The Chronicles of Amber

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The Chronicles of Amber is a popular fantasy series (consisting of ten books) by Roger Zelazny.

The First Chronicles of Amber

Nine Princes in Amber (1970)

  • I was garbed all in white, the color of vanilla ice cream and Moby Dick.
    • Chapter I
  • Anyone who tried to hurt me, to use me, did so at his own peril and now he would receive his due, whoever he was, this one. I felt a strong desire to kill, to destroy whomever had been responsible, and I knew it was not the first time in my life that I had felt this thing, and I knew that I had followed through on it in the past.
    • Chapter II
  • I'd remember those who helped me and step on the rest. For this, I knew, was the law by which our family lived, and I was a true son of my father...
    • Chapter III
  • Of all my relations, I like sex the best and Eric the least.
    • Chapter IV
  • The blood billowed above them, and I suddenly realized I had known mad, sad, bad Vincent Van Gogh, and it was really too bad he couldn't have painted this.
    • Chapter V
  • I walked among shadows, and found a race of furry creatures, dark and clawed and fanged, reasonably man-like, and about as intelligent as a freshman in the high school of your choice — sorry, kids, but what I mean is they were loyal, devoted, honest, and too easily screwed by bastards like me and my brother. I felt like the dee-jay of your choice.
    • Chapter VI
  • My sight was returning to me, that's what it meant — that lovely patch of brightness, off somewhere to my right.
    • Chapter IX
  • I have transformed the peaceful Valley of Garnath into what it now represented: a symbol of my hate for Eric and for all those others who had stood by and let him get away with his power grab, let him blind me.
    • Chapter X

The Guns of Avalon (1972)

  • I trusted him like a brother, which is to say, not at all.
  • I smiled. "Of course it does not apply to me. I am the soul of honor, kindness, mercy, and goodness. Trust me in all things."

Sign of the Unicorn (1975)

  • Of troubles I considered myself amply possessed. But those who have do seem to get. Some spiritual form of compound interest, I suppose.
    • Corwin, Ch. 1
  • While sex heads a great number of lists, we all have other things we like to do in between. With me, Corwin, it's drumming, being up in the air, and gambling — in no special order. Well, maybe soaring has a little edge — in gliders, balloons, and certain variations — but mood has a lot to do with that too, you know. I mean, ask me another time and I might say one of the others. Depends on what you want most at the moment.
    • Random, Ch. 2
  • I played the Shadow game we all learned as children. Pass some obstruction — a scrawny tree, a stand of stone — and have the sky be different from one side to the other. Gradually I restored familiar constellations. I knew that I would be climbing down a different mountain from the one I ascended.
    • Corwin, Ch. 2
  • For a moment I regarded the Pattern — a shining mass of curved lines that tricked the eye as it tried to trace them — imbedded there, huge, in the floor's slick blackness. It had given me power over Shadow, it had restored most of my memory. It would also destroy me in an instant if I were to essay it improperly. What gratitude the prospect did arouse in me was therefore not untinged with fear. It was a splendid and cryptic old family heirloom which belonged right where it was, in the cellar.
    • Corwin, Ch. 3
  • "If you herald some turn in our fortunes, if you bring us some measure of grace — thanks, unicorn," I said. "And even if you do not, thanks for the brightness of your company at a dark time."
    • Corwin, Ch. 5
  • Life's incessant ceremonies leap everlasting, humans spring eternal on hope's breast, and frying pans without fires are often far between.
    • Corwin, Ch. 6
  • How to put simply that which is not a simple thing . . . ? Solipsism, I suppose, is where we have to begin — the notion that nothing exists but the self, or, at least, that we cannot truly be aware of anything but our own existence and experience. I can find, somewhere, off in Shadow, anything I can visualize. Any of us can. This, in good faith, does not transcend the limits of the ego. It may be argued, and in fact has, by most of us, that we create the shadows we visit out of the stuff of our own psyches, that we alone truly exist, that the shadows we traverse are but projections of our own desires. . . . Whatever the merits of this argument, and there are several, it does go far toward explaining much of the family's attitude toward people, places, and things outside of Amber. Namely, we are toymakers and they, our playthings — sometimes dangerously animated, to be sure; but this, too, is part of the game. We are impresarios by temperament, and we treat one another accordingly. While solipsism does tend to leave one slightly embarrassed on questions of etiology, one can easily avoid the embarrassment by refusing to admit the validity of the questions. Most of us are, as I have often observed, almost entirely pragmatic in the conduct of our affairs. Almost. . .
    Yet — yet there is a disturbing element in the picture. There is a place where the shadows go mad. . . .
    When you purposely push yourself through layer after layer of Shadow, surrendering — again, purposely — a piece of your understanding every step of the way, you come at last to a mad place beyond which you cannot go. Why do this? In hope of an insight. I'd say, or a new game . . . But when you come to this place, as we all have, you realize that you have reached the limit of Shadow or the end of yourself — synonymous terms, as we had always thought. Now, though. . .
    Now I know that it is not so, now as I stand, waiting, without the Courts of Chaos, telling you what it was like, I know that it is not so.
    • Corwin, Ch. 10
  • "Why have we been brought here and shown this thing?"
    "It does not correspond to the true state of affairs," I said. "It is the true state of affairs."
    Ganelon turned toward us.
    "On that shadow Earth we visited — where you had spent so many years — I heard a poem about two roads that diverged in a wood," he said. "It ends, 'I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.' When I heard it, I thought of something you had once said — 'All roads lead to Amber' — and I wondered then, as I do now, at the difference the choice may make, despite the end's apparent inevitability to those of your blood."
    "You know?" I said. "You understand?"
    "I think so."
    He nodded, then pointed.
    "That is the real Amber down there, isn't it?"
    "Yes," I said. "Yes, it is."
    • Random, Ganelon, and Corwin, Ch. 11

The Hand of Oberon (1976)

  • About a week ago, brother Caine was murdered, under conditions arranged to show me as the culprit. The fact that I had slain his slayer was hardly satisfactory evidence of my innocence, in that the guy was necessarily in no condition to talk about it.
    • Chapter 2
  • [A] man should have the right to lead his own life without the meddling of relatives, no matter how well-intentioned.
    • Chapter 3
  • I closed my eyes, closed them to join her in darkness, to recall for a brief while the world where other messages than light waves took precedence.
    • Chapter 4
  • I could not be truly harmed because the Pattern protects me, and who but I could harm the Pattern? A beautiful closed system, it seemed, its weakness totally shielded by its strength. ... My blood, with which I drew it, could deface it. But it took me ages to realize that the blood of my blood could also do this thing.
    • Chapter 5

The Courts of Chaos (1978)

  • Good-bye and hello, as always.

The Second Chronicles of Amber

Trumps of Doom (1985)

  • It was a pain in the ass waiting around for someone to try to kill you. But it was April 30, and of course it would happen like it always did.
    • Opening words of second sage, Chapter 1
  • Why couldn't you want a divorce, like any sensible young man?
    • Chapter 6

Blood of Amber (1986)

  • We never used to word "love," though it must have ran through her mind on occasion, as it did through mine. It was, I suppose, that I didn't love her enough to trust her, and then it was too late.
    • Chapter 4

Sign of Chaos (1987)

Knight of Shadows (1989)

Prince of Chaos (1991)

  • See one coronation and you've seen them all. Sounds cynical and probably is, especially when the principal is your best friend and his queen's your inadvertent lover.
    • Chapter I
    • Opening words
  • Every time I complained about politics, here, in Amber, back in the States on the Shadow Earth, there was the automatic corollary of considering the way I'd manage situations if I were in charge.
    • Chapter II
  • Either it possesses a certain element of irrationality itself, like living things, or it is an intelligence of such an order that some of its processes only seem irrational to lesser beings. Either explanation amounts to the same from a practical standpoint.
    • Chapter III
  • Sometimes you hear an unlikely thing and that's all it is. Other times, you hear something improbably and it strikes an echo.
    • Chapter IV
  • I no longer felt my body. Time was an alien concept. The striving was no longer striving, but a form of elemental movement now, beside which glaciers rushed.
    • Chapter V

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