On Earth, Hari Michaelson was a superstar. But on Overworld, he was the assassin Caine. Real monarchs lived and died at his hands and entire governments were overthrown...all for the entertainment of millions back on Earth. But now Hari, stripped of his identity as Caine, must fight his greatest battle: against the powerful corporate masters of Earth and the faceless masses who are killing everything he loves. Enemies old and new array themselves against him. And Hari is just one man - alone, half-crippled, powerless. They say he doesn't have a chance. They are wrong.
©2001 Matthew Woodring Stover (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"Day of the Jackal meets Lord of the Rings.... A marvelous conspiracy thriller of worlds within worlds, where no one is necessarily who or what they seem." (Simon R. Green)
How do you follow up a book like Heroes Die?
If you are Matthew Stover, you set the philosophy to 11, the action (at least for the first 3/4 of the book) to 2, and throw out the sequel rulebook.
I've made this an especially difficult review for myself, as I don't want to spoil a single thing about what takes place in either of the books as I tend to read reviews for later books in a series to see if they are worth investing in. So, the quick review is: very very good, get them both.
To begin with, I'll say that the first 4/5s of Blade of Tyshalle is a very different beast to Heroes Die. It has a cloying, suffocating atmosphere that builds palpably as you progress through the book. You are never sure what is going to happen and how actions will pan out (which is one of the main themes of the book - the butterfly effect). As such, it can be very overpowering, especially with the many unpleasant things that happen to people trying to do the right thing.
Then you get to the last fifth of the book which escalates things dramatically - action set pieces and emotional turmoil are thrown around with gusto, all the while building to a conclusion that neatly dots the 'i's and cross the 't's.
To me, the thing that stands out most is Hari's character arc, especially the way he comes to terms with who he is and what has happened to him - it is astonishingly powerful stuff. Also note that threads from the first book are picked up and either expanded upon (i.e. black shell) or explained (the Social police and caste system).
This is a superb book that expands on the first in every way, subverting what you expect and what you want. Highly recommended.
As a side note I noticed that there was a lot of material in this book that seemed to resonate with the 2nd and 3rd Matrix films, which is fine, except for the fact that the Blade of Tyshalle book was published 2 years before The Matrix Reloaded movie!
Its easily in my top 20. I'd like to put it higher, but I have a pretty exclusive list. I still highly recommend this book and it deserves more praise then it gets.
When Hari stopped trying to be Hari and just became Caine.
It has a lot of powerful moments in it that really make you think, it can get very psychological at times, but this doesn't take anything away, oh no, it adds to it as Matthew Stover really puts his and Caine's mindset in to perspective.
I would never call Blade of Tyshalle a tear jerker, but it had many humorous part in it that got me chuckling.
I enjoy a good plot, well thought out characters, witty banter and to be amazed by the creativity of the author!
As a follow up novel, some authors flag in terms of the pace and lack of development of the story, this is not that kind of book. The pace is similar to the first book, the development of the main characters continue, whilst adding more insight into their stories. I loved this book as no matter how bad things got, I could still root for Caine to overcome the situation. I am still in love with this series.
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