Eleven thousand years ago, a god was born. Cursed into the body of a human, Acheron spent a lifetime of shame. But the strongest steel is forged from the fires of hell…
Acheron's human death unleashed an unspeakable horror that almost destroyed the earth. Then, brought back against his will, he became the sole defender of mankind. Only it was never that simple. For centuries, Acheron has fought for our survival and hidden a past he'll do anything to keep concealed. Until a lone woman who refuses to be intimidated by him threatens his very existence. Now his survivaland ourshinges on hers, and old enemies reawaken and unite to kill them both. War has never been more deadly...or more fun.
About the Author
In the past two years, New York Times bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon has claimed the #1 spot twelve times, and since 2004, she has placed more than 50 novels on the New York Times list. This extraordinary bestseller continues to top every genre she writes. With more than 23 million copies of her books in print in over 30 countries, her current series include: The Dark-Hunters, The League, Lords of Avalon, BAD Agency, Chronicles of Nick and Nevermore. A preeminent voice in paranormal fiction, Kenyon helped pioneer and define the current paranormal trend that has captivated the world. She lives with her husband, three sons, a menagerie of animals and a collection of swords.
Read an Excerpt
May 9, 9548 BC
"Kill that baby!"
Archon's angry decree rang in Apollymi's ears as she flew through the marbled halls of Katoteros. There was a fierce wind blowing down the hallway, plastering her black gown against her pregnant body and whipping her white blond hair out in spiraling tendrils. Four of her demons ran behind her, protecting her from the other gods who were more than eager to carry out Archon's orders. She and her Charonte demons had already blasted half of her pantheon back. And she was ready to kill the rest.
They would not take her child!
Betrayal burned deep inside her heart. Since the moment of their union, she'd been true to her husband. Even when she'd learned Archon had been faithless to her, she'd still loved him and welcomed his bastards into her home.
Now he wanted the life of her unborn child.
How could he do this? For centuries she'd been trying to conceive Archon's son—it was all she'd ever wanted.
A babe of her own.
Now due to the prophecy of three small girls—Archon's jealous bastards, her child was to be sacrificed and killed. Because of what? Words those little brats had whispered?
This was her baby. Hers! And she would kill every Atlantean god in existence to keep him.
"Basi!" She shouted for her niece.
Basi flashed into the hallway before her and staggered until she braced herself against the wall. As the goddess of excess, she was seldom sober—which fit Apollymi's plan perfectly.
Basi hiccupped and giggled. "Did you need me, Auntie? By the way, why is everyone so upset? Did I miss something important?"
Apollymi grabbed her by the wrist and then teleported them out of Katoteros where the Atlantean gods made their home down to the hell realm of Kalosis where her brother ruled.
She'd been born here in this dank, forbidden place. This was the only realm that truly scared Archon. Even with all his power, he knew the dark was where Apollymi reigned supreme. Here, with her powers fortified, she could destroy him.
As the goddess of death, destruction and war, Apollymi kept a room in her brother's opulent ebony palace to remind her of her station.
That was where she took Basi now.
Apollymi locked the doors and windows to her room before she summoned her two most trustworthy demon protectors. "Xiamara, Xedrix, I need you."
The demons who resided on her as tattooed marks pulled themselves off her body and manifested before her.
In her current incarnation, Xiamara's everchanging skin tone was red, marbled with white. Long black hair framed a pixieish face where large red eyes glowed with concern. Xiamara's son Xedrix shared her features, but his skin was marbled with red and orange, something it often did when he was nervous. "What do you need, akra?" Xiamara asked, addressing her with the Atlantean term for lady and master.
Apollymi had no idea why Xiamara insisted on calling her akra when they were more like sisters than master and servant. "Guard this room from everyone. I don't care if Archon himself demands entry, you kill him. Do you understand?"
"Your will is ours, akra. No one will disturb you."
"Do their horns have to match their wings?" Basi asked as she spun around the bedpost while eyeing the demons. "I mean really. You'd think to be so colorful, they'd have more variety. I think Xedrix would look better if his were orange."
Apollymi ignored her. She didn't have time for Basi's stupidity. Not if she were to save her son's life.
She wanted this child and she was willing to do anything for him.
Her heart hammering, she pulled her Atlantean dagger from her dresser drawer and held it in her hands. The gold hilt was cold against her skin. Black roses and bones were entwined and engraved down the steel blade that glowed in the dim light. It was a dagger meant for ending life.
Today it would be used to give it.
She winced at the thought of what was to come, but there was no other way to save him. Closing her eyes and gripping the cold dagger, she tried not to weep, but one tear slid from the corner of her eye.
Enough! She roared at herself as she angrily wiped it away. This was a time for action, not emotions. Her son needed her.
Her hand trembling from fury and fear, she went to the bed and lay down. She pulled her gown up, exposing her belly. She ran her hand over her distended stomach where her son was waiting, protected and yet in danger. Never again would she be this close to him. Never again would she feel him kick and turn in restlessness as she smiled in tender patience. She was about to separate them even though it wasn't time yet for Apostolos to be born.
But she had no choice.
"Be strong for me, my son," she whispered before she sliced open her stomach to expose him.
"Oh, how disgusting!" Basi whined. "I'm—"
"Don't you move!" Apollymi roared. "You leave this room and I'll rip out your heart."
Eyes wide, Basi froze.
As if knowing what had happened, Xiamara appeared by her side. The red-and-white-skinned demon was the most beautiful and loyal of all of Apollymi's army. In silent understanding, Xiamara lifted the baby out of her and helped Apollymi seal herself shut.
The demon removed the blood-red scarf from around her neck and wrapped Apostolos in it before she held him out to Apollymi and bowed low.
Apollymi pushed the physical pain aside as she took her son into her arms and held him for the very first time. Joy spread through her as she realized he was whole and alive. He was so tiny, so frail. Perfect and beautiful.
Most of all, he was hers and she loved him with every part of herself.
"Live for me, Apostolos," she said, her tears finally .owing. They fell like ice down her cold cheeks, glittering in the darkness. "When the time is right, you'll return here and claim your rightful place as king of the gods. I'll make sure of it." She placed her lips to his blue forehead.
He opened his eyes then to look at her. Mercurial and silver, just like hers, they swirled. And they held within them a wisdom far beyond even hers. It would be by those eyes that mankind would recognize his divinity and treat him accordingly. He brushed her cheek with one tiny fist as if he understood what was meant for him.
She sobbed at the contact. Gods, it wasn't fair! He was her baby. She'd waited a lifetime for this and now . . .
"Damn you, Archon, damn you! I will never forgive you for this."
She held her son close and never wanted to let him go.
But she must.
"Basi?" she snapped at her niece who was still swinging around the bedpost.
"Take him. Put him in the belly of a pregnant queen. Do you understand?"
She let go and righted herself. "Um, I can do that. What about the queen's brat?"
"Merge Apostolos's life force with that of the queen's child. Let her know by oracle that if my child dies, so does hers." That would protect him more than anything else.
But there was one more thing to be done. Apollymi jerked the white sfora from her neck and held it to Apostolos's chest. If anyone suspected he was her son or any god detected his presence in the human realm, they would kill him instantly.
His powers would have to be bound and locked away until he was old enough and strong enough to fight back. She placed the orb to his chest and watched as his godhood slid from him to the sfora. His tiny body turned from blue to the pale skin of humanity.
Now he would be safe. Not even the gods would know what she'd done.
Clutching the sfora tight in her hand, she kissed his brow one more time before she held him out to her niece. "Take him. And don't betray me, Basi. If you do, Archon will be the least of your fears. So help me, I won't rest until I bathe in your entrails."
Basi's brown eyes widened. "Baby in belly. Human realm. Don't tell anyone and don't mess up. Got it." She vanished, instantly.
Apollymi sat there, looking at the spot where they'd been. Her heart screamed out, wanting her baby returned.
If only . . .
"Xiamara, follow her and make sure she does as she was ordered."
The demon bowed before she vanished.
Her heart broken, Apollymi remained in her bloodied bed. She wanted to weep and to scream, but why bother? It would do no good. Her tears and pleas wouldn't prevent Archon from killing her child. His brats had him convinced that Apostolos would destroy their pantheon and replace Archon as the king of the gods.
So be it.
Her body aching, she pushed herself from the bed. "Xedrix?"
Xiamara's son appeared before her. "Yes, akra?"
"Fetch me a stone from the sea, please."
He appeared confused by her order, but he quickly complied.
When he returned, she wrapped the rock in swaddling. Weak from her son's birth and her own anger and fear, she leaned against Xedrix and held his arm. "Take me to Archon."
"Are you sure, akra?"
The demon helped her back to Katoteros. They appeared in the center of the hall where Archon stood with his daughters Chara and Agapa—ironically the goddesses of joy and love. The two of them had been born parthenogenically the first time Archon had looked at Apollymi. Together the goddesses had sprung out of his chest. His love for Apollymi had been legendary. Until he'd destroyed it by asking for the one thing she'd never give him.
The life of her son.
Archon's features were perfectly formed. Tall and muscular, he stood with his blond hair shining in the dim light. Truly, he was the most beautiful of all gods. Too bad that beauty was only superficial.
His blue eyes narrowed at the bundle in her arms.
"It's about time you came to your senses. Give me that child."
She moved away from Xedrix and placed the stone baby in her husband's arms.
Archon glowered at her. "What is this?"
"That is what you deserve, you bastard, and it is all you'll ever get from me."
By the light in his eyes, she knew he wanted to strike her. He didn't dare. They both knew who the stronger god was and it wasn't him. He ruled only because she stood at his side. To rise against her would be the last mistake he'd ever make.
By Chthonian law, one god was forbidden from ever killing another. To do so would bring their wrath down on the foolish god who'd angered them. The punishment for such actions was swift, brutal and irreversible.
Right now, Apollymi was embracing her rational thought over her turbulent emotions by a narrow margin. For Archon to strike her would push her over the edge and he knew it. It would make her forget to be afraid of the Chthonians and then she'd unleash the whole of her fury against him. She would no longer care who was punished and who died . . . not even herself.
Patience to the spider . . . She reminded herself of her mother's most favored saying.
She would bide her time until Apostolos grew into his own. Then he would rule in Archon's place and show the king of the gods what it meant to be all-powerful.
For her son's sake, she wouldn't upset the capricious Chthonians who might very well side with Archon and kill her child. They alone could permanently strip her powers and destroy Apostolos. After all, Archon and his lover Themis's three bastard daughters had been given the power of fate over everyone and everything. And out of their stupidity and fear, the Greek Fates had accidentally cursed her son.
That alone was enough to make her want to kill her husband who stared at her with a confused frown.
"You would damn us all for one child?" Archon asked.
"You would damn my baby for three half-Greek bastards?"
His nostrils flared. "For once be reasonable. The girls didn't realize they were condemning him when they spoke. They're still learning their powers. They were afraid that he'd supplant them in our affections. It's why they were holding hands when they spoke their fears. And because of that, their word is law and it can't be undone. If he lives, we die."
"Then we die, because he willlive. I've made sure of it."
Archon bellowed before he threw the swaddled stone through the wall. He reached for Agapa and Chara and began chanting.
Apollymi's eyes flared red at what they were doing. It was an imprisonment spell.
And because they united their powers, they would be able to bring her to heel.
Even so, she laughed. But most of all, she took note of every god who joined in to help her husband bind her. "You will all regret what you've done here this day. When Apostolos returns, you will all pay dearly."
Xedrix put himself between her and the others. Apollymi placed one hand on his shoulder to keep him from attacking. "They're not going to hurt us, Xedrix. They can't."
"No," Archon said bitterly, "but you will remain locked in Kalosis until either you reveal Apostolos's location or he dies. Only then will you be returned to Katoteros."
Apollymi laughed. "My son, at his maturity, will have the power to come to me. When he releases me, the world as you know it will die. And I will take you all down. All of you."
Archon shook his head. "We will find him. We will kill him."
"You will fail and I'll dance on your grave."
Excerpted from ACHERON by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Copyright © by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Published in August 2009 by St. Martin's Press
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I don't want to put any spoilers in here. I totally loved this book, in fact, I plan on reading it again soon. I loved the love hate relationship Ash has with Artie. I cried at times, okay throughout most of the book. If you love Dark-Hunters you'll love this book. I remember the Author Goddess said that she wanted her hardbacks to be as inexpensive as possible and I think that for a 728 page book it's worth the price.
I have read all the Dark Hunter series and kept on wondering when Sherrilyn Kenyon was going to write a book on the character Acheron. He is mentioned in every book and is always a mystery waiting to be solved. This book takes you through his complete past and present. In all the other books it is usually based on the present happenings, and only referred to one characters past. This book, however, takes you through Acheron's childhood, teenager, and adulthood. Bravo!! It is best to read her prior books in the Dark Hunter series to really get the entire understanding of this character. Can't wait for more books to be published!!
I was on edge waiting for this book to come out. I actually re-read the entire series of books to prepare myself for Acheron. I picked it up the day it came out and once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. I literally stayed up all night reading this book. Ms. Kenyon didn't disappoint at all. The emotional ride was crazy but you had to go on it to understand the character that is Acheron, and I ended up loving his character more because of it. This book, actually the entie series will remain in my own personal library for a long, long, long, long time.
Splitting the book into parts was brilliant! Acheron's past is heartbreaking and (don't worry, no spoilers!) when I didn't think it could get much worse it did. However, the story had to be told to really understand how amazing Acheron's really is. I laughed, cried, cringed and everything in between! A week later, the story is still on my mind. I've read some reviews that expressed disappointment with Tory as his true love but I think the opposite. Tory is smart, strong and intelligent and most of all gave a certain Heifer Goddess a run for her money!!! :) She really was Ash's perfect match! Excellent story! MUST READ.
FINALLY the story behind the man (god actually) that kept all the Dark-Hunters safe and saw the humanity in each of them. Could not put this book down and was sorry it was over so fast :(
I enjoyed this book at the beginining and then it got that if I had to read of one more beating to Acheron, because if his sisters stupidy I was going to rip out my hair. It happened for a 1/3 of the book, I almost skipped some chapters but then it got so compelling I had to keep reading, and I was glad I did. I just wish the last third was as gripping as the middle of the book. And to those that think they are reading Literature, move on this is a Romantic Novel series, not Greek literature, so dont be silly.
For any that have read the Dark-Hunter series, Acheron is a must read! For those that have not read the series, start of with the first book like I did and become addicted. The first book is Fantasy Lover. You can read Acheron first if you wish, but there are lots of spoilers for the plots of the other previous books. Considering that Acheron is part 22 of the series, if you count all of the short stories and excerpts, it might be best to make the books even better and read them in order. You can find the reading order at www.dailyinquisitor.com/hunter/readingorder.htm or just look up Sherrilyn Kenyon. You will never regret getting into this series!
I read this book and I cried, a lot, it was that good. Sherrilyn Kenyon is an excellent author for the sad, yet completely romantic novels, adding in the perfect touch of comedy. This tale tells you so much about Acheron and really explains what the other books left out.
Acheron is the baddest of the bad boys. He's sex personified. To see him is to want him. He is a legend in any time. He rules with righteous indignation and he never breaks a promise. Acheron is one of the most compelling characters I've ever read about and as such his story needed to be as well. Acheron is that, and more. Part one delves into Acheron's past. It's brutal, agonizing, and terribly unjust. No mere mortal could have survived such pain and torture. Acheron is constantly persecuted and violated. It is emotionally draining to read. He suffers unimaginable pain and anguish. He brings new meaning to the phrase "tortured hero". Sherrilyn Kenyon excels at creating descriptive scenes and imaginative characters. Part two is just as thrilling and action-packed as all of the Dark Hunter stories. Battles, car chases, gods, demons, and more make every page exciting. At first, I wasn't sure how things would work between Tori and Acheron, but Tori quickly proved to be the perfect woman for him. Her strength and compassion shines on every page. After reading Acheron my hatred of Artemis is justified, and even if Acheron weren't a god, he still would be to me. There is no man more appealing, more charming, or more sexy than him. There is also no one more deserving of a happily ever after. Acheron is a story of revelations and confirmations. Questions are finally answered and doubts are cast aside as Acheron's story is told in its brilliant entirety. If you thought you loved him before, wait until you read this! Sherrilyn Kenyon raises the bar once again with Acheron. I'm still thinking about the book today and continue to wait with anticipation on where the series will lead too next. Congrats to SK on a job well done and thanks for taking me along for the ride. I wouldn't have missed reading the DH series for the world.
I've read all of Sherrilyn Kenyon's books, but this is by far her best novel. I couldn't stop reading Acheron. It kept me in suspense from the beginning to the end. It was great reading a book that transports you into a whole new world. I loved the book and hope to read more about Acheron really soon.
Born of Gods but raised by human parents he was born and disowned and despised by his own family Acheron struggles to fight for his place in the world. Kenyon has written many stories of Dark-hunters but this one takes the cake of greatness finally tapping into the story of the leader of Dark-hunters. The story follows Acheron from his birth to meeting and falling for Artemis and then to be despised until he ends up in New Orleans in the current century and time. Tory is a archeologist growing up in a greek household she grew to love ancient things and its history, meeting Acheron grows her interest further but there are some underlying things that may keep these two from finding the one thing they really need.... each other. Kenyon writes the long awaited tale of Acheron about who he is and what he's all about, its a romantic and also heart-breaking story but it all comes to a heart-warming and sweet end when he meets Tory. A definite keeper in my personal library.
I have read almost all the Dark Hunter books and I have to say that it was no surprise that this book was so good. It has everything I like to read, suspense, romance, history, and men you only wish really existed LOL. And if any of you have found a real one...tell me where....
Well, if you are wanting all the questions answered from what Acheron's motives are then this is the book for you.How this man ended up as compassionate and kind is a miracle after all the pain and suffering he went through. No wonder he felt so sorry for Zarek. It took me 2 days to read this book and I was very sorry to see it end. The only thing that I was hoping for was for the heroine to put a major beatdown on Artemis. Maybe in the future we can see this witch get her well deserved desserts. I cannot recommend this book enough and look forward to what comes next.
This was the best book I have ever read. I cried and laughed and cheered for him. AMAZING! I couldn't put it down and I re-read it at least once a year.
I was so disappointed with this book. I understand the need to explain Ash's past in the first part; but it was too long, too depressing and too much torture detail for me. The second part wasn't much better. There wasn't much humor, Tory's character was weak and the only kicking butt Ash could do was maybe his sisters. The story left me with an empty feeling but it certainly explains alot about why Ash acts the way he does. You can't miss that. I'm still a fan though and hope to see more humor in Kenyon's next book. I sure missed it in this one. Maybe my expectations were too high.
Acheron is part of a book series but works as a stand-alone. Newcomers to the Dark-Hunter world will have no issues with missing information. Acheron keeps his origins a highly guarded secret. This book finally explains what that secret is. Warning: this book is not for the faint of heart. The story, especially the first half, has profound suffering and torment of the main character. Those with trigger issues should be cautious. Do things get better for him? Yes, but not for a long time. Is the journey worth it? Yes. Acheron deserves a happily ever after and he finally gets one. Those not involved in the Dark-Hunter series should still read Styxx after Acheron. Styxx's journey is as heartbreaking - personally, I find it more so - but it expands on some plot points in Acheron. To paraphrase the author: there are three sides to every story. Yours, theirs and the truth that lies somewhere between. Acheron's past fits with his personality traits very well. This being is considerate, sacrificing, secretive, insecure and sometimes a bit scary. All things hold true to the preconceived notions. Honestly, the enjoyment I got from the first part of this book was through understanding. The emotional torment was hard for me at times. Acheron and Tory interacted well together. Tory is a bit brazen, but I can see how that will be good for Acheron. He is the same way and needs the challenge. They also made me laugh which is important. The tension was well placed. I thought there was no way they would wind up alive and together by the end of the book. Most the Dark Hunters get their happily ever after. Here, I worried about them. What appeals most to me about the Dark Hunter world is the substantial subplots that carry through the entire series. Sherrilyn Kenyon's stories are intricate and subtle clues span multiple books. I would highly recommend reading them all. A side note about the audiobook narration, Holter Graham is my favorite reoccurring narrator in the DH world. If audiobooks are your thing this is definitely the way to go. All my opinions are my own and may not match that of others. I urge all readers to come to their own conclusions.
This book has it all. An insight into the human psyche, man's inhumanity to man, love, betrayal, humor, action, mythology, and boy howdy some humdinger bedroom action. If you really want to know what makes "The Man" tick read this book. If you want inspirational quotes read the book. If you love a lttle demon similar to Simi read this book. Better yet - just read this book!!!!
I read the series & I love the books. With that said this book is not at all like the other novels in the series. It is much darker. It focuses MUCH less on the romantic aspects & tells a brutal tale of child abuse. The book is guaranteed to have you crying throughout about 75% of the book. It reminds me of the book "A Boy Called It" only worse. I was shocked by the detail given to his abuse. The descriptions made it very clear but also very hard to read. I had to skip to the second part of the book. Although I would like some of my questions answered about the character & how certain events came to be. I am not willing to bear the pain of reading such detailed abuse to get it.
ive read this book so many timee, acheron books so touching that it had me crying in the 2nd chapter. im not going to spoil anything but i must say his life was very, very rough and i like how sherrilyn makes him the powerful goddess i think he deserves it ! go read it if u havent and prepare to cry and then love acheron !!
This is a good light summer read - it has some very interesting characters, based on Greek gods, can be a little hard for younger people because of sexual areas but it's well worth taking to the beach for fun! You don't need to have any prior knowledge of any of the storyline or characters,either, so that helps immensely.
Kenyon has written another great book to continue in the Dark Hunter series. Having read the previous books, I was thrilled to see Acheron (Ash) get his story. I was not dissappointed. Ash's story is well told and puts alot of understanding into the his past and the way he is. The characters are well written. Having read the previous books, it was a great to read how the other characters were doing. I can't wait to start the Nick series. This is a great summer read! I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did.
By far one of the most anticipated books in the Dark Hunter series and it lives up to its reputation. I'd had it sitting on my shelf for months as I struggled to get to that point in the series, not being able to read fast enough. Sherrilyn Kenyon breaths new life into the vampire novel. She's original and extremely creative. Acheron is the book about the leader of the Dark Hunters, whom we've only gotten bits and pieces about up until now. He's got a dark past that will suck you in and keep you in your seat until the wee hours of the morning. There's a good balance of romance and storyline that will keep you thirsting for more and wishing that the story didn't have an ending.
I have to say this was a difficult book to read because of all the charactor goes through. The charactor is written so well, you feel his pain and sorrow. I have read the series so I was looking forward to finally reading about Archeron. I would recommend this for your library. I will have a place in my heart for Archeron the rest of my life, and will look at the world a little different because of him, and Sherrilyn thanks for the escape and the journey.
Wonderfully historic nods to myths,legends and of course the best "man" or would that be "god" for the job- Simi's very own Akri. Sherrilyn took her time and produced another fab, well-written, extreme character, hunk of the month who finally finds someone to love him as he really is after 11,000 years....bout time, huh? Fantastic as usual. In two parts it finally brings together all the bits and pieces from the other Dark-Hunter, Dream Hunter and Were Hunter novels to explain the hows, wheres, and whys of this fabulous male and his companions. Read this one over & over, anytime you need epic fantasy in your world.
My Amiga got me hooked on these paranormal romances. I had read bad reviews on this book, but once we start a series, we finish it. Thank god! This book was great, you get to know the man and the god. Many parts of it broke my heart, but you get to understand what a great guy he truely is and why he is such a loyal friend to all the dark hunters. Ash appears in the whole series, but this book is his story and it is a great book. Read it and you'll be hooked too.