The Last Four Things
The epic story of Thomas Cale—introduced so memorably in The Left Hand of God—continues as the Redeemers use his prodigious gifts to further their sacred goal: the extinction of humankind and the end of the world...
To the warrior-monks known as the Redeemers, “the last four things” represent the culmination of a faithful life. Death. Judgment. Heaven. Hell. The last four things represent eternal bliss—or endless destruction, permanent chaos, and infinite pain.
Perhaps nowhere are the competing ideas of heaven and hell exhibited more clearly than in the dark and tormented soul of Thomas Cale. Betrayed by the girl he loves but still marked by a child’s innocence, possessed of a remarkable aptitude for violence but capable of extreme tenderness, Cale will lead the Redeemers into a battle for nothing less than the fate of the human race. And though his broken heart foretells the bloody trail he will leave in pursuit of a personal peace he can never achieve, a glimmer of hope remains—the question even Cale can’t answer: When it comes time to decide the fate of the world, to ensure the extermination of humankind or spare it, what will he choose? To express God’s will on the edge of his sword, or to forgive his fellow man—and himself?
Imagine. A young assassin, no more than a boy really, is lying carefully hidden in the long green and black bulrushes that grow in great profusion along the rivers of the Vallombrosa. He has been waiting for a long time but he is a patient creature in his way and the thing he waits for is perhaps more precious to him than life. Beside him are a bow of yew and arrows tipped with black country steel capable of penetrating even the costliest armour if you’re close enough. Not that there will be any need for that today because the young man is not waiting for some rascal deserving of his murder but only a water bird. The light thickens and the swan makes wing through the rooky wood, the cawing crows complaining bitterly at the unfairness of her beauty as she lands upon the water like the stroke of a painter’s hand upon a canvas, direct and beautifully itself. She swims with all the elegance for which her kind is famous, though you will never have seen movement quite so graceful in such still and smoky air on such steeple grey water.
Then the arrow, sharp as hate, shears through the same air she blesses and misses her by several feet. And she’s off, web strength along with her grace convey her whiteness back into the air and away to safety. The young man is standing now and watching the swan escape.
‘I’ll get you next time you treacherous slut!’ he shouts and throws down the bow, which alone of all the instruments of death (knife, sword, elbow, teeth) he has never been able to master and yet is the only one that can give him hope of restitution for his broken heart. But not even then. For though this is a dream, not even in his dreams can he hit a barn door from twenty yards. He wakes and broods for half an hour. Real life is careful of the sensitivities of desperadoes but even the greatest scourge, and Thomas Cale is certainly one of those, can be mocked with impunity in his nightmares. Then he goes back to sleep to dream again of the autumnal leaves that strewed the brooks in Vallombrosa, and the great white wings beating into swirls the early-morning mist."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."
"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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