The Chronicles of Amber
The First Chronicles of Amber
Nine Princes in Amber (1970)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published by Avon Books ISBN 0-380-01430-0
- Some natural skepticism as to the purity of all human motives came and sat upon my chest.
- Chapter I (p. 5)
- I was garbed all in white, the color of Moby Dick and vanilla ice cream. Ugly.
- Chapter I (p. 8)
- I saw the Old Moon with the New Moon in her arms, hovering above a row of poplars. The grass was silvery and sparkled. The night was bargaining weakly with the sun.
- Chapter I (p. 8)
- You will answer my questions. Obviously you consider me dangerous. You may be right.
- Chapter I (p. 10)
- Anyone who tried to hurt me, to use me, did so at his own peril and now he would receive his due, whoever he was, this one. I felt a strong desire to kill, to destroy whoever had been responsible, and I knew it was not the first time in my life that I had felt this thing, and I knew, too, that I had followed through on it in the past. More than once.
- Chapter II (p. 14)
- I gathered I wasn’t very well liked. Somehow, the feeling pleased me.
- Chapter II (p. 21)
- So, since it seemed I had the run of the house, I decided I’d return to the library and see what I could learn there. Besides, I like libraries. It makes me feel comfortable and secure to have walls of words, beautiful and wise, all around me. I always feel better when I can see that there is something to hold back the shadows.
- Chapter III (p. 25)
- I knew that there wasn’t much brotherly love lost between the two of us. But I knew that on the one hand he was nobody’s fool; he was resourceful, shrewd, strangely sentimental over the damnedest things; and on the other hand, his word wasn’t worth the spit behind it, and he’d probably sell my corpse to the medical school of his choice if he could get much for it.
- Chapter III (p. 33)
- Of all my relations, I like sex the best and Eric the least.
- Chapter IV (p. 43)
- The blood billowed above them, and I suddenly realized I had known mad, sad, bad Vincent Van Gogh, and it was really too bad that he couldn't have painted this.
- Chapter V (p. 78)
- I had gained a piece of myself.
I saw the paper skins and the knobby, stick-like bones of the dead of Auschwitz. I had been present at Nuremberg, I knew. I heard the voice of Stephen Spender reciting "Vienna," and I saw Mother Courage cross the stage on the night of a Brecht premiere. I saw the rockets leap up from the stained hard places, Peenemunde, Vandenberg, Kennedy, Kyzyl Kum in Kazakhstan, and I touched with my hands the Wall of China. We were drinking beer and wine, and Shaxpur said he was drunk and went off to puke. I entered the green forests of the Western Reserve and took three scalps one day. I hummed a tune as we marched along and it caught on. It became "Auprès de ma blonde." I remembered, I remembered ... my life within the Shadow place its inhabitants had called the Earth.
- Chapter V (p. 87)
- Amber was the greatest city which had ever existed or ever would exist. Amber had always been and always would be, and every other city, everywhere, every other city that existed was but a reflection of a shadow of some phase of Amber.
- Chapter V (p. 90)
- “What makes you better than the rest of us, and more fit to rule?”
“The fact that I was able to occupy the throne,” he replied. “Try and take it.”
- Chapter V (p. 96)
- The land was known as Avernus, and the assembled troops were not quite men. I reviewed them the following morning, walking behind Bleys. They were all of them around seven feet in height, had very red skins and little hair, catlike eyes, and six-digited hands and feet. They wore garments that looked as light as silk, but were woven of something else and were mainly gray or blue in color. Each bore two short blades, hooked at the end. Their ears were pointed and their many fingers clawed.
The climate was warm and the colors bewildering, and everyone thought we were gods.
- Chapter VI (p. 104)
- I walked among Shadows, and found a race of furry creatures, dark and clawed and fanged, reasonably man-like, and about as intelligent as a freshman in the high school of your choice—sorry, kids, but what I mean is they were loyal, devoted, honest, and too easily screwed by bastards like me and my brother. I felt like the dee-jay of your choice.
- Chapter VI (p. 106)
- There is Shadow and there is Substance, and this is the root of all things. Of Substance, there is only Amber, the real city, upon the real Earth, which contains everything. Of Shadow, there is an infinitude of things. Every possibility exists somewhere as a Shadow of the real. Amber, by its very existence, has cast such in all directions. And what may one say of it beyond? Shadow extends from Amber to Chaos, and all things are possible within it. There are only three ways of traversing it, and each of them is difficult.
- Chapter VI (pp. 113-114)
- “Supposing I give you my word that I won’t do this thing?”
“Any man would be forsworn to gain a kingdom,” said Eric.
- Chapter VI (p. 122)
- As I stood on a hilltop and the evening began around me, it seemed as if I looked out over every camp I had ever stood within, stretching on and on over the miles and the centuries without end. I suddenly felt tears come into my eyes, for the men who are not like the lords of Amber, living but a brief span and passing into dust, that so many of them must meet their ends upon the battlefields of the world.
- Chapter VI (pp. 127-128)
- My sight was returning to me, that's what it meant—that lovely patch of brightness, off somewhere to my right.
- Chapter IX (p. 158)
- I had done this thing with my curse. I had transformed the peaceful Valley of Garnath into what it now represented: it was a symbol of my hate for Eric and for all those others who had stood by and let him get away with his power grab, let him blind me. I didn't like the looks of that forest, and as I stared at it I realized how my hate had objectified itself. I knew it because it was a part of me.
- Chapter X (p. 173)
The Guns of Avalon (1972)
All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published by Avon Books ISBN 0-380-00083-0
- Amber casts an infinity of shadows. A child of Amber may walk among them, and such was my heritage. You may call them parallel worlds if you wish, alternate universes if you would, the products of a deranged mind if you care to. I call them shadows, as do all who possess the power to walk among them. We select a possibility and we walk until we reach it. So, in a sense, we create it. Let’s leave it at that for now.
- Chapter 1 (p. 12)
- "Mon Dieu!" he said. "I am pleased never to have had you for an enemy. Are you certain you are not the Devil?"
"Yeah, sure," I said. "Don't you smell the brimstone? And my right hoof is killing me."
He actually sniffed a couple times before he chuckled, which hurt my feelings a bit.
- Chapter 1 (p. 16)
- Thus did I bear Sir Lancelot du Lac to the Keep of Ganelon, whom I trusted like a brother. That is to say, not at all.
- Chapter 1 (p. 20)
- "I am told it began as a tiny ring of toadstools, far to the west. A child was found dead in its center, and the man who found her—her father—died of convulsions several days later. The spot was immediately said to be accursed. It grew quickly in the months that followed, until it was half a league across. The grasses darkened and shone like metal within it, but did not die. The trees twisted and their leaves blackened. They swayed when there was no wind, and bats danced and darted among them. In the twilight, strange shapes could be seen moving—always within the Circle, mind you—and there were lights, as of small fires, throughout the night. The Circle continued to grow, and those who lived near it fled—mostly. A few remained. It was said that those who remained had struck some bargain with the dark things. And the Circle continued to widen, spreading like the ripple from a rock cast into a pond. More and more people remained, living, within it. I have spoken with these people, fought with them, slain them. It is as if there is something dead inside them all. Their voices lack the thrust and dip of men chewing over their words and tasting them. They seldom do much with their faces, but wear them like death masks.
- Ganelon explaining the origins of the Dark Circle of Lorraine, Chapter 1 (p. 33)
- “Good fortune to us all,” said Ganelon. “I know no gods, but if any care to be with us, I welcome them.”
- Chapter 3 (p. 58)
- “I have been sitting here wondering why I no longer hate you.”
“Have you reached any conclusions?”
“No, not really. Maybe it’s because we’re a lot alike. I don’t know.”
- Chapter 3 (p. 63)
- In my heart, there was something like a bit of joy that I had undone at least a small portion of the rottenness I had wrought. Evil? Hell, I’ve done more of it than most men, but I had picked up a conscience too, somewhere along the way, and I let it enjoy one of its rare moments of satisfaction.
- Chapter 3 (p. 66)
- I sometime fancy myself an evil which exists to oppose other evils.
- Chapter 3 (p. 67)
- If the forays of chaos kept occurring on my desire-walk through Shadow, then they were bound up with the nature of the desire and would have to be dealt with, one way or another, sooner or later. They could not be avoided. Such was the nature of the game, and I could not complain because I had laid down the rules.
- Chapter 4 (p. 74)
- There was that air of vitality about her which is attractive in ways different from mere comeliness.
- Chapter 5 (p. 105)
- Never trust a relative. It is far worse than trusting strangers. With a stranger there is a possibility that you might be safe.
- Chapter 5 (p. 117)
- I smiled.
"Of course it does not apply to me. I am the soul of honor, kindness, mercy, and goodness. Trust me in all things."
- Chapter 5 (p. 117)
- One does not live as long as I have lived without achieving that quality of consciousness which strips naïve feelings as they occur and is generally loathe to participate in the creation of sentimentality.
- Chapter 6 (p. 125)
- Why had no one ever come up with a way to change the basic nature of man? Even the erasure of all my memories and a new life in a new world had resulted in the same old Corwin. If I were not happy with what I was it could be a proposition worthy of despair.
- Chapter 6 (pp. 135-136)
- While I had often said that I wanted to die in bed, what I really meant was that in my old age I wanted to be stepped on by an elephant while making love.
- Chapter 6 (p. 136)
- We had come into a lovely afternoon in a beautiful place. It was a shame to dampen it with blood, particularly if it might be my blood.
- Chapter 7 (p. 172)
- It was almost a mystical experience. I do not know how else to put it. My mind outran time as he neared, and it was as though I had an eternity to ponder the approach of this man who was my brother. His garments were filthy, his face blackened, the stump of his right arm raised, gesturing anywhere. The great beast that he rode was striped, black and red, with a wild red mane and tail. But it really was a horse, and its eyes rolled and there was foam at its mouth and its breathing was painful to hear. I saw then that he wore his blade slung across his back, for its haft protruded high above his right shoulder. Still slowing, eyes fixed upon me, he departed the road, bearing slightly toward my left, jerked the reins once and released them, keeping control of the horse with his knees. His left hand went up in a salute-like movement that passed above his head and seized the hilt of his weapon. It came free without a sound, describing a beautiful arc above him and coming to rest in a lethal position out from his left shoulder and slanting back, like a single wing of dull steel with a minuscule line of edge that gleamed like a filament of mirror. The picture he presented was burned into my mind with a kind of magnificence, a certain splendor that was strangely moving. The blade was a long, scythe-like affair that I had seen him use before. Only then we had stood as allies against a mutual foe I had begun to believe unbeatable. Benedict had proved otherwise that night. Now that I saw it raised against me I was overwhelmed with a sense of my own mortality, which I had never experienced before in this fashion. It was as though a layer had been stripped from the world and I had a sudden, full understanding of death itself.
- Chapter 7 (pp. 175-176)
- Confidence is a fine thing. Then there is foolhardiness...
- Chapter (p. 188)
- The ultimate arbiter, cash, convinced him we would do it my way.
- Chapter (p. 188)
- You make the mistake, Eric, of considering yourself necessary. The graveyards are filled with men who thought they could not be replaced.
- Chapter (pp. 198-199)
- I had never seen a non-decorative wyvern before, but then I had never felt any great desire to go looking for one.
- Chapter (p. 208)
- I could not hate thee, Eric, so much, loved I not Amber more.
- Chapter (p. 210)
Sign of the Unicorn (1975)
All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published by Avon Books ISBN 0-380-00831-9
- Of troubles I considered myself amply possessed. But those who have do seem to get. Some spiritual form of compound interest, I suppose.
- Corwin, Chapter 1 (p. 7)
- While sex heads a great number of lists, we all have other things we like to do in between. With me, Corwin, it's drumming, being up in the air, and gambling—in no special order. Well, maybe soaring has a little edge—in gliders, balloons, and certain variations—but mood has a lot to do with that too, you know. I mean, ask me another time and I might say one of the others. Depends on what you want most at the moment.
- Random, Chapter 2 (p. 15)
- Dad was still around, and when I noticed that he was getting into one of his grumpy moods, I decided it was time to take a walk. A long one. I had often noticed that his fondness for me tended to increase as an inverse function of my proximity.
- Random, Chapter 2 (p. 15)
- So Childe Random to the dark tower came, yeah, gun in one hand, blade in the other.
- It is never good to assume that you have taken care of everything when you are in a hurry.
- Random, Chapter 2 (p. 27)
- I played the Shadow game we all learned as children. Pass some obstruction—a scrawny tree, a stand of stone—and have the sky be different from one side to the other. Gradually I restored familiar constellations. I knew that I would be climbing down a different mountain from the one I ascended.
- Random, Chapter 2 (p. 32)
- You have to explore every contingency if you want to keep winning the survival game.
- Random, Chapter 2 (p. 37)
- I brought my emotions to heel. One by one, you must deal with those things that come to hand, I told myself. That is all. Divorce the feelings from the speculations, or at least provide for separate maintenance.
- Random, Chapter 2 (p. 40)
- "To paraphrase Oedipus, Hamlet, Lear, and all those other guys," I said, "I wish I had known this some time ago."
- Corwin, Chapter 3 (p. 43)
- We drank a silent toast to futility.
- Corwin, Chapter 3 (p. 44)
- For a moment I regarded the Pattern—a shining mass of curved lines that tricked the eye as it tried to trace them—imbedded there, huge, in the floor's slick blackness. It had given me power over Shadow, it had restored most of my memory. It would also destroy me in an instant if I were to essay it improperly. What gratitude the prospect did arouse in me was therefore not untinged with fear. It was a splendid and cryptic old family heirloom which belonged right where it was, in the cellar.
- Corwin, Chapter 3 (p. 50)
- Most things depend on other things. This thing is no different.
- Corwin, Chapter 4 (p. 58)
- If you herald some turn in our fortunes, if you bring us some measure of grace—thanks, unicorn," I said. "And even if you do not, thanks for the brightness of your company at a dark time."
- Corwin, Chapter 5 (p. 80)
- Life's incessant ceremonies leap everlasting, humans spring eternal on hope's breast, and frying pans without fires are often far between.
- Corwin, Chapter 6 (p. 81)
- The others glanced our way as she appeared and she hit them all with that smile, like the Mona Lisa with a machine gun, turning slowly.
- Corwin, speaking of Deirdre, Chapter 6 (p. 82)
- “Your words are ill-considered,” I said.
“Not so. I considered every one of them,” he answered. “We spend so much time lying to one another that I decided it might be amusing to say what I really felt. Just to see whether anyone noticed.”
- Corwin and Julian, Chapter 7 (p. 98)
- I, of course, am innocent of all but malice.
- Fiona, Chapter 7 (p. 114)
- Former friends make the worst enemies.
- Random, Chapter 7 (p. 118)
- Out of every life a little blood must spill.
- Corwin, Chapter 8 (p. 121)
- But I wonder... I've a peculiar feeling that I may never see you again. It is as if I were one of those minor characters in a melodrama who gets shuffled offstage without ever learning how things turn out.
- Bill Roth (a minor character who eventually does learn how things turn out), Chapter 8 (p. 139)
- If blood be the price of admiralty, I’ve just bought me a naval commission.
- Corwin, Chapter 9 (p. 145)
- How to put simply that which is not a simple thing...? Solipsism, I suppose, is where we have to begin—the notion that nothing exists but the self, or, at least, that we cannot truly be aware of anything but our own existence and experience. I can find, somewhere, off in Shadow, anything I can visualize. Any of us can. This, in good faith, does not transcend the limits of the ego. It may be argued, and in fact has, by most of us, that we create the shadows we visit out of the stuff of our own psyches, that we alone truly exist, that the shadows we traverse are but projections of our own desires.... Whatever the merits of this argument, and there are several, it does go far toward explaining much of the family's attitude toward people, places, and things outside of Amber. Namely, we are toymakers and they, our playthings—sometimes dangerously animated, to be sure; but this, too, is part of the game. We are impresarios by temperament, and we treat one another accordingly. While solipsism does tend to leave one slightly embarrassed on questions of etiology, one can easily avoid the embarrassment by refusing to admit the validity of the questions. Most of us are, as I have often observed, almost entirely pragmatic in the conduct of our affairs. Almost...
Yet—yet there is a disturbing element in the picture. There is a place where the shadows go mad.... When you purposely push yourself through layer after layer of Shadow, surrendering—again, purposely—a piece of your understanding every step of the way, you come at last to a mad place beyond which you cannot go. Why do this? In hope of an insight, I'd say, or a new game ... But when you come to this place, as we all have, you realize that you have reached the limit of Shadow or the end of yourself—synonymous terms, as we had always thought. Now, though...
Now I know that it is not so, now as I stand, waiting, without the Courts of Chaos, telling you what it was like, I know that it is not so.
- Corwin, Chapter 10 (pp. 164-165)
- "Why have we been brought here and shown this thing?"
"It does not correspond to the true state of affairs," I said. "It is the true state of affairs."
Ganelon turned toward us.
"On that shadow Earth we visited—where you had spent so many years—I heard a poem about two roads that diverged in a wood," he said. "It ends, 'I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.' When I heard it, I thought of something you had once said—'All roads lead to Amber'—and I wondered then, as I do now, at the difference the choice may make, despite the end's apparent inevitability to those of your blood."
"You know?" I said. "You understand?"
"I think so."
He nodded, then pointed.
"That is the real Amber down there, isn't it?"
"Yes," I said. "Yes, it is."
- Random, Ganelon, and Corwin, Chapter 11 (p. 192; closing words)
The Hand of Oberon (1976)
All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published by Avon Books ISBN 0-380-01664-8
- It was your perceptiveness rather than the conclusion itself which stunned me so.
- Chapter 1 (p. 10)
- About a week ago, brother Caine was murdered, under conditions arranged to show me as the culprit. The fact that I had slain his slayer was hardly satisfactory evidence of my innocence, in that the guy was necessarily in no condition to talk about it.
- Chapter 2 (p. 27)
- [A] man should have the right to lead his own life without the meddling of relatives, no matter how well-intentioned.
- Chapter 3 (p. 40)
- As I saw it, he owed me nothing now, nor I him—if one keeps a scoreboard tally on such matters. Therefore, it was friendship alone that bound us, a stronger thing than bygone debts and points of honor: in other words, a thing which gave him the right to bug me on matters such as this, where I might have told even Random to go to hell once I had made up my mind. I realized I should not be irritated when everything that he said was tendered in good faith.
- Chapter 3 (p. 45)
- I closed my eyes, closed them to join her in darkness, to recall for a brief while the world where other messages than light waves took precedence.
- Chapter 4 (p. 56)
- Another day and we’re still alive. Maybe even a trifle wiser. Wise enough to realize there are many more things we still need to know.
- Chapter 4 (p. 58)
- "Good evening, Lord Corwin," said the lean, cadaverous figure who rested against a storage rack, smoking his pipe, grinning around it.
"Good evening, Roger. How are things in the nether world?"
"A rat, a bat, a spider. Nothing much else astir. Peaceful."
"You enjoy this duty?"
"I am writing a philosophical romance shot through with elements of horror and morbidity. I work on those parts down here."
"Fitting, fitting," I said.
- Chapter 4, (p. 60)
- "Anything you like. Have you any preferences? My flight from Chaos to this small sudden island in the sea of night? My meditations upon the abyss? The revelation of the Pattern in a jewel hung round the neck of a unicorn? My transcription of the design by lightning, blood, and lyre while our fathers raged baffled, too late come to call me back while the poem of fire ran that first route in my brain, infecting me with the will to form? Too late! Too late... Possessed of the abominations born of the disease, beyond their aid, their power, I planned and built, captive of my new self. Is that the tale you'd hear again? Or rather I tell you of its cure?"
My mind spun at the implications he had just scattered by the fistful. I could not tell whether he spoke literally or metaphorically or was simply sharing paranoid delusions, but the things that I wanted to hear, had to hear, were things closer to the moment. So, regarding the shadowy image of myself from which that ancient voice emerged, "Tell me of its cure," I said.
- Chapter 5 (pp. 66-67)
- I could not be truly harmed because the Pattern protects me, and who but I could harm the Pattern? A beautiful closed system, it seemed, its weakness totally shielded by its strength. ... My blood, with which I drew it, could deface it. But it took me ages to realize that the blood of my blood could also do this thing.
- Chapter 5 (p. 67)
- When that many questions arise from a single event the answer is seldom obtainable by pure logic. I had to sort out the possibilities though, to have something to reach for when more facts did turn up.
- Chapter 9 (p. 113)
- “You seem to have everything figured. You surprised me, moving so fast.”
“I’ve had a lot of time on my hands recently, which can be a bad thing unless you use it for thinking. So I did.”
- Chapter 12 (p. 171)
- If I’d the mind, a few more steps would send me along that celestial escalator into the place of dreams made real, walking neuroses and dubious prophecy, into a moonlit city of ambiguous wish fulfillment, twisted time, and pallid beauty.
- Chapter 13 (p. 175)
- To be honest, it had to be a form of madness, to have so much and to strive so bitterly for just a little more, for a bit of an edge over the others.
- Chapter 13 (p. 177)
- Like most such questions, the benefit of these was in the asking, not the answering.
- Chapter 13 (p. 177)
- It changed nothing to run a posthumous psychoanalysis. Acts and their consequences are the things by which our fellows judge us. Anything else, and all that you get is a cheap feeling of moral superiority by thinking how you would have done something nicer if it had been you.
- Chapter 13 (p. 186)
The Courts of Chaos (1978)
All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published by Avon Books ISBN 0-380-47175-2
- I looked back once to the empty place where my dream had come true. Such is the stuff.
- Chapter 1 (p. 14)
- It was realized long ago that the two kingdoms can never be merged, or one destroyed, without also disrupting all the processes that lie in flux between us. Total stasis or complete chaos would be the result.
- Chapter 2 (p. 17)
- Premonitions played tag in the grottoes of my mind, none of which I would have cared to take to lunch.
- Chapter 2 (p. 31)
- I have run into this difficulty with Scripture in the past. It tells you enough to get interested, but never enough to be of any immediate use. It is as though the author gets his kicks by tantalizing.
- Chapter 5 (p. 53)
- There is a time for subtlety and a time for brute force. I was both angry and in a hurry, so the decision was made.
- Chapter 5 (pp. 54-55)
- Sometimes it's damned hard to tell the dancer from the dance.
- Chapter 5 (p. 61)
- Do we make the Shadow worlds? Or are they there, independent of us, awaiting our footfalls? Or is there an unfairly excluded middle? Is it a matter of more or less, rather than either-or? A dry chuckle arose suddenly as I realized that I might never know the answer for certain.
- Chapter 6 (p. 63)
- “He is groping after something,” he went on, “but proceeding incorrectly by holding the world responsible for his own failings.”
- Chapter 7 (p. 79)
- “I can see that you have a lot to unlearn.”
“If you are talking about my vulgar instinct for survival, forget it.”
- Chapter 7 (p. 80)
- The fact that you find consensus reality barren tells me more about you than it does about that state of affairs.
- Chapter 7 (p. 81)
- “You are not so blind that you deny the Absolute, the beginning and end of everything?”
“It is not indispensable to a liberal education.”
- Chapter 7 (pp. 81-82)
- ...And, as the Pattern in Rebma had helped to restore my faded memories, so this one I was now striving to create stirred and elicited the smell of the chestnut trees, of the wagonloads of vegetables moving through the dawn toward the Halles.... I was not in love with anyone in particular at the time, though there were many girls—Yvettes and Mimis and Simones, their faces merge—and it was spring in Paris, with Gipsy bands and cocktails at Louis'.... I remembered, and my heart leaped with a kind of Proustian joy while Time tolled about me like a bell.... And perhaps this was the reason for the recollection, for this joy seemed transmitted to my movements, informed my perceptions, empowered my will....
- Chapter 9 (p. 93)
- To have come this close, passing through everything that I had, and then to fail here.... It made me want to cry “Injustice!” though I knew the universe did not run in accordance with my notions of equity.
- Chapter 10 (p. 100)
- My children, I cannot say that I am entirely pleased with you, but I suppose this works both ways.
- Chapter 11 (p. 113)
- I felt that I had done my duty. Nothing drove me now. I had run out of causes and was as close as I might ever be to peace. With all this behind me, I felt that if I had to die now, it was all right. I would not protest quite so loudly as I would have at any other time.
- Chapter 13 (p. 137)
- I wish that you had never been born and, failing that, that you had died sooner. Enough! It diminishes me to reflect so. Be dead and trouble my thinking no more.
- Chapter 14 (p. 140)
- Good-bye and hello, as always.
- Chapter 14 (p. 142; closing words)
The Second Chronicles of Amber
Trumps of Doom (1985)
All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published by Avon Books ISBN 0-380-89635-4
- It was a pain in the ass waiting around for someone to try to kill you. But it was April 30, and of course it would happen as it always did.
- Chapter 1 (p. 1; opening words)
- “There’s nothing to any of it,” he said. “There are an infinite number of ways of lying to yourself, into rationalizing things into something they are not. I guess that I wanted magic, and there is no real magic in the world.”
- Chapter 2 (p. 23)
- “Power is like money,” I said. “You can usually get it if you’re competent and it’s the only thing you want in life.”
- Chapter 3 (p. 38)
- “I’m talking about the meaning of life. You know that.”
I shook my head.
“Only a fool believes that life has but one meaning,” I said.
- Chapter 3 (p. 38)
- Why couldn’t you want a divorce like any sensible young man?
- Chapter 6 (p. 83)
- When inspiration is silent reason tires quickly.
- Chapter 6 (p. 108)
- She pouted slightly for a moment, then released my arm.
“Now you know what an absolute monarchy is,” she explained to Bill. “You can see how power corrupts.”
“I was corrupt before I had power,” Random said, “and rich is better.”
- Chapter 7 (p. 113)
- I shook out my cloak and brushed myself off. I traveled for perhaps half an hour then, leaving the place far behind me, before I halted and took my breakfast in a hot, bleak valley smelling faintly of sulfur.
As I was finishing, I heard a crashing noise. A horned and tusked purple thing went racing along the ridge to my right pursued by a hairless orange-skinned creature with long claws and a forked tail. Both were wailing in different keys.
I nodded. It was just one damned thing after another.
- Chapter 9 (p. 166)
- “Time,” he said. “There’s always either too much time or not enough.”
- Chapter 9 (p. 171)
Blood of Amber (1986)
All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published by Avon Books ISBN 0-380-89636-2
- Life is full of doors that don’t open when you knock, equally spaced amid those that open when you don’t want them to.
- Chapter 2 (p. 24)
- Changing from something nominally human to something rare and strange—perhaps monstrous to some, perhaps frightening—and then back again is a concept some may find repugnant. They shouldn’t. We all of us do it every day in many different ways, don’t we?
- Chapter 3 (p. 41)
- We never used to word “love,” though it must have run through her mind on occasion, as it did through mine. It was, I suppose, that I didn’t love her enough to trust her, and then it was too late.
- Chapter 4 (p. 57)
- And what did she offer in its place? Airy nothings and classified motives...
Which could well mean she was telling the truth. Disdaining the use of a workable lie and offering something more cumbersome in its place would seem the mark of genuine honesty.
- Chapter 5 (pp. 97-98; ellipsis in original)
- She dismounted and let her horse nibble a few blades of grass. I did the same. Dismounted, that is.
- Chapter 6 (p. 106)
- I do not like being manipulated or coerced. My reflexive attempt to do something other than what is desired of me then feels forced also.
- Chapter 7 (pp. 133-134)
- I had a feeling that I already had the answer but that I would be unable to realize it until I had formulated the proper question.
- Chapter 8 (p. 152)
- You wish perhaps to discuss the philosophy of revenge with me now?
- Chapter 10 (p. 176)
- This was my father’s tomb—well, cenotaph—built long ago when he had been presumed dead. It had amused him considerably to be able to visit the place later on. Now, of course, its status might well have changed. It could be the real thing now. Would this cancel the irony or increase it?
- Chapter 10 (p. 187)
- As I straightened my legs and strained upward with even greater exertion, I wondered how many people fail in robust undertakings because of sudden lower back problems. I guess they’re the ones you don’t hear about.
- Chapter 11 (p. 202)
- So, “What do you want, anyway?” I called out.
Immediately, that metallic voice replied, “Your blood, your soul, your mind and your body.”
“What about my stamp collection,” I hollered back. “Do I get to keep the First Day Covers?”
- Chapter 11 (p. 206)
- “Another relative coming to visit,” Random said. “Why couldn’t have been an only child?”
- Chapter 12 (p. 214)
Sign of Chaos (1987)
All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published by Avon Books ISBN 0-380-89637-0
- If you had a choice between the ability to detect falsehood and the ability to discover truth, which one would you take?
- Chapter 3 (p. 41)
- We will learn whatever we can, of course. Power is power, and represents a threat until it is understood.
- Chapter 3 (p. 43)
- Would she really behave as Luke said, though? It made a sort of sense, but then people seldom keep company with rationality at times when they should.
- Chapter 6 (p. 109)
- “It’s kind of you to want to do me a favor,” I said, “but at times such as this, one must be excused for checking the price tag.”
- Chapter 7 (p. 128)
- “It means nothing to be able to transport yourself anywhere,” I heard her say, “if you are a fool in all places.”
- Chapter 12 (p. 212)
Knight of Shadows (1989)
All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published by Avon Books ISBN 0-380-75501-7
- “Do you know something I don’t?” I asked .
“Many things,” she replied.
- Chapter 1 (p. 14)
- “You don’t trust anybody, do you?”
“Family tradition,” I replied, “backed up by recent experience.”
- Chapter 3 (p. 62)
- That’s life: Trust and you’re betrayed; don’t trust and you betray yourself. Like most moral paradoxes, it places you in an untenable position. And it was too late for my normal solution. I couldn’t walk away from the game.
- Chapter 3 (p. 63)
- No one likes to be a butt of the universe’s jokes.
- Chapter 3 (p. 67)
- “You can make me play,” I said, “but you cannot make me choose. My will is my own.”
- Chapter 4 (p. 81)
- “I guess I have peculiar feelings about little things—like the value of life.”
“Indignation is cheap. Even Albert Schweitzer’s reverence for life didn’t include the tapeworm, the tsetse fly, the cancer cell.”
- Chapter 5 (p. 98)
- I held out my hand, and he shook his head.
“Let’s not get carried away,” he told me. “If my word’s no good without a handshake, it’s no good with one, is it?”
- Chapter 6 (p. 121)
- “Why does there always have to be a reason?” he said.
“The alternative is irrationality,” I replied.
- Chapter 6 (p. 121)
- The doorway to the left—the one that let upon my bedroom—seemed to be outlined in red and pulsing. Did that mean I was supposed to avoid it or rush in there? That’s the trouble with mystical advice.
- Chapter 9 (p. 189)
- The biggest bar to understanding is the interpretation they put on each other’s doings.
- Chapter 10 (p. 200)
Prince of Chaos (1991)
- All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published by Avon Books ISBN 0-380-75502-5
- See one coronation and you’ve seen them all. Sounds cynical and probably is, especially when the principal is your best friend and his queen’s your inadvertent lover.
- Chapter 1 (p. 1; opening words)
- Every time I complained about politics, here, in Amber, back in the States on the Shadow Earth, there was the automatic corollary of considering the way I’d manage situations if I were in charge.
- Chapter 2 (p. 26)
- A crown does not automatically make a person daggerproof.
- Chapter 2 (p. 26)
- “What brought all this on?”
”The higher order edition of the Pattern I encountered in the Jewel, actually. There were aspects of it I simply could not understand. This led to considerations of chaos theory, then to Menninger and all the others for its manifestations in consciousness.”
“I am wiser therefor.”
“I mean, concerning the Pattern.”
“Yes. Either it possesses a certain element of irrationality itself, like living things, or it is an intelligence of such an order that some of its processes only seem irrational to lesser beings. Either explanation amounts to the same thing from a practical standpoint.”
- Chapter 3 (pp. 46-47)
- Sometimes you hear an unlikely thing and that’s all it is. Other times, you hear something improbable and it strikes an echo.
- Chapter 4 (p. 59)
- “Do you think she’s up to something?”
“Probably,” he said. “I can’t recall a time when she hasn’t been.”
- Chapter 4 (p. 68)
- I no longer felt my body. Time was an alien concept. The striving was no longer striving, but a form of elemental movement now, beside which glaciers rushed.
- Chapter 5 (p. 90)
- No matter what you are and no matter what’s been done to you, there will have to be some element of choice for you, sooner or later. You are greater than the sum of your parts, Merlin. No matter what went into your birth and your life up to now, you’ve got eyes and a brain and a set of values. Don’t let anybody bullshit you, not even me. And when the time comes, if it comes, make damn sure the choice is your own. Nothing that’s gone before will matter then.
- Chapter 5 (p. 93)
- I don’t know that I ever wanted greatness, on its own. It seems rather like wanting to be an engineer, rather than wanting to design something—or wanting to be a writer, rather than wanting to write. It should be a by-product, not a thing in itself. Otherwise, it’s just an ego trip.
- Chapter 6 (p. 109)
- Things that had tantalized me for much of my adult life seemed near to explanation now. I was not happy with all of the possibilities that tumbled through my mind. Still, no matter which ones came out on top, it would beat ignorance.
- Chapter 7 (p. 121)
- Irony, as usual, a three-to-one favorite whenever sentimentality makes its move.
- Chapter 8 (p. 158)
- Don’t wake me for the end of the world unless it has very good special effects.
- Chapter 11 (p. 206)
- “Riddles,” I said.
“Always preferable to no answer at all,” he responded.
- Chapter 11 (p. 211)