Anthony’s first novel, and the result of many years efforts, Chthon is a fantasy classic and nominated for many awards back in 1967. It has aged well, that is its science hasn’t gone jarringly out of date as so many science fiction tales do.
That said, the complex structure which attracted him and other readers left me cold. Talk about in medias res. The story starts in the middle and goes backward, then forward, then back. Whiplash. He called it a double helix, obviously referring to DNA, but to me it was just a big mess. The story would have lost little if told in order. Yeah, the Great Experts loved it. So?
Anthony borrowed elements of Greek mythology as his springboard. Chthon is dark and literary. It’s not half bad, but not as much fun as his long-running Xanth series.