Heroes die is a fantastic combination of science fiction and fantasy written by Matthew Woodring Stover, an American novelist who is known best for his Star Wars novels. This book is the first one of the series called The Acts of Caine which tell the story about The Blade of Tyshalle, the best and most successful assasin the world has known. In this future world powerful corporations rule the earth and society follows strict caste system and most of the entertainment comes from the actors who are teleported to the other universe. In there every civilization is on the level of medieval but with a dose of magic and fantasy creatures like elfs or trolls. Actors who are trained warriors travel those land and experience thrilling adventures in order to become famous while viewers see and feel everything they do. However unlike viewers those actor can slain others, suffer great pain or even die in a terrible way, all of that just to become recognizable.
I believe in justice, as long as I’m holding a knife at the throat of the judge.
~Caine, Blade of Tyshalle
The main hero an assasin Caine has killed a huge number of monarchs, commoners, villains and even heroes. He’s persistent, unstoppable and simply gets the job done. Back on the Earth Caine is Hari Michaelson, a superstar whose adventures in Ankhana is being watched by billions of people. Unfortunately Hari’s wife Pallas Rill has disappeared in the slums of Ankhana. In order to save her he must once again confront those deadly worlds and face the most treacherous rulers of them. However an actor can’t stay off line from a singal connecting him to Earth or he will get lost and die. Caine signs a contract with the studio executives which orders him to eliminate the new emperor who wants to bring peace and order in Overworld.
A lie is like a pet – you have to take care of it or it’ll turn on you and bite you in the ass.
~Caine, Blade of Tyshalle
What I like the most about this book that fight scenes are described pretty well with various acrobatic feats and sophisticated strikes. But there are also great characters with complex personalities like assasin Caine, his wife Pallas or even villain Ma’elKoth. At the start of the story Hari begins as a typical cold killer but as the story develops so does his personality. You will be able to notice how he gains sense of moral responsibility and starts to notice that his true enemies may be not be in Overworld but back in his home Earth. This book should satisfy both science fiction and fantasy fans as it draws some pieces from both of those genres.