cover image Blood of Amber

Blood of Amber

Roger Zelazny. Arbor House Publishing, $14.95 (215pp) ISBN 978-0-87795-829-1

Some fans of Zelazny's dense, brilliant writings from the '60s have been dismayed at the time and effort he has invested in his Amber series during the past 16 years. If these fantasy adventures are simple and formulaic compared with his best work, they have earned him a whole new audience by virtue of their elegance, humor, literacy, vivid action and lightly applied but complex background of tarot, alternate worlds, Olympian gods, and a magic so neat and clear that computers can learn it. In this seventh installment, the sorcerer Merlin of Amberaka Merle Corey of San Franciscolearns the identities of two would-be assassins but makes a truce with one to pursue the greater, more dangerous power beyond them. Once again, the limited plot is enlivened by Zelazny's irony, his bravura sequences (particularly a harbor visit that turns nasty in Death Alley) and his laconic sense of the incongruous (are magicians the ultimate surrealist artists?). Paperback rights to Avon; Science Fiction Book Club main selection. (September 25)