OFF THE SHELF: “Blood of Amber”

By Marcus Pan

Chain Border

Blood of AmberOnce again we travel to the “one true world” of Amber with Roger, kicking along with good old Merlin on his travels and travails as one of the few sorcerers to ever walk both the Pattern and the Logrus. Now where in this series Blood of Amber fits, I’m still not sure – the series is somewhat convoluted, but I think I have surmised the following as a listing of novels that join this series to be the following (note that this could be somewhat off, especially once we get beyond book V in the series):

1. Nine Princes in Amber
2. The Guns of Avalon
3. Sign of the Unicorn
4. The Hand of Oberon
5. The Courts of Chaos
6. Blood of Amber
7. Trumps of Doom
8. Knight of Shadows

The last book review I wrote up was the 8th listed here, and certainly does fall after this, Blood of Amber. Now I seem to have missed a lot, but this traipse through Amber was a bit more fulfilling than Knight of Shadows was...the intrigue that is prevalent throughout the courts of this fantasy world run deep – a virtual hodgepodge of mired rumors, vendettas and double dealing. It’s a fantasy soap opera.

In this portion, Merle heads back to Amber to find himself pursued by an unknown enemy’s forces, while at the same time protected by another supernatural creature able to take up residence in bodies, many of which turn out to have been folks he’s known in the past. It seems that this power has been keeping its proverbial eye on him for years now, to some unknown end.

Additionally meeting up with his past friend Luke, who is now avowed against his own family due to the death of his father, Merle must also solve the mystery that is at Four Worlds while rescuing Luke’s mother from the residence in exchange for a mysterious piece of vital information that Luke offers to give him. The piece of information turns out to be even more strange heritage-laden vendettas, and all throughout Merle is still fighting off the evil bent of his brother while trying to decide what to do with the supercomputer he built via magic and technology combined, called Ghostwheel.

There’s some good flashback pieces within Blood of Amber so that, unlike in Knight of Shadows, there at least is some semblance of past history you can relate to within the novel. It also reads better and surely doesn’t get as cheesy as my past venture into Amberland. It might be worthwhile to travel back to the tale of the Nine Princes in Amber and continue throughout, but while it’s good it’s not THAT good that I feel I should go seeking out the other pieces of this puzzle. And besides, for all I know, I may have them down in the basement already in a different pile from which I’ve been dealt these two.

But first, I’m heading off with Dilvish the Damned, yet another character created by Zelazny. Maybe afterwards I’ll find another Amber, or maybe I won’t. I’m ok with either way since, while Blood of Amber I found to be better than Knight of Shadows, I’m still not stoked about it. It’s one of those books that will fade in memory not long after I finish this paragraph. This is the truth, regardless that this book won Hugo and Nebula awards in times past.

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“Blood of Amber” by Roger Zelazny
Cover Art by Tim White Published by Avon Books a division of The Hearst Corporation
Copyright © 1986 by the Amber Corporation
ISBN: 0-380-89636-2
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 86-3530

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