Thursday, 1 December 2016

Some Sad News

Today I learned that, following a lengthy illness, gamebook author Joe Dever passed away earlier this week.

The gamebook I have owned for longest is one that he wrote - Fire on the Water, the second instalment of his epic Lone Wolf saga. I had other gamebooks before that one, but they all went when I got rid of much of my collection in early adulthood. The Lone Wolf series was one of the few that I retained back then: I never even considered disposing of that set.

Lone Wolf has given me a lot of enjoyment (plus, inevitably for a gamebook series, some frustration) over the years, not to mention a good number of memories. On more than one occasion I've mentioned that time back in the 1990s when I played the original series (books 1-12) through to the end, going back to the start of the first book every time I failed, no matter how far I'd got. It's the only series I've ever tackled with such dogged commitment, and the fact that it kept me coming back, even after I lost that tricky fight in book 11, or after the umpteenth time I fell foul of that unavoidable one-in-ten chance of an arrow through the head in book 4, says something about Mr. Dever's ability to grip the imagination.

My condolences to his friends and family.


  1. The amount of memories mentioned around the Internet is sad and inspiring at the same time.

    Mr Dever's permission to host all of his books on Project Aon for free was a selfless gesture that, IMO, has enabled the Lone Wolf saga to be better circulated to the Internet generation.

    I compiled links to a number of on-line reactions here :

  2. Thanks for sharing Ed. I certainly know how you are feeling. I think all of us gamebook fans have lost someone precious in the person of Mr. Dever.
    Long live his creations!

  3. Did you ever actually make it through all 12 books without dying?

    1. Eventually. I was too stubborn to give up. Even the first time I made it to book 11 and got squished by the Chaos Master, while I didn't relish the prospect of having to replay books 1-10, quitting appealed even less. I mildly regret not having kept more detailed records so as to be able to say how many tries it took me to play through the set. Pretty sure it must have been double figures, though.

    2. Well done. I toyed with the idea for my Way of the Tiger Playthrough (that is, going back to the start of Avenger! every time I died) but compromised by having 'save points' at the start of each book. Book 4 nearly broke me as it was..