Part Two of Zelazny's new Amber megatome following Trumps of Doom (1985). The wizard Merle Corey, son of the long-vanished prince Corwin of Amber, escapes the cave-trap where he was imprisoned by old friend and maybe-enemy Luke (he's seeking revenge upon the various princes of Amber for the death of his father Brand). Returning to Amber, where he survives an assassination attempt, Merle learns that Luke's mother Jasra, a sorceress from a remote area of the multiple-reality Shadow, has been captured by the wizard Mask; in return for Merle's help in rescuing Jasra, Luke will impart information vital to Amber's survival. The complications are endless. Merle realizes that a magical female Someone--she has the ability to occupy another person's body for a time--is acting as his guardian angel; Merle doesn't know why and doesn't trust her. Luke's supposed allies turn on him and, badly wounded, he must be rescued by Merle. Mask, a puzzling figure whose purposes are unknown, ends his magical visitations by dumping flowers on Merle's head. The problems begin with the complications: there are far too many of them, and almost none of them are resolved; nearly everything that happens is baffling, even to the characters themselves--they spend half their time trying to figure out what's going on. Both action and drama are minimal. And the Zelazny wit is mostly in cold storage. One for Amber addicts.