• Blade of Tyshalle

  • The Second of the Acts of Caine
  • By: Matthew Stover
  • Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki
  • Length: 31 hrs and 48 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (689 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 who are killing everything he loves. Enemies old and new array themselves against him. And Hari is just one man - alone, half-crippled, powerless. They say he doesn't have a chance. They are wrong.

©2001 Matthew Woodring Stover (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

" Day of the Jackal meets Lord of the Rings.... A marvelous conspiracy thriller of worlds within worlds, where no one is necessarily who or what they seem." (Simon R. Green)

What listeners say about Blade of Tyshalle

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Why the bad reviews?

Would you listen to Blade of Tyshalle again? Why?

Yes, and I have many times already. This is a fantastic book, it evolves the characters unlike anything you could expect and lets them develop as you read. It gives you every emotion, from happiness to sadness and back again.

I find it baffling that people reviewing this book haven't even FINISHED it, how can you truly review a book if you haven't read the whole thing? Makes no sense.

This book evolves so much that the end is imperative to the reader. Yes this book can have some rough spots throughout, but having read it 10+ times I cannot think of a point that isn't important TO THE SERIES not just this book. This is book 2 of 4 and SO many things from this book are so important in both book 3 and 4 that don't seem important at all to this book it is astonishing.

If all 4 books were one book these complaints people are making wouldn't even exist because it would be fluid, but that is not how series work.

Read the whole thing before you try to judge.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Blade of Tyshalle?

When Caine learns is in the dungeon.

What does Stefan Rudnicki bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

By far the best reader I have heard

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, beyond a doubt.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Things got really...rapey :-/

Story screeched to a halt from book 1 and spent a lot of time plodding through weird hypothetical metaphysics. Also, the majority of the pseudo metaphysical stuff becomes the basis for a lot of philosophy; not sure if anyone knows this, but using made up gods and made up religious ideology as source material for real world philosophy rarely holds water (sorry Palas...).
Anyway, all the blah, blah, characters thinking about wind, plants, rain, pain, pain, more pain, blah, blah, wasn’t as bad as the creep vibe I got from this one. Dismemberment, rape, sexual mutilation, child torture—no joke *shudder*—it was way too much, turned my stomach. I finished the book and really wish I hadn’t, it wasn’t worth the black spot it left on my soul. If I ever met Matthew Stover in real life I would calmly pick my kids up in my arms and walk the other way, fast.
2 stars because the narration is good and Caine is entertaining.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Stop at Heroes Dies/But Listen to Others by Stefan

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I really enjoyed Stefan Rudnicki's narration and will look for other audiobooks he has narrated but I did not like the story and would not recommend the book.

The extreme violence, overly complicated plot, and metaphysical randomness took away from the story.

What do you think your next listen will be?

I'm listening to Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan and am enjoying it so far!

Which scene was your favorite?

I really enjoyed the beginning of the book that was a flashback showing how Hari Michaelson and Kris Hansen became friends at school. I thought it was setting the book up for a great sequel but, unfortunately for me, I thought the book went downhill fast after this flashback section.

Was Blade of Tyshalle worth the listening time?

No. It was a disappointing story and was extremely long, at about 32/33 hours of listening time.

Any additional comments?

Stop at Heroes Die. This was a difficult review to write. I usually am pretty lenient in rating books that I read. If a book keeps my interest, I typically give it a 4 star rating. However, with the Blade of Tyshalle I was really disappointed to the point that i thought I should review the book to pass on my feelings.

I really enjoy Hari Michaelson/Caine as a character and absolutely loved Heroes Die but the extreme violence, overly complicated plot, convenient warps of of the universe/magic, and metaphysical randomness with Pallas Ril and Ma'elKoth put me off.

I've read plenty of other gritty, dark fantasy and sci-fi books and know that violence is a part of the genre but Stover goes to extremes to make the violence as gruesome as possible. I listen to audiobooks frequently and found myself gritting my teeth and repulsed on my way to work. Reading through other people's reviews after I finished the book, I have to agree with another user's review. I'm paraphrasing but she said something along the lines of 'why keep reading a book that puts you in such a dark place?' It's one thing if it's part of the story and adds meaning but Stover adds violence just because it's Caine and he needs to be violent and gory (i.e. cannibalistic rape).

I didn't immediately read Blade of Thysalle after Heroes Die but I had a hard time following what was going on in Blade of Thysalle. I think that it was mostly due to the metaphysical aspects of the book. The 'battle of the gods' was interesting and added to the story in Heroes Die with the fight between Pallas Ril and Ma'elKoth but it got too trippy for me in the Blade of Thysalle. I didn't really understand what was happening and was honestly extremely bored with that aspect of the story. As I mentioned, I listen to audiobooks and always found myself daydreaming and having to rewind and relisten to these metaphysical sections.

Also, towards the end of the book I felt like the 'gods can do whatever they want' aspect was too much as well. I understand gods should have extreme amounts of power but I think there still needs to be rules that apply to the universe. If any of the characters can do literally anything they want (within physics, dimensions, etc.) their actions lose any meaning in my point of view. If all of the sudden a character can defy the laws of physics and kill a villain or enemy at whim, then what's the point? Why doesn't the hero of the story just warp physics at the beginning and do whatever the hell he wants and not waste my time?

I really did enjoy Heroes Die a lot and was really looking forward to this sequel which made it that much more disappointing when the book didn't live up to my expectations.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Masterpiece from a masterful author

Would you consider the audio edition of Blade of Tyshalle to be better than the print version?

I was first introduced to Matthew Stover over ten years ago, by reading his Star Wars novels. I decided that I'd take a leap and read his Acts of Caine, and they have all rocked my world.

He is hard hitting, intelligent, violent and profane. Caine is one of the best characters ever created, and i am interested in everything he does.

Rudnicki has delivered another rock solid performance, but Stover's writing would shine through the worst delivery. Its just awesome.

What other book might you compare Blade of Tyshalle to and why?

There is no comparison.

Which character – as performed by Stefan Rudnicki – was your favorite?

Caine

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, its too long

Any additional comments?

Stover rocks.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Caine rocks!

rudnicki is epic in his narration, Stover has a great story, Caine is a deep character and axtion is amazing!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Barely made it through the first one.

Would you try another book from Matthew Stover and/or Stefan Rudnicki?

Perhaps

What could Matthew Stover have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Half the length.

How could the performance have been better?

Narrator was lovely, always is. Just a poor choice on my behalf.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Blade of Tyshalle?

About half the "character insights". And most of the whining.

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Depressing, disappointing sequel

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I loved loved loved Heroes Die, but I couldn't stomach this book. It was unrelentingly depressing and brutal. If he had only lightened it up a little bit and left out the unnecessary scenes of torture, that do nothing to further the story. I particularly hated the cannibalism and the sexual arousal of every evil doer at the time of committing acts of violence.

Would you ever listen to anything by Matthew Stover again?

Probably. He is a great writer and story teller, but I would like to put some Prozac in his corn flakes and have him rewrite this book

Which scene was your favorite?

I couldn't get through it. the only good part was that he finally got rid of Pallas Ril, my least favorite character. I finally quit when I realized that I had to force myself to turn it on.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Mostly disgust and depression

Any additional comments?

i understand about spinal cord injury, but nowhere in this book (at least as far as I got) was there a point where Caine/Hari comes to terms with his disability and moves past it.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Unfulfilled Potential

I gave a pretty glowing review of the first book, some of which was based on the really clever plot mechanisms and where I could see the series going in the future. I certainly did not expect it to go where this book went. To be honest, I thought it just went... weird. I'm all about sci-fi and fantasy, which is all about weird, but it almost felt like the author was going out of his way to twist things in an unexpected direction. Normally, I love that in a book and really respect an author that can fool me (which was done to a perfect degree in the first book), but in this book, it felt like it was a twist for twist's sake.

The first book set up a wondrous potential future and the second book felt like the final book in a long series where the author is trying to wrap up all the loose ends. The first part of the book is actually better than the second part. Although I didn't love this book, nor the second part in particular, it has some dialog and personal insights that are pure genius. I've certainly read much worse books, and maybe I am being harsh because of the awesome potential I saw in the first one.

Yes, I will listen to the next book because Matthew Stover is really good and I really want it to be better. I also see that he is releasing a comic book series called OverWorld, I'll also need to check that out :)

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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The first book was good...

This book is 33 chapters of slow buildup to well just Meh. The journey should have been the whole thing but honestly this was just dreary the whole way and then the end came with something that I figured out at chapter 4.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Really wanted to like this

This book really ruined what could have been a killer (no pun intended) series. Instead, the author separated from the winning combination of whit and grit that made the first book so good and decided to give us a soap opera of dialog and drama with very little action or adventure. Rarely do I stop listening to a book halfway through but the only thing that even kept me listening that long was the hype that carried over from the first book. This time he completely missed the mark (for this reader at least). Disappointing.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr. M. Edwards
  • 01-16-13

The evil of humanity.

How do you follow up a book like Heroes Die?

If you are Matthew Stover, you set the philosophy to 11, the action (at least for the first 3/4 of the book) to 2, and throw out the sequel rulebook.

I've made this an especially difficult review for myself, as I don't want to spoil a single thing about what takes place in either of the books as I tend to read reviews for later books in a series to see if they are worth investing in. So, the quick review is: very very good, get them both.

Long review:
To begin with, I'll say that the first 4/5s of Blade of Tyshalle is a very different beast to Heroes Die. It has a cloying, suffocating atmosphere that builds palpably as you progress through the book. You are never sure what is going to happen and how actions will pan out (which is one of the main themes of the book - the butterfly effect). As such, it can be very overpowering, especially with the many unpleasant things that happen to people trying to do the right thing.
Then you get to the last fifth of the book which escalates things dramatically - action set pieces and emotional turmoil are thrown around with gusto, all the while building to a conclusion that neatly dots the 'i's and cross the 't's.
To me, the thing that stands out most is Hari's character arc, especially the way he comes to terms with who he is and what has happened to him - it is astonishingly powerful stuff. Also note that threads from the first book are picked up and either expanded upon (i.e. black shell) or explained (the Social police and caste system).
This is a superb book that expands on the first in every way, subverting what you expect and what you want. Highly recommended.
As a side note I noticed that there was a lot of material in this book that seemed to resonate with the 2nd and 3rd Matrix films, which is fine, except for the fact that the Blade of Tyshalle book was published 2 years before The Matrix Reloaded movie!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ooshga
  • 06-22-15

Routing for the anti-hero has never been so fun.

Where does Blade of Tyshalle rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Its easily in my top 20. I'd like to put it higher, but I have a pretty exclusive list. I still highly recommend this book and it deserves more praise then it gets.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Blade of Tyshalle?

When Hari stopped trying to be Hari and just became Caine.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It has a lot of powerful moments in it that really make you think, it can get very psychological at times, but this doesn't take anything away, oh no, it adds to it as Matthew Stover really puts his and Caine's mindset in to perspective.
I would never call Blade of Tyshalle a tear jerker, but it had many humorous part in it that got me chuckling.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-02-14

Caine Rocks!

As a follow up novel, some authors flag in terms of the pace and lack of development of the story, this is not that kind of book. The pace is similar to the first book, the development of the main characters continue, whilst adding more insight into their stories. I loved this book as no matter how bad things got, I could still root for Caine to overcome the situation. I am still in love with this series.

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