SOME LAWS YOU BREAK. SOME BREAK YOU.
AND THEN THERE'S CAINE'S LAW.
From the moment Caine first appeared in the pages of Heroes Die, two things were clear. First, that Matthew Stover was one of the most gifted fantasy writers of his generation. And second, that Caine was a hero whose peers go by such names as Conan and Elric. Like them, Caine was something new: a civilized man who embraced savagery, an actor whose life was a lie, a force of destruction so potent that even gods thought twice about crossing him. Now Stover brings back his greatest creation for his most stunning performance yet.
Caine is washed up and hung out to dry, a crippled husk kept isolated and restrained by the studio that exploited him. Now they have dragged him back for one last deal. But Caine has other plans. Those plans take him back to Overworld, the alternate reality where gods are real and magic is the ultimate weapon. There, in a violent odyssey through time and space, Caine will face the demons of his past, find true love, and just possibly destroy the universe.
Hey, it's a crappy job, but somebody's got to do it.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
April 03, 2012
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Caine's Law by MATTHEW STOVER
one thin slice of forever
BELOVED OF GOD
BELOVED OF GOD
"The gods exist beyond the reach of time. When wedraw Their Eyes, They brush us with Their Power."
-angvasse, lady khlaylock, 463rd champion of khryl
And in this My Dream, Beloved, you know Me.
Through your eyes I watch your blunt and broken handsscrabble upon the marble stair: spiders maimed and bleeding on frosted glass.The blood in your beard and hair carries a hint of the peat from the incendiarybrew spewed from the ragged gape of your late friend Tyrkilld's throat when youtook his head. As you creep up through the mouth of encircling stairwell, outupon the final spiral span that leads upward to the Purificapex of the EternalVaunt of the Knights of Khryl, I wish again-as I always have and alwayswill-that I might make you look to the side here. You don't, you never have andnever will. Still, in My dream, you cast wide your gaze over the limitlessslaughter that is the work of Our Hand, and find it to be good.
The icy lash of sleet on your bare back. The reek ofburning hair twisting up from the fires in Hell. Sawing of broken ribs in andout of your punctured lung. The blaze of the mines, the smoke and haze from theburning city, the storm of battle among the estates. Screams in the distance.Thousands in agony and terror. Tens of thousands to follow. Then millions.Perhaps billions, but We will never know; they will scream long after We havevanished into eternal nothing. After you take Us there, My demon of blessedgrace.
My angel of the damned.
I dream this dream though I do not sleep. I have dreamedthis dream though I have no past, and will dream this dream though I have nofuture. This I dream forever.
I dream that you truly knew the bargain you offered. Idream you were willing, even happy, to pay the price of My Love. That youjoyously offered up all you do as well as all done to you. As a gift. A weddingpresent.
All this is to be savored. It is well that We will shareeternity.
When the stone stair gives way to the vast cap ofplatinum, when you find the summit of the Eternal Vaunt to be icebound underhalf a span of freeze, when another man would be defeated by unclimbable ice,by a punctured lung, a broken hand, and a compound fracture of the leg . . .you reach down for your last dagger-the one you had used to secure thetourniquet above your knee-and with your one half-working arm you chiphandholds to pull yourself up.
And so, here at the end of days, you are as you havealways been. Willing to die. Not willing to quit.
And this is the death for which you were chosen, Beloved.From this place you cannot flee, and there is no life for you beyond OurConsummation; not even I can save you now, should I somehow decide your lifeoutweighs My death.
No, Beloved. Never. I have waited a thousand years forthis-and each second of these My thousand years outlasts the age of theuniverse. Here it ends. Here you give your life to take Mine. Our own privatesuicide pact.
My infinite millennium forever ends with Our lovers' leap.
I feel the lick of flame along your nerves, and I feelthe shreds of discipline that no longer entirely lock this pain outside yourconsciousness. I feel the numb burn of frostbite settling into the toes on yourgood leg, and the fingers of your broken hand. I feel the seductive chill ofthe ice you climb, how it cools the fire in your nerves, and I feel youroverpowering lust to let go, to lie flat and sleep, to fall forever . . .
But you won't. You never do. You never have, and thus younever will.
And now you struggle to the platinum altar and try torise, to go out on your feet. The effort gathers darkness in your eyes and yousag back down, helpless. Hopeless.
Defeated at last.
With your final exertion of will, you reach up to thehilt of the Accurs�d Blade and ignite its power within the altar. With thetouch of your hand, the Accurs�d Blade becomes again the Sword of Man, and nowthe first spastic twitch of your tattered arm will slash the Sword free fromits platinum grave, to bring the Eternal Vaunt itself crashing into ruin thatdestroys My Body as well as your own-to make of yourself and Me an ending thatcannot be unmade.
It is for this I have created you, Beloved. To set mefree.
It is for this I Called you here to Me with dreams of BlackKnives and murder. It is for this I created the Smoke Hunt and unleashed itshunger upon the innocent.
It is for this I brought you down from the cross.
With your hand on the Sword, the moment stretches evercloser to the infinite, an agonizing extension of eternity. Have you alwayswaited so long to do what you were born for? Has it ever been thus . . . or . .. ?
Is this-against all possibility, against the weight ofReality itself-somehow new?
And here then, now, for the first time forever, you coughyour throat clear of the blood from your punctured lung. Scarlet sprays acrossyour useless legs. You gasp against the ripping within your chest, and now,impossibly-
"I know . . . what You are . . . fucker." Yourvoice is rusted barbwire, yanked up your throat one word at a time. "WhoYou are. You . . . hear me . . . fucker? You understand? I know."
You know Me-? O Beloved, is this yet merely My Dream . .. ?
It must be. You don't say this. You don't say anything.You never have, and thus you never will.
"Dunno . . . if You understand.