Monday, October 3, 2011

The Guns of Avalon by Roger Zelazny

  In the Guns of Avalon, we take up the story of Corwin again, sometime after he has escaped from the dungeons where he was thrown by his brother, Eric, after he has recovered at the lighthouse of Cabra enough to travel. He journeys through Shadows to reach a place he once ruled, the realm of Avalon. On the way, he encounters someone who resembles a man who once served him, Lancelot (not a lot of creativity here by Zelazny in naming a noble knight, but he's not central to the long story arc, so we'll forgive it this time. Lancelot has been attacked by a group of bandits, and has managed to kill them all, but is gravely wounded when Corwin discovers him.

On the nature of the multiplicity of Shadow:

"I was drawing nearer to Avalon when I came upon the wounded knight and the six dead men. Had I chosen to walk on by, I could have reached a place where the six men lay dead and the knight stood unwounded - or a place where he lay dead and they stood laughing."

Corwin decides to aid Lance, and so he treats his wounds, gives him something to eat and drink, and then carries him all the way home, to the keep of Ganelon. The name Ganelon gives Corwin pause for a bit, as he once had befriended a man by that name who began as a bandit, but joined with Lord Corwin in ridding his realm of some other villains, and joined his court. But Ganelon felt betrayed by his lord when a title was given to another follower whose daughter Corwin desired, and he turned traitor, then was caught and exiled by Corwin into Shadow, never able to find the way home to Avalon.

But Corwin is far from the man he used to be after his stay in the dungeons, and he decides the risk of being recognized is small compared to the value of having a place to recover his full strength and conditioning, so he names himself Corey, and stays at Ganelon's keep for a while. It becomes apparent to him that this is truly his old retainer, long exiled, and as he begins to regain his abilities, it becomes a little harder to conceal his identity.

Ganelon's land has been beset by horrible creatures out of Chaos, whose number grow daily. When Corwin is visited by one of their leaders late one night, he realizes that this curse upon the land is a direct result of the curse he laid upon Eric and Amber when his eyes were burned from his head and he was thrown in the dungeons. By the way, the royal blood of Amber has always healed quickly, and the recovery of his sight finally proves that even more sensitive tissue than fingertips and patches of skin can grow back with time.

Corwin aids Ganelon and his people in ridding the land of the scourge, then decides he must head for Avalon. Ganelon has by this time recognized him, but has come to realize that he richly deserved his exile by Corwin, and begs to accompany him. They journey through Shadow to that place, and when they arrive, find that Corwin's older brother, Benedict, has become the protector of that land, perhaps in remembrance of his younger brother. They spend some time at his home before going after what Corwin most desires there, which is a compound which behaves just like gunpowder in the realm of Amber, where normal gunpowder does not work. He takes the powder back to the shadow Earth, and has ammunition made, buys weapons, and returns to Amber to continue his assault upon Eric and the kingdom he has usurped.

More great adventure and interesting plots and characters abound.

1 comment:

Web Based Excel 2010 Training said...

I have read very few books whose climax is towards the beginning but I'm thinking that it has to do with the series as a whole and I don't believe you should read them as individuals.