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535 pages, Mass Market Paperback
First published August 1, 1998
“Does it matter? When you tell a story loud enough and long enough, a story that plays right into people’s worst fears of betrayal, it grows its own truth.”
”The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Thus all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
“It’s a piece of violent entertainment that is a meditation on violent entertainment—as a concept in itself, and as a cultural obsession. It’s a love story: romantic love, paternal love, repressed homoerotic love, love of money, of power, of country, love betrayed and love employed as both carrot and stick. It’s a book about all different kinds of heroes, and all the different ways they die. It’s a pop-top can of Grade-A one-hundred percent pure whip-ass.”—Matthew Woodring Stover
”Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”
“You’ve already beaten the worst enemy you’ll ever have—that voice in your head . . . It tells you the fight’s already over . . . whispers there’s nothing you can do . . . If you beat that voice, it’s a victory that can’t be taken from you. You might die, but you’ll die fighting.”
“Opposites attract, but similarities bind.”
“My father would say: freedom that can be taken away was never real in the first place, and maybe he’s right. Maybe that freedom was always only a figment of my imagination—but it was an illusion I cherished. Shattering an illusion is the insult we never forgive.”
“God, I’m old. That’s all I can think for long seconds, all I can feel, every god damned day of my life piled onto my back. You have to be young to take shit like this. You have to still be young and adaptable, and full of optimism. You have to still believe in happy endings, to believe that suffering has a point, that death is not a meaningless extinguishing of consciousness. You have to be young enough to still hope that shit happens for a reason.”
“I am invincible. I am the Blade of Tyshalle. I am Caine.”
Berne had a feral quality, a wildness of lust and dangerous unpredictability that went with the loose and relaxed jointless way he walked and held himself; he was potently, almost fiercely, alive at all times. Caine, too, had a quality of relaxation, but there was nothing loose about it; instead it was stillness, a meditative readiness that seemed to flow out from him and fill the room with capacity for action, as though all around him ghosts of imaginary Caines performed every movement that was possible within the space: every attack, every defense, every leap or flip or roll.
Kierendal's growing insouciance vanished like smoke before a gale; the black and lethal fury that flooded Caine's face when he spoke that name terrified her more than had his earlier threats. It was as though all of those ghost-Caines that had filled the imaginary air suddenly turned and whipped faster than thought back within his body, to make him so ferociously present that he seemed to burn with a scarlet flame.
I jam the knife into his eye. Bone crackles and blood sprays. I use the knife to twist his face away from me: a bloodstain on this livery could be fatal, on my way out. He flops like a salmon that's found unexpected land beneath an upstream leap. This is only his body's last unconscious attempt to live; it goes hand-in-hand with the release of his bowels and bladder. He shits and pisses all over himself and his satin-weave sheets -- another one of those primordial reflexes, a futile dodge to make his meat unappetizing to the predator.
First off, cheers to Thomas Stacey for the recommendation.. This book is definitely going in as one of my absolute faves for 2017.
"I have lived every day of my life only to bring myself here to this moment and it has been worth every moment"