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Nine Princes in Amber

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Confession No. 3: This book is out of print (sorry!), but it tells a story as old as the hills, one of retrograde amnesia, a discovery of godlike lineage, travel through multiple worlds, and freakishly cool sorcery. Zelazny skillfully and gradually reveals the plot of this individual novel as well as introduces major series machinations that lead readers onward to the other stories in the "Chronicles of Amber." The first five books follow Corwin, a prince in the House of Amber, as he gains, loses, regains, and generally messes about with the family throne amid the constant shifting alliances of his eight brothers, armies that they raise, assassinations, and various real and shadow worlds. There's also The Trumps (not Donald and Ivanka), a tarot deck with images of family members that offer contact and teleportation when used. As in much saga fiction, cosmic forces (in this case Pattern and Chaos) influence life and result in plot. The next five entries in the series follow Corwin's son Merlin, who is a product of both Pattern (Corwin) and Chaos (on his mother's side) as he is pursued by various friends and foes. While certainly enjoyable, the Merlin novels feel more contemporary; some call them second-tier, but it's fairer to consider them a new series. Dude factors: intrigue, power, assassinations. Can't find this on Half.com or eBay? Eos published all ten novels in one massive tome in 1999, ISBN 978-0-380-80906-6. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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