"Listen. The Sanctuary of the Redeemers on Shotover Scarp is named after a damned lie for there is no redemption that goes on there and less sanctuary."
The Sanctuary of the Redeemers is a vast and desolate place - a place without joy or hope. Most of its occupants were taken there as boys and for years have endured the brutal regime of the Lord Redeemers whose cruelty and violence have one singular purpose - to serve in the name of the One True Faith.
In one of the Sanctuary's vast and twisting maze of corridors stands a boy. He is perhaps fourteen or fifteen years old - he is not sure and neither is anyone else. He has long-forgotten his real name, but now they call him Thomas Cale. He is strange and secretive, witty and charming, violent and profoundly bloody-minded. He is so used to the cruelty that he seems immune, but soon he will open the wrong door at the wrong time and witness an act so terrible that he will have to leave this place, or die.
His only hope of survival is to escape across the arid Scablands to Memphis, a city the opposite of the Sanctuary in every way: breathtakingly beautiful, infinitely Godless, and deeply corrupt.
But the Redeemers want Cale back at any price... not because of the secret he now knows but because of a much more terrifying secret he does not.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Robyn on 18-07-11
An epic fantasy. Unlike anything I've read or listened to before. As other reviewers have said, the narration is perfectly suited to the story. A very well told story- the characters are deep, and the storyline unique. Highly recommended. I've just downloaded part two, as there's no way I can leave the story where this book ends........
18 of 18 people found this review helpful
By Jez Cajiao on 28-01-10
Really enjoyable book, with great narrator, perfect pairing as few books seem to have the right narrator for the job! Great listen, engrossing story and looking forward to the next part!
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Raphael on 31-07-11
Good idea, poor execution
Paul Hoffman seems to have come up with an interesting plot, but unfortunately never got past the drafting stage for this novel. The clipped dialogue and focus on distinct details convey well the grim mood during the first chapters of this book. Unfortunately, the writing style doesn't change much as the story progresses, leaving both the dialogue and the storyflow poorly paced and lacking in flavor. Perhaps for this reason, many of the characters were left feeling shallow and unimaginative.
The further the story progressed, the less polished it became. Characters were introduced, just to be completely forgotten a few chapters later. The author also became ever more obliged to explain (rather bluntly) characters' actions and reactions (no matter how obvious or uninteresting they are), as if he had a need to convince you with the logic of it, instead of trusting into his own storytelling. The events, first logical and tightly bound, soon became disjointed and artificial, feeling to be arbitrarily forced by the author rather than stemming from the world he created. Most of the events didn't seem to have much of effect on the overall story progression, as the characters were plunged into the next plot twist, without having any choice about it.
This book suffers from poor storytelling. However, my main complaint is about something else. It has a good deal of real-world references. Real town names, currency, nationalities, religious references and terminology are all used as-is. At first, this felt interesting and sometimes amusing. Soon, it started getting repetitive, making it difficult to immerse into the book. By the end of the book, these references seemed more like cheap and unimaginative placeholders, which no one bothered to replace afterwards.
That being said, I did buy the next book in the series. The plot really isn't so bad, it's just the writing which makes me cringe.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By Ian on 29-01-10
Well written book which kept me listening past bed time as well as an unusual plot, looking forward to the next installment
3 of 4 people found this review helpful