Trumps of Doom

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Trumps of Doom
Dust-jacket illustration from the first edition.
AuthorRoger Zelazny
CountryUnited States
SeriesThe Chronicles of Amber
PublisherArbor House
Publication date
May 1985
Media typePrint (hardcover)
AwardLocus Award for Best Fantasy Novel (1986)
813/.54 19
LC ClassPS3576.E43 T7 1985
Preceded byThe Courts of Chaos 
Followed byBlood of Amber 

Trumps of Doom is a fantasy novel by the American writer Roger Zelazny, the first book in the second Chronicles of Amber series and the sixth book in the Amber series. Whereas the first series was narrated by Corwin, this series is narrated by his son, Merlin. Trumps of Doom won the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel in 1986.[1]

Plot summary[edit]

Merlin has spent the last several years on Earth learning computer science while building Ghostwheel, a trump- and pattern-based computer, elsewhere in Shadow. Having completed his project, he wishes to know who has been trying to kill him every April 30, and why some of the better attempts failed, before he leaves. He meets with his friend Lucas Reynard (Luke), a salesman, who tries to convince him to stay, and who tells him that Julia Barnes, Merlin's ex-girlfriend, may be in trouble. Merlin investigates and finds Julia slain by creatures from another shadow.

Merlin investigates through shadow, and is given orders by king Random to shut down Ghostwheel. However, Ghostwheel has become sentient and capable of defending itself. Eventually, Luke - who, it turns out, is Brand's son - imprisons Merlin in a blue crystal cave so he can attempt to take control of Ghostwheel for himself.

Cultural allusions[edit]

Merlin's landlord "Mr. Mulligan" is an allusion to Buck Mulligan from James Joyce's Ulysses.

Merlin tells Luke that Ghostwheel's operations involve "a lot of theoretical crap involving space and time and some notions of some guys named Everett and Wheeler". The Everett-Wheeler theory of quantum mechanics proposes a "many worlds" interpretation in which the universe instantly fragments into a bundle of alternate histories each time the quantum state of any particle in the universe changes via interaction.

At the conclusion of this volume, Merlin is imprisoned in a crystal cave, just like his namesake from Arthurian legend.


  1. ^ "1986 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-09-27.

External links[edit]