When Roger Zelazny died in 1995, I thought the questions I had about the Amber universe -- like how and why it was created -- would never be answered. As a longtime fan of the Amber Chronicles, I was excited to hear that the Zelazny estate had authorized a prequel trilogy to be written that explored the events that led up to the first installment in the ten-book series, Nine Princes in Amber.
While in a desperate battle against hell-creatures, the young soldier Oberon is whisked away from his kingdom by his mysterious uncle Dworkin to the shadow world of Juniper, where he meets a family he never knew he had. The enigmatic Dworkin, it turns out, is not only Oberon's father but also an exiled prince in the Courts of Chaos, the one true world. As Oberon struggles to understand Dworkin's centuries-old feud with Chaos, Juniper is attacked by the same hell-creatures that savaged his shadow world.
Like Zelazny's own fantastic Amber novels, Betancourt's The Dawn of Amber is fast-paced and filled with action and intrigue. And although the novel does begin to answer some of the questions I had regarding the creation of Amber, the cliff-hanger at the book's conclusion left me pulling out my hair waiting for the second and third books in this trilogy. Paul Goat Allen