Blade of Tyshalle

Blade of Tyshalle

infobox Book |
name = Blade of Tyshalle
orig title =
translator =

image_caption =
author = Matthew Stover
cover_artist =
country = United States
language = English
series =
genre = Fantasy, Science fiction novel
publisher = Del Rey Books (USA)
release_date = 3 April 2001 (USA)
media_type = Print (Paperback)
pages = 736 pp (US paperback edition)
isbn = ISBN 978-0-345-42144-9 (US paperback edition), ISBN 978-0-345-42143-2 (US mass market paperback edition)
preceded_by = Heroes Die
followed_by = Caine Black Knife (forthcoming)

"Blade of Tyshalle" is a science-fiction/fantasy novel by Matthew Stover and sequel to "Heroes Die" set seven years after the events of its predecessor. It is the second and most recent book in the ongoing "Acts of Caine" novel cycle. Like "Heroes Die" it focuses on Hari Michaelson and his struggles on Earth and Overworld. Despite sharing many characters and settings, "Blade of Tyshalle" is very different from "Heroes Die" in terms of size, plot structure, and themes and was conceived of separately, though it does refer heavily to events from the previous novel.

Plot summary

Seven years after the events of "Heroes Die", Hari Michaelson (also known as Caine) is a puppet executive on the Studio he used to work for. He is now paraplegic and lives with his wife Shanna and her daughter Faith. He uncovers a plot by Earth's executives to inflict Overworld with a plague of HRVP (an especially virulent form of rabies) that would clear the way for colonization of Earth's crowded population into the new world and an exploitation of its resources. In addition to Michaelson the story also details a number of other characters, including Hari's academy friend Kris Hansen, the former Overworld god Tan'elKoth (the former Ma'elKoth now exiled to Earth) and Raithe, a young Monastic adept obsessed with killing Caine.

Themes & Symbolism

"Blade of Tyshalle" focuses on different themes from its predecessor, specifically using its protagonists to address different issue. The four main ones identified by the author also share several key similarities; all possess at least two different names that represent different parts of their identity, and all undergo a physical and/or metaphorical process of death and resurrection during the course of the novel. Also, the passages at the beginning of each chapter tie each character to a specific mythic icon and characters can be identified as follows:

*Caine: The Dark Angel
*Hari Michaelson: The Crooked Knight
*Raithe/Caineslayer: The Dark Angel's Spawn
*Tan'elKoth/Ma'elKoth: The Man Who Had Been a God
*Shanna Leighton/Pallas Ril: The Part-Time Goddess
*Faith Michaelson: The Child of the River
*Kierendal: The Mad Queen
*Avery Shanks: The Dragoness

Specifically, issues that are addressed include those of identity (such as the Hari/Caine and Kris/Deliann dichotomies), the ability to control the events of one's world (as Tan'elKoth attempts), the philosophy of the dialectic (as seen in Raithe's obsession with Caine), the chaos theory of causality, and perhaps most notably, the idea of the "Blind God" and its effects on communal and individual will. Similar to Terry Goodkind, Stover departs from typical fantasy by including highly visible discussions of philosophy and morality.

The Blind God

The Blind God, in Blade of Tyshalle is described as a conscious, deliberately anthropomorphic metaphor for the threatening facet of human nature.

It is just one among the many themes which Matthew Stover not only gives descriptive names, but also draws upon in his bestselling book.

In his book Stover describes the Blind God in the following passage:

cquote|Clearly, the "Blind God" is a conscious, deliberately anthropomorphic metaphor for the most threatening facet of human nature: our self-destroying lust to "use", to conquer, to enslave every tiniest bit of existence and turn it to our own profit, amplified and synergized by our herd-animal instinct--our perverse greed for tribal homogeneity.

It is a good metaphor a, a powerful metaphor, one that for me makes a certain sense not only of Overworld's history, but of Earth's. It provides a potent symbolic context for the industrial wasteland of modern Europe, for the foul air and toxic deserts that are North America: they are table scraps left behind after the blind God has fed.

Structured by the organizing metaprinciple of the "Blind God", the Manifest Destiny madness of humanity makes a kind of sense--it has a certain inevitability, instead of being the pointless, inexplicable waste it has always appeared.


The "Blind God" is not a personal god, not a god like Yahweh or Zeus, stomping out the grapes of wrath, hurling thunderbolts at the infidel. The Blind God is a force: like hunger, like ambition.

It is a mindless groping toward the slightest increase in comfort. It is "the greatest good for the greatest number", when the only number that counts if the number of human beings living right now. I think of the Blind God as a tropism, an autonomic response that turns humanity toward destructive expansion the way a plant's leaves turn toward the sun.

"It is the shared will of the human race".

You can see it everywhere. On the one hand it creates empires, dams rivers, builds cities--on the other, it clear-cuts forests, sets fires, poisons wetlands. It gives us vandalism: the quintessentially human joy of "breaking things".Some will say that this is only human nature. [cite book | last = Stover | first = M | authorlink = Matthew Stover | title = Blade of Tyshalle | publisher = Del Rey Books | year = 2001 pg. 259. ]


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