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Caine Black Knife (The Acts of Caine #3)

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  1,160 ratings  ·  59 reviews
In Heroes Die and Blade of Tyshalle, Matthew Stover created a new kind of fantasy novel, and a new kind of hero to go with it: Caine, a street thug turned superstar, battling in a future where reality shows take place in another dimension, on a world where magic exists and gods are up close and personal. In that beautiful, savage land, Caine is an assassin without peer, a...more
Paperback, 343 pages
Published October 14th 2008 by Del Rey Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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The Graveyard Book by Neil GaimanGraceling by Kristin CashoreWelcome to the Jungle by Jim ButcherPretty Monsters by Kelly LinkThe Fire by Katherine Neville
Best books of October, 2008
6th out of 41 books — 41 voters
Prince of Thorns by Mark  LawrenceThe Blade Itself by Joe AbercrombieA Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinKing of Thorns by Mark  LawrenceEmperor of Thorns by Mark  Lawrence
The Grimdarks
68th out of 139 books — 355 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,032)
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Stephen
4.5 stars. The Caine/Hari Michaelson books are some of the best SF/Fantasy books that have ever been written. Not quite as good as the previous two entries but still incredibly entertaining. Highly recommended!!
Mike (the Paladin)
This is the third book in The Overworld or Acts of Caine series. The writing remains good and the story enthralling and all my warning caveats remain in place. Come to this book understanding that the language, the situations, the graphic descriptions are all decidedly what might be called "R" rated.

That being said I say again that these are well written and at times even thought provoking reads.

I think that so far as pure storytelling, plotting, characterization and just plain quality goes the...more
Nicholas Barone
The third book in Stover's "Acts of Caine" series continues to impress. Unlike the first two books, which told complete stories, this one ends in a bit of a cliffhanger (which will be resolved in book 4, Caine's Law).

The book interweaves two stories. One picks up the story of Caine from a couple of years after the events of book 2 (Blade of Tyshalle). The other tells the tale of an adventure from Caine's past - a story that has been referred to several times in the first 2 books. The two stories...more
Lurple
Stover's Heroes Die is an excellent- if brutal and rather vulgar- book. Unfortunately the series takes a downhill turn from there; I didn't like Blade of Tyshalle at all.

The third book snaps back and forth between the present and the adventure that originally made Caine a superstar. Neither one is fully satisfying, although it's an improvement on Blade of Tyshalle. Unfortunately it also ends halfway through the story, so you'll be waiting for book #4 to find out how it ends.

Only Heroes Die works...more
Ethan
Quite a letdown for me. I love Stover's stuff. My problems, in a nutshell, are as follows:

- the overuse of the first person: Caine is a much better badass in third person, and we really need the distance and the mystery, which is taken away in the 1st person perspective
- problems with how the "adventure" portion is handled (it is portrayed as a cube, or maybe as a first-hander experience, but the internal "thoughts" of the main character seem out of place for a cube)
- lack of any other character...more
Mei
So, the third book of Matthew Woodring Stover's series about Caine, a wandering mercenary who in reality is an actor from our world, whose adventures are followed by us, the adoring masses. Acts of Caine, get it? Clever. I first picked up 'Heroes Die' many many years ago, on recommendation by the lovely chaps at the Borderlands bookstore in San Francisco, on my first ever trip there. And absolutely loved it. It's brutal, funny, gripping and a pretty harsh book. But I loved it. Then a couple of y...more
J.
Stover knows this character and his voice cold. I read this a while ago, so I can't remember too much beyond enjoying it (while being aware of the over-the-top nature of the prose), but I just wandered over to mwstover.com, where the other has occasionally been offering "Caine on Combat" tactical tips.

e.g.,

"The best way to hit someone is by surprise. The best way to surprise someone is to hit him before he knows you’re there. Second best is to hit him before he knows he’s in a fight. As a last r...more
Beth Brock
“’What you want? Who cares?’ Orbek rose, grinning. ‘You don’t choose your clan, Caine. Born Black Knife, you’re Black Knife. Born Hooked Arrow, you’re Hooked Arrow. Now: say that you are Black Knife, then let’s go kill some guards, hey?’
Cain lay on the stone, silent.
Orbek growled, ‘Say it!’
The lamp gave Caine’s eyes a feral glitter.
‘All right,’ he said at length. For all his tiny, mostly useless human teeth, he managed a surprisingly good mirror of Orbek’s tusk-display. ‘Like you say: I am Black...more
Monica Deal
I was excited that in this novel, Stover stripped away one of the main things I didn't like about the other two--being forced to read from to POV of the other characters. Reading Heroes Die and Blade of Tyshalle, my favorite POV had always been Caine's POV, and so being able to hitch a ride on the Caine train for the entire story would make Caine Black Knife that much more entertaining.

Or so I thought. I can't really explain why I didn't absolutely love this book, since I do like being inside Ca...more
Liviu

The best fantasy novel of 2008 till now for me. The power of the first two Caine novels in a tight, well honed, no words wasted package. Not for the squeamish since it's even more graphic than the first 2, it follows Caine's adventures in 2 threads, one in the past detailing his first famous adventure that made his name, second in the present picking up some pieces of that original 25 years ago adventure.

Andrew Zink
The Acts of Caine was a rare treat--it was a story about a futuristic society that could travel back and forth to a fantasy realm, combining two genres in a unique and pretty clever way. Book one was good, and book two was even better, finishing with an eyebrow raising final scene that set up a lot of great possibilities.

Book three, "Black Knife", was a massive disappointment, and likely a 'series killer' for me; I have no interest in picking up the next one in the series.

Black Knife almost enti...more
Roger
This book (3rd in the series) was more enjoyable than "Blade of Tyshalle" (book #2) but less enjoyable than "Heroes Die" (book 1). This book is a prequel to the first two, allowing the reader to experience the adventure that made Caine a star. I eagerly look forward to book 4 "Caine's Law" coming out in the near future.
Chris Hawks
Fantastic. The third Act of Caine contains two intertwining narratives: one replays the events from Retreat From the Boedecken, the Adventure that launched Caine's career 25 years ago and made him a star. The other plotline revolves around Caine returning to the Boedecken, three years after events from the previous book. There's a couple of mysteries rolling around, involving Caine's adopted brother Orbek, something called the Smoke Hunt, and a gate back to Earth. Unlike earlier volumes, this bo...more
Clay
“Caine Black Knife” (Del Rey, $14, 368 pages) is the third book in a series Matthew Stover began in 1998. Caine is far from heroic, and admits he’s cruel, dishonest, loves pain and really wants to die. Stover gives Caine plenty of time to indulge in the agony he so adores, and the book is full of violence and gore at a level that normally I can’t deal with.

But I vaguely remembered liking the first two books, and so I gave “Caine Black Knife” a chance – and again, I was horrifyingly attracted to...more
Gordon
"I Don't Give 5 Stars Often, But WOW! If You Like Caine, a MUST READ"

There are parts of this review that are in 'Hero's Die' but its all good :)

Stover has brought a hardcore, gritty, graphic, & unique fantasy series that takes place in a future where 'Actors' are sent to another dimension/timeline where they take on they're persona's learned from acting school but its all real, & 'Actors' actually earn the millions they get paid because they could get a 6-inch tusk buried into their head...more
Eric
Jun 27, 2013 Eric rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Eric by: next in series
In book 3, Caine visits the Khryl homeland to get his dumbass adoptive ogrillo brother Orbek out of trouble with the Khryllian law, which plans to execute him in combat for failing to grovel properly in the presence of a knight. Granted, Orbek did kill a couple of Khryllian armsmen when they took exception to his appalling deferential deficiency, but still. (Note that Khryl is a relatively warm and fuzzy nation, full of shiny knights and noble heroes, and that should tell you a lot about the wor...more
Newton Nitro
A saga Acts of Caine é uma série que precisa ser mais conhecida pelos amantes da literatura de fantasia brutal contemporânea. Estou cada vez mais impressionado com o que Matthew Stover está fazendo com seu personagem Caine. Além de ser uma série de fantasia, a saga de Caine tem muitas discussões filosóficas interessantes, sobre a questão da identidade, o modo como as histórias que criamos sobre nossas vidas organizam o caos cego que é a realidade, entre outros temas. E tudo dentro de um pacote c...more
Reed
I was one of those few that read and absolutely loved Stover's first Caine novel, Heroes Die--great, great stuff full of attitude, ultra-violence, and a most memorable main character. Sadly, it was a novel that did not reach a larger, well-deserved audience. When the sequel Blade of Tyshalle came out, I was ecstatic to return to this most unique of worlds.

It was a long, long time until Stover returned once again to the adventures of Caine. Was it worth the wait? Well, yes and no.

Yes, the book s...more
Jeremy Schoolfield
What a refreshing treat to have Caine back to his old self! After spending the previous novel in this series in the dumps, Caine here is wisecracking and cracking skulls like old times. Stover works in how Caine's been affected by age and injury; so while he's not as spry as he used to be, his wit and, yes, charm are back in full force.

And you don't miss the youthful Caine that much, anyway, because Stover brilliantly layers a flashback story throughout the entire novel of Caine's star-making t...more
Lark
Caine is thrown into another plot, this time one that builds off a minor plot point from the second book. He finds himself in the middle of a mystery concerning Knights of Khyrl, the Black Knives orgillo clan, a strange Shadow Hunt, a city of slavery, and a hidden stone of power. And obviously since he's now been adopted into the Black Knives, there's nothing to do but to stick his nose and, of course, his fists into the fight.

Okay. First off, I just have to say that I'm always a little scared...more
Molybdenum
Before we get into this book, I'd like to note that I am a huge fan of the second book in this series, Blade of Tyshalle. It took what is my least favorite part of Heroes Die, the dystopian setting, and turned it into the centrepiece of something much more exciting and interesting.

So, about 10% into this novel, I thought this book was going to do something similar to the character of Caine. I've never thought that Caine rose too high above typical anti-hero, so I was excited to see Caine become...more
Aaron
Apr 25, 2009 Aaron rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who've read other ACTS OF CAINE
Shelves: epic
What a wild ride the imaginings of Stover are.

Although this book is very, very different than the others in the Acts of Caine, it retains all the power that Stover has always wielded as an author. More than its brutal action and intense dialogue, however, it Stover's continued application of high-literature concepts to his fantasy that raises it above the rest, whether it be references to Heart of Darkness (and the narrator/protagonist's chilling interpretation of the work) or lines that strike...more
Rochelle
I had a hard time getting into this book. Then I had a hard time finishing it and found it all too easy to put down, unlike the previous two. Maybe this is due to the fact it's told in first person and, quite frankly, Caine isn't the kind of person whose head I want to walk around in all that much. Third person gives me a little more of a buffer, which I appreciate at times. I'll probably pick up the sequel, but less eagerly than Blade of Tyshall.
John
I really did not want his book to end.
You get to know about the start of Caine and you really should not like
him but i found myself doing just that.
I already have the last book i hope that it is not the end for Caine.
Richard
A bit different to the earlier two books and maybe not quite as good. Certainly far more dark in tone and content with a baffling nothing has been resolved but tune in next time cliff hanger ending. I still like the series but I can't help but take away a star just for whatever publisher decision cut the book in two.
Mike
Of the first three "Caine / Overworld" books, i think Caine Black Knife is the best composition although I was sad and a bit put off to find there is a fourth as yet unpublished volume. "Heros Die!" is great romping introduction to the Caine story, fit for that element in us that says "Aw Cool!" when playing blast-em-to-bits video games. As a fist book in the series it can stand on its own. For the fan, the second in the series is a good, interting story arc with closure. This most recent third...more
Rebecca
Oh, cliffhangers. How I loathe thee. Good job, Stover, on joining the regular ranks of fantasy writers by spending an entire book setting up a scenario to be resolved in the next exciting episode.

Annoyance with that aside, I enjoyed the book greatly. Caine is still a fabulous character, and getting to witness the events that forged him into the relentless badass he has become was a pleasure. As were the moments where he seemed more human and less Legend. No matter what atrocities he commits (and...more
Tom Dickinson
After loving the first two books I thought this one was dull and way too gratuitous with the sex/violence/unpleasantness. I loved Caine/Hari/Shade/whatever in the first two books but I found him obnoxious here. Almost a self-parody. The story was really uninteresting to me for most of the book. Then the last couple dozen pages really picked up, but the book ends abruptly in the middle of the story. I'm really looking forward to the next one, because suddenly I'm interested in the direction of th...more
Sean Kilburn
Caine Black Knife

All of you; do yourselves a favor and READ THIS BOOK... such a mix of brutality, exposition and pure imagination is rare to come across in this day and age. Start with HERO'S DIE, then move on to BLADE OF TYSHALLE before exploring this whirl-wind of story, character and multiversal intrigue. Get to it! Then, when you catch your breath, go for CAINE'S LAW...

In other words, be prepared.
Brian
I love these books. They're not for everyone. They're ultra violent. The language is about as vulgar as you can get. And yet, I love them. The storytelling is tight. The characters, especially Caine, really come alive. It would be hard to say that I liked this one as much as Heroes Die, but I think I liked it more than Blade of Tyshalle. The plot was a little bit more cohesive and easy to follow.

Anyway, if the violence and language don't scare you away (don't let them!). Read these.
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1567394
Matthew Woodring Stover is an American fantasy and science fiction author. He is perhaps best known for his Star Wars novels -- Traitor, Shatterpoint, Revenge of the Sith and Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor. He has also published several pieces of original work, such as Heroes Die, which Stover described as 'a piece of violent entertainment that is a meditation on violent entertainment'....more
More about Matthew Woodring Stover...
Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (Star Wars, #3) Traitor (Star Wars: The New Jedi Order, #13) Heroes Die (The Acts of Caine, #1) Shatterpoint (Star Wars: Clone Wars, #1) Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor (Star Wars)

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