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, driven by an unquenchable desire for the very thing that has caused their demise.
I was instantly drawn to the character Quillion as he battles foes with both his sword and an intellect that is equally as sharp and dangerous. He lives by a code that is many times at odds with those he is supposed to obey, as well as the rule of law in the land. And yet he continues forward, undaunted, searching for enlightenment in a dark age. While not a slave in the traditional sense, Quillion, like many others in his time lives under the thumb of a tyrannical ruling class that suppresses their ability to think and act freely.
Kikkan is intriguing in his own right as he comes to recognize and then embrace the strength that he possesses and his right to be free. His actions are driven by pure instinct, without the intercession of educated thought or an imposed morality. Kikkan simply acts based upon his own experiences and what he feels driven to do.
The Reader of Acheron held my attention from beginning to end, and had a pace that flowed well. Walter Rhein has created not only an extremely entertaining story, but also a brilliant treatise on oppressive government, the true nature of slavery and the unlimited power of the human mind. I truly enjoyed this book and am eager for the next book in the Erafor series.