Read Heroes Die by Matthew Woodring Stover Free Online
Book Title: Heroes Die|
The author of the book: Matthew Woodring Stover
Edition: Audible Frontiers
The size of the: 382 KB
City - Country: No data
Date of issue: January 17th 2012
ISBN 13: 9781568658315
Format files: PDF
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Reader ratings: 7.5
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Okay, let me get the following BOLD STATEMENT out of the way. If I absolutely HAD to choose my single favorite BADASS “action” protagonist of all time HARI MICHELSON (AKA CAINE) would get the nod.
Now I have read many books with main characters who “went to 11” on the 10 level kick-ass meter
so picking a favorite or comparing one to the other is very hard to do. However, overall, taking all aspects of nut stomping, bone-breaking, dialogue-delivering (very important), head-splitting, “you done fucked with wrong person today” awesomeness, CAINE would get the win. He is the quintessential KICKASSER!!!
******** BRIEF INTERLUDE FOR CLARIFICATION********
I need to pause for a moment in my homage to Caine to make the following point clear. While Hari Michelson/Caine WOULD certainly be high up on my list of all time favorite literary characters, his spot at the top if this list is based only on the vastness of “badass” that he possesses. Thus favorite characters of mine like Locke Lamora (aka The Gentlemen Bastard), Tyrion Lannister and Glotka (from Abercrombie’s First Law trilogy), as awesome as they are wouldn’t get out of the first round in the T.A.C. (Tournament of Badass Champions.)
********END BRIEF INTERLUDE********
Anyway, just for comparison's sake (and so you know I have thought this through) here are a few of my favorite characters that Caine was reluctantly required to bitch-slap on his way to the title of HIS ROYAL BADNESS AND MOST MAIN MAN:
1. Roland Deschain……and I cry your pardon, Gunslinger.
2. John Clark aka Mr. Clark (Tom Clancy novels)
3. Lancelot (Fionavar Tapestry by Kay)……maybe the heroest hero of them all.
4. Helikoan (aka Aeneas from Gemmell’s Troy series)
5. Parker (Richard Stark novels)
6. Takeshi Kovacs (Richard Morgan novels)
7. Emile Khadaji (“The Man Who Never Missed”)
9. Druss the Legend
...WAIT...HOLD UP...Holy literary faux pas Batman...I almost forgot...
11. Logan "Ninefingers" (from Abercrombie's First Law Trilogy)....sorry Bloody Nine
***All of you guys are awesome, but unfortunately somebody had to win***
So let me tell you a little about Hari Michelson and the world of Heroes Die. The book itself is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE novels. This is always the FIRST book I recommend when someone is looking for a “fun, kickass action orientated” science fiction or fantasy book. For what it is, I think it is almost a PERFECT novel, namely a high-octane, fast paced, brutally violent story with an original science fiction/fantasy back-story and….. well, you already know how I feel about the main character.
Earth of the future is controlled by mega corporations that have developed into a rigid occupation-based caste system. Society is now separated into 7 corporate-based castes that include: Leisurefolk (top of the food chain, think “idle rich”),
Investors, Businessmen,Administrators, Professionals(e.g., white collar workers with degrees like doctors, lawyers and accountants); Artisans; Laborers(e.g., unskilled labor pool). In addition, there is a quasi- 8th group known as “Workers” who are prisoners, dissidents and other unfortunates who have been “lobotomized” and turned into something similar to a cybernetic zombie.
The social and political aspects of the society in the novel are very interesting but barely explored. I would love to read an entire book focusing only on this aspect of the society. In Heroes Die, we only get enticing bits and pieces but they are fascinating.
In this world of “scare resources” with the “haves” having to keep control of the “have nots” the ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY is king and queen. You see, on Earth, people no longer “watch” TV or movies. Instead technology allows audiences to literally share the experiences of “actors” as they participate in “Adventures” on a planet called Overworld…..
[BRIEF PAUSE FOR DESCRIPTION OF ACTORS AND OVERWORLD]
Overworld is Earth in a parallel universe (the “how” is explained in the book so just accept it for now). Overworld is your standard sword and sorcery fantasy realm in which magic works, humans live side by side (though not peaceably) with all manner of fantasy creatures and the technology is a cross between quasi-medieval and quasi industrial.
Actors = Fantasy special forces commandos. Actors are not the Hollywood stars of today. They are men and women who have first spent years of training learning how to be either a magic adept or a fighter and then years more in Overworld learning how to speak the language and practice their skills before being accepted as Actors ready to go on “Adventures.” Basically, this is you basic fantasy fan boys dream come true. I would also mention here that the training is very expensive and so “would be” Actors need “patrons” from the higher castes to pay for it in the hopes of making money on their later Adventures.
[END BRIEF PAUSE]
So when their years of training is complete, Actors will be transported to Overworld (known by the locals as Ankhana) and assigned real life “roles” to play in the events of Ankhana. The more dangerous and more life threatening, the more entertaining and the more profitable. Thus these actors get involved in political disputes, gang wars, military campaigns and often die as a result. But hey…..THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT.
You see, by plugging into a special chair and donning a special helmet, an audience member can literally become the Actor and shares the Adventure as if they were there themselves (though without the whole fear of death thing). You hear what they hear, smell what they smell and even taste what the taste. The chairs also provide life support and nutrition for the audience member so they can stay plugged in for days at a time. This sort of “first hand” Adventure is very expensive and usually only the Leisurefolk and Investor Class can afford it. For everyone else, there are “replays” and are more real than virtual reality but not quite the same as the more expensive version.
So with ALL of that background...it’s time to meet Hari Michelson (aka Caine).
Hari Michelson is the most famous Actor on Earth. I won’t give you all of his background because it is fun to learn about it for yourself, but he was born into the Labor class and was “discovered” by a Businessman who became his patron. He was trained and became a member an Actor (a member of the Professional caste). His alter-ego, is the assassin Caine (aka the Blade of Tyshalle) and his legendary Adventures on Overworld are the most popular in history.
Despite being less than 6’ tall and weighing considerably less than 200 pounds, he is WITHOUT QUESTION, the most feared individual on Overworld. His skill in hand-to-hand and weapons is unmatched and his ruthless, berserk style is the stuff of legends…literally. During his “career” he has killed hundreds of people, single handedly toppled governments and been the focal point for several of the most pivotal events in Overworld history. He is the one guy in the room with whom you DO NOT MESS.....sorry but I warned you about the gushing character man-love at the beginning of the review.
Well Hari on Earth is much like Caine on Overworld in so far as his attitude goes. He rubs the higher ups the wrong way with his insubordination and lack of bootlicking and would have long ago been busted for "caste violation" except his MASSIVE POPULARITY and (hence) MASSIVE PROFITABILITY.
So how about the actual plot itself you ask? Well it is involved but oh so tasty. You see Caine’s estranged wife (and fellow Actor) has disappeared while on Overworld. Caine, being the no-nonsense fuck anybody who hurts my loved one kinda guy wants to go start killing people until someone tells him where she is. BUT the powers have other plans.
Caine’s wife’s “ratings” aren’t what they once were and so they will only allow Caine to go to Overworld and attempt a rescue IF he agrees to first assassinate the newly installed “Emperor” of Overworld who has recently assumed power. Earth is very worried about the new Emperor because he appears to have the power to bring peace to Overworld. This would be very bad for business. Bloodshed, war and strife make for entertaining and profitable adventures….a stable, peaceful Ankhana would be a disaster.
So Caine finds himself embroiled in political machinations both on Earth and Overworld with enemies all around him including a sadistic, brutal villain named Berne who has been granted vast powers by the new “god like” Emperor. Yes, the odds are very much stacked against Caine. JUST THE WAY HE LIKES IT.
As Caine works his way through the many obstacles in his path he must decide what he is truly fighting for and what he is truly prepared to do to protect those he holds dear. The answer is of course is….CAINE WILL DO WHATEVER IT TAKES AND GOD HELP YOU IF YOU STAND IN HIS WAY…NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE!!!
Hopefully, I have given you at least a sense of how much fun this novel is. I know I can not completely do it justice but I would certainly strongly recommend you give it a try. ONE FINAL WORD OF WARNING: the book is quite graphic and brutal (maybe a bit less so by today’s standards but still worthy of comment). The language is very coarse, the violence almost never lets up there is some significant gore. It is gritty, violent and morally-vague. However, it is also, IMHO as good as this kind of story gets. CAINE is the supreme warrior, fighting with no rules to protect the woman he loves and bring blood-splattering vengeance to those who put her in harms way.
I thought I would end with a few quotes from the book (quoted in another online review) so you can at least get a sense of the writing style employed by Stover:
When one of the characters is contrasting Berne to Caine, she describes them as follows:
Berne had a feral quality, a wildness of lust and dangerous unpredictability that went with the loose and relaxed jointless way he walked and held himself; he was potently, almost fiercely, alive at all times. Caine, too, had a quality of relaxation, but there was nothing loose about it; instead it was stillness, a meditative readiness that seemed to flow out from him and fill the room with capacity for action, as though all around him ghosts of imaginary Caines performed every movement that was possible within the space: every attack, every defense, every leap or flip or roll.
A short while later when Caine learns that Berne is in the area:
Kierendal's growing insouciance vanished like smoke before a gale; the black and lethal fury that flooded Caine's face when he spoke that name terrified her more than had his earlier threats. It was as though all of those ghost-Caines that had filled the imaginary air suddenly turned and whipped faster than thought back within his body, to make him so ferociously present that he seemed to burn with a scarlet flame.
And a final example of the kind of violent action that takes place in the story:
I jam the knife into his eye. Bone crackles and blood sprays. I use the knife to twist his face away from me: a bloodstain on this livery could be fatal, on my way out. He flops like a salmon that's found unexpected land beneath an upstream leap. This is only his body's last unconscious attempt to live; it goes hand-in-hand with the release of his bowels and bladder. He shits and pisses all over himself and his satin-weave sheets -- another one of those primordial reflexes, a futile dodge to make his meat unappetizing to the predator.
HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!!!
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Read information about the authorMatthew 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'. Stover's work often emphasises moral ambiguity, psychological verisimilitude and bursts of intense violence.
Stover is deeply interested in various forms of martial arts, having trained in the Degerberg Blend, a concept that utilises the thought behind Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do as its foundation.
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