Two worlds. One killer.
Renowned throughout the land of Ankhana, the assassin Caine has killed his share of monarchs and commoners, villains and heroes. He is relentless, unstoppable, the best at what he does.
At home in the real world, Caine is Hari Michaelson, a superstar whose adventures in Ankhana command an audience of billions. Yet he's 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.
But now Michaelson has crossed the line. His estranged wife has 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.
Welcome to the world of Caine: Assassin. Hero. Superstar . . .
From a New York Times bestselling author comes the start of a gritty action fantasy series like no other - perfect for fans of Joe Abercrombie, Brent Weeks, Mark Lawrence and the Assassin's Creed novels.
'A gritty, bloody, deeply touching work of genius' - Scott Lynch
'Hands down one of the most bad-ass, brutal - and brilliant - fantasy series of the last double-decade. You know this if you're already reading it. If you're not already reading it, then good lord, it's time you found out - John Scalzi
'If you like really really gritty, dark fantasy like George RR Martin, Richard Morgan (Takashi Kovaks books) or ESPECIALLY Joe Abercrombie, you should get this book' - Felicia Day
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.