The fictitious world
comes from Roger Zelazny
's "Amber" series of fantasy novels. It has taken on something of a life and following of its own, like Tolkien's Middle-earth
on a lesser scale
The Chronicles of Amber:
- Nine Princes in Amber
- The Guns of Avalon
- Sign of the Unicorn
- The Hand of Oberon
- The Courts of Chaos
- Trumps of Doom
- Blood of Amber
- Sign of Chaos
- Knight of Shadows
- Prince of Chaos
The first five books concern Corwin
, the last 5 are about Corwin's son Merlin
- Primal Powers:
Dworkin, the Unicorn, Oberon, the Serpent
- Elder Powers:
Corwin, Eric, Benedict, Bleys, Random, Brand, Caine, Julian, Gerard;
Deirdre, Fiona, Llewella, Florimel
- Younger Powers:
Merlin, Julia, Luke, Martin
points out that Julia wasn't exactly a Power of Amber, but rather a mortal who delved into metaphysics. I've chosen to retain her here because she plays an important role in Merlin's story.)
Pattern : Logrus :: Law : Chaos
(or, an Amber creation myth.)
In the beginning, Chaos was one, undivided, undifferentiated. And the Serpent was the Logrus, and the Logrus was Chaos. Then there were more Powers; one of them was Dworkin. Dworkin stole the Eye of the Serpent, and stabilized an intersection of the Logrus into the Pattern that is Amber. The tension between Amber and Chaos makes an infinite array of Shadow worlds. That's where Castle Amber stands to this day.
Dworkin begat Oberon, and Oberon begat the Elder Powers listed above. The males (listed first) are the Nine Princes in the title of the first book, the females are the Princesses of Amber.
In the absence of a Fall myth...
Primal Chaos as represented by the Serpent is not virtuous; therefore, Dworkin is better compared with Ptah or Odin than cast as a Lucifer parallel. Metaphysically, the Pattern sustains Amber; the phrase "exnihilate" seems appropriate.
The first Chronicles carry the more mythic overtones. First, the Nine Princes each have a unique strength; Corwin's is endurance. Second, each has Prince(Princess)-of-the-One-True-World powers, like traversing Shadow and using the cards called Trumps. Each trump depicts one of the Princes, and they function sort of like interplanar walkie-talkie/teleporters. Some of them are more learned in the mysteries of Pattern and Trump than others, so there is a rich interplay of structures within which the characters plot and compete.
Creatures and Constructs: The Unicorn | The Serpent | Ghostwheel | Fire Angel | Jabberwock
Chaos Powers: Dara | Jurt | Mandor |
Amber Diceless Roleplaying: Phage Press publishes the RPG based on Zelazny's Amber work; Zelazny himself was something of a gamer.
Places in and out of Shadow:
Keep of the Four Worlds | The Golden Circle | Rebma |
The Courts of Chaos | Shadow Earth | Avalon | The Primal Pattern | Arden Forest |
The Jewel of Judgement | Ghostwheel | Trumps | Broken Pattern |
In 2002, the first volume of a new Amber trilogy by Star Trek novelist John Gregory Betancourt was released, titled The Dawn of Amber, detailing the early adventures of Oberon before he started fathering maladjusted immortals all over Shadow.
Maybe my expectations were too great; it seems Betancourt has lifted all the jargon from Zelazny's books and closely paralleled the exposition from Nine Princes in Amber, but where Zelazny took occasional risks and changed up his style, Betancourt takes none. The result (as of halfway through Volume 1) is uninspired hackery.