Heroes Die

Matthew Woodring Stover, Author
Matthew Woodring Stover, Author Del Rey Books $12.95 (563p) ISBN 978-0-345-42104-3
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
Mass Market Paperbound - 560 pages - 978-0-345-42145-6
Open Ebook - 470 pages - 978-0-345-51640-4
Open Ebook - 374 pages - 978-1-299-06011-1
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After two fantasy novels (Iron Dawn; Jericho Moon), Stover combines fantasy and SF in this vigorous adventure story. Our world has developed a hyper-rigid, occupation-based caste system in which the reading of freedom-based philosophy, from John Locke to Robert A. Heinlein, is punished. For entertainment, people participate vicariously in recorded Adventures from the Overworld, an other-dimensional realm of sword and sorcery with its own repressive government. On Earth, Hari Michaelson is the most popular Actor in Adventures; in Ankhana, with its rich palaces and criminal slums, he is known as Caine, the Blade of Tyshalle, famous assassin and warrior. Tired of killing, Hari agrees to return to the Overworld, driven to save his estranged wife, Pallas Ril--Actor and sorceress, unable to return to Earth due to a powerful spell--and ordered by the Studio to kill the tyrant Ma'elKoth. Stover's writing throughout is unoriginal but vivid, and his story is well plotted (though relentlessly violent), with numerous noteworthy secondary characters, from Hari's father to Kierendal, the non-human manager of a vice-den in the Overworld's Alien Town. Hari begins as a stereotyped cold-blooded killer but develops credibly, gaining a sense of moral responsibility and realizing that his true enemies are not on the Overworld but within the Studio that directs his life for its profits. Stover's fans and those who like their fantasy/SF tinged red should enjoy this energetic tale. Author tour. (Aug.)
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