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Heroes Die Mass Market Paperback – May 29, 1999
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Kirkus Reviews
Top Customer Reviews
"Heroes Die" follows anti-hero Hari Michelson, an Actor (the capital is warranted; this is not the acting we know) in an unpleasant, caste-bound future whose job is, basically, to kill people in another reality for the entertainment of the rich Leisure caste on Earth. On Overworld -- a gritty medieval fantasy setting -- Hari is Caine, a legendary assassin and warrior; his excessively bloody adventures have made him immensely popular back on Earth. As the book opens, he is estranged from his wife Shanna, an Actor who plays magician Pallas Ril. On Overworld, she poses as Simon Jester (a nod to Heinlein), champion of the lower classes. However, she has vanished from the studio's tracking systems and will soon fall back to Earth, fatally and uncontrollably.
Hari is sent to Overworld to rescue his wife, depose the suspiciously godlike emperor of Ankhana, and revive the studio's fortunes. The story includes betrayals, mysteries, megalomaniacs, daring escapes and rescues, gods, magic, gobs of violence, and a climactic final confrontation. "Heroes Die" works beautifully as a straight adventure, but also contains much more. The characters are well-developed (though the villains are occasionally a bit two-dimensional) which gives weight and meaning to their ordeals and changes. And the entire adventure is colored by the ethics of the studio system and the political situations in both worlds.
But the story is not flawless. Stover dangles some portentious hints and ideas that unfortunately never amount to much.Read more ›
I don't want to give the wrong impression. This isn't a mindless killing book. The main character, Caine, is motivated in his quest to save his estranged wife. Through the course of the novel we see Caine grow into a mature and rational man. I recommend this novel to all fantasy readers.
This is both a brutal and brilliant novel. You really shouldn't like Hari/Caine. He's not a nice man by most accounts. He swears all the time (lots of the "f" word in this book), he'll kill you as soon as look at you and is outstandingly ruthless. Despite all this, he is a compelling and complex character and this novel easily pulls you from chapter to chapter.
Both the overworld and earth society have been given a great deal of thought in this novel, and both are equally richly detailed to provide a combination of Sci-Fi and fantasy in the one book. I hadn't expected this book to be so well written, based on the blurb on the back, and while I'm disgusted by some of the things Caine does, its also fascinating, a bit like watching a natural disaster on TV - and in effect that is what Caine is to the overworld as he keeps earth mesmerised as he navigates both the politics of home and the brutality of everyday life in the overworld.
As has been noted elsewhere, Caine is an Actor who actually lives his role, a resident of some human future in which, creatively recontextualizing and extending earlier ideas contained in works such as "The Running Man" or the film "Rollerball," and topically reflected in the current popularity of so-called "reality" television such as "Survivor," residents live out fantasy adventures on the parallel and magically endowed world of Ankhana vicariously through virtual reality adventures of a star-system transported to a largely medieval realm.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Hot action, great settings, relevant dissection of the religion of entertainment. God I love this book! Read morePublished 14 days ago by del dejean
Interesting characters, good development, gets better in the next book.There is a little gore, a little non-explicit sex, a little language, just enough to add spice. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I read the first half of this story slowly, while reading other things. I read the second half with utter devotion.
Words. Read more
Excellent plot and character development. This is an excellent standalone novel that bleeds into a very strong trilogy.Published 3 months ago by Rob
Interesting mashup of a dystopian sci-fi world and an epic fantasy world. From the start, it's very bloody and full of visceral violence. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Owen Oliver
Anytime I've heard this book mentioned, it's always been people saying it was great- and so it was. When I started, I didn't realize this was a sci-fi/fantasy mashup - set in the... Read morePublished 5 months ago by BellaGrace
"Science fiction at it's best. Blown away by the multi-dimensional setting. I'm not a big fan of science fiction but Heroes Die had my attention from the beginning to... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Daniel L. Welch