Nine Princes of Amber: the summary
Nine Princes of Amber
The main character awakes in a private hospital. He doesn't know his own name or who he is. He remembers that he has been in a car accident but nothing else. He learns that his sister Flora put him in a hospital and has been paying for his staying there. He manages to escape from the place and goes to Flora's mansion.
Flora is very afraid of him, because she doesn't know what he remembers. Corwin pretends he knows everything and talks to her for a while trying to retrieve some information. Then Flora goes away and Corwin searches the library in the mansion to get some clues about his past. He takes the blade from the wall and understands that he is good at fencing. In a hidden place, he finds a pack of cards with strange Trumps. There were some people pictured on them. He recalls their names but nothing more.
Suddenly, the telephone rings and Corwin answers. It is his brother Random who needs help and a place to hide away. He said that some strange creatures are at his heels and he couldn't 'shift' them. Corwin invites him to Flora's mansion. Random comes and these creatures come with him. With combined efforts they could defend themselves and kill all the creatures. Corwin sees that they are not humans.
Corwin persuades Random to take a car and go to Amber together. Amber is the only true city which casts shadows - parallel worlds. Any other place is just a one of possible reflections of Amber. Only princes of Amber can walk among the shadows. Corwin doesn't remember how to do it but Random can.
After some obstacles they arrive to the Arden forest near Amber. In the forest, their brother Julian is hunting. He changes his target and begins to hunt for their car. By miracle, Corwin defeats Julian and knocks him off the gigantic horse, Morgenshtern. He spares Julian's life and they leave him.
On their way, they meet another relative - their sister Deidra, who was a prisoner in Amber and escaped. She tried to run away, but she was caught by the guards. Corwin sets her free, and they three continue their journey.
At that moment, Corwin makes a confession that he doesn't understand what the hell is going on and that he has lost all his memories. They decide to go to Rebma. It's an underwater city, an accurate reflection of Amber, so it has a copy of the Pattern - a strange curved labyrinth. Every son and daughter of the royal family has to pass through this maze to gain a power for walking among the shadows. They hope Corwin will pass through the Pattern and remember everything.
They go to Rebma. Despite the Julian's soldiers trying to capture them, they manage to arrive to Rebma successfully. Random becomes a prisoner in Rebma because of his past sins. He has to get married with a blind girl and live with her at least a year.
Corwin goes through the Pattern and reaches the center of it. While doing this, he is remembering everything. Now he knows who he is and why he hates Eric - a usurper of the throne of Amber. He understands that Eric had overpowered him and sent him to the Shadow named 'Earth' where he had been living for centuries. Eric hoped that Corwin would die there because of the plague, but Corwin survived, although with amnesia.
Eric sent his sister Flora to keep an eye on him. Corwin lived a hard but wonderful life on Earth. He met Napoleon and Freud, he was a warrior and a doctor, and he tried many other professions. However, all that time he had been trying to learn who he was, but the scientists and doctors only shrugged.
Now, after completing the Pattern, he remembered everything, and he despises Eric even more. Using the magic of the Pattern, he teleports himself to Amber and goes to the library looking for the cards. The cards are very important because they are a means of communication and the ability to teleport princes of Amber to one another. They were developed by a mad artist, Dworkin who also designed the Pattern.
Suddenly, Eric comes into the library and sees Corwin. They take out their swords and begin to fight. Eric is a good fighter, maybe the best fighter after Benedict, their martial arts teacher who trained both of them. Corwin is a good fighter, too. He manages to cut Eric, but then he has to escape because Eric's servants are on their way to help Eric. Corwin takes out the card of his brother Bleys and connects to him. He takes a step and finds himself near Bleys, in his Shadow.
Bleys hates Eric too. They decide to combine their efforts and create a great army against Eric. In the shadows, they collect some humanoid creatures who become their warriors. The creatures believe that Corwin and Bleys are good gods, and Eric is a lord of evil and must be overthrown.
They start their campaign. Corwin is commanding the naval fleet at sea while Bleys is leading the infantry at land. On their way to Amber, they have to deal with difficult weather conditions such as hurricanes, floods, storms, earthquakes and other obstacles along the way. Later, they learn that Eric has found how to control the weather with the Jewel of Judgment which has been responsible for the storms. Using this power, Eric continues to destroy their ships and troops. He creates so treacherous storms that the navy was destroyed completely. Corwin's had to teleport himself to Bleys via his card to continue the fight against Eric.
Then they reach the Arden Forest and suddenly find themselves in the middle of a fire. Eric burned up the ancient forest to block their path. Their army fled in panic.
At last, with the little forces they had left, they reach the mountain Kolvir where Amber stands. This mountain has a very narrow path to the top, so all the soldiers have to make a single file line to get up the mountain. However, Eric's soldiers meet them going down the path. Bleys meets their enemies with a ruthless braveness. He killed many people but finally he became tired and fell to the abyss. Corwin throws the deck of cards to him and has to fight instead. At the top of the mountain, he enters Amber and sees Eric who orders to capture him. They have lost. All their soldiers were either killed or imprisoned. Corwin became a prisoner as well.
A bit later Corwin watches the ceremony when Eric becomes king. After the inauguration, his eyes are burned out, and he becomes a blind prisoner for years. He curses Eric and opens a new way to Amber for the dark forces to enter. You can read about it in more details in the next book 'The Guns of Avalon'.
However, because he is a prince of Amber, his body has a great ability to recover and regenerate. Four years later, he recovered his eyesight.
Suddenly, in his chamber he meets Dworkin, a mad artist who had drawn the cards and the Pattern. Corwin is very surprised how Dworkin appeared here and Dworkin told him his story. Dworkin had learned a way how to destroy Amber, and the old king Oberon, Corwin's father, took him to the prison to keep it in secret. He might kill Dworkin but he was very valuable to the royal family. Despite the prison, Dworkin found a way out. Oberon disappeared unexpectedly without naming a successor.
Corwin thinks quickly and asks Dworkin to depict a lighthouse of Cabra on the wall of his chamber. Dworkin agrees and makes a picture of the lighthouse and another picture of his own room for returning. Dworkin looks at the picture of his room, steps out and vanishes. Corwin looks at the picture of the lighthouse, steps out of the chamber and finds himself at the lighthouse, near Amber. He is free again!
He spends some months at the lighthouse of Cabra and then starts a trip to find a quiet place to fully recover. He wants to find the city of Avalon where he had been a king before. He longs to collect a new army and defeat Eric.