For certain fans of fantasy and interactive storytelling, Joe Dever's Lone Wolf gamebook series is held in high regard. It is a fantasy epic that began in 1984 and has since expanded to over thirty books, selling over 12 million copies and winning multiple awards. Now that epic will be returning to print, just in time for its 40th anniversary.
The return of Joe Dever's Lone Wolf series
First a bit of history. The Lone Wolf series was a pioneer in choose-your-own-adventure books. Dever himself was an avid player of tabletop RPGs. In fact, he won the 1982 Advanced Dungeons & Dragons World Championship. He then developed his own rules, created his own fantasy setting, and ran adventures with his gaming group. Dever wanted to share that RPG experience with a general audience, so he created the Lone Wolf series. In addition, he helped introduce the idea of the gamebook. Basically, in addition to branching narrative choices in choose-your-own-adventure books, the gamebook would have a character sheet where you could keep track of items, weapons, and knowledge gained. No dice or other players were needed, you just needed a pencil.
But what made the Lone Wolf gamebooks unique was that their stories were ongoing. If you picked up all five books in the Kai Series for example, you could experience a single complete storyline spanning all five entries, your different choices and alliances carrying over from book to book. These books became massively popular, spanning 30 books in total all set within the same fantasy world. That central appeal kept the series going strong until 1998; a result of PC games being able to provide similar experiences.
In 2016, Dever returned to Lone Wolf, publishing a new series under his publishing company Holmgard Press. It found its audience thanks in part to the rise of solo and journaling TTRPG as well as older fans sharing the books with their children. Sadly, Dever died of cancer in November of that year. However, he left the outline of the last three books in the series to his son, Ben, and tasked him with finishing the series and bringing the entire Lone Wolf series back to physical print.
Now, according to an official press release by Holmgard Press, reprints of Lone Wolf are on their way. Right now, the first five books are available for purchase. They are available in paperback and hardback editions as well as e-book. Each book features revised covers by series' artist Gary Chalk, containing rebalanced gameplay and revised text, as well as new supplemental material. The rest of the series will be made available throughout the year with books six and seven releasing this March. The final book in the series, Light of the Kai, will release in 2024.