Prince of Chaos

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

From its inception in NINE PRINCES IN AMBER, Roger Zelazny’s chronicle of multiple layers of universes stretched between the polar opposites of Law and Chaos has captured the attention of his readers. PRINCE OF CHAOS, the latest venture into this realm, does not fail to please; here Zelazny provides resolutions for the quests and questions of Merlin, Son of Corwin.

In this novel, the reader is finally shown the complexity and intrigue which make up the Courts of Chaos. It is in these intrigues, through conflicts and unlikely alliances with members of his family, that Corwin finds answers. By cutting through the guile and duplicity confronting him, he is able to piece together and understand the events that have shaped his life and the actions of the preceding novels.

Zelazny manages to involve his readers’ passions in the maneuvers acted out to determine the successor to the throne of the Court’s fading monarch. However, answers are not laid out for the reader. Like Corwin himself, the reader is challenged to use intelligence and imagination in order to understand why actions are occurring and who is responsible for them. And while at times the reader may feel as if he needs more information to understand what is happening, the overall result is highly satisfying.