Lord Corwin is a prince of Amber and son of Oberon. He was the presumptive successor and became temporary monarch between the reigns of Eric & Random. Corwin used the Jewel Of Judgement to inscribe his own "second pattern" -- which imbalanced the multiverse in the direction of Order.
He is a hard-boiled, highly literate and generally ironic pragmatist. Corwin's anti-romanticism is mixed up with his strong interpersonal and ethical sensitivities. These developed in him slowly during his period of amnesiac dwelling among the people of the shadow Earth.
"Most things depend upon other things and this thing is no different." - Corwin of Amber.
Centuries before the opening of Nine Princes In Amber, while their father Oberon was still ruling in Amber, Corwin fought a duel (or, as Corwin referred to it later, "a simultaneous decision to murder each other") with Eric and nearly died. Eric, fearing their father's wrath, dumped Corwin in Elizabethan England during one of the recurrent plague outbreaks, most likely during one of the outbreaks in 1592 or 1603. Corwin recovered from the plague, but he suffered brain damage causing amnesia. He proceeded to live out several hundred years of Earth's history as a soldier of fortune, physician, and songwriter until the 1970s, when he was in a car accident and confined to a clinic. Waking with no memories at all, Corwin escapes and makes contact with his his sister Florimel, and soon after his brother Random, using them to return to Amber and finally regain his past (by re-walking on the copy of the Pattern located in the underwater city Rebma).
Once Corwin's memory returns, we learn that he is far from saintly. Like his siblings, he has created his own kingdom in Shadow to rule, calling it Avalon, and in doing so has cast shadows of himself and his kingdom around. While the original Avalon has been destroyed, in the shadow Avalons his name is reviled for cruelty and arrogance. As Benedict says of the Avalon that he has adopted, acting as Lord Protector, "young boys are not named Corwin here, nor am I brother to anyone of that name". Even in Lorraine, the shadow of a shadow where he first encounters the forces of Chaos, he is remembered as a tyrant and butcher. However, it is also implied that this image may be distorted, as it is from a shadow of Avalon in which the real Corwin never ruled. Even so, it seems that his centuries on Earth have somehow mellowed his character, if not his ambition.
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