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The Hand of Oberon
By Roger Zelazny

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The Hand of Oberon

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The Hand of Oberon
The Chronicles of Amber, Book 4
Large Print Edition
By Roger Zelazny
G.K. Hall, 2000
ISBN: 0-7838-8985-2
Genre: Science Fiction - Fantasy

Reviewed by Sheldon Ztvordokov - October 29, 2004

The Hand of Oberon is the fourth book in Roger Zelazny's famed Chronicles of Amber series. In this installment, Lord Corwin has returned to the Shadow Earth to find out who is threatening his life - and why. In a world that is infused with magic, Corwin has discovered that the world of Amber is the only true world - all the rest are elements of the Shadow realm. To survive in this ever changing dimension, Corwin faces death at every turn.

On the Shadow Earth, Corwin learns that his brother, Brand, has stolen the Jewel of Judgement. Worse, he plans on using it to reshape the universe. More than anything else, Corwin is determined to stop Brand - at any cost. As important, the Pattern has been damaged, and Corwin must repair it, or Amber is doomed. This fraternal rivalry is gripping and poignant and harks back to the Norse legends about Loki and Baldar, and the ongoing sibling rivalry of the Princes of Amber is a pivotal story element throughout the series.

The Chronicles of Amber is a series of mythic proportions, and in it, Zelazny has created a mythic world that transcends the human realm. As in the great mythological traditions of this world, the Courts of Chaos are rife with inter-family rivalries, torrid romances, and a power struggle over who should have dominance over the Earth.

In The Hand of Oberon, Zelazny ties up many of the incomplete story lines, left over from the first three books in the series. This volume also sets the reader up for the events that will take place in book five in the series, The Courts of Chaos. This is not a series to be read out of order as the reader learns about Amber and the Shadow realm piecemeal, through Corwin's experiences. While it is possible to enjoy the stories, individually, it is only by reading the series in order that you will understand the magical workings of Amber, the meaning behind the Shadow realm, and the complex relationships between the various characters that cross the pages of this imaginative series.

Zelazny is a masterful writer, and you will find that the story line of the series, as well as each individual book will hold your interest without fail. All the books in the series are full of plot twists and surprises, but none more so than The Hand of Oberon. One word of warning, this book ends with a heart-bounding cliffhanger, so you might want to have a copy of The Courts of Chaos on hand so that you can find out what happens just as soon as possible!


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