The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny

 

FantasyThe great book of Amber The Great Book of Amber: the complete Amber chronicles, 1-10Roger Zelazny, Roger Zelazny; Avon Books 1999WorldCat

Nine Princes in Amber

The first person narrator wakes up in a long term hospital with amnesia and a broken leg. As his mind shakes off the sedatives that have been forced on him, he vaguely remembers a car accident. He is certain he is being sedated and kept in the hospital against his will. He deftly learns things about himself from the hospital staff, then escape to the person who was paying for his care, his sister.

Thus begins Corwin’s story. Corwin is one of the nine surviving princes of Amber. Despite his amnesia, even saying the name Amber brings gladness and lightness to Corwin. Amber is the one real world. All others, even Earth, are Shadows used to approach Amber.

He soon realizes that he cannot trust any of his siblings, brothers or sisters. At his sister’s house he slowly puts more pieces of the mental puzzle together. His brother Random shows up and the two of them start back to Amber.

This fantasy adventure is well written and appealing. Corwin is determined to gain Amber away from his brother currently ruling it, Eric. Brothers and sisters make different alliances with and against each other. There is war, bloodshed, and violence. And there is always Amber, the pinnacle of beauty.

Nine Princes in Amber is the beginning of Amber’s adventures. The struggles for rule of Amber do not end with this book. The regular version of the novel is out of print. Instead you can find all ten of the Amber chronicles in one volume. Like me, you can also borrow it from your local public library.

The Guns of Avalon

Corwin has escaped from Amber and from Eric. He is determined to return to Amber and dethrone his brother. He is hoping Eric will believe him dead as he returns to health and fighting strength. When anyone tries to contact him through the Trumps, he shields his mind.

As Corwin leaves Amber he notices one of the beautiful forests is now a dark, menacing area. He remembers the curse he had laid when fighting Eric before. It appears his curse has done more damage than he intended, injuring his beloved Amber. He cannot stop not to repair the damage. He must escape and return. Upon his return he will deal with the darkness looming.

Corwin decides to return to Avalon, one of the shadow countries he had resided in many years in the past. There is something in Avalon that may help him in Amber. Yet getting even to Avalon proves to be a challenge. Almost immediately upon entering the Shadow Lands he is set upon by unworldly large cats. He then comes across a wounded knight among other dead, strange bodies. He has to help the knight. This act of mercy brings him into contact with another old foe. Before Corwin can return to Amber he has to deal with the evil in the Shadow Lands. Can he win in the Shadow Lands and return to defeat Eric? The obstacles loom larger than even Corwin can guess.

This entertaining book is a good follow up for the Amber series. The Guns of Avalon is full of adventure, fighting, good, and evil. Once again the story is completed within this novel, yet there is much more to go. While it is better read after Nine Princes in Amber, the first novel of the series, enough background information is given to the first time reader to be able to enjoy the story.

Sign of the Unicorn

Corwin is nominally in charge of Amber. Yet there are dark forces building up outside Amber, and he still cannot trust many of his siblings. At the onset of the novel, he is framed by a dark minion in the murder of one his brothers. He knows it is time to gather the remaining family together to rescue Amber.

He learns more of his brother Brand’s story. Brand has been abandoned is a jail in a far off Shadow of Amber. Corwin invites his siblings to an evening promising them some developments of the family politics. He shares some of the darkness stories, then gets them to work together to rescue Brand. This attempt brings out even more family secrets. To deal with these, Corwin takes a journey in Amber that yields an amazing find.

Sign of the Unicorn is a linking novel. It has its share of bloodshed and infighting that is common between the princes and princesses of Amber. It has the magic prevalent in Amber, and danger in the Shadows. Yet I would not recommend Sign of the Unicorn without reading the first two. It is good within the series, but not as a stand alone.

The Hand of Oberon

Corwin has been stabbed. Brand has been stabbed. Fiona, Bleys, and Julian have disappeared. Amber is still divided. The black evil streak still runs through Amber and its shadowlands. And Corwin has discovered that his beloved Amber is a realistic shadow of yet another land.

Each brother or sister tells a different version of the same story. Although Corwin has been nominally in charge in Amber, one of the other siblings is trying to gain the highest power. Corwin realizes to do this, Amber may be destroyed in the process. He needs to retrieve the Jewel of Judgment from its hiding place and walk the original Pattern. When he reaches the shadow Earth to dig it up, it has already been taken. Now is the time to put all the facts he knows, the stories he has heard, and conjecture together. Corwin has to save Amber from the sibling who wants to destroy it and build a new one.

This book neatly binds together the first three. Corwin has matured. Amber itself is now his priority, rather than his ruling it. As the other siblings talk with him and work with him, they realize he has changed. One now knows Corwin is the major enemy. The others now begin to believe Corwin may be the one to rule Amber.

The Hand of Oberon is one of the tales that make the Amber story exciting. Problems are resolved…temporarily. Amber is saved…temporarily. Corwin is trusted by his siblings who also want to save Amber. Yet there is more story to come. While the series could have easily ended here, twists show up at the end. While Sign of the Unicorn is a connecting book, this both completes and then restarts more of the saga. If you’ve read the earlier ones, keep reading through this one.

Like the others, The Hand of Oberon links to a complete volume of Amber stories. Go check the library or your local used book store.

The Courts of Chaos

Chaos is encroaching on Amber. The Jewel of Wisdom is the only hope. Either Oberon or Corwin must walk the Pattern to repair and save Amber. It must be someone attuned to the Jewel.

Someone is found to attempt the perilous walk. Corwin rides off to reach the original boundaries of Chaos. There is a battle to be fought…both personally by Corwin at the Courts of Chaos and by the armies back at Amber.

Chaos is encroaching on Amber. The Jewel of Wisdom is the only hope. Either Oberon or Corwin must walk the Pattern to repair and save Amber. It must be someone attuned to the Jewel.

Someone is found to attempt the perilous walk. Corwin rides off to reach the original boundaries of Chaos. There is a battle to be fought…both personally by Corwin at the Courts of Chaos and by the armies back at Amber.

The Courts of Chaos finalizes Corwin’s story. There is a lot of introspection as Corwin puts together the true history and future of Amber. Also, the evil sibling (revealed in The Hand of Oberon) returns to destroy Amber. This sibling knows if no one walks the Pattern with the Jewel, Amber is destroyed. That leaves this person free to create a new Pattern and a new world to be ruled by the owner of the Jewel.

Thus ends the saga of the first generation of Amber. The new King of Amber is on the throne. Merlin and Martin are adults and learning about Amber. They are the next generation. Although the evil sibling no longer threatens Amber, other enemies have escaped. Amber is still in danger.

finalizes Corwin’s story. There is a lot of introspection as Corwin puts together the true history and future of Amber. Also, the evil sibling (revealed in The Hand of Oberon) returns to destroy Amber. This sibling knows if no one walks the Pattern with the Jewel, Amber is destroyed. That leaves this person free to create a new Pattern and a new world to be ruled by the owner of the Jewel.

Thus ends the saga of the first generation. The new King of Amber is on the throne. Merlin and Martin are adults and learning about Amber. They are the next generation. Although the evil sibling no longer threatens Amber, other enemies have escaped. Amber is still in danger.

More books by Roger Zelazny

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