Friday, 5 April 2019

Deathtrap Dungeon is 35 years old this month!

Ian Livingstone's seminal Fighting Fantasy gamebook Deathtrap Dungeon celebrates its 35th anniversary this month!

One of the things that made the sixth Fighting Fantasy gamebook stand out on the shelves of bookshops and libraries was Iain McCaig's incredible watercolour-painted cover image. Who can fail to remember the myriad-eyed Bloodbeast, staring hungrily at the reader, its pustule-scarred tongue licking the bloody juices of its most recent victim from its fangs?

Deathtrap Dungeon sold over 350,000 copies in its first year alone, was the best-selling children’s book in April 1984, and was ranked 8th out of all books sold that month, coming just behind Dick Francis in seventh place and ahead of Stephen King’s Christine in ninth. It spawned a direct sequel, Trial of Champions, a card game, and a video game. More recently there has been an app version, and there are currently plans to develop a new video game based on the book, as well as a movie.

When Wizard Books republished the series in the Noughties, they reinterpreted one of McCaig's internal illustrations to become the book's cover, but now that Scholastic have taken over the licence, the dreaded Bloodbeast is back, in all its grotesque glory, this time as envisioned by Robert Ball.

As 2019 is the book's 35th anniversary year, Deathtrap Dungeon is one of the FF titles that will be the focus of events at this year's Fighting Fantasy Fest 3, which is taking place on Saturday 31st August 2019. There are even rumours that the Bloodbeast might be making a special appearance at the event.

So don't delay, and make sure you book your ticket today!


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