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The Last Four Things


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Paul Hoffman is the author of three previous novels, The Last Four Things (2011), The Left Hand of God (2010),The Golden Age of Censorship (2007), a black comedy based on his experiences as a film censor and The Wisdom of Crocodiles (2000), which predicted the collapse of the world financial system.


Death, judgment, heaven, and hell are the title concerns in this follow-up to The Left Hand of God. The jilted Thomas Cale has somewhat accepted his destiny as the "anger of God," the leader of Redeemer forces that will rid the earth of the rival Antagonists and their allies. His mentor Bosco twists Cale's skills to his own means, while Cale's friends try to extract him from the fray before he brings the whole world to conflagration. Rival Kleist finds love with a utilitarian girl from the scavenging Klephts, but his leadership may change her people in ways that are ultimately dangerous. VERDICT Hoffman mixes cynical farce with military fantasy action to raucous effect. This is a big step forward from his debut, with great battle scenes and graveyard, cackle-inducing black humor. It flags only in the last 50 pages, where attempts to prepare the way for the trilogy's final book are disjointed from the rest of the plot. Hoffman's ongoing depictions of degraded, objectified women may not sit well with some readers. [See Prepub Alert, 2/14/11.]-Neil Hollands, Williamsburg Regional Lib., VA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

In this underwhelming sequel to 2010's The Left Hand of God, escaped acolyte Thomas Cale is captured and returned to the forbidding Sanctuary, a massive fortress run by a sect of cruel monks who train their young male charges to become soldiers in their ongoing war against the Antagonists. Impressed by the darkly gifted young Cale, the Redeemer Bosco continues molding him to become the Angel of Death who will bring about the end of the world. As Cale becomes a renowned military leader and his mythical stature grows, he remains deeply troubled by personal questions, namely the betrayal of the beautiful Arbell Materazzi. While readers will be impressed by the depth of the setting and the elaborate action sequences, the lack of any substantial character development other than Cale's fretting over his insecurities leaves this installment with a classic case of middle book syndrome. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

"Paul Hoffman's newest novel, "The Left Hand Of God", certainly delivers the terrible goods. . . .There's gloom aplenty here, but it's tempered by a sly wit, complex characters, and a narrative engine that grinds all objections to dust. . . . [An] epic tale, full of grand passions that twist in the hand like a knife blade."
-"The Onion A.V. Club"

"Clever phrasing and innate humor . . . this novel will make a rousing next step for fans of Terry Goodkind, R. A. Salvatore, and their ilk."
-"Library Journal"

"A riveting tale of pursuit, derring-do, battles, and death...a rousing trilogy-opener...a sweeping tale of intrigue and warfare-for teens who like that sort of thing (many)."

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