I recall Asimov had a character who was The autoc of , clearly based on the word “autokrat” but I don’t recall the exact spelling. This stumped Google, which would rather correct the spelling to some other word than find a unique word.

In the story, he had gone undercover and the reader did not know either that some other character was in fact the Autoc, until it had been revealed to the main character.

  • 1
    Are you certain that it's Asimov? Severian in the Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe meets up with an under-cover Autarch.
    – andrewsi
    Aug 4, 2016 at 17:39
  • Book of the New Sun was 1980. So it may have been an homage to Asimov or just the same idea.
    – JDługosz
    Aug 4, 2016 at 17:58

1 Answer 1


I believe this is Isaac Asimov's The Stars, Like Dust which was serialised in Galaxy Science Fiction in January - March 1951 and published as a novel in 1951. It is considered to be part of the Empire series (although it is set before the Galactic Empire was founded). It features the a character called Sander Jonti who is eventually revealed to be the Autarch of Lingane.

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Biron Farrell was young and naïve, but he was growing up fast. A radiation bomb planted in his dorm room changed him from an innocent student at the University of Earth to a marked man, fleeing desperately from an unknown assassin.

He soon discovers that, many light-years away, his father, the highly respected Rancher of Widemos, has been murdered. Stunned, grief-stricken, and outraged, Biron is determined to uncover the reasons behind his father's death, and becomes entangled in an intricate saga of rebellion, political intrigue, and espionage.

The mystery takes him deep into space where he finds himself in a relentless struggle with the power-mad despots of Tyrann. Now it is not just a case of life or death for Biron, but a question of freedom for the galaxy….

Plot summary from Amazon.com

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