Unlike the two Zelazny audiobooks that I listened to recently, Isle of Dead and My Name is Legion, which don’t exist in an easily obtainable and definitely legal manner, this is a work that can be purchased at any online seller of audiobooks including but not limited to Audible and iTunes.
The Chronicles of Amber is, for the very few of you reading this who haven’t encountered this series, concerns the affairs, usually attempting to murdering each other or remove one of them from power in the same manner, of a family who claims to rule Amber which they claim the only real Earth with all others being just Shadow Earths. There are ten short novels, two sets of five novels, one for Corwin and other for his son, Merlin.
This work was first published in 1970 and unlike his sf works from the same period, doesn’t feel dated. That might that fantasy has a tendency to feel, in my opinion, not to grow stale in a way much sf does including his works. Forty five years on, it’s still a bloody fine work.
(Zelazny never actually says that Amber is the one and true Earth, just that Corwin and his murderous family claim that it is. Given that none of them can trusted to tell the truth, who knows if their claim is true.)
Nine Princes in Amber is the beginning of the first person narrative of Corwin, one of the many siblings of that royal family, who at the start of the novel has no memory of himself being anything but a mortal. He’s not even aware that he’s resident on anything but the true Earth as he doesn’t know that there’s anything but his Earth. This novel (mostly) is concerned with his journey back to Amber and the various attempts by his siblings to stop him by any means possible.
Their father, Oberon, is mostly offstage during most of the series he will though play a significant role at least in terms of the politics in this series. If he’s anywhere near as murderous as his offspring, male and female alike, it’s a good thing that he’s absent.
It’s really not a good idea for me to give away plot details for this novel, so I won’t. It’s a novel that would make Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth and Richard the Third applaud the actions herein. If you like a fat paced fantasy novel crammed with witty, biting dialogue and even more than a bit of swordplay to boot, you’ll love this novel.
Alessandro Juliani proves to be a most excellent narrator handling the various characters in a way that makes them easy to tell apart. His pace is perfect to keep this short, five and a half hours long, moving briskly along. And the production by the Audible staff is, as always, first rate.
If you like this audiobook, all of the remains novels in the set of novels has been released by Audibole Studios and using, not surprisingly, the same narrator.
(Audible Studios, 2012)