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The Great Book of Amber: The Complete Amber Chronicles, #1-10by Roger Zelazny
Synopses & Reviews
Chapter OneNine Princes
It was starting to end, after what seemed most of eternity to me.
The room grew steady.
Where the hell was I?
Then the fogs were slowly broken, and some of that which is called memory returned to me. I recalled nights and nurses and needles. Every time things would begin to clear a bit, someone would come in and jab me with something. That's how it had been. Yes. Now, though, I was feeling halfway decent. They'd have to stop.
The thought came to assail me: Maybe not.
Some natural skepticism as to the purity of all human motives came and sat upon my chest. I'd been over-narcotized, I suddenly knew. No real reason for it, from the way I felt, and no reason for them to stop now, if they'd been paid to keep it up. So play it cool and stay dopey, said a voice which was my worst, if wiser, self.
So I did.
A nurse poked her head in the door about ten minutes later, and I was, of course, still sacking Z's. She went away.
By then, I'd reconstructed a bit of what had occurred.
However, my legs felt pretty good. Good enough to hold me up, though I didn't know how much time had lapsed since their breaking-and I knew they'd been broken.
So I sat up.It took me a real effort, as my muscles were very tired. It was dark outside and a handful of stars were standing naked beyond the window. I winked back at them and threw my legs over the edge of the bed.
Okay. My legs held me.
So, theoretically, I was in good enough shape to walk out.
In the State of Denmark there was the odor of decay. . . .
It had been an accident involving an auto, I recalled. One helluva one. . . .
Then the door opened, letting in light, and through slits beneath my eyelashes I saw a nurse with a hypo in her hand.
She approached my bedside, a hippy broad with dark hair and big arms.
just as she neared, I sat up.
"Good evening," I said.
"Why-good evening," she replied.
"When do I check out?" I asked.
"I'll have to ask Doctor."
"Do so," I said.
"Please roll up your sleeve."
"I have to give you an injection."
"No you don't. I don't need it."
"I'm afraid that's for Doctor to say."
"Then send him around and let him say it. But in the meantime, I will not permit it."
"I'm afraid I have my orders."
"So did Eichmann, and look what happened to him," and I shook my head slowly.
"Very well," she said. "I'll have to report this.
"Please do," I said, "and while you're at it, tell him I've decided to check out in the morning."
"That's impossible. You can't even walk-and there were internal injuries. . ."
"We'll see," said I. "Good night."
She swished out of sight withoutanswering.
So I lay there and mulled. It seemed I was in some sort of private place - so somebody was footing the bill. Whom did I know? No visions of relatives appeared behind my eyes. Friends either. What did that leave? Enemies?
Nobody to benefact me thus.
I'd gone over a cliff in my car, and into a lake, I suddenly remembered. And that was all I remembered.
But to occupy myself, I sat up and stripped away all my bandages. I seemed all right underneath them, and it seemed the right thing to do. I broke the cast on my right leg, using a metal strut I'd removed from the head of the bed. I had a sudden feeling that I had to get out in a hurry, that there was something I had to do.
No clothes there.
Then I heard the footsteps. I returned to my bed and covered over the broken casts and the discarded bandages.
The door swung inward once again.
Then there was light all around me, and there was a beefy guy in a white jacket standing with his hand on the wall switch.
"What's this I hear about you giving the nurse a hard time?" he asked, and there was no more feigning sleep,
"I don't know," I said. "What is it?"
That troubled him for a second or two, said the frown, then, "It's time for your shot."
"Are you an M.D.?" I asked.
"No, but I'm authorized to give you a shot."
"And I refuse it," I said, "as I've a legal right to do. What's it to you?"
"You'll have your shot," he said, and he moved around to the left side of the bed. He had a hypo in onehand, which had been out of sight till then.
It was a very foul blow, about four inches below the belt buckle, I'd say, and it left him on his knees.
"_____ _____!" he said, after a time.
"Come within spitting distance again," I said, "and see what happens."
"We've got ways to deal with patients like you," he gasped.
So I knew the time had come to act.
"Where are my clothes?" I said. "_____ _____!"he repeated.
"Then I guess I'll have to take yours. Give them to me."
Loyally accompanying a mysterious knife-wielding gentleman named Jack on his midnight rounds through the murky streets of London, good dog Snuff is busy helping his master collect the grisly ingredients needed for an unearthly rite that will take place not long after the death of the moon. But Snuff and his master are not alone. All manner of participants, both human and not, are gathering with their ancient tools and their animal familiars in preparation for the dread night. It is brave, devoted Snuff who must calculate the patterns of the Game and keep track of the Players—the witch, the mad monk, the vengeful vicar, the Count who sleeps by day, the Good Doctor and the hulking Experiment Man he fashioned from human body parts, and a wild-card American named Larry Talbot—all the while keeping Things at bay and staying a leap ahead of the Great Detective, who knows quite a bit more than he lets on.
Boldly original and wildly entertaining, A Night in the Lonesome October is a darkly sparkling gem, an amalgam of horror, humor, mystery, and fantasy. First published in 1993, it was Zelaznys last book prior to his untimely death. Many consider it the best of the fantasy masters novels. It has inspired many fans to read it every year in October, a chapter a day, and served as inspiration for Neil Gaimans brilliant story “Only the End of the World Again.”
“Fantasy of a superior order.”
“A storyteller without peer. He created worlds as colorful and exotic and memorable as any our genre has ever seen.”
One of the most revered names in sf and fantasy, the incomparable Roger Zelazny was honored with numerous prizes—including six Hugo and three Nebula Awards—over the course of his legendary career. Among his more than fifty books, arguably Zelaznys most popular literary creations were his extraordinary Amber novels. The Great Book of Amber is a collection of the complete Amber chronicles—featuring volumes one through ten—a treasure trove of the ingenious imagination and phenomenal storytelling that inspired a generation of fantasists, from Neil Gaiman to George R.R. Martin.
About the Author
Roger Zelazny burst onto the SF scene in the early 1960s with a series of dazzling and groundbreaking short stories. He won his first of six Hugo Awards for Lord of Light, and soon after produced the first book of his enormously popular Amber series, Nine Princes in Amber. In addition to his Hugos, he went on to win three Nebula Awards over the course of a long and distinguished career. He died on June 14, 1995.
Table of Contents
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.
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