Chthon was Piers Anthony's first published novel in 1967, written over the course of seven years. He started it when he was in the US Army, so it has a long prison sequence that is reminiscent of that experience, being dark and grim. It features Aton Five, a space man who commits the crime of falling in love with the dangerous, alluring Minionette and is therefore condemned to death in the subterranean prison of Chthon.
The narrator was superb and the author took me all the way through the galaxy it makes me wonder if the author was from space himself.
Phthor is the sequel to Chthon, less intricately structured and less complicated in plot, but still quite dark and ugly in theme and detail. Rather than flashbacks and flash-forwards, it has a Y outline, with the stem the initial story and the ends alternate futures, neither of which is acceptable to Aton's son Arlo. Arlo has his own encounter with a Minionette, and naturally, destruction is upon him and all with whom he associates.
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