A classic of imaginative literature.
What is The Chronicles of Amber about?
Written by American writer Roger Zelazny, The Chronicles of Amber is a series of fantasy novels consisting of two story arcs, a number of short stories and four additional prequel books, authorized by the Zelazny estate following his death
The story takes place in two contrasting “true” worlds, Amber and Chaos, and in shadow worlds (Shadows) that lie between the two. These shadows, including our Earth, are parallel worlds that exist in, and were created from, the tension between opposing magical forces of Amber and Chaos. The Machiavellian royal family of Amber is headed by Oberon, the former king, now absent. The nine princes are : Benedict, Corwin, Eric, Caine, Bleys, Brand, Julian, Gérard and Random. Oberon had also five daughters : Florimel, Deirdre, Fiona, Llewella, and Coral.
The Chronicles of Amber Books in Order:
a. The Corwin cycle
Narrated in the first person by Corwin, a prince of Amber, this cycle describes his adventures and life upon re-encountering his family after a loss of memory and an absence of centuries.
- Nine Princes in Amber – Carl Corey wakes up in a secluded New York hospital with amnesia. He escapes and investigates, discovering the truth, piece by piece: he is really Prince Corwin, of Amber, the one true world of which our Earth is just a shadow. He is one of nine men who might rule Amber, if he can fight his way past the armies of his older brother Eric.
- The Guns of Avalon – Across the worlds of Shadow, Corwin, heir to the throne of Amber, gathers his forces for an assault that will yield up to him the crown that is rightfully his. But, a growing darkness of his own doing threatens his plans, an evil that stretches to the heart of the perfect kingdom itself where the demonic forces of Chaos mass to annihilate Amber and all who would rule there.
- Sign of the Unicorn – Having now accepted the responsibilities as ruler to the world of Amber, Corwin finds himself the target of sibling treachery, and must seek guidance in a land of visions, where a sinister prediction foretells his doom.
- The Hand of Oberon – Family blood has been spilled on the Pattern that created Amber, throwing the entire kingdom in chaos. In a desperate effort to save themselves, the princes and princesses of Amber—led by Lord Corwin—search for answers. Where has their father, Oberon, has disappeared to, and what evil has created the black road that unites Amber and that multidimensional world called Shadow? Most importantly, there is a traitor in their midst …Who?
- The Courts of Chaos – Prince Corwin finds his world dissolving around him when his father Oberon, disguised as a friend, steals the Jewel of Judgment so that he may defeat the evil Brand.
b. The Merlin Cycle
This cycle focus on Merlin, Corwin’s son and is a coming of age story where Merlin must come in terms with his heritage as a Prince of Chaos and Amber.
- Trumps of Doom – Merlin knows that someone is going to try and kill him. He knows this because it’s April 30th and someone tries to kill him every April 30th. He has no idea who wants to kill him, why they want to kill him, or why they only try to kill him once a year. But this year he intends to find out and put a stop to it.
- Blood of Amber – When last we saw Merlin, Luke had imprisoned him in the blue crystal cave. After more than a month of durance Merlin manages an escape. But he’s not content with just gaining his freedom. Merlin journeys to the Keep of Four Worlds and does battle with the upstart wizard Mask. Merlin’s adventures only get stranger from there.
- Sign of Chaos – Merlin finds himself in a marvelous bar drinking with Luke, the Cheshire Cat, and the Mad Hatter. He can’t help but feel that perhaps this isn’t . . . Normal. When the Jabberwock appears Merlin’s head clears just enough to realize that he’s caught in Luke’s LSD-inspired hallucination. When a Fire Angel, one of the most powerful, magical killing beasts in existence, arrives to kill him he realizes that he has to do something quick or both he and Luke are finished.
- Knight of Shadows – Merlin finally faces his most powerful enemy and is shocked when he learns their identity. But even this revelation must take a back seat to the powers of Order and Chaos when they decide it is time for Merlin, a mixed heritage immortal, to chose which side he will align with.
- Prince of Chaos – Upon the death of Swayvill, King of Chaos, Merlin unexpectedly finds himself under Black Watch with only two heirs between him and the throne. In his absence a deadly game of thrones has greatly reduced the number of heirs. Merlin has his suspicions about this, but before he can do more than raise voice to his questions he is once again caught up in the struggle between the Pattern in Amber and the Logrus in Chaos. A struggle that could destroy the entire multiverse.
c. Short Stories
After The Merlin Cycle, Roger Zelazny wrote some Amber short stories, in which he began to tease the threads of the story into a new configuration. He died shortly after completing the last of these short stories.
- Manna from Heaven – A collection of fantasy short stories by American writer Roger Zelazny containing 22 stories, 6 of them tie into The Chronicles of Amber series : Prologue from the Trumps of Doom; The Salesman’s Tale ; Blue Horse, Dancing Mountains ; The Shroudling and the Guisel ; Coming to a Cord ; Hall of Mirrors
d. Dawn of Amber series
Several years after Zelazny’s death, his estate authorized a new series of Amber novels, and John Gregory Betancourt was selected as the writer. Dawn of Amber is a prequel and takes place centuries or millennia before Nine Princes in Amber. It is told from the point of view of Corwin’s father Oberon. the fourth book concluded on a cliffhanger, and Betancourt never wrote the planned and scheduled fifth volume.
- The Dawn of Amber – Snatched from the jaws of death by the mysterious figure he knows only as Dworkin, young Oberon travels to the realm of Juniper, one of the lands of Shadow that mirror the Courts of Chaos. There he learns his true identity and his flawed heritage and meets his eccentric and magically powerful family for the first time.
- Chaos and Amber – Dworkin and his son Oberon arrive at the Courts of Chaos to discover, and confront, their hidden enemies. But things don’t go as planned. Dworkin takes Oberon on a desperate journey, pressing deeper into Shadow than ever before. Here, Oberon discovers more of the true nature of his father…and of his real mother.
- To Rule in Amber – Oberon takes on the reins of leadership, and he carves an empire from the new universe created by his father. Enemies new and old lie in wait, and creating a kingdom for himself and his heirs requires delicate political maneuvering, a will of iron, and the might of a born warrior.
- Shadows of Amber – Oberon, newly-crowned King of Amber, finds himself in the middle of deadly political machinations, as his father tries to turn him into a puppet ruler. Meanwhile, rumors abound of a “Shadow Amber” in the sea, where a distorted version of Oberon sits on an onyx throne. To make matters worse, Oberon’s sister is trying to marry him off to a grasping would-be queen, at least two siblings are out for his blood, and the entire Shadow-universe is starting to unravel. What’s a new king to do… but seek help from an unlikely new ally?