Demian's Gamebook Web Page

Item - The Seven Serpents

(Original edition, 1985 reprint)
(Original edition, 1985 reprint)
(Original edition, 1985 reprint)
(Zigzag logo edition)
(Dragon logo, metallic text edition, tenth printing)
(Dragon logo, metallic text edition, tenth printing)
(Dragon logo, metallic text edition, tenth printing)
(Dragon logo, metallic text edition, eleventh printing)
(Dragon logo, white text edition, eleventh printing)
(American edition)
(Australian edition, 1984 second printing)
(Wizard Books edition)
To see more images, switch to Edition View.

Combined Summary

Series: Fighting Fantasy (2002-2007, Wizard Books Series 1) — no. 13
Sorcery! — no. 3
Contained In: Sorcery! Box Set (Collection)
Translated Into: FBET HNXFIM [שבעת הנחשים] (Hebrew)
Hét sárkánykígyó (Hungarian)
Sedemte drakona [Седемте дракона] (Bulgarian)
Sedm mystických Hadů (Czech)
Les Sept serpents (French)
As sete serpentes (Portuguese)
I sette serpenti (Italian)
Sichi-hiki no daija [七匹の大蛇] (Japanese)
Die sieben Schlangen (German)
Die sieben Schlangen (German)
Las siete serpientes (Spanish)
Las siete serpientes (Spanish)
De syv slanger (Danish)
Adapted Into: Crown of Kings: A Campaign for Advanced Fighting Fantasy (Role-Playing Material)
Sorcery 3: The Seven Serpents (Role-Playing Material)
Sorcery! 3 (Digital Gamebook)
Author: Jackson, Steve (United Kingdom)
Illustrators: Blanche, John
Grant, Melvyn (Mel) (Wizard Books edition - cover)
Dates: 1984 (Australian edition, 1984 second printing)
August, 1984 (Original edition)
November, 1984 (American edition)
1985 (Original edition, 1985 reprint)
June 2, 2003 (Wizard Books edition)
ISBNs: 014007208X / 9780140072082 (American edition, Original edition, 1985 reprint)
0140318097 / 9780140318098 (Zigzag logo edition, Dragon logo, metallic text edition, tenth printing, Australian edition, 1984 second printing, Dragon logo, metallic text edition, eleventh printing, Dragon logo, white text edition, eleventh printing)
1840464356 / 9781840464351 (Wizard Books edition)
Length: 498 sections (Original edition, Zigzag logo edition, Dragon logo, metallic text edition, tenth printing, Dragon logo, metallic text edition, eleventh printing, Dragon logo, white text edition, eleventh printing, American edition, Australian edition, 1984 second printing, Wizard Books edition)
511 sections (Original edition, 1985 reprint)
Inevitable's Thoughts:

This one's a small let down after the brilliant Kharé - Cityport of Traps. Like Kharé, The Seven Serpents features a mini-quest that has you gathering up MacGuffin's throughout the book. This time you're searching for the titular Seven Serpents, couriers for the Archmage of Mampang who are racing back to the Mampang Fortress with news of your quest.

Interestingly, you can fail, or only partially succeed, at this quest and still progress to the next book, albeit with a heavy penalty. If you manage to round up the Seven Serpents and give them a good squishing, you proceed with a considerable reward, although it should be noted that the task is quite difficult.

It all sounds great, and certainly the idea of actions in one book having over-arching impact on the story in the next is very compelling, but somehow it is lacking in the execution. For one thing, the nature of the MacGuffin is a little odd. These Serpents are supposedly racing back to the Fortress, all of them can fly, and several have powers that could undoubtedly ensure that they stay well out of your reach (for instance, one is a Serpent of Air, another has the power to alter the speed of time itself), and yet one plodding adventurer taking an extremely elliptical tour of the desert can manage to find them all lounging around and looking the other way. The other problem is that, unlike Kharé's gate poem, there aren't really much in the way of clues to lead the attentive adventurer to the various serpent lairs. Essentially, the only way a player will find them all is through repeated play and trial and error, which was probably Jackson's way of ensuring replay value, but it seems like a tremendous opportunity was missed to reward observant and careful players.

That being said, there are many good points in this book. The Baklands feel appropriately blasted and empty, and encounters offer a nice variety of interesting monsters to fight, encampments of elves to negotiate with, sub-humans to escape and plagues to catch, all of it qualitatively different from the first two books. Also, the Serpents themselves are quite fun to deal with, each of them representing a different element (or something, does "Sun" count as an element?) and possessing appropriate powers. One very nice touch is that each Serpent has a vulnerability that a clever/lucky player can exploit to conquer the beasts without fighting them.

All in all, this is a solid, if somewhat middling, entry in the series. It's better than The Shamutanti Hills, but not as well thought out as Kharé - Cityport of Traps or the exquisite Crown of Kings. A lot of fun to be had though, and the vast Baklands offers a considerable amount of replay value.

More reviews by Inevitable

Special Thanks:Thanks to the Ben Nelson for the previously-used British zigzag logo cover scan. Thanks to Ryan Lynch for most of the remainder of the images featuring the original cover art.
Users Who Own This Item: Alarion, Alatar001, AlHazred, andrewholt, Aniline, auximenes, B0N0V0X, badboybaggins, BarefootJimmy, Barker1952, bonhomme, bookwormjeff (original), Braldt, casperthegoth, convict7421, Crazyscotsman, CSquared, Cyan, c_wickham, dArtagnan, Darth Rabbitt ("Red Banner" edition), dave2002a, dblizzard72, DeKoovenWolf, Dirk Omnivore, domj29, Dronak (1st reissue in Sorcery! Box Set) (original Puffin red banner orange spine), Ed, edwebb, egokun, Erikwinslow (Zigzag), evilspoon, Fido815, firefoxpdm, Florik, Fullerton (diag #), Gamebook, Gamebook Collector, Gibraltar, gnomeza (Gold Dragon), Graham, greyarea13, Groatsworth, gryff, Haoie, Ian2405, Icedlake, JamesMulgrue, jcruelty, jeff3333, JoshW, jr, Jubal, juski, karalynn, katzcollection, khaxzan, killagarilla, killagirilla, kinderstef, knginatl (US orig., UK jagged, reissue) (US orig., UK jagged, reissue), le maudit, liam0404, MacbthPSW, Malthus Dire, MarcusP, MasterChief, mattender, mir1812, mlvoss, Morthynmir, mrtricks (Orange zigzag cover), mrwalker, nelsondesign, nerelax, Nich, nicolau (Spanish Devir ed.), Oberonbombadil (zigzag) (zigzag), odo_ital, Office Linebacker_, Osirian08 (Orange spine), outspaced, peterm2, plowboy, plutonick, Pseudo_Intellectual, qazplm (reissue), redpiper05, Robert Mammone, Rozo, rpatel1976 (gold dragon), ryderark (Spanish Altea Version), Ryuran333, Sabreman, Salpynx, Sir Olli, sireeyore (original), skeleton, snakefire77 (original with red jagged band on top), StagQuests (1st Cover), strawberry_brite, Tamerlane1396, terrysalt, thevagrant, Threepwud, tonk82, toxtethogradyworlds, Treguard, Tremendez, Trompe-l Oeil, twar, Twoflower, umbra682000, Wardog, wreade, Yalius
Users Who Want This Item: breity (Puffin/Penguin edition if possible) (Puffin/Penguin edition if possible), CSquared, Cyan, demon of the deep lt, domchamon, exaquint, Gurvo, Hugues, iguanaditty (any edition), jeremydouglass, mrtricks (Original cover only), NEMO, punga, truce57, twar, Uraniborg, Von Scotty, yermither, zat
Users with Extra Copies: bookwormjeff - 2 original
snakefire77 - good condition (some creases, firm binding, no writing)

Known Editions

Original edition
Original edition, 1985 reprint
Zigzag logo edition
Dragon logo, metallic text edition, tenth printing
Dragon logo, metallic text edition, eleventh printing
Dragon logo, white text edition, eleventh printing
American edition
Australian edition, 1984 second printing
Wizard Books edition

Please log in to manage your collection or post a review.

Related Documents

Play Aid

Sorcery! Character Sheet

Bibliography of Items About "The Seven Serpents"


Fighting Fantasy News (Warlock #3)
Linefeed: Computer Books, Game Books, Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Reviewed