- Some say he will destroy the world. Maybe he will...
A novel by Paul Hoffman, released in 2010. Raised by the zealous and militant Redeemers, Thomas Cale has been subjected to a life of brutal hardships and Training from Hell. When he finally gets an opportunity to escape, he flees to the city of Memphis, where he must survive political intrigue and the rigours of a new life. However, the Redeemers are unnaturally interested in getting him back. And their purpose might spell doom for the whole world...
The story continues in two sequels, The Last Four Things and The Beating of His Wings.
This book shows examples of:
- Adorkable: Vague Henri is a lot softer than his comrades Kleist and Cale, genuinely sees the latter as a friend, can get embarassed quite easily, and is the kindest of the trio about Riba. Considering the kind of environment he was raised in, and the world they live in, this is enough to make him invoke this trope. It doesn't stop him from kicking some ass when the situation calls it.
- After the End: If this were set in our world, this is seemingly the only possible explanation for the similarities between our world and the one that Thomas Cale lives in. The world has seemingly regressed to a medieval / renaissance level of technology and society. That said, there isn't any explicit evidence for why the world is the way it is, or that it isn't just a completely alternative world in some ways parallel to ours.
- Antichrist: Redeemer Bosco believes Cale to be an inversion of this: sent in to bring about the end of the world, but by God, not the devil.
- As the Good Book Says...: The characters quote their own version of the Bible.
- Blessed With Suck: Cale was a normal kid before he got his skull caved in, this gave him the apparent ability to forsee his opponent's moves in a fight, thus making him an unparalleled fighter, this quickly comes to bite him in the ass as he's still in the middle of what would normally be a training from hell that just got a whole lot harder thanks to his superpower
- Cliffhanger: The last part shows Cale being brought back to the Sanctuary by Bosco. His True Companions are shown to be following them in the very last paragraph.
- Cool Sword: The Edge. Unusually, only appears to get broken.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Redeemers are blatantly like Christianity while obviously not the same religion, the subtlety of which analogy is perfectly captured by the fact that their object of worship is a Son of God who was hanged. The briefly touched details of their schism with the Antagonists makes it further clear that the Redeemers correspond to Roman Catholicism and the Antagonists to Protestantism. The Redeemers are also a distillation and exaggeration of everything that was ever wrong about the church. A Jesus of Nazareth is actually mentioned in the novel, but the most we hear is that someone at least thinks he played the role of Jonah in the story about being swallowed by a fish.
- It's entirely possible that Christianity exists in the setting - Judaism certainly does - and the Redeemers are either an offshoot or worshipers of similar-but-different fourth Abramaic faith. They definitely have an Adam and Eve in their creation story.
- Downer Ending: Cale is betrayed by Arbell,found by Bosco, revealed to be the responsible for the destruction of the world, and is sent back to the Sanctuary he hated so much. Also, the Redeemers won an unlikely battle against the Materazzi, leaving their forces in a shambles. Luckily, this is just the first part of the trilogy.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Besides of the Crystal Dragon Jesus thing, Hoffman throws in real world names of peoples and places without any particular logic. Cultures may be inspired by elements of ones in the real world without adhering to them too closely, whereas in some cases he just flat out puts in some "Jews" who sound to be in about the same situation as they would have been in the real world at a similar historical era.
- Informed Ability:
- Jennifer Plunkett is supposedly a cold blooded master assassin, but her onscreen actions consist of randomly falling in love with her assassination target one day, whom she had already obseved for two months without feeling any affection towards, and running in a straight line with her back exposed to an archer she just tried to kill. This was meant to show how everyone is capable of making mistakes or having a bad day.
- The Materazzi are supposedly a Badass Army that has conquered much of the known world and hasn't known defeat for twenty years, but what we see of them in action unanimously shows them as staggeringly incompetent. Their leadership care more about not being "insulted" by being placed in the rear instead of the front than they do about actually winning the battle, to the point that just organizing a simple battle without dissolving the entire empire is shown as an incredibly hard thing to do. They don't have any archers whatsoever. When the enemy archers shoot their horses their response is to just let the vulnerable horses stand in the rain of arrows instead of actually doing anything about it. Their scouts fail to bring any useful information to their commander whatsoever, which wouldn't have been a problem if the commander had just put his tent upon the giant hill overlooking the battle. Said hill gives the protagonists a perfect view of everything that's going on, but the Materazzi commander completely ignores this obvious asset in his battle plan.
- Ironic Echo: what Cale tells to Arbell's father in the end of the book. It's the same line she showed him in a letter written by her grandpa to her grandma, when she was talking about her love for him. This time, he says it as a menace.
- Low Fantasy: So low it's not even certain there is anything fantastic in the whole book. Only a couple of things suggest it — the sweet-smelling substance recovered from inside a tortured young woman's body doesn't seem like a natural thing, and Kitty the Hare appears to be not exactly human. Of course, if Cale's mentor is right about him, that's certainly a fantasy element.
- Wretched Hive: Memphis. Specially Kitty Town, inside the former.