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.
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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.