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Blade of Tyshalle

(The Acts of Caine #2)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  4,665 ratings  ·  232 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 800 pages
Published March 26th 2002 by Del Rey Books (first published 2001)
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Marc E Less copies in print overall. I ordered this secondhand online, from someone who apparently flat-out stole it from a library.

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If Superman, the Boogeyman, Darth Vader, Conan the Barbarian and Sauron all ganged up to fight Hari “Caine” Michelson...not only would Caine WIN, but none of his attackers would even make it to the after party.

It’s simplyhow it is...Period.No debate, no equivocation, no qualification, no margin for error.

Caine is the mythago-like archetype of indomitably-willed, carnage-causing, badass kickassery. A take-no-prisoners, leave you battered, bloody and beaten force of destruction.

Jan 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
I got a Kindle last year and guess what was my first purchase? You guessed it, Atlas Shrugged! Okay, no, it was this one, Blade of Tyshalle. I was looking forward to it, but it's all but impossible to get in paper form unless you want to pay out the nose. And 10 months is surprisingly a good time for a book I bought to finally make it to my "currently reading" pile.

Because I had such a long wait time between this book and the first in the Acts of Caine, Heroes Die, I had lots of time to read rev
Where the hell can I begin? I'd like to say I'm speechless and drowning in a god-river of awe, but the fact is, I could write twenty-odd pages or more just to expound how much I love this book, and by natural extension of story, Heroes Die.

They're both of one piece, but what really blows my mind is the fact that it's not only as good as the first, but it absolutely refuses to back down and aims for something much, much greater. I'm very afraid that I can't come even remotely close to doing a rev
Apr 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
Two things to say about this:

1) I loved reading a character that was incapable of doing many of the things you expect a character in a fantasy book to do.

2) WTF? I feel like Stover was trying to be a little too clever. The villain, if you can call it a villain, is almost impossible to conceptualize. I found myself constantly rereading passages and being no clearer on what happened than I was the first time through. The fun that the first Caine novel had is almost completely gone.
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Sep 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013

Tyshalle Deathgod is also called the Limiter, and the Divider. Tyshalle himself is the energy of change; he is the outer darkness beyond the edges of organized reality. That's why he's the God of Death: death is the primary change. The big one. Change is, itself, the structure of experience. Think about it: The absence of change is stasis - which is also the absence of experience. Experience is reality. That's what reality is to us; no more, no less. Reality is change. That's all it is. The Bla
Oct 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

3.5 stars
If like me you read Heroes Die and were expecting the same amount of bad assery from Blade of Tyshalle you'd be somewhat disappointed. It's not like the book is terrible but it's so vastly different from what you'd expect after reading the first Act of Caine book.

Although Blade of Tyshalle does have the signature bad ass action sequences that i've come to associate with the series, this book is more philosophical than the first one. You find characters searching for meaning for their ac

Twerking To Beethoven
Huge disappointment. Caine has an extremely short screen-time, roughly 30% of the 800+ pages are actual "acts of Caine", the rest - I'm sorry to report - is over-bloated rambling. Also, Berne is sadly missing hence "Blade of Tyshalle" lacks a real sumbitch.

Damn shame, considering Heroes Die is 24 carat badassery, and the concept of "Overworld" is amazing.

So, at the end of the day, "Chapter 0" was really promising, it's an account of how Caine came to be, and probably the best part of the book.
Sep 05, 2015 rated it did not like it
Really a waste of my time, should have stopped reading this book far earlier, but could not take it more after 75% of book and finally took the decision to stop reading it.

I think stover has done a big mistake of including metaphysics with story in this book because clearly he has done a mess of it in this book. I really enjoyed the first book which was full of action from the word go, but this book has people doing disgusting things to each other for the heck of it and metaphysics filler rest o
Aug 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012, e-books
5 Stars

“AND EACH HAD his own role to play: the crooked knight defended the part-time goddess; the part-time goddess served the land; the acolytes of dust and ashes fed their master’s hunger.
The dark angel made war.
He answered the call of the crooked knight; he used the part-time goddess to work his will; he named the god of dust and ashes his enemy.”

Blade of Tyshalle is one freaking awesome dark fantasy read that continues the story of the hero Caine/Hari, that some may deem the baddest ass good
Mike (the Paladin)
Jun 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is one of a few books I've finished lately that I find a bit hard to rate and even hard to describe. First this book has significant flaws that weren't present (or at least weren't as present) in the first volume of this "series" Heroes Die. So...I'm going to say some slightly negative things about the book AND I'm going to be giving some significant warnings about it. Still please note that I have settled on a 4 star rating. Some books do transcend an "I like it" or "I don't like it" revie ...more
Chris McGrath
This one was a huge disappointment. I loved Heroes Die, but this was nothing like that book. I found it to be confusing and boring for all but the first few flashback chapters (which were actually really good). The whole book seems to be promoting some weird philosophy about humanity that I just can't even remotely get behind, it's just too out there, even for a fantasy novel.

Plenty of people love and recommend this book, but I just didn't get it. A shame, too, because I'd bought the whole serie
Kitvaria Sarene
This starts of with Harry's youth, so if you're waiting for the sequel to start off where Acts of Caine stopped, you'll be in for a surprise. It does continue the story later, so fine be afraid to be kept hanging.

It was even grimmer than the last, and some scenes really had me flinch. There's a scene for example where a woman is raped and her breast eaten at the same time for scale of how bloody this can get. So it's really another step up, and if you want to avoid such violence, this might not
Troy G
Dec 01, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This book has been described as better than its prequel "Heroes Die". It may be. But since I read "Heroes Die" first, it felt like much of this book was a retread. The pace of "Heroes Die" was so fast that it didn't leave me room to stop and question plot points, or inconsistencies in the world. With "The Blade of Tyshalle" because I was more familiar with the world I started questioning things.

I appreciate that the focus character isn't a pure hero, but Stover here tried to have it both ways wi
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't believe I can properly describe this series other than to say: read it. This book was far more philosophical than the first but still retained all the things that made the first so great. Hari/Caine is definitely up there for my favourite characters.

I know there are parts of this story that likely went over my head and will need to be reread at some point to fully comprehend it, and I look forward to the day that I do.

To anyone who enjoys grim dark or darker SFF I highly recommend it as
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Believe it or not, this book has actually helped me in my job as a mentor to teens in a mental health facility. I use the quotes "keep your head down and inch towards daylight" and "we are the sum of our scars" at least once a week to show how determination and hard work can help achieve goals, and that you never "get over" bad things that shape you as a person.

For an actual book review, here's this: I love the concept of a world we routinely invade for entertainment. I love the dark gritty vio
Jul 08, 2016 rated it did not like it
All of the weakest facets of Heroes Die expanded and magnified. Wallowing in the putrid isn't really that interesting or clever. And goodness did a ton of metaphysical blabbering need to be axed by an editor. Thumbs down.
Terri Jones
Jun 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was recently reminded that I hadn't read past book 1 in this series (it utterly blew my mind), and I was delighted to find book 2 in my library's ebook system.

Well, now I'm going to DNF at 14%, because a) there's no way I'll finish reading even half of it before I'd have to check it out again, and b) I can't imagine continuing as it is. There is so little action. I get excited at the bits of hints of things to come, but they are (apparently) so far off that I just don't care enough to keep sl
Dec 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I started "Blade of Tyshalle" with the knowledge that not everyone likes this book as much as "Heroes Die". I always thought those people must be wrong and Blade would be just as awesome as "Heroes Die". That one had great writing, amazing characters (Caine!!!), a very intruiging world, a good story throwing you from one action sequence into the next, a lot of blood and gore and a great ending on top of all this. It would be difficult for Blade to match all that, but more of the same would still ...more
Feb 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, fantasy
I really loved the first book, but this one is much weaker - it gets a 3 star rating instead of 2 star, just because I liked Caine and Kris Hanson. It starts out well, but then it just spirals down into the ridiculous and unbelievable. The last 40% of the book is especially bad. It's mostly filled with metaphysical and philosophical nonsense, and you will have no idea what is going on half the time. Everyone is living inside someone else's body. Everyone is literally crawling around in shit and ...more
Roger Eschbacher
Feb 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The second book of Matthew Stover's "Caine" series, "Blade of Tyshalle" is equally as entertaining and well-written as "Heroes Die". This time around Hari must deal with an even more potent array of foes, both old and new, who have conspired to completely, and I do mean COMPLETELY ruin his life and those of the ones he loves. Their collective goal is to break Caine and make him suffer to the point of despair before killing him. If they were dealing with an ordinary man they might be justified in ...more
I enjoyed the Hari/Caine parts of the story, also the parts involving the man elf Deliann. BUT there is a hell of a lot of esoteric bullshit in this 738 page book which required some extensive skimming (perhaps I'm just shallow?) As Caine would say: '..yadda, yadda, yadda, horseshit.'

"What if it's Hari Michaelson who is the fictional character? What if the middle-aged paraplegic is just a role that Caine plays, so he can get along on Earth?"
Mar 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book was just as good as the first in the series. It is brutal, engaging, and one of the most exciting speculative fiction reads of all time. I didn't give it a 5/5 rating because sometimes it had a little too much violence for my tastes, but I will definitely be reading the third book in the series when I get the time.
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mix of Audio + Book

Note - It's totally possible to read the first two books of the Acts of Caine and be happy. The main story arc that started in the first book is wrapped up well in this one.


Woot! This book confirms it. I added another author to my favorite list. Despite the parts that are rough and bits that are not that plausible, I loved this book. Part of the story is rather abstract and there's a lot of philosophical tangents that jump around, fly and scream like hyper two yea
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Stover’s kickass Caine character, who we first heard about in Heroes Die, returns in this thriller- and boy am I happy he does! To explain the scope of Stover’s encompassing science fantasy worldbuilding would take too long here, so a quick recap:
- On Earth, Caine is really Hari Michaelson, an Actor- turned- Administrator who made his acting career on Overworld, an alternate Earth-type world;
- Other Actors, like Caine, have gone to Overworld in secret, seeking adventure and using a kind of virtu
3.5 stars

This book alternated between being absolutely amazing and boring me to the point where I wanted to stop reading. I loved Heroes Die, but the sequel definitely has a different flavor to it. While there are many excellent Caine moments, the pacing is much slower and there is a lot more in the way of philosophical ramblings and symbolic vignettes.

What I liked:
1. I absolutely LOVED the first section of the book, which is a prequel of Hari when he is first training to be an actor. It really
Feb 13, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi
The book opens with a bit of a prequel about Hari's time at the Actor's training academy. Then we catch up with his more recent life, working as the San Fransisco studio head after the events of Heroes Die. When one of his actors is kidnapped, Hari is shown the disastrous consequences of a plot to control Overworld's resources. When he insists on taking action, the forces that oppose him set him on a path back to Overworld and his alter-ego, Caine.

This is a more ambitious story than that of the
May 20, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Unrelentingly dark and dismal for the vast majority of its story, this is an ugly, violent book that revels in its depictions of gore, pain, and rape - physical, mental, spiritual, and metaphorical. It intersperses its vortex of suffering with cryptic philosophical musing and characters wallowing in self pity and regret.

For the first 5-10% of the book, it's actually a pretty good tale of the Conservatory days of Hari Michaelson and Kris Hanson, offering an interesting glimpse into Actor training
Sandra Grauschopf
May 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
As a follow-up to the absolutely outstanding "Heroes Die", I found "Blade of Tyshalle" to be disappointing. In attempting to be about huge issues like the clashes of gods, it lost its human element, and thus, much of its interest. It's a worthwhile read, but a big step down from "Heroes Die."
Feb 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Hari finds himself in a comfortable failure. His life after his last adventure doesn't seem to have given him much happiness. And even though he "got the girl" and saved the world and was promoted to Administrator, his life isn't peachy and a happily ever after. On the contrary, it's pretty crappy the way he still fights with Shanna, the falling worth of the Studio under his administration, and especially his useless legs that makes him incapable of even being remotely similar to Caine - and he ...more
Apr 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I have ever read. Considerably more ambitious than the first one, this book successfully raises everything to a whole new level.

At the beginning we find Hari Michaelson as a well-off administrator who is trying to cope with his disability resulting from his spine being severed by the sword Kosall at the hand of his arch enemy Berne. Some seven years after the events in the first book, Hari lives with his wife Shanna and her daughter Faith, who share the connection w
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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

Other books in the series

The Acts of Caine (4 books)
  • Heroes Die (The Acts of Caine, #1)
  • Caine Black Knife (The Acts of Caine, #3)
  • Caine's Law (The Acts of Caine, #4)

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