What happens when a man with amnesia discovers a magical Tarot deck and blunders into
the One True World from whence all other worlds were created?
Every five years I re-read the first five books of this ten-book series, and every five years my life is made richer by it.
If you know me, you know that I know Tarot. I’ve published two tarot decks under a pen name–The Kingdom Within Tarot and The Healing Tarot–as well as a comprehensive book on mastering the Tarot for yourself, entitled The Alchemy of Tarot: Practical Enlightenment through the Astrology, Qabalah, and Archetypes of Tarot. (If you’re interested in finding out more about my own Tarot projects, Click Here.)
The Great Big Book of Amber is actually two five-book story arcs that take place in the land of Amber, the proto-world from whence all other worlds were spawned (including our own). The first five-book arc centers around Carl Corey, a man who wakes up having no idea who he is, only to discover that his very survival depends upon discovering his lost identity.
And it’s a pack of Tarot Trumps that leads him on the journey to the truth of himself, the archetypal world of Amber, and the ultimate salvation of not only Amber but all the parallel worlds in existence.
One Artist’s vision for the Tarot Trumps of Amber:
If you know Tarot, you’ll realize that this Tarot deck is different from any Tarot deck in our world, and not just because it is magical. Zelazny creates an alternate vision of Tarot for his fantasy based upon the land of Amber, and just as Amber is different from all other worlds, the Tarot deck of Amber does not dabble in fortune-telling but instead provides its users the power to walk between worlds.
This fantastical series is not only a delightful romp but explores ideas about the nature of reality and our place in it that just might leave your mind reeling by the end. But even if you don’t care about such metaphysical ruminations, you’ll still love the characters and plot of this series.
And you don’t have to like Tarot or have any knowledge of it at all to love this series, I promise!
The first five books include (in order):
- Nine Princes in Amber
- The Guns of Avalon
- Sign of the Unicorn
- The Hand of Oberon
- The Courts of Chaos
The second story arc tells the story of Carl Corey’s son, Merlin. These books are entitled:
- Trumps of Doom
- Blood of Amber
- Sign of Chaos
- Knights of Shadows
- Prince of Chaos
The second story arc is wonderful, but for me not quite as wonderful as the first story arc. I have read all ten books, but find myself only re-reading the first five.
You can purchase all ten books together in The Great Big Book of Amber for less than twenty bucks on Amazon.
Need a little more convincing to take the plunge into this series? A Game of Thrones series author, George R.R. Martin, had this to say of Zelazny’s books:
“A storyteller without peer. He created worlds as colorful and exotic and memorable as any our genre has ever seen.”
—George R.R. Martin
Get thyself to a bookstore or library forthwith!
Muchier scale: 9 out of 10.