The Great Book of Amber: The Complete Amber Chronicles, 1-10 (Chronicles of Amber Series)

The Great Book of Amber: The Complete Amber Chronicles, 1-10 (Chronicles of Amber Series)

by Roger Zelazny


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“Fantasy of a superior order.”
Washington Post Book World

“A storyteller without peer. He created worlds as colorful and exotic and memorable as any our genre has ever seen.”
—George R.R. Martin

One of the most revered names in sf and fantasy, the incomparable Roger Zelazny was honored with numerous prizes—including six Hugo and three Nebula Awards—over the course of his legendary career. Among his more than fifty books, arguably Zelazny’s most popular literary creations were his extraordinary Amber novels. The Great Book of Amber is a collection of the complete Amber chronicles—featuring volumes one through ten—a treasure trove of the ingenious imagination and phenomenal storytelling that inspired a generation of fantasists, from Neil Gaiman to George R.R. Martin.


Nine Princes in Amber

The Guns of Avalon

Sign of the Unicorn

The Hand of Oberon

The Courts of Chaos

Trumps of Doom

Blood of Amber

Sign of Chaos

Knights of Shadows

Prince of Chaos


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780380809066
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/30/2010
Series: Chronicles of Amber Series
Pages: 1258
Sales rank: 78,883
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 8.98(h) x 2.20(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Roger Zelazny burst onto the SF scene in the early 1960s with a series of dazzling and groundbreaking short stories. He won his first of six Hugo Awards for Lord of Light, and soon after produced the first book of his enormously popular Amber series, Nine Princes in Amber. In addition to his Hugos, he went on to win three Nebula Awards over the course of a long and distinguished career. He died on June 14, 1995.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Nine Princes
In Amber

It was starting to end, after what seemed most of eternity to me.

I attempted to wriggle my toes, succeeded. I was sprawled there in a hospital bed and my legs were done up in plaster casts, but they were still mine.

I squeezed my eyes shut, and opened them, three times.

The room grew steady.

Where the hell was I?

Then the fogs were slowly broken, and some of that which is called memory returned to me. I recalled nights and nurses and needles. Every time things would begin to clear a bit, someone would come in and jab me with something. That's how it had been. Yes. Now, though, I was feeling halfway decent. They'd have to stop.

Wouldn't they?

The thought came to assail me: Maybe not.

Some natural skepticism as to the purity of all human motives came and sat upon my chest. I'd been over-narcotized, I suddenly knew. No real reason for it, from the way I felt, and no reason for them to stop now, if they'd been paid to keep it up. So play it cool and stay dopey, said a voice which was my worst, if wiser, self.

So I did.

A nurse poked her head in the door about ten minutes later, and I was, of course, still sacking Z's. She went away.

By then, I'd reconstructed a bit of what had occurred.

I had been in some sort of accident, I remembered vaguely. What had happened after that was still a blur; and as to what had happened before, I had no inkling whatsoever. But I had first been in a hospital and then brought to this place, I remembered. Why? I didn't know.

However, my legs felt pretty good. Good enough to hold me up, though Ididn't know how much time had lapsed since their breaking-and I knew they'd been broken.

So I sat up. It took me a real effort, as my muscles were very tired. It was dark outside and a handful of stars were standing naked beyond the window. I winked back at them and threw my legs over the edge of the bed.

I was dizzy, but after a while it subsided and I got up, gripping the rail at the head of the bed, and I took my first step.

Okay. My legs held me.

So, theoretically, I was in good enough shape to walk out.

I made it back to the bed, stretched out and thought. I was sweating and shaking. Visions of sugar plums, etc.

In the State of Denmark there was the odor of decay. . . .

It had been an accident involving an auto, I recalled. One helluva one. . . .

Then the door opened, letting in light, and through slits beneath my eyelashes I saw a nurse with a hypo in her hand.

She approached my bedside, a hippy broad with dark hair and big arms.

just as she neared, I sat up.

"Good evening," I said.

"Why-good evening," she replied.

"When do I check out?" I asked.

"I'll have to ask Doctor."

"Do so," I said.

"Please roll up your sleeve."

"No thanks."

"I have to give you an injection."

"No you don't. I don't need it."

"I'm afraid that's for Doctor to say."

"Then send him around and let him say it. But in the meantime, I will not permit it."

"I'm afraid I have my orders."

"So did Eichmann, and look what happened to him," and I shook my head slowly.

"Very well," she said. "I'll have to report this.

"Please do," I said, "and while you're at it, tell him I've decided to check out in the morning."

"That's impossible. You can't even walk-and there were internal injuries. . ."

"We'll see," said I. "Good night."

She swished out of sight without answering.

So I lay there and mulled. It seemed I was in some sort of private place - so somebody was footing the bill. Whom did I know? No visions of relatives appeared behind my eyes. Friends either. What did that leave? Enemies?

I thought a while.


Nobody to benefact me thus.

I'd gone over a cliff in my car, and into a lake, I suddenly remembered. And that was all I remembered.

I was . . .

I strained and began to sweat again.

I didn't know who I was.

But to occupy myself, I sat up and stripped away all my bandages. I seemed all right underneath them, and it seemed the right thing to do. I broke the cast on my right leg, using a metal strut I'd removed from the head of the bed. I had a sudden feeling that I had to get out in a hurry, that there was something I had to do.

I tested my right leg. It was okay.

I shattered the cast on my left leg, got up, went to the closet.

No clothes there.

Then I heard the footsteps. I returned to my bed and covered over the broken casts and the discarded bandages.

The door swung inward once again.

Then there was light all around me, and there was a beefy guy in a white jacket standing with his hand on the wall switch.

"What's this I hear about you giving the nurse a hard time?" he asked, and there was no more feigning sleep,

"I don't know," I said. "What is it?"

That troubled him for a second or two, said the frown, then, "It's time for your shot."

"Are you an M.D.?" I asked.

"No, but I'm authorized to give you a shot."

"And I refuse it," I said, "as I've a legal right to do. What's it to you?"

"You'll have your shot," he said, and he moved around to the left side of the bed. He had a hypo in one hand, which had been out of sight till then.

It was a very foul blow, about four inches below the belt buckle, I'd say, and it left him on his knees.

"_____ _____!" he said, after a time.

"Come within spitting distance again," I said, "and see what happens."

"We've got ways to deal with patients like you," he gasped.

So I knew the time had come to act.

"Where are my clothes?" I said. "_____ _____!"he repeated.

"Then I guess I'll have to take yours. Give them to me."


Table of Contents

Nine Princes in Amber
The Guns of Avalon
Sign of the Unicorn
The Hand of Oberon
The Courts of Chaos
Trumps of Doom
Blood of Amber
Sign of Chaos
Knight of Shadows
Prince of Chaos

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Great Book of Amber 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 103 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is just too many pages for a paperback. Certainly a savings over all the other books bought separate, but we're talking about a pound or more of paper here. How about an electric version, guys!!??
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Best Series to come out of the Seventies! Long before Hollywood fell in love with comics, pulp fiction and superheroes, scifi and fantasy got there first. And one of the leading lights among those writers was Roger Zelazny. His tales can be detective noir 'think Sam Spade' and cinematic ecstacy 'think Wizard of Oz' all in one. That hybrid style brings antihero Corwin back to life in an upstate hospital in New York. And then gives birth to the universe containing the one true world, Amber, and the infinite variations of itself which lie between Amber and the nether end of existence known as the Courts of Chaos. Both are revealed with flash and finesse, love and humor, action and mystery in the original five books. In the decades since its publication, other 'multiverse' tales have appeared. But when the tale of Corwin, his brother princes, their sisters, and the lost liege Oberon, first arrived on the scene there was nothing like it around. Though decades have passed, that original Amber series remains as impressive, fresh and exciting today as it was when it first saw print in the 1970s. Shakespeare, Dumas, Hammett and Verne somehow meet and mix it up in the story told in the first five books, which focus on Corwin and his struggle to regain his memory, his power in Amber, and something he never knew he needed or wanted but which matters most of all. You travel with him to an Avalon that once knew an Uther. Which now needs a Corwin. You follow Corwin into a city of dreams where destiny can be reforged, and into an underwater city where memories wash up on the shores of the mind. With Corwin you journey down into the wild and untamed reality underlying all existence, even Amber herself. But first you will sail into battle with Corwin, fight alongside him on the slopes of the mountain which holds his home, and begin fitting together the pieces of the mystery 'yes, this is a mystery novel, as well!' behind the disappearance of Amber's nigh-omnipotent king, Oberon. Many fans of Zelazny and the original Chronicles of Amber wish he had stopped with the fifth book. Or that he had continued the adventure by returning to the character his readers enjoyed and cared so much about: Corwin. Had he found a way of continuing Corwin's story, the books that later followed might have benefitted and won over Zelazny's followers. Instead, books 6 through 10 'written nearly a decade after the original 5' focus on a new character and lack the freshness and fun found in the Corwin Cycle. Nevertheless, the Corwin Cycle remains the greatest science fiction/fantasy series to come out of the '70s. And is one of the greatest scifi/fantasy epics of all time. Buy this book for the first 5. And then, if you simply MUST have more, even if 'more' means 'not quite as good,' then the second five books are there for the taking.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I refuse to let go of these books, but my wife says we need the space!
lunchboxmonkey More than 1 year ago
This IS a good series. The characters are very funny and full of personality and the whole idea is very inventive. However, this particular edition of these books is full of grammatical errors. At first I had a hard time getting past that, but the story did do such a good job of drawing me in that I was mostly able to overlook the errors later on. Just a warning, it can be pretty distracting. If you can afford to do so, I would recommend buying the books seperately. I've researched a little and apparently it is only this particular edition that contains all the errors.
Patrick58 More than 1 year ago
This needs to be a NOOK book guys. Seriously. It amazes me how these books, which have given me hours of enjoyment have not yet been converted to electronic format. I don't know if there are problems with the publisher or with Zelazny's estate, but the minute this is out as a Nook book I'll purchase it. My old Great Book of Amber is falling apart and now it is time replace it, but I won't be buying another giant paperback. Sorry. I'm holding out for the Nook version and have been for some years.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it when first read it many years ago and have reread it several times. Would LOVE a digital version of it for my Kindle. Had to downsize my book library from hard copies to digital due to storage space. PLEASE PLEASE tell me some one, somewhere is going to digitize this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
FANTASTIC SET OF STORIES - but needs to be issued as an ebook for the Nook - my entire family (all 10 of us are Nook users) would buy this as an ebook. You should install a "tell the publisher you would like to see this offered as an ebook" link on your website!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When this book was originally published as individual volumes, it had some great illustrations which enhanced the story and character line. They are missing in this volume. Other than that, this is a very enjoyable read. A bit far-fetched but that's what makes it so good.
theokester on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well, it took about two months, but I finished the "Great Book of Amber." I feel a little better knowing that it was technically TEN books in one, but only moderately better. It was partially due to things going on in the "real world", but for some reason this book was a fairly slow read for me.My initial reactions after the first "book" were that:1) I enjoyed the world/characters2) I thought the author was very imaginative and had some cool ideas3) I didn't like the narrative voice4) The copy-editing was awful (numerous typos/grammar errors)After having finished the entire saga, I would say that those reactions stand but I would expand them a bit and add a couple of other comments.World/CharactersThe world itself was very intriguing...the concept of a "true" reality and everything else is a "shadow" of that reality is cool. It's not a new idea per se (I've had soooo many discussions in similar veins in many of my English classes as we talk about meaning and ideas...discussing Plato's concept of the "real" or "true" ideal thing and everything else is just a reflection that helps to understand or draw near to the ideal). But it was still cool.It was both comforting and annoying to have so much of the story based in our "own shadow Earth." It was good to have a foothold that was familiar and relatable. Still, it seemed that by relying on our "own" Earth so much and using it as the comparisons for Amber, it almost made Amber become the shadow and Earth become the ideal. This was never presented as the case, and was often spoken of in the contrary, but the overarching presence of Earth in terms of plot usage and in terms of the characters comparing points in Amber to memories on Earth made the distinction difficult at times.In terms of character development, I really liked Corwin being an amnesiac to begin with so that I was learning everything with him. It also helped set the tone of knowledge development for the rest of the stories since lack of knowledge was an underlying plot driver...since the 'amnesiatic reader' was already in place, it was easy to continue that mode and provide lots of questions and expository monologue.By the end of book 10, I felt like I'd read Dickens' Bleak House or some other novel with a ridiculous amount of characters each with their own individual plot threads drawn out to indeterminate conclusions. All of these were seen from a singular point of view and loaded with the narrator's own insight and bias, which made the multiple characters' threads all that much more difficult.I loved the characters and many of them were well developed and rather unique. A lot of them were composites of one another and blended together at times. This was especially true of their voices which were indistinguishable.Imagination/PlotWhile I can see a lot of external influences creating various plot elements and concepts (such as Plato's ideal as mentioned above), I applaud the author for a very imaginative world with dynamic characters and a very intriguing plot line. While the novel itself is likely wholly classified as "Fantasy" on a large level, I could almost see it sub-classified as "mystery"/"suspense" or possibly "political thriller."Because of the "amnesiac reader" syndrome, the plot arc was able to change many times through the ~1200 pages and still maintain a good flow. The overarching plot remained largely unchanged from a general that the plot was that of a power struggle...the players seeking the power changed over the course of the novel, mainly as the scope of the power changed. First it was a struggle for intellectual power, then for a throne, then for vindictive power, then a struggle for knowledge or freedom from persecution (not quite sure how to classify Merlin's first stories as power struggles), then for power over enemies, then larger power struggles between the powers of the universe.The overall plot was actually fairly simple. Where it got com
Mintypink on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's hard to answer, "What's that book about?" when you're reading The Chronicles of Amber. It's a well written, fast paced fantasy filled with intrigue and plot twists. The basic premise of the world, without giving too much away, is that there is one kingdom, Amber, which is the one ¿real¿ kingdom. Other worlds that are filled with less, magic, and different races are all Shadows¿parallel universes which often have a different ¿time flows¿. Those from Amber possess the knowledge of walking between Shadows, which, besides being really fun and exciting to read, also displays Zelazny¿s skill with descriptions. If you¿re in the market for a thought-provoking, entertaining fantasy with just enough suspense to keep the pages flying (but not enough that it completely wrecks your sleep schedule), consider reading this book.
shabacus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Note: I reviewed each book within the omnibus as I finished it.Nine Princes in Amber:What an odd little book. Odd, because I was reared on the epic fantasy of the 80s and 90s, and the late-sixties early seventies approach to fantasy is a new one for me. Little, because at less than 200 pages (in the omnibus, at least) it's probably the shortest epic fantasy I've ever read.But I liked it, all the more for being different than what I'm used to. I'm not used to a campaign against an evil king, that spans months and costs hundreds of thousands of lives and culminates in an enormous battle, to be handled in a chapter or two. That just doesn't happen. But it does when that battle is not what the book is about, and that's a good thing here.The book is all about the character of the protagonist, his search for self identity and what he is willing to do to achieve his goals. By the end of the book, I was full invested in Corwin's quest, and only the exhaustion of a really long day kept me from launching immediately into the sequel.4 stars*****The Guns of Avalon:There is a reason that in trilogies of superhero movies, the second one is almost always my favorite. It's because the first one deals with origins, and the last with endings, while the second concentrates on just telling a good story.So it was with this volume, which opens where the last novel left off. Our hero resumes his quest for the throne, meeting old friends along the way, and encountering the enemies that he will (almost certainly) face at the end of his quest.The book divides neatly in half, with the first half netting him an ally out of an old enemy, and the second half giving him a new enemy in the form of one who he thought was a friend. The twists and turns of the plot were engaging, as always, with an ending that took me by surprise.There was no denouement, no time to appreciate the climax. But this matters little to me, as I have the next volume waiting for me.4.5 stars*****The Sign of the Unicorn:This one has middle book syndrome something awful. Whenever a fantasy series stretches past three volumes, there's often one that progresses the story without being a satisfying read by itself. "The Sign of Unicorn" is that book for Amber. It's tempting for me, having just finished it, to say that nothing happened, but that's not true. Plenty of stuff happened.However, the stuff that happened was not really arranged into the story structure of rising action and climax. There really WAS no climax, and neither the eerie portents or the revelation that ended the book were enough to satisfy my need for one.Forcing myself to review each book as I finish it has made me consider the series not as a single work, but rather as a collection of individual works. I would have been kinder to "The Sign of the Unicorn" if it were simply a middle chapter of the longer work.3 Stars*****The Hand of Oberon:Now that's what I'm talking about.Everything I said about the last book was reversed here. In fact, the two flow together so much that I can't help but feel that they were two halves of a longer work. Neither works without the other, but all of the meat and payoff of the two happened in this one. Everything I love about this series appeared here.5 stars*****The Courts of Chaos:This book is a great example of why series that change in genre from book to book are often less successful, and why the last book in a series can often disappoint long time fans.This book was the last in the first cycle, and the conclusion (as I understand it) of Corwin's story. Whereas most of the preceding books were almost procedural mysteries, this book was straight out adventure, with none of the twists and turns of plot that we have come to expect. If The Sign of the Unicorn was all setup and The Hand of Oberon was all payoff, then The Courts of Chaos was the big setpiece battle at the end. That means no mysteries, and all action.Now, that's not to say that the action was bad. It was
yarriofultramar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have read tomes 1-5 so far. I have mixed feeling toward this book. As it happens I was reading it during first two months of being a father - so I could not put so much attention to the reading experience as I would like. The story is gripping from the start but descriptions of journeys through the shadow worlds are somewhat tiring. On the positive side the five tomes of Corwin story describe a magnificent intrigue which is resolved by the end of the fifth tome. I think, I should probably read it again - my rating is given from the point of view of chronically under slept guy. I have a lot of respect toward Roger Zelezny - and this book is worth reading. Nevertheless I will postpone reading story of Merlin until I have more time.
burningtodd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great, but really long. Interesting story of might and magic and struggles for the throne in a universe that supercedes this one. Ten books in one and it took me about 4 months to finish, but worth it.
theancientreader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have to say that I am absolutely delighted that these five books have finally been brought together under one cover. I read this series years ago, have read it a couple of times since, and have even listened to the wonderful ¿books on tapes¿ version, read by the author himself. Of all the series dealing with fantasy and/or science fiction I have read over the years, and it has been quite a number as we are talking about well over 50 years of steady reading; this one, The Amber Series, is on my top five list.First, there is a great review posted here by a reviewer who goes by ¿Just Anonymous,¿ in which he or she gives suggestions as to how to read these books. I wholeheartedly agree with each of the eight steps mentioned in that review, but I would add that the books are quite enhanced if you are able to lay your hand on the tapes read by the author I mentioned above. Listening to his reading (the first five books) adds a different and interesting slant and greatly help in understanding this complicated story line and helps in identifying the myriad of characters you will encounter¿no small accomplishment!The story of course deals with Amber, more or less the center of the universe in man ways. The main characters include the princes and princesses, or the Royal Family of Amber. While Amber is the center, the beginning, it is not the ¿only.¿ The universe is made up of Shadows, or for a lack of better description, different dimensions; although that is a poor description. As you travel from Amber, as only the Royal Family can, each shadow is a reflection of Amber, only different, e.g. different rules, laws of physics, magic, social customs, and so forth. Each world is a mere shadow of Amber which is the only only real world. The Royal Family consists of some very interesting and complex individuals all have strengths, and all have flaws, as do most of this author¿s characters in his many books. The reader must remember that there is no absolute good and evil in these books; only sort of them and us or ¿order against chaos. The manipulations between the characters, all which want to rule Amber, make the story. That is short is a brief description of the plot, which is almost secondary. Plot wise, it is so complex that it would be impossible for me to do it justice here. I will let one of the other; more accomplished reviewers handle that aspect. Zelazny¿s skill as writer and story teller, his humor, his strange twists and turns, his knowledge of human behavior is the true heart of this work. Now before you start reading these books, keep in mind that they are indeed page turners. I know I was hooked after the first five pages in the first book. But that being said, keep in mind that these are very complicated and complex books, loaded with different characters, ergo, you have to actually work to get from chapter to chapter, book to book. In many ways these books are not an easy read. I also have to agree with a number of other reviewers that these books may not be appreciated by the literary intellectual sort. Many a book critique has panned this author¿s work. But if you are anything like me, you hold most of these intellectual critics in complete distain anyway, so there is no great loss there. They sort of spit on readers like myself; ones who are out to be entertained, but I have always made it a habit of sort of spitting right back.For the new or young reader of this genre¿give these books a chance. You will be absolutely fascinated with how many of our more modern authors have been extremely influenced by this writers work. Certainly anyone who is interest in the history and development of Fantasy or Science Fiction should give these books a read. Zelazny is a true reading treat. I cannot speak highly enough of this particular series and as I said, I am absolutely delighted that all ten books are under one cover now. While I have many, many reading projects in constant motion, I have no doubt t
jimmaclachlan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is all 10 books of the Amber series. It is nice to have them all in one place, but the book is a paperback & a bit delicate due to the size. Great to pack for a vacation, but I prefer the smaller paperbacks for normal reading.
martiedawn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read the first book in high school and then attempted the second, but just couldn't get into it. Since the first book stuck with me as strongly as it did I reread it a few years later and then devoured the rest. Easily my favorite fantasy series ever despite the fact that it slows down in the second half when it switches point of view to Merlin. Still brilliant though. In fact I have bought the anthology 3 times because I keep giving it away. Some people promote the bible and push it people, me I proselytize Amber.
leore_joanne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Read this series for the third time now and it's as mesmerising as ever. You just can't not love all the intrigue, though I must confess that in the last five books it gets a bit confusing and I had the tendency to skip a few pages every now and then.
Cecrow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Much better than chasing down all ten volumes, I'm sure. There's nothing on the cover or on a contents page to tell you this is actually two series of five books. The first series is very good [five stars], but the slightly longer second was like Alice in Wonderland (which perhaps the author was aware of and aiming for, considering the tea party scene). Main faults are the enormous sections of exposition that really drag the story down in places, and sometimes the ease with which characters forgive each other for heinous acts stretches belief - but I guess that's what part of what makes this universe unique. Great humour. I doubt I'll follow up on other works by Zelazny, but I've no regrets for having bought and read this series.
ck2935 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another great sci-fi book that i read in high schoo. It ties in with mythological themes, walking the pattern, Rebma under the sea.
Oakheart on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I can't give it 5 stars because I like the Corwin stories far better than those that followed. But darned if my life didn't revolve around these as they were first being released. Kinda like Harry Potter is for most folks nowadays. :)
Unreachableshelf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I first read this when I was suddenly and without permission dropped into an Amber Diceless RPG campaign from the World of Darkness game that had been going on to that point. At that time, I was mostly trying to figure out what was going on. Now that I've come back to it after a few years, I think I appreciate it more.The Corwin books are better, but how they are better becomes much clearer when one realizes that Zelazny has deliberately created a hero who isn't necessarily the good guy. There's the protagonist, and there are antagonists, and the latter may or may not actually be "bad" at any given point in the plot. They're just the guys who are up against the one who gets to tell the story.The second five, the Merlin books, go downhill, mostly in the last two, Knight of Shadows and Lord of Chaos. I forget if it was the Game Master of that RPG or somebody at a Con who once said that Merlin's books could just as easily be read as the product of a therapy session Merlin had when a psychologist advised he try his hand at fiction to work out some of his issues as a true narration of his life, but I find that to be an appropriate description of the last two books especially. On the other hand, it is rather a nice change to have a narrator who genuinely is interested in truth and the greater good, when Corwin took most of his books to come to anything like that. I'm rather fond of Ghostwheel as well.Other than that, I have to add my voice to the complaints about typos that others have mentioned. A certain number of them can be expected when a book is first printed, but these had been around long enough for the series to be compiled into one volume.
Jacks0n on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is on my list of favorite books. This is Zelazny at his best, and one of the most original and entertaining fantasy series I've read (a fantasy series not based on Tolkien, for one). This book includes all ten stories that were written about Amber, divided into two segments, the first five books centered on Corwin, and the second five on his son. Good luck finding these stories independently. I've seen a few at used bookstores, but you're not going to get a better value.The basic summary is that Corwin is a member of a powerful royal family suffering from amnesia. The family has the ability to basically enter a multiverse, of which one world is Earth. The "true" world is the eponymous Amber. It's a fairly simple set-up, but the follow-through is excellent. This has lots of great scheming, royal politics that reminded me of the Thirty Years War, and so much more. Zelazny writes energetically throughout, and has a very good sense of humor that doesn't get carried away.I got this randomly using a giftcard to Borders I received as a birthday present, and it was one of the best values I've found. For $20 I got 1500 or so pages of well-written fantasy (hardly common), deep plotting, and lots of action.One more thing - I haven't read the second series about Corwin's son yet. Why? Because there's only so much Zelazny, and only so much Amber, and it's one of those things I want to savor. I mean, what if you could listen to Led Zeppelin IV for the first time again? Or Read Tolkien for the first time again? I'm sitting on this for a while.One last thing - and my only complaint. This book is MASSIVE. It's very difficult to handle, and you might consider using a box-cutter to split it in half or something. Otherwise its a bit awkward to maneuver around.
MerricMaker on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Zelazny was the standout great of Science Fiction's "New Wave." The New Wave-ers were into deep character psychology and philosophy, as well as appreciative of pulp writers who had up until that point been unfairly ostracized. The Amber series was Zelazny at his most accessible and (in many portions of the Amber series) his finest form. The long free-form poetry of ¿traveling through Shadow¿ can be startling, but lovely once you figure out what it¿s about. You feel as if you really understand Corwin and Merlin, yet when either narrator is talking about the other, those same characters feel alien and mysterious in their motivations. How cool is that?However, I must say that this volume drives me to distraction. The typos are numerous and easy to read around, but every twenty or so pages is a wrong word that got past the woodsheding process. These typos are actually more common in the first (better) half of the ten-book cycle. I took to reading this book with a red flare pen in hand. All that said, Zelazny writes so well that you don¿t really care if Avon let a few typos slip into the text. Stylistically, Zelazny is unmistakable. That seamless blend of Spenserian hero-talk and seventies hip, the missing direct article that somehow gives a greater degree of visceral punch to the narrative.
idanush on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was plunged into the series by getting "Sign of Chaos" via a recommendation of a stranger in a public library sale. It cost me 25 cents but started the most expensive hobby I ever developed.I could barely read English at the time and Zelazny's English was barely comprehensible for me but I was mesmerized. It didn't take me long to realize it was a series and I started collecting it (and Sci-Fi/Fantasy Books) ever since.The series is composed of two parts: Corwin and later his son Merlin. Corwin's 5 books are far superior and much more focused. It takes a while to understand what you're reading and you may get confused but don't give up, it all clears up eventually (well, at least some of it does) and its really wonderous. Sort of an alice in wonderland kind of story.There's no good or bad, just order and chaos. They are both completely necessary and are interwined into the story.
Hanno on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a collection of the ten books of the Amber series.The first five books are amazing. An engrossing original fantasy universe, almost entirely clean of the usual fantasy book formulas. Even when reading them for the third time I was completely caught in the story.The last five books are also quite good, but comparing to the first five they seem a bit bland. I rarely give 5 stars ratings. Amber deserves it.