Roger Zelazny's The Dawn of Amber

Roger Zelazny's The Dawn of Amber

by John Gregory Betancourt

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Overview

Fans of the late Roger Zelazny's popular Amber series should flock to this workmanlike, authorized prequel, the first of a projected trilogy, by Betancourt (Infection and three other Star Trek novels). Readers familiar with the heroes Corwin and Merlin from the earlier books will soon catch on that Betancourt's protagonist, the Conan-like Oberon (aka Obere), will one day be their father. In the realm of Chaos, Obere is as handy with his sword as with his sweethearts, serving the king of an outlying world. He is innocent of the magic that rules in his universe until he discovers he is not an orphan but has a nearly 200-year-old father, Dworkin, with vast magical abilities and many progeny from a wide assortment of mothers. Not all these siblings are loving, Obere finds. Betancourt captures the fantastic nature of the original and peppers his story with Amber-familiar terms such as Logrus, that mystical gift which enables its holders to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks and travel vast distances instantly; Trumps, the illustrated cards that assist those with Logrus to travel and even to foretell the future; and Courts of Chaos, the center of this pre-Amberian world. The narrative may lack the sparkling wit of its predecessors, but the cliffhanger ending should leave the faithful hungry for the next installment.

Snatched from the jaws of death by the mysterious figure he knows only as Dworkin, young Obere travels to the realm of Juniper, one of the lands of Shadow that mirror the Courts of Chaos. There he learns his true identity and his flawed heritage and meets his eccentric and magically powerful family for the first time. Working under authorization from the estate of the late Roger Zelazny, Betancourt inaugurates a new series that takes place in the popular world of the Amber novels. Exploring the origins of Amber itself and the nature of the world's most enigmatic character, Dworkin the "mad," Betancourt creates a thrill-a-minute series opener that should appeal to longtime fans of the previous series. For most fantasy collections.
—Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743445528
Publisher: ibooks, Incorporated
Publication date: 03/29/2012
Pages: 222
Sales rank: 880,513
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.51(d)

About the Author

JOHN GREGORY BETANCOURT is an editor, publisher, and bestselling author of science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories. He has had 36 books published, including the bestselling Star Trek novel, Infection, and three other Star Trek novels; a trilogy of mythic novels starring Hercules; the critically acclaimed Born of Elven Blood; Rememory; Johnny Zed; The Blind Archer; and many others. He is personally responsible for the revival of Weird Tales, the classic magazine of the fantastic, and has authored two critical works in conjunction with the Sci-Fi Channel: The Sci-Fi Channel Trivia Book and The Sci-Fi Channel Encyclopedia of TV Science Fiction.

ROGER ZELAZNY authored many science fiction and fantasy classics, and won three Nebula Awards and six Hugo Awards over the course of his long and distinguished career. While he is best known for his ten-volume Chronicles of Amber series of novels (beginning with 1970s Nine Princes in Amber), Zelazny also wrote many other novels, short stories, and novellas, including Psychoshop (with Alfred Bester), Damnation Alley, the award-winning The Doors of His Face, The Lamps of His Mouth and Isle of the Dead, and the stories "24 Views of Mount Fuji, by Hokusai," "Permafrost," and "Home is the Hangman." Zelazny died in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in June 1995.

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Roger Zelazny's The Dawn of Amber (Dawn of Amber Series #1) 2.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
txmacaw More than 1 year ago
I am not sure how publishers get their books translated to e-books, but trying to read this book was atrocious. Misspellings, paragraph screw-ups, creating a type of creature labeled as similar to "lei-sheon" and the next time calling it the shei-leon. Overall enjoyed the story, plot as I had read the original chronicles, but the editing on this had a lot to be desired. This applies to Chaos and Amber as well as To Rule in Amber, although not quite as bad. Seriously wish I could get my money credited back after the horrible editing job!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good enough story, slow start and not Zelazny. The larger issue is the poor quality of the text. Odd and inappropriate gaps and spacing in text, odd symbols in the words, inexplicable gaps and hyphenations in the words. C'mon, e-pubs should be well beyond this. Effectively a rip off as poor text quality makes reading a physical chore.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is an interesting lead-in to the history behind the original Zelazny books - some of my personal favorites. It seems to be shaping up into a decent account of the founding of Amber, although this volume doesn't take the story that far. The main complaint with the writing is the lack of conversational cues, which leads to dialogue that is only separated by quotations. A momentary distraction could leave a reader uncertain of who is speaking, necessitating a trip back a few lines to trace out the path of the dialogue. The editing is disappointing. There are many instances where words are split, separated with a comma, others where the words are not separated at all. In a few extreme cases the words are not intelligible at all, and can only be discerned from context. I would recommend this book to any Amber fan who is willing to ignore technical issues in the writing and editing. I will be getting the next volume soon, as the storyline is compelling and begs to be followed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'll start by saying I wish Roger Zelazny were still around to have written the prequel. However, I'm glad to see another author take up his universe and explore it further. I feared Amber was over and no new stories would be created. Betancourt brings up some new strategies with the trumps that I always wondered why Zelazny largely ignored. This series is a bit less introspective than the original, which makes it shorter, more straightforward, but less intriging too. Several main charactors die off with little development, so this could have been a longer book (less opportunity for intrigue. Still, I look forward to reading more of this series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you haven't read Zelazny's Chronicles, do so! If you have, do yourself a favor and stay away from Betancourt's 'prequel' - it has little or nothing to do with the spirit of the original novels. For one, people who have got used to Zelazny's masterful command of the language will find themselves quite aghast at the poor quality of the text. The dialog is dry and corny, the characters - shallow and undeveloped, and the plot itself - rather primitive, and quite inconsistent with the original chronicles. Names like Lord Zon, and King Uthor might be alright for Star Trek, but Amber... come on! It is apparent that Betancourt has made an attempt (a poor one) at capturing the mystery and intrigue of the original, but what has transpired completely lacks the charm of the Amber Chronicles, and is to the original as a chilren's book is to, say, McBeth. I haven't had the pleasure of reading anything else from Betancourt, but my gut feeling tells me that he should probably stick to Star Trek novels.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Simply bad is simply correct. I anticipated reading this 'new' Amber series by re-reading the original 10 books by Zelazny, and the contrast between the two is stunning, as in being hit over the head with a bat. Betancourt's story is thin, contradicts the original in several places, and simply overreaches his grasp as a story teller and a novelist. Example: describing a battle as 'epic' that took exactly 5 paragraphs to describe from start to finish. And Oberon's description of the day he had to tell his family that two of their members had died as 'unpleasant' is pathetic. Stay away from this series - your time and money is better spent elsewhere.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Text is shown only on the left side of the screen no matter what font, margin, text size or screen orientation. Get only a few words per line with lots of whitespace on right side of screen.
Homechicken on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've been a fan of Zelazny's work for many years, and although I didn't have high hopes for this book, it turned out better than I thought it would. It could have used some proofreading, though. A few glaringly bad errors in both spelling and editing would have bumped this book up a notch, but overall it wasn't a terrible read.Like the title states, this book is about the dawn of Amber, and takes place before Amber was created. Oberon is rescued by his "uncle Dworkin" (who he later learns is his father) from an invading army, saving him from certain death. Dworkin takes him to a new shadow where the rest of his brothers and sisters have congregated to face the armies brought to bear against them. Oberon learns that something in him is not compatible with the Logrus of Chaos and that he will never be able to traverse it and live. But unlike his brothers and sisters, Oberon has a new pattern inside him, and together with Dworkin they begin to learn of its power and use it to rescue the family from certain death. Unfortunately there is a traitor in their midst, and we don't find out who it is yet in this book.
jimmaclachlan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've read that a lot of people don't like this addition to Zelazny's Amber series by Betancourt. I do. I've read just about all of Zelany's stuff & the Amber series a dozen times or more. I think he's done a great job of adding on & I hope he can get the 5th book published to complete the series - I read that the publisher went out of business after book 4, which really, really sucks. Oberon was left in a tight spot!This series is a prelude to the Amber series, about Oberon & the founding of Amber. I don't care for most books written by other people based on Zelazny's work, but find I like this.
szarka on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It takes guts to tackle a story set in another writer's universe, and a much-beloved universe at that! Though no substitute for Zelazny himself, Betancourt largely succeeds at giving us one more glimpse at Amber.
StanBarr More than 1 year ago
John Gregory Betancourt is the worthy successor chronicleer to Roger Zelazny's Amber series. He explores how Amber came to be. Who is Oberon, really? What are the politics of the Courts Of Chaos? Betancourt ties up many loose ends and, of course, opens up many more. Currently there are three books in the Dawn of Amber series -- I do hope he continues to explore the history of Amber.
SereneTiger More than 1 year ago
The story line might be great, but I I can't read the e-book. The quality is terrible!  Barnes and Noble should not offer this as a nook-book, unless they are selling it for a dollar or something.  I feel completely ripped off!
pj52 More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed very much .still looking for next book in e book form.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read all the amber books several times. As with a great movie, you have questions that were never answered. The writing is not as good as I would have liked. Hovever, it is a great story and I thought enough of it to lend my book to another Amber reader. Give it a chance, I read it twice. How bad could it be ?
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was introduced to The Chronicles of Amber about 20 years after the first book. My friend lent me the first, and from then on, I was always waiting for the next. Now..passing by the bookstore, I see "Dawn of Amber." I was intrigued, as any Zelazny Fan, I thought who would dare recreate his fantastic world? I was surprised at the flexability of this author to keep me captivated, to keep me on the proverbial edge of my seat, just like Zelazny had. I agree that it is shorter, and easier to read. Maybe I am just selfish and want a longer story. I applaud this Author in taking the risk of following in Roger's footsteps and creating what some of us wanted. My hats off to you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I for one liked it. I enjoyed the Amber series, although i'm probably not a hardcore devotee like some others seem to be. My one complaint was the length of this story. I read it in just under a day of casual reading. The book was approximately 300 pages of very large text with some of the largest margins i've seen. The story moves fast, but that just might be an illusion due to the lack of length. I am looking forward to the next book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Preface I have been highly critical of those who appear to be on a mission to trash the book and the author. Indeed, most of the negative reviews of the book spend more time and space making personal attacks upon the author than offering any insight into the work itself. It should be pointed out that I came to this work, as one should, with a neutral point of view; not planning to like it, nor hate it. I expected the work, and author, to do one thing: win me over. It is my opinion that most of the negative comments I've read did not come from people who started out from such neutral ground. Reviews from sources such as these are to be discarded out of hand and used to line the virtual bird cages to absorb the waste bits of virtual budgies. That said, onward with the review. 'Dawn of Amber' - The Review I have been an 'Amber' fan since I first discovered the series when it was first published as a two volume set for the 'Science Fiction Book Club'. I think it was 1980, but maybe it was a few years later or earlier. I do remember I was in the USAF at the time and stationed in the UK just outside of Oxford. Roger Zelazny's work intrigued me. Just about every element of what he had done had appeared in numerous stories in the past. Alternative histories, divergent time-lines, court intrigue were the stuff of thousands and millions of works. Zelazny pulled them all together into a new and exciting story. From the film nior opening of 'Nine Princes' I was hooked on 'Amber'. I over-dosed on it. Those two special volumes made me want more. When Roger produced the first book of the second series I found the wait between books interminable. When the second series ended, with way too many threads left hanging, and Roger had died, I was left frustrated. I wanted more information, I wanted Corwin's story. I still have hope. A few months ago, late to the discussion, I discovered that another author had taken on the task of writing a new 'Amber' series. I do not believe that sequels must exist. I do not believe that every little back-story or character needs to be given space. I do not believe that fans deserve a voice in a work. (More on that later. Maybe.) I do believe that there is enough room, in many stories, to provide new aspects. Tom Clancy is one of my favorite authors. His 'Jack Ryan' series has been one of my favorites. When he provided us with a book length back-story of the 'John Clark' character ('Without Remorse'), I thought a new 'John Clark' series was in order. Sadly, it appears Tom Clancy will not do as such. Nor should he if he does not wish to do so. That said, I've read two of the 'Tom Clancy's Ops Center' books. My personal opinion of them were not favorable. I went in expecting Clancy. Clancy was not there. Nor even the scent of his aftershave. But, I learned a lesson. When an author writes in another author's universe, the reader/fan cannot hope to find the original author within the work. With that in mind, I picked up John Betancourt's 'Dawn of Amber', expecting not to find Zelazny, but expecting to find a story that would expand my view of 'Amber'. In each of the series, Zelazny's and Betancourt's, each character/narrator has their own style of telling their story. Corwin differed from Merlin as each differs from Oberon and he differs from them. Oberon is established as his own character. The story opens with young Oberon being rescued by his Uncle/Father Dworkin. When last seen, Dworkin was a character of himself. A man given to fits of madness and genius. A man wounded in heart and mind with the events of his past. A past that had never been given air. When last seen Oberon was the insufficient parent/monarch driven by his own demons, boredom, and somewhat anti-social tendencies. Oberon died in the act of trying to save his kingdom and universe from his children. In this story, both men are prese
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you have never read the Amber stories, stop right here and go get THE GREAT BOOK OF AMBER by Roger Zelazny. For less than this book costs, you will get all 10 of the marvelous Amber novels by the original author. If you've read the Amber stories and are desperate for anything more of Amber, should you read this book? Probably not. Although fast-paced, the book is poorly written. The dialog is trite and first narration embarrassingly amateurish. The story really fails because of its errors in the Amber universe. Oberon and Dworkin are so mischaracterized as to be unrecognizable from Zelazny's work. There are major errors in chronology and other aspects of the Amber universe which I can't discuss without including spoilers here. See the newsgroup alt.books.roger-zelazny for discussions of this book. The dust jacket claims this to be Roger Zelazny's Dawn of Amber. That is untrue. Roger did not create this story, left no notes on Amber, and stated that he did not want others writing in the Amber universe. Nevertheless, his estate hired a novelization writer to do just that. Shame on them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have tried to be open-minded about the content of this novel itself and judge it on its own merits. That said, I have read it and found it wanting: wanting for a plot, wanting for interesting characters, wanting for something that indicates the author actually understood the original novels and short stories, and wanting, frankly, for a narrative style that isn't both pretentious and inept. I have rarely found a book with worse first-person narration. The narration is appallingly bad. Only in the worst of Amber fan fiction does one usually see first-person narration handled this poorly. Certainly nothing published in Amberzine has ever had such poor narrative style. In fairness, first-person narratives are hard to write. Zelazny was a master of the style. So is Brust. Betancourt clearly is not. One wonders then why he made the attempt as he was not up to the task. Betancourt's narrator is Oberon. This is one of the great tragedies of the novel. Much as the Star Wars prequels have taken Vader from being interesting to a simpering young man, so too has Betancourt reduced Oberon. Perhaps to emulate Zelazny's style in the Corwin novels, Betancourt gives us an Oberon unaware of his true origins and unaware of the true nature of his universe. While allowing the reader to discover things as Oberon does, this is a bad idea. The audience of this book is already going to be well-versed in Zelazny's cosmology. They have already seen this trick. This is the problem with much of the novel: we've seen it before and better elsewhere. Betancourt's setting, too, lacks appeal. Instead of the Courts of Chaos, Betancourt gives the run of the mill fantasy kingdom of Ilerium and an Amber substitute with the painfully bad name of Juniper. The sense of wonder found in Zelazny's novels is sorely needed here. There are no wondrous new settings, just stock locations from bad fantasy books. Interesting fantasy elements found in other Betancourt novels that gave me some small hope that he might do something interesting here. Alas, this is not the case. I can think of not one single scene that I thought was fresh or interesting or original or inspired. The character names, also, are uninspired. From the extremely unoriginal Uthor and Valeria to the incredibly boring Freda and Helda. The fantasy names are even worse: I find names such King Elnar and Lord Zon painful to read. Betancourt displays only the briefest hint that he read Zelazny's novels. He claims to be a fan, but certainly, it doesn't show in his work. The material he uses is derivative at best and you never see a love of the material shining through the work. The information he uses could actually have been gleaned from the RPG, rather than the novels. And as the Merlin series seems to contradict the Corwin series, so too does this series seem to contradict Zelazny's novels. Frankly, the much reviled VISUAL GUIDE and the even more despised COMPLETE AMBER SOURCEBOOK both felt closer to the spirit and intent of Zelazny's novels. Most Amber fan fiction is far better than this novel. Most fan fiction has a better understanding of Zelazny's universe. Most of it has better interpretations of the events leading to the creation of Amber. I know Zelazny didn't want other authors writing Amber novels. If only they had honored his wishes.