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Publisher's Summary

The Guns of Avalon is the second book of The Chronicles of Amber; an epic fantasy series written by six- time Hugo Award winning and three-time Nebula Award winning author, Roger Zelazny.

The ten books that make up the series are told in two story arcs: The Corwin Cycle and the Merlin Cycle.

The Audible audio rendition of this classic sci-fi/fantasy series is started off by 2012 Audie Award nominee, Alessandro Juliani, who reads the first five books that make up the Corwin Cycle and whose narration vividly brings the world of Amber to life.

Across the worlds of Shadow, Corwin, Prince of blood royal, heir to the throne of Amber, gathers his forces for an assault that will yield up to him the crown that is rightfully his. But, a growing darkness of his own doing threatens Corwin's plans, an evil that stretches to the heart of the perfect kingdom itself where the demonic forces of Chaos mass to annihilate Amber and all who would rule there.

©1972 Roger Zelazny (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

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What listeners say about The Guns of Avalon

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Overall
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Nobody steals books but your friends.

We can be brief in part, because if you are considering this book, you likely already picked up “Nine Princes in Amber” and if you haven’t I strongly recommend that you do. I am not sure the story will be an easy one to pick up at this point. This story is just as fine as the last, and the journey is as wonderful as I remember. Corwin’s plan to reclaim what he views as his right and revenge himself upon Eric while at the same time struggling with the harm he has done and trying to fit all of this within his new (within the life of an immortal anyway) found morality and empathy drives the story and prepares him for what comes next.

As for the performance, it’s still better than many I have heard. However, some of the voices are still troubling me. I’m not sure why Texan and Southern accents are slipping into the voices of nobles from Amber and the Courts, but it might be a bit silly to find that troubling. After all, why not? These are people who can travel to any reality and live there for centuries. Still, I found a few of the voice choices at odds with how the character is presented in the story. However, Corwin’s voice is just fine, and that’s the one we hear for most of the tale.

And remember to be on the lookout for the famous quote that is the title of this review!

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Never trust a relative!

Warning, from me: If you haven’t read Nine Princes in Amber yet, don’t read this review.

Another warning, from Corwin: “Never trust a relative. It is far worse than trusting strangers.”

Corwin has escaped from his brother’s prison and he’s ready for revenge. He doesn’t have the manpower that Eric has, so he needs a technological advantage. Traditional firearms don’t work in Amber, but Corwin once noticed that a jewelers’ rouge from the shadow world of Avalon, where he used to rule, is combustible in Amber. So here’s his plan: get some money (pretty easy to do when you can create your own worlds), purchase a huge amount of jeweler’s rouge, and commission some custom-made firearms that use the rouge to shoot silver bullets (he’s not sure other metals will work). Oh, and raise an army. No problem!

The problem is that Eric may no longer be the biggest threat in Amber. Because of Corwin’s curse, Amber is being assailed by the forces of Chaos. The evil is also manifest in the shadow worlds that Corwin is trying to exploit and he must frequently stop and deal with the nasty creatures it serves up. Along the way Corwin meets old friends and enemies, makes new friends and enemies, and does at least one more impetuous thing that will come back to bite him later.

In The Guns of Avalon (1972), Corwin, who had gained our sympathies in Nine Princes in Amber because of how he was treated by Eric, becomes something of an anti-hero. Because of his rash actions, beautiful Amber has been invaded by horror. Corwin realizes that he has caused much destruction, he knows he has wrought evil, and he tells himself that he hopes to destroy more evil than he creates. The reader begins to wonder, however, if Corwin is blinded by hate for his brother. Is Corwin’s claim to the throne legitimate enough to justify all the death and terror that he’s caused? We’re certainly not convinced that Corwin would be a better King than Eric is. Corwin is a rather ambiguous hero.

Still, it’s hard not to root for Amber, if not for Corwin himself. Roger Zelazny has created a magical world that we’re eager to explore, preferably in a time of peace. We haven’t had much chance to do so yet since we’ve only seen it from Corwin’s perspective, and that means that for most of the time we’ve been in Amber, we’ve been in the dungeon. At the end The Guns of Avalon Zelazny leaves us with many questions unanswered and two major twists. You’ll want to have the next book, Sign of the Unicorn, ready to go.

I’m listening to Alessandro Juliani narrate Audible Frontiers’ version of The Guns of Avalon. He’s doing a great job, though I did not like the Southern drawl that he chose for two of the major characters (they call it “Ambuh”). It didn’t seem appropriate. With so many characters, I think he feels that he must give each a distinctive voice, so to do that he’s using unlikely accents or vocal properties (e.g., hoarseness or high pitch) to make them unique. I think that’s a mistake, but other than that, his reading is very good.
Originally posted at FanLit.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Oh my God, can we please lose the accents!?

What did you like best about The Guns of Avalon? What did you like least?

I have loved the Amber series for nigh on thirty years, since I first discovered it as a teen ager. This series is magical in its language, portrays fascinating personal and moral struggles set against a tremendously imagined world. All this I love. The narration is decidedly the weak point in this rendition.

What didn’t you like about Alessandro Juliani’s performance?

It might be easier to sum up what I liked. His Corwin is well done, with a good grasp of the character. Just about everyone else is a miss. In this performance, the character of Ganalon is turned into an upper-class twit, and somehow Benedict and Dara become refugees from the Ante-Bellum South. Random remains a cross between someone from the Revenge of the Nerds and a really bad Peter Lorre on meth.

Did The Guns of Avalon inspire you to do anything?

Yes, write a scathing review of a performance, something I am not usually called upon to do on this otherwise wonderful site.

Any additional comments?

I gave the book three stars overall, despite my distaste for the narrator's choices in characterization. The Guns of Avalon is the weakest of the first five Amber books, having to do a lot of backing and filling and introduce large chunks of exposition that were necessarily delayed by the story conventions required in the first book by amnesia and a deft pacing that left no time to breathe, let alone fill in back story. Still, it's a four-star story for me, the only one that isn't five. I just wish Juliani didn't make a number of the characters sound like muppets, it makes me sad. I'm afraid I can't really recommend the reading of this series here presented, and will only go on in a dimming hope it gets better, and since I already bought the bloody thing.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Walking in shadow, seeking a place...

"Now I had to find a place, a place resembling another place -- one which no longer existed. I located the path. I took it."
- Roger Zelazny, The Guns of Avalon

A missing father, siblings that aren't very filial, a dark road, dark circles, a contested thrown, faceless figures, flying daemons, etc. This book has a lot of action and a pretty clear arc. The protagonist has been cast low and is now fighting to regain what he lost (besides just weight) AND gain what he feels is his right (and not just the crown).

The positives of this book is the ambiguity of the characters. Even the focal point of the book (Prince Corwin) is an ambiguous character. At times, the reader feels he isn't much better than half of his siblings. He has also made situations a lot worse for EVERYBODY because of his own sufferings. Think of it as the inverse of Jesus. Instead of suffering for the sins of the world, Corwin, through his sufferings - subjects the worlds to a multitude of evil and sins. And now, he has to deal with the mess he made.

Again, like the first in this series, this isn't GREAT literature but it is entertaining enough and does have a compelling narrative drive to it. They are little trashy treats. 120 page pulp bites. It is nice to throw a couple of these in-between longer, more dense and serious reads. They are entertaining.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Always loved the story didn't like voices

What made the experience of listening to The Guns of Avalon the most enjoyable?

Love the story

Any additional comments?

The voices were not very good, Random's was too whiny and giving Benedict and Dara a southern accent was a bit distracting and I believe in Nine Princes in Amber he had Gerard with a Scottish accent and it was gone in this book.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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it's terrible when a narrator messes up...

It's terrible when the narrator messes up a great story. I love the Amber books, but this narrator makes half of the characters sound like driveling idiots... the whole five book story arc should be told in one voice, the voice of the protagonist as it is him narrating his story from his perspective at the end of it all.

8 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Good story but...

Like so many others, I’ve always been a big fan of the series. The first volume audiobook was pretty good, so I moved on. I can’t even finish this one, it’s so terrible.

It’s the weakest book of the 4, but still a decent story, right? But the narration is sub-par. I know you can’t get too fussed about men doing women’s character voices and vice versa, because it’s always going to be awkward, but here the women’s voices are flat, cramped, simpering. Truly cringeworthy. The men’s voices are almost as terrible, practically monotone, and one of the lead voices is so soft it might be a woman.

No one expects a male voice to imitate a woman, but cadence and inflection are all that’s needed. This was just awful.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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the voices do not fit the charecters at all .

the story is great. the female voices are absent. could be done better. too bad.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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just couldn't handle the narrator

it was so bad, especially after hearing Zelazny himself read these...that I had to skip to book six or risk having one of my favorite series ruined

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An awesome book badly narrated

I love this series and have read it multiple times over the years. The narrator does a good job with the main character, but a very bad job with all other characters. He adds inappropriate accents, he changes the feeling of the characters, he gets the flavor wrong and in so doing changes the feeling of those characters and this, sadly, impacts the experience.

These books deserve better. Audible should have these redone with a different reader.

1 person found this helpful

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  • DragonSlayer
  • 05-14-13

FANTASTIC FANTASY

I can only reiterate my review of Nine Princes in Amber. This is part of a quintology and, I feel, needs to be read or heard as one book as the story arc starts with Book 1 and finishes with Book 5. I read this book and also the subsequent four books years ago and was totally enthralled by them. I've been waiting a long time to get them on audio. The story is still brilliant but feel the performance could be improved upon. Alessandro Juliani does a good job but I feel audio books would really benefit from having a narrator and a different actors for the different characters. There is a limit to what one person can do by way of changing voices and it is sometimes difficult for a male to replicate a female voice and vice versa. However, having said the above, I really enjoyed the experience of Nine Princes in Amber and the subsequent four books of the quintology in audio.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • A.N.
  • 10-02-20

Slow Start but Good Finish

Much of this book feels like a transition phase to get into the main thrust of the plot. The last hour is exciting and ends on a great cliffhanger. The first part of the book moved a bit slowly for me, albeit with entertaining characters and scenery. But I'm certainly glad I stuck with it.

As with the first book, I still find the scenes on earth the most interesting but they seem underused so far in favour of the fantasy worlds.

The battle scene at the climax is more enjoyable than the previous book. The narration is excellent and it is worth sticking through the quieter parts towards the end because the ending sets up superbly for the next phase of this epic in Book 3. This is now more than just a story of family conflict and mystery and intrigue build, and I'm starting to see why it has so many fans.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Corey
  • 02-28-20

Fantastic

Great book and a fantastic series, probably one of my all time favourites. Highly recommended for all fantasy fans.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-10-19

great story

The second book in the chronicle of amber, has a good story, exciting and thrilling. the performance is also excellent!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • mpapa
  • 10-26-18

Great book

Only thing I disliked was the narrator’s performance of female characters. Other than that, awesome.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Ross H
  • 02-19-18

Enjoyable

This is nothing spectacular to be honest, slightly disappointing after the 1st one, still some interesting bits, much less smoking

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Christopher
  • 02-16-15

A great auther

Story – 5/5

I am really glad I gave this series a go. Although it is very different to anything else I have come across in the Sci-fi/Fantasy genre, it has quickly become a favourite of mine. It is clever, witty, fast paced and full of action. The originality keeps things fresh and intriguing, making you want to learn more about such a complex world/universe, of which these first 2 books have only touched on the surface.

The new characters are strongly established in a short amount of time, while Corwin and his brothers were expanded upon nicely. I thought the overall characterisation was done better in this book than the first. There is a bit of romance, which although could have been better if developed over more time, was enjoyable enough.


Performance – 4.5/5

Alessandro Juliani did a fantastic job again; consistent with the first audiobook. One of the reasons for the short length of the audiobook is because he reads it so fast. I thought it helped to sweep me along with the fast paced story quite nicely.

His voice acting was very good – each character having a distinct voice, and he suited Corwin’s narration very nicely; matching the humour and matter-of-fact personality perfectly.


Overall – 5/5