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The Reader of Acheron

(Slaves of Erafor #1)

4.60  ·  Rating details ·  100 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Book One of the Slaves of Erafor series: Reading is forbidden, and the penalty for non-compliance is a life of slavery enabled by the forcible administration of a mind rotting drug. Yet, there are those possessed of the will to seek illumination. Kikkan, a former slave on the run, and Quillion, a mercenary and self-taught scholar. Together they seek out a small band of reb ...more
Paperback, 412 pages
Published January 6th 2014 by Perseid Press
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4.60  · 
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 ·  100 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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A.L. Butcher
This is a very complex dystopian fantasy, which is a good deal more than it seems. It is a story of self-discovery, the search for freedom and what that means, and a picture of an ignorant and dark society in which reading and self-improvement are forbidden. The characters are intriguing, especially Kikkan, an escaped slave, who is trying to survive in a world he knows nothing about. Freedom is terrifying and yet glorious and, unlike most slaves who are drugged into docility, his mind is sharp a ...more
Joe Bonadonna
Jul 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
“Beneath the rule of tyrants, monsters may become heroes.”

Walter Rhein gives us something different in the way of heroic fantasy – a story set in a future world where it is forbidden to learn how to read, forbidden to teach people to read. In the hierarchy of Erafor, reading and writing has been outlawed for decades, though basic iconography is allowed for the sake of keeping records. The mysterious and powerful Seneschals are charged with eliminating all texts and “readers” in this brave new w
J.P. Wilder
Dec 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Dystopia without the baggage—that is what I call this excellent book—Or how about just excellent fantasy.

There is so much Dystopian Fiction out there these days that one can hardly swing a disembodied zombie arm without hitting another book about our broken future. But, so many of them feel like regurgitations of the tried and true, the same-old-same-old. Because of that, I rarely break open a dystopian story.

But, that is the beauty of this book—I didn’t know it was a dystopian fantasy when I o
Travis Ludvigson
Jan 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A rousing tale!

A freed slave on a journey of self discovery, a philosophical sell sword, and a lethal enforcer all travel throughout a land where only the strongest and most cunning survive. The Reader of Acheron is a post- apocalyptic tale in which reading and knowledge have been outlawed and the populace undergoes mass indoctrination to ensure their unquestioning obedience. Drug addled slaves toil for their masters until they are no longer of use and are cast aside to become desperate killers,
S.E. Lindberg
Mar 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed-by-se
Walter Rhein’s The Reader of Acheron is 'A Reader-Haunted World' (yes, that is a call-out to Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.)

Rhein begins with a bunch of characters struggling to survive in a futuristic earth in which reading is prohibited. Three key individuals emerge as tour guides. Two are the sword-swinging duo of Quillion and Cole who are reminiscent of Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser (famous Sword and Sorcery adventurers which share brawn an
Kyra Halland
(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)

The Reader of Acheron is set in a dystopian future where books and reading are outlawed, and the masses are enslaved, their minds dulled with the drug Bliss. However, a few books survive, in hidden stashes in abandoned homes, and the desire for knowledge can never be outlawed. A soldier, Quillion, and his sidekick Cole, are seeking after a fabled teacher, while an escaped slave, Kikkan, falls in with a group of elderly wander
Tamara! aka AmyG.Dala
Feb 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gifted, books-owned
First, my sincere thanks to Walter Rhein who so generously sent me a copy of this delightful work of his. As my true love is the printed page, this is now on my favorite reads bookcase.

I was hooked from the moment I opened the package when it arrived in the mail, having first judged by the cover, with "Beneath the rule of tyrants, monsters may become heroes." on the back and the use of Prometheus Being Chained rather grand and fitting. Then I opened the book and found a dystopian future where r
Jan 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Walter Rhein asked me to review this novel, the first in the Slaves of Erafor series. I found it interesting, thought provoking, and a well-spun yarn; that combination is not easy to create.

Erafor is a world that has quickly degenerated from exploring the stars to neo-feudalism, slavery, mind control, ignorance, and maybe dictatorial oligarchy. But the human spirit survives in some individuals. They realize that something is wrong. This story tells their search for information and understanding
Jesse Duckworth
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I picked up The Reader of Acheron by Walter Rhein because I very much enjoyed Seed of Vyldur and The Bone Sword (two of his earlier exploits). I have to say…not only does this book have a stunning cover provided by Perseid Publishing, this is his best work to date!

By the time I reached page fifty, I was hooked! Kikkan, bootlicker and slave, had meager beginnings but emerged as my favorite character. His journey and internal struggle are very compelling and made me want to read through the other
Tom Barczak
Jan 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
From an inspired beginning, Walter Rhein weaves an edged tale that will sweep you away, challenge what you believe, and perhaps even make you reconsider some of those things you take for granted.

Through the eyes of not one, but several very human heroes, he brings you along the path of each of them, through an uncomfortably familiar dystopian future, where knowledge isn’t so much power as freedom is.

His gift of weaving disparate themes into a cohesive whole means that when they finally do come t
R.A. McCandless
Feb 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Walter Rhein’s “The Reader of Acheron (The Slaves of Erafor)” is an excellent introduction into a post-apocalyptic/dystopian fantasy work of intriguing characters and page-turning plot.

Rhein reveals his world through the perspective of two main characters, who are both more alike than they know. Kikkan is a slave, who has known nothing but a slave’s life. In Rhein’s world, slaves are fed an addictive, mind-numbing drug called Bliss. Kikkan, however, has been kept off the drug because while it ma
Lori Myers
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I consider myself lucky to have stumbled on this book. When I read it just struck a chord deep inside me. As soon as I started reading (which seemed rather odd, reading about a place where reading is a death sentence) I was pulled in to this rather twisted society. What it boiled down to for me was the HAVES vs. the HAVE NOTS....The HAVES...they are the upper echelon of society, the privileged....the HAVE NOTS..they are the slaves, the people that have to put up with the B.S. that the Haves dish ...more
Papi Z.
Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: zombies
The beginning of The Slaves of Erafor series, and a tremendous opening salvo from Walter Rhein. I have had the pleasure of reviewing several of Walter’s previous works, and this one does not disappoint. His growth as a writer is readily apparent from the first books through this one. This one is hard to do without spoilers. Anyhow, my review.

Characters. Deeply developed, emotionally, physically, mentally, all the way around. No throw away characters and each one has a place and a reason for bein
Jessica Mitchell
Freedom is great if you have it and the money to afford it. Slavery is what you get when you don't have anything at all. Kikkan is a slave bought and paid for. Who has been working his whole life so far. His master never wanted him weak or on drugs and feed he good. His mistake was letting him think.... Without the bliss to make his mind obey completely he escapes and goes to the open road to try and hide besides eating when he can. Meeting people nice or in some cases greedy. Will he survive th ...more
Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A dystopian fantasy that explores an unsettling future in which knowledge is withheld, reading is banned and slaves are drugged to keep them docile and subservient. It is an unpleasant world, and yet Humanism shines through--in both Kikkan the slave who experiences an awakening and in Quillion, a soldier who has his secrets. It is a pleasure to watch their stories unfold and I look forward to seeing what happens next.
Gordon Long
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is Dystopian Action Fantasy with a thread of philosophy running through it. Not enough to slow the action down, just enough to give the plot deeper meaning and intensify the conflict.

The characters are interesting, but not exceptionally so. Quillion, the soldier-philosopher, is likeable but not lovable. The freed slave, Kikkan, is the most interesting of the bunch, but due to his stunted intellectual development, does not particularly appeal to the reader. The rest are the standard group of
Mar 05, 2014 rated it liked it
It took me about a hundred pages to really get "drawn into" this story. Usually, I might have stopped reading, but I had received the book in exchange for an honest review, and I wanted to uphold my end of the bargain. I am glad that I did, as the second half of the book is far more intriguing and interesting than the first half.

The story has two separate story lines and sets of characters that do not seem likely to intersect at first. I think that may have been part of my struggle at the beginn
Stuart Aken
May 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Walter Rhein’s The Reader of Acheron, is book one of the Slaves of Erafor series, a fantasy set on a future Earth at a time when reading is prohibited. The eponymous Reader is, necessarily, a figure of mystery living under threat of torture and death.

There is a prologue to the tale, which I’m not certain is essential and which may even stop some readers from moving into the tale itself. I have to tell you that it’s definitely worth getting past this short barrier. The real story, couched in lang
Danielle Urban
Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Reader of Acheron by Walter Rhein is by far the most intriguing novel of its kind. Here, readers are introduced to a world where reading is forbidden. Many of us would die of shock hearing these world from our own government if one day this were to happen. Just reading the first sentence brings readers minds into a swirl of possibiites oh why, how, and who would make reading forbidden...I was definitely intrigued with that statement.

Inside this novel, readers will meet military men and men
Amanda Masters
Amazing book!Walter Rhein is such a brilliant author and I was so intrigued by this book! the characters and the story were so creative that I couldn't put it down for a second. The story was real and gripping from beginning to end and his ideas on how reading could be a crime punished by death were both shocking and horrific. I don't ever think I would be able to live in a world were reading wasn't allowed. I would definitely be one who would fight for the right for people to read everywhere. S ...more
Judith Chambers
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
While it felt odd to be reading of a world where reading is outlawed and most of the population illiterate, I haven't yet seen or read of a similar book. While at first i got a little bit confused and had to go back and reread a passage or two (but that may be me and my way of reading) I was quickly captivated by the world his words painted. I was quickly on the side of the former slave, Kikkan. I was also quietly rooting for Quillion, the mercenary who taught himself to read and who somewhat re ...more
Alvaro J.R. Meroni
Aug 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
To read is forbidden. So nobody knows even a letter. The roads are dangerous. Mercenaries armed with swords round them.
Slavery is the common currency. But are not Middle Ages. Memories of an ancient world remind that someday things were different.
Known objects presented as something new, completely unknown. Past or Future? Known or Unknown?
That's the captivating ambiguity which author uses to show us an oppressive system where the salvation appears to be in those who transgress the law...
Jun 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From the moment I started reading the first word of The Reader Acheron, by author Walter Rhein, I knew I'd enjoy it, and I wasn't let down by thinking that. Intelligently written, with interesting, likeable characters and a unique plot, this books worth the five stars I'm rating it, and look forward to more from this author.
Lisset Matos
Mar 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great, thought provoking fantasy novel. More people need to learn about this book!
Rodney Dodig
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Reader of Acheron, a review

From the first chapter that draws you into the story, to second chapter with an OMG I didn’t see that coming, and all the way through to the end; the author, Walter Rhein, takes you on an incredible journey. You travel through a world that has regressed from a highly civilized society to something akin to the dark ages.

The journey is experienced primarily through the eyes of Kilkan, an escaped slave and Quillion, a soldier for hire. The description of this dystopian so
N.N. Light
Imagine a world where reading is prohibited and anyone caught reading or in possession of books is sentenced to a life of slavery, forced to take a controlling substance which pretty much turns slaves into zombies. It’s my worst nightmare and unfortunately, this future is closer than we think.

Kikkan is a slave when we first meet him. His owner treats him well and doesn’t force him to take the zombie drugs. But Kikkan is still someone’s property and in a moment of rebellion, he forces his own fre
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When I first picked up the reader of Acheron I wasn't sure what to expect instead the first few pages hooked me instantly. Walter has created this unique world of slaves and Readers. I really like the characters of Quillion, Cole and especially Kikkan. This was a quick read and I'm very interested to see what the next installment will hold for our characters.
Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All age groups
Recommended to Dee by: Author
The Reader of Acheron by Walter Rhein Review 2/7/17 ARC copy from Author

To READ or to not to READ? That is the question????

Book One of the Slaves of Erafor series: Reading is forbidden, and the penalty for non-compliance is a life of slavery enabled by the forcible administration of a mind rotting drug. Yet, there are those possessed of the will to seek illumination. Kikkan, a former slave on the run, and Quillion, a mercenary and self-taught scholar. Together they seek out a small band of rebel
Píaras Cíonnaoíth
May 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This novel blew me away! This absorbing and attention-grabbing work had me riveted from the beginning. The story flows from scene to scene effortlessly, and the author shows exceptional ability when it comes to storytelling.

As much as this genre can be predictable, I found this tale of intrigue to be refreshingly imaginative. There are twists and turns in this page turner that will take the reader on a gripping journey. Also, the writing style is uncomplicated which makes for an enjoyable read.
roxy reads123
May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
this book was amazing, it's about slaves and them trying to seek freedom. you follow two salves called Cole and quillion who go through everything together and then there is a separate slave who we follow called kikkan. in the end there story's emerge as one.
I love how easy this book was to read as the pace and writing flowed so nicely.
I got through this book fast as there was so many suprised and it kept me hooked all the way though and left me wanting more, I can't wait for the next book xxx
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Walter Rhein was born in northern Wisconsin. After earning a degree in English literature, he began traveling and teaching English in various parts of the world. He currently splits his time between South America and Wisconsin and may be contacted at: Be sure to check out his blog at

Other books in the series

Slaves of Erafor (2 books)
  • The Literate Thief (Slaves of Erafor Series Book 2)