Sunday, September 21, 2008

Book Review: The Great Book of Amber

Are you looking for a good science fiction/fantasy read? Do you have a lot of time on your hands? If so, The Great Book of Amber by Roger Zelazny is a good selection. It's actually a collection of 10 novels, all about a family of superhuman beings who rule a kingdom called Amber. The book's worldview also includes a collection of parallel universes called Shadow. The beings who rule Amber can move through Shadow, changing it as they see fit. The family may be superhuman in abilities, but they are thoroughly human in motivation and behavior. Their interaction is like a soap opera, with plenty of intrigues and betrayals.

Sometimes I read a fantasy novel and come away convinced that the author "knows something." I suspected that about Mr. Zelazny after reading Lord of Light, but 70% of the way through this book, I'm thoroughly convinced of it. In addition to a family-owned set of tarot trumps and a customized labyrinth called "the Pattern," there are even correct references to qabalah.

As I said in an earlier post, a good science fiction/fantasy novel will stretch our beliefs about what is possible. The Great Book of Amber is no exception. Pick up a copy, but be prepared to spend months with it.

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