Book 19 is missing

I did it. Well, all but Book 19.

This time last year I decided to finally sit down and start reading/playing Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf adventure game books after I’d been trying to piece together a complete collection since the late ‘90s. You can read the story behind that here.

A year on, and I’ve come to a (temporary) end of my read/play through.

In the end I managed to get through the first eighteen books in a reasonable time — about one a week for eighteen or so weeks. I managed to pick up Book Seventeen (one of the few missing from my collection when I started the read through) for a not too unreasonable price. However, Book Nineteen remained (and remains) elusive (at least at a price I’m willing to pay). So I broke off from the read through in what must have been August last year.

A week or so ago, I finally gave up on waiting, and read Book 20 — The Curse of Naar — completing, with that one exception, my read through.

Was it worth the effort of collecting and the wait to play it all the way through in (almost) one go?


Having grown up on standalone Fighting Fantasy books, it was kinda fun playing through an ongoing story. Certainly the first story arch of five books played well. They’re fast paced, fun reads. After that though the books started to become harder going. Not only did the pace seem to slow and it take longer to get through them, but they felt more and more linear, with the decision points not being about choices over a course of action but about what you had done in previous books or which skills you’d chosen at the start. There was a strong sense that it was almost essential to have read at least the majority of the books in sequence just to make sure that you had all of the prior knowledge and all of the equipment you needed to succeed.

Did I cheat to complete them? A little, although a lot less than I have with certain Fighting Fantasy books.

In other news

I’ve completed another draft of The Theatre of Shadows – The Vasini Chronicles II. I’m actually feeling quite positive about it and it seems that I’m getting that much closer to being in a position to publish it. Fingers crossed I’ll still feel the same when I go back to it in a few weeks time after its obligatory time in the virtual draw.

Until next time, keep safe and wash your hands.

A little way in the right direction

We’re now over three months in to 2019, so time to check how far along I am with my To Do List.

Edit and publish The Theatre of Shadows: The Vasini Chronicles II.

Back when I made my To Do List, The Theatre of Shadows was sitting in a virtual draw while others took a look at it, with the thought that I might start work on the next draft in February. In actuality I’ve only just started on the latest draft. I’m a little way in, but what I’ve gone through so far is looking better than I thought it would, which is promising. More importantly, I’m enjoying it.

Assuming there aren’t any surprises on the way, The Silver Mask should have it’s sequel out in the world by the end of the year.

Given that I may refer to it a bit, I’m just going to call The Theatre of Shadows ToS for the rest of the post. Hope you don’t mind.

Edit a novella.

I had thought that I’d get round to editing The Signal (working title) at some point before I got to ToS. That didn’t happen. It’ll sit in the virtual draw a little longer — until I’ve finished the next draft of ToS at least — based on feedback I’ve received, hopefully there shouldn’t be too much to get it into shape for publishing.

Edit Tales From Vasini II.

According to my To Do List, I was planning on editing this at the same time as ToS, but that’s been put on hold. I don’t want to distract myself from work on ToS and I know there’ll be a lot of wok to do on the two novellas that make up Tales From Vasini II, so they can wait for a bit.

Write The Vasini Chronicles III.

I’ve outlined the third Vasini Chronicles novel. There’s still some more in-depth outlining (and maybe a bit more research to do). Given that I need to work on ToS and that I need to write Tales From Vasini III first, I won’t be getting to this anytime soon.

Write Tales From Vasini III.

I’ve started writing it. I’m only a few thousands words into the first of the three novellas that will make up the book, but I’m already enjoying being with the main character and writing something new about Vasini, which makes the writing easier. (You could ask why the hell you’d write something you didn’t enjoy writing, but that doesn’t seem to be the way the writing compulsion works at times — there’s a difference between wanting to tell and enjoying a story and the process of actually writing it.)

Edit and try to work out how to publish a long novel.

This was what was delaying work on ToS.

The draft is done. It’ll go to someone to look and sense check some of the changes I made, then it’ll have to wait in line for its next draft.

I’m missing it already.

Read at least 48 books and cut down my backlog of unread books to less than 270.

According to Goodreads, I’ve read 18 out 48 books, which isn’t bad going. Unfortunately my backlog is still at 306 books. It should be down to 296, but between presents and me buying more books, I seem to be maintaining the status quo with the size of my To Be Read pile.

One thing that may help is that I’m planning to read/play my collection of Lone Wolf adventure game books over the next few months (you can read about my attempts to complete the set over the past twenty years here – as an update to that blog, I’ve managed to get my hands on Book Seventeen, so I’ll be reading Books One to Eighteen). That alone will drop my backlog to 289 books.

Blog more.

With this post I’ve managed to exceed the six blog posts I made last year. I had intended to blog at least once a fortnight. Based on that, I’ve missed two posts. But, much like everything else, although I may not be quite as far along as I would hope (we are, as species, always far too optimistic with what we think we can achieve with the time we have, that’s why all those public infrastructure projects run late and go over budget), I am at least going in the right directions. In another few months I’ll be a few more steps along, a few months after that a few more steps, and I’ll keep on going until I get to where I need to be.

Flight from the Dark

Okay. I’m going to do it. I’m going to start reading/playing Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf adventure game books. It may have taken over three decades, but I’m going to do it.

Assuming my memory is correct, I first came across them back when I was young (pre-teen young). The odd copy would be hidden amongst all of the adventure game books I was trawling through looking for the latest Fighting Fantasy release. For some reason, I never bought one. I suspect it was part out of loyalty to Fighting Fantasy (forced by limited pocket money funds meaning I could only ever get one book at a time) and part never finding the first book of what ended up being a series of 29 interconnected books.

Then, back during my university years in the late ‘90s, on a trip to Aberaeron, I stumbled across books 18 and 20 in a second-hand bookshop. I bought them and put them on a shelf with the idea that I might be able to slowly piece together the full collection.

And there they sat.

It was some years later before I would stumble across more of them in a bookshop in Cardiff. Never more than one or two would appear at a time and never two in a row of the sequence. But over time I managed to fill some gaps. I managed to get Book One and Book Three, but was only able to bridge the gap when I came across an omnibus of Books One and Two.

The vein ran dry though, and, although I had the full run between Books One to Twelve, I had nothing from Thirteen to Seventeen, no Eighteen and nothing beyond Book Twenty.

In recent years my search has turned online, and I’ve managed to fill a few more gaps (Books Thirteen to Sixteen).

That’s not to say that Books Seventeen, Nineteen and Twenty-one onwards are unavailable. I’ve just checked on Amazon, there are copies there. The issue now is that I can’t really justify to myself spending what we’d normally spend on a weekly shop to get two books in ‘acceptable’ condition (Books Seventeen and Nineteen) and certainly can’t put down hundreds of pounds per book for Books Twenty-one onwards. If I’d known this when I was younger, I would have spent my pocket money differently – it would have been far cheaper to get the Lone Wolf books then and the Fighting Fantasy books now.

I know there are online versions of the books available. For the sake of completeness, I could play the missing books on a website. But, after all this time, it seems a little wrong, a little defeatist not to have the hardcopy.

So, I think I’m going to settle with what I have for the time being and, sometime in April, I’ll sit down and, after over thirty years of waiting to play them, start Lone Wolf Book One: Flight From the Dark. Maybe, just maybe, by the time I finish Book Sixteen, the missing books may have come down in price and I’ll be able to continue straight on with the rest of the series. If not, I’ll just have to keep on waiting.