Thursday 7 September 2023

Sir Ian Livingstone's City of Thieves published 40 years ago!

City of Thieves, by Sir Ian Livingstone, was published 40 years ago, on 1 September 1983.

For his second gamebook with sole writing credit, Livingstone sent the reader to the nefarious Port Blacksand for the first time, searching for the means to save the prosperous town of Silverton from the evil Night Prince Zanbar Bone and his bloodthirsty Moon Dogs.

This was the first occasion on which Iain McCaig produced not just the internal illustrations but also, what has since become, a classic cover.

“I’ve always been fascinated by graveside sculptures of the Grim Reaper,” says McCaig. “I eventually designed one for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Zanbar Bone is an early attempt to bring one to life.” 

The City of Thieves has been revisited again and again, in gamebooks like Midnight Rogue, Night Dragon and The Port of Peril, as well as the Advanced Fighting Fantasy titles Dungeoneer and Blacksand!

There have been various digital adaptations and there is even an original City of Thieves graphic novel on the way. Not bad for the book that was first published four decades ago!

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