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Heroes Die

The First of the Acts of Caine
Written by: Matthew Stover
Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki
Length: 22 hrs and 28 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (17 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Nominee, Fantasy, 2013

Renowned throughout the land of Ankhana as the Blade of Tyshalle, Caine has killed his share of monarchs and commoners, villains and heroes. He is relentless, unstoppable, simply the best there is at what he does.

At home on Earth, Caine is Hari Michaelson, a superstar whose adventures in Ankhana command an audience of billions. Yet he is shackled by a rigid caste society, bound to ignore the grim fact that he kills men on a far-off world for the entertainment of his own planet - and bound to keep his rage in check.

But now Michaelson has crossed the line. His estranged wife, Pallas Rill, has mysteriously disappeared in the slums of Ankhana. To save her, he must confront the greatest challenge of his life: a lethal game of cat and mouse with the most treacherous rulers of two worlds.

©1998 Matthew Woodring Stover (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What the critics say

"Stover's fans and those who like their fantasy/SF tinged red should enjoy this energetic tale." ( Publishers Weekly)
" 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)
"Stefan Rudnicki performs with the skill of a master swordsman as he slices through the action scenes. His gravelly tone is perfect for the story as he portrays Caine's controlled wrath and tightly leashed passion." ( AudioFile)

What members say

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

great

quite an excellently written fiction. There is a line at the end that I think is absolutely brilliant and I love. brilliant!

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

I’m surprise anyone would like or recommend this.


This appears to be an attempt at a simple minded juvenile ass-kicking adventure story reminiscent of a 4th rare Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but the writing is so terrible and the plot so weak and far fetched that no amount of effort could help suspend my disbelief. I found the narrator pretty damn awful too. Pre-teen boys might like it?

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Douglas E. Noll
  • 2012-02-04

Finally, an epic worthy of Stefan Rudnicki

Ever since the Prince Roger series, I have wondered why Stefan Rudnicki could not be engaged to read another great story. Finally, I think this is one. The story itself is immensely clever and innovative. Stover creatively weaves two worlds and multiple plots together with skill. His prose is excellent, and I particularly admired his ability to place me in the scene with his descriptions and metaphors. The story has twists and turns, with plots, sub-plots, and intrigue layered on intrigue. We get to know Hari Michaelson/Caine very well. If there is a weakness, it's that the other character development suffers a little. Rudnicki is a brilliant reader and wrings everything out the story that there is to be squeezed out. This one is a keeper that I will listen too again. Thanks Mr. Rudnicki and Mr. Stover for a job well done.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Paul
  • 2012-08-13

Don't Let the Cover Turn You Off

I'll be honest, I am swayed a bit by cover art and nearly didn't read this book because I find the cover art cliche, contrived, etc. Based on the other good reviews I went ahead, and I'm glad I did! The development of this world/environment is second to none, bordering on genius. There is really nothing that couldn't be done with the mix of worlds and technology. It has all the fantasy standards, but that's only because the sci-fi setting allows you to dive into that world at will. Rarely have I read a book that succeeds so well at blending sci-fi and fantasy.

So, "awesome environment", check. Now, how about the characters and storyline? I've also never seen such a wide variety of characters in one book (and I've been reading books for a little while now). I won't elaborate here to spoil it, but there is one character (who gets narrated with a very deep voice) that never ceased to amaze and surprise me. Actually, most of the characters were multi-dimensional, gods be praised :)

The storyline has plenty of twists and intrigue without being obtuse. As with all good books nobody is ever who they appear to be a first glance, but that is true in life isn't it? The storyline is probably the weakest part of the whole package, but it is supported so well by everything else that it still works very well.

I've never listened to this narrator before, and each new narrator always takes an hour or so to "get to know". I've never heard a voice with so much timber as Stefan Rudnicki's and found it difficult at first, but it matches very well with most of the characters. One of the characters absolutely required his voice and I actually felt the warm vibrations of this character's voice coming through my speaker!

If you like Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson, Joe Ambercrombie, Brent Weeks, and Robert Jordann, (and who doesn't) you will like Matthew Stover.

24 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • K
  • SAINT PETER, MN, United States
  • 2014-04-22

Takes a while to understand but worth it

Okay, first you have to ignore the cover on the book. Not sure if the author lost a bet or something but it's best to just push play.

It took me FOREVER to understand what was happening in this story. Several times I thought there was no way this was the first book in the series because I couldn't grasp any context. Once I accepted it I just moved on and the story got better. It does keep you guessing and the characters are great. I'll give the next one a shot and see what happens.

Enjoyed the narration as well. Not sure if I've listened to Rudnicki before but he really helped make the difference at the beginning when I was trying to decide if I should keep going.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Daniel
  • grand rapids, MI, United States
  • 2012-02-14

Amazing...

If you could sum up Heroes Die in three words, what would they be?

Perfection, Mind-Blowing

What did you like best about this story?

What's not to like? This series and this book is just fantastic, Stover builds a world unlike any other then throws you head first into hell and takes you on a journey you can't even begin to imagine at the beginning. This series, especially the second book Blade of Tyshalle, is frankly a masterpiece. He manages to make everything feel real by having real characters and a story that makes you feel every hit, every blade and every piece of magic.

Have you listened to any of Stefan Rudnicki’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes, he does a great job every time.

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

I have had to many reactions to this book, from pain for the characters, sadness at death and joy for Caines success. This book will grab you and demand you attention.

Any additional comments?

Buy it.... NOW.... DO IT!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Winford
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 2012-04-23

One of the best series ever.

Equal parts Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, Robert Jordan, and Geroge R.R. Martin, this is one of the best series of books I've ever listened to. Stephan Rudniki was masterful.

These books have it all. Powerfully written and narrated action sequences, deep philosophical questions, poetic prose, heroes, villains, you name it.

I highly recommend them as credit worthy. I could not stop listnening.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Robert
  • Westerville, OH, United States
  • 2012-04-06

Rather slow but then....

What did you love best about Heroes Die?

The characterization picked up, and made me not want the book to end.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Heroes Die?

His wife riding the waves of the river.

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

There a mixture of the humorous and at times the profane. I found myself relating to the characters.

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

At times I was grossed out by the imagery, and and times I laughed (almost wrecking the car).

Any additional comments?

I'm looking forward to finishing the series. But I feel for the virgin goats.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Greg
  • RICHMOND, KY, United States
  • 2012-03-26

Kick the Series off right!

Would you listen to Heroes Die again? Why?

Yes, this is one of my favorite novels, but I have less time to read these days.

What other book might you compare Heroes Die to and why?

Nothing really compares to HD. Stover's writing style is unequalled

What about Stefan Rudnicki’s performance did you like?

Rudnicki brought this story to life.

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

I did have an extreme reaction. At times I just felt so involved in the story that I forgot where I was.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • JPaladin
  • 2014-01-26

Enjoyable, but not outstanding.

Although it was an interesting idea for a setting, at first I couldn't quite get into the genre mixing, as the SciFi story/element wasn't catching my interest. But a few chapters it hooked me. When I was done with the book I was satisfied by the story, but I'm waffling on going on to the sequel.

What I liked:
The characters were written well enough to make you care about them.
Story was fairly fast paced and kept you entertained.
The conflict in both worlds was engaging and interesting.

What I disliked:
The "fantasy" side of the story was violent, but not truly dark or gritty.
There wasn't much development of the mythology or magical system.
Some of the dialog was nearing childish and caused me to loose my suspension of disbelief.

I'd put this in my "pass the time" category. Not sure if I'm going on the sequel yet.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Giri
  • columbus, usa
  • 2015-08-05

I got to be caine

sometimes you kinda live the story. doesn't happen with most books. but this one leaves u spellbind and thinking you are caine.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joe Chad
  • Ohio
  • 2015-07-20

An Impressive Start to a unique Series

I have seen many glowing reviews of this novel and I decided I had to give it a try. I was blown away by the action scenes, plot, setting, and pretty much everything else about this book. Caine is perhaps one of my favorite characters I have ever read about. The book is not short, in fact it could be called long, but there isn't a slow moment in it. All of Stover's characters are well developed and either easy to like or hate. My favorite part of the novel is the action, whitch is detailed, believable, and not jam packed full of magic. It is quite simply knock down, drag out, brutal war. This is why I will say that this novel is not for the faint of heart, along with the action there is plenty of bad language, and nun of the characters are really nice people. The word that best describes the cast is hard, they all have problems and faults, and they won't shy away from a scrap. To complete this review the narrator fits the story perfectly. It is true that he is a bit hard to get use to, but once you do, his voice is what I would imagine Caine's would be. I highly recommend people get this book, it not only is a great story, but it bridges the gap between fantasy and science fiction in a way I have never found before.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful