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Book Review

Book Cover

Fighting Fantasy
Book 7 - Bloodbones


Author: Jonathan Green
Wizard Books
RRP: £5.99, US $9.95, Cdn $12.00
ISBN: 978 184831119 0
Available 01 April 2010

The dreaded pirate-lord Cinnabar, 'Bloodbones' to those who feared him, was once the scourge of the twelve seas. Now he is back from the dead, seeking revenge, with the dark powers of voodoo at his command. But you have revenge of your own on you mind - Cinnabar murdered your family when you were a child. Only you can prevent a new reign of terror by destroying the pirate captain and his crew of cutthroats. Come hell or high water Bloodbones must be stopped...

Bloodbones is the seventh book in the relaunched Fighting Fantasy series of gaming books where the story unfolds depending on the numerous choices the reader makes.

This book is something of a legend as it was originally planned to be the 60th book published in the Puffin Fighting Fantasy series, but didn't see the light of day after Puffin folded the series in 1995. For years the Amazon website had it available to preorder even though it hadn't even been printed.

Then, in 2002, Wizard Books relaunched the series and in 2006 published Bloodbones for the first time. Now, in 2010, the book has been reprinted with a new cover to fit in with the new range (which includes new editions to the series as well as some old favourites).

Bloodbones is one of the more mature books in the series - even though originally it was planned to be a lot smaller as Puffin wanted to relaunch the range to make them more accessible. The book's author, Jonathan Green (not Steve Jackson & Ian Livingstone as the cover seems to indicate), added a fair bit of new material for the 2006 release, as the original Puffin edition was only 300 paragraphs long. Green has beefed it up to 400 paragraphs and put back in a lot of the encounters he was forced to cut to get it down to the 300 paragraph Puffin wanted. It's also one of the more difficult to complete as if you don't have the right information you can't find your prey... and if you don't have the right equipment you can't defeat him.

There's a lot of exploring to do before you can track down pirate-lord Cinnabar. It's a good idea to visit the markets and stock up on magic potions and equipment - as it can help you greatly later on in the book. You'll also need to find out as much information from others as possible - but it's not just a case of visiting every location offered, as asking too many questions can raise too much suspicion with those you are trying to avoid.

I also enjoyed the time elements that are weaved into the fabric of the game. You start at a certain time and then during the book you are occasionally instructed to add different hours to the time. This then means that if you decide late in the day to explore a certain area then a night visit is not the same as a visit during the day.

There are also other interesting elements. For example there is a game in which you have to work out the next number in the sequence. If you think you know the answer then you must turn to that number to see if you were right. Then there's the clues you are given as you wander around. You are given various strange words - without knowing what they mean. Later you may be asked if you have heard that word - the outcome to which could be good or bad. And then there are elements like being told of Madame Galbo. Here you are told which page to flick to if you should have the opportunity to visit her, and if later in the game you are told that you have the option to visit her you can do so. This takes away some of the cheating element where people could easily turn to the Madame Galbo section if they hadn't previously been told about her.

Bloodbones is one of the series' most impressive and enjoyable books.


Darren Rea

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