to the sample of Sean Barrett's narration.
I can't wait for the next one!
The Left Hand of God was my No.1 book in 2010, as such I have been eagerly awaiting the sequel. Unfortunately, the sequel is somewhat of a disappointment as I found the story telling flat and boring. No where near the pace of the first book and the first section almost sent me to sleep. The second section picked up a bit but ended as it was getting interesting! Will purchase the final book but won't rush to buy it.
My advice is to buy the abridged version. Wish I had.
The Left Hand of God was a superb book and I had been waiting for this sequel for what seemed like eternity.
I felt slightly disappointed when i had finished listening. I expected more from this book, it did not have the same pace or intrigue as the Left Hand of God. There are surprises and humor but the story seemed to meander aimlessly and at times digress into unnecessary detail.
Having said that - I still enjoyed the book and I am looking forward to the next one.
The narration is superb, I would listen to Sean Barrett read the phone book or the shipping forecast !
"Not as good as I wanted it to be!"
I was looking forward to this book because I really enjoyed The Left Hand of God but there were a few elements that irritated me - mainly the over-cliched characters and the use of familiar names and phrases which jar a little within this story. The Last Four Things seems to include even more of this, which, for me, bursts the bubble of the fantasy at times. I found it boring in parts and some of the character plot developments a little bit shallow and unbelievable. He also has a tendency to spend a long time describing 'histories' and races in the story, which I know has some relevance to the events in this book but I felt that this exposition was at the expense of narrative so by the end you feel as though nothing much has happened.
That said, now I've finished, I can say that I did enjoy it as the 'middle book' that it is, and I will read the next one. If you didn't enjoy the first book, then I doubt this will change your mind over the series.
Big positive though - the audio presentation was faultless and I'll happily listen to anything this chap does!
"The dark feel continues and is steady & intricate"
I read all the other reviews before downloading this one - it was the review that said don't have any expectations that convinced me - thanks! It is amazing how ones expectations can ruin an experience.
The thing about the first book for me was the feel and the overall situation. I liken it to The Day of the Triffids (which I highly recommend on here!) which really created such a great feel - that whole empty city thing was just so effective. The same applied here - the feel was it - and it was the introduction to that new dark feel which was so amazing. That obviously can not be done twice - once you've been introduced to that, you cannot be introduced again.
The feel is there though, as potent as it was in the first book. It's grotesque, jaded, cynical, inventive, intelligent and funny. Classic bit "the officer of mortification whispered into Kale's ear 'Remember man that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return. Remember man that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return...'. At the twentieth time of saying, Kale turned his head towards him and whispered back 'Shut, your gob'."
Obviously Sean Barrett is absolutely fantastic in his reading - something which is hugely important for audiobooks as I'm sure you know.
I had two days spare to listen to this book, which helped. I don't think it would really work to try and listen to this book in lots of little bits or while doing something at the same time.
"Give it a chance"
Based on the reviews I nearly didn't buy this; I liked The Left Hand of God but wasn't blown away by it, and many of the reviews suggest that this is no where near as good. I actually thought it was of similar quality to The Left Hand of God and that it really progressed the series. It didn't feel like a sequel that just offered more of the same, nor did it feel like a sequel where the author goes off on a tangent that doesn't keep true to the original - the plot develops well and I'm interested to find out what happens in the third book.
This book is more focused on the politics of the different factions (particularly Bosco's scheming). There's less action than in the first book and the plot is a little slower - so if the action is something that hooked you in the first book then this might not be the book for you. It's also a little slow to start. But there's great traces of humour throughout - and some nice twists in the plot. Bosco's and Cale's relationship is great and properly developed in this book, and I loved listening to Bosco's schemes unfold.
If you have high expectations then this book might disappoint, but I'm glad I gave it a chance.
"Too many asides"
Although the story is continued, I couldn't help get the feeling that this was the stuffing in the middle- dragging the plot out until its eventual conclusion in the third book in the trilogy. Whilst I enjoy the additional insight into our main characters, knowing what some arbitrary assassin had for breakfast last week got a tad boring (ok, slight exaggeration, but it honestly felt like that sometimes). A little Douglas-Adams like in its asides, which were at times humerous, it does take the story on, however I do think this part of the tale could have been told in half the time. The writing is still good, and the narration equally so, it's just too slow......I'm hoping the pace of the first book is recovered in the final book.
The use of recogniseable place names, eg The Transvaal, Spanish Leeds, Drakensberg, Memphis etc etc, all within a 6 day ride of each other, was an interesting approach - not sure I really liked the effect......gives the impression that the whole story takes place in an alternative/parallel universe which is still in the medieval era.....
Listening to this via audiobook makes it easier, I think. I'm guessing that if I were slogging through pages, I might have got even more frustrated with the pace.
"Cries out to be made into a film"
I read all three parts before commenting so as to see the story through to the end. Okay, the trilogy is not "great literature", but it is a story which draws you in and keeps you there. There are patches which are too drawn out and sometimes the story takes it's time to get where it is going, but it is so worth the effort. Thomas Cale will stay with me for a long time, and I'll come back and listen to these again. The burning question for me is - when will producers wake up to this trilogy and make films of them. These books are a far better source material than many poorer stories which have been made into films costing mega-bucks. Finally a word about the narration. 10 out 10 for Sean Barratt. He captured all the characters well without being over the top in his characterisations, but most of all he totally nailed Thomas Cale's personality. I hope Hoffman will tempted to write a follow-on.
"enjoyable read whens the next one"
I really enjoyed this book but it did feel like a prologue to the next installment
I like the characters and enjoy Sean Barrett's interpretaion of them.
Wonder how long untill part 3 comes out as want to know what happens next and for me what more can you ask for in a good read
"Slightly Hard Going, But Worth It"
I listened to this and the series opener in fairly quick succession. For me that was a little too much. The opening book was grim but I felt original and in some ways uplifting. Another dose of the same in a book that moves at a slower pace and does not build the tension in quite the same way probably made it overkill for me.
That said I wouldn't want to put people off. There is still a lot of merit here, Hoffman develops the Redeemers in particular in more detail and gives them shades of grey rather than trying to paint them totally black. The book, which can't be an easy one to narrate is presented well by Sean Barrett.
I will, in the future, attempt the third in the series, but I'll give myself a break first. I'd not characterize these books as "fun" to listen to but taken for what they are they are well worth an investment in time.
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