|(Red Fox edition)|
Lone Wolf (1984-1998)
The Masters of Darkness (reissue) (Collection)
La Crépuscule des maîtres (French)
Die Herren der Dunkelheit (German)
Ketua kedurjanaan (Malay)
Mörkrets herrar (Swedish)
Páni temnot (Czech)
Scontro mortale (Italian)
Salmon, Brian (Beaver cover)
Jones, Peter Andrew (Red Fox cover)
April 7, 1988 (original)
January 1, 2003 (Project Aon release)
0099514001 / 9780099514008
0425117189 / 9780425117187 (American edition)
|Number of Endings:||21 (not including failure by loss of points)|
|User Summary:||When you return from the Daziarn, you discover that years have passed and the Darklords are on the verge of victory. Now is the time to take your long-awaited revenge!|
|Demian's Thoughts:||For a long time, I thought this was truly the last book in the series -- I think many people have been under that impression in many places. In any case, I've waited for years to actually play out the last act of Lone Wolf's battle with the Darklords, and now that I have, I'm rather disappointed. Like the previous volume, this book has extremely long linear sequences without meaningful choices. Fortunately, the game balance is considerably better, with multiple ways out of some nasty situations, but this doesn't change the fact that the book really isn't especially exciting. There are a couple of good action sequences and a variety of monsters to fight, but there just isn't the sense of fun and potential that was so palpable in the first few volumes. Perhaps I'm just tired from having reviewed so many of these books in so short a time, but I think it's more likely that it was the author who was getting tired -- the increasing linearity as the series went on suggests a growing desire to just get the storyline over with. It's all kind of anticlimactic. Still, more than two thirds of the books so far were well worth the effort, and that's a good bit above average. I look forward to eventually filling some gaps in my collection and moving on to the next chapter in Lone Wolf's adventures. I sense that there are still good things to come.|
After making it this far in the Lone Wolf series, you'll be glad if you didn't skip any of the previous eleven books before arriving here at your last mission, to vanquish the Darklords of Helgedad once and for all. With each new book that you've successfully completed up to this point, you've had the ability to choose another Kai/Magnakai discipline to add to your arsenal, and boy do you need every single one of those disciplines now. I began The Masters of Darkness with Combat Skill of thirty-two and Endurance of forty-three, yet it was all I could do simply to make it to the end of the book alive. Substantial augmentation in enemies' combat skill for this book makes it more difficult than ever to win fights without losing crucial chunks of Endurance points, and some of the otherworldly creatures you will be battling have insane Endurance levels of their own. And let me tell you this: YOU NEED THE SOMMERSWERD! I don't see how it's even possible to do battle with the Darklords without this wonderful sword that doubles all of their Endurance Points lost when you fight them with it. You pick up the Sommerswerd right near the beginning of the Lone Wolf series, though, which is the most compelling reason of all to begin at book one and work all the way through. If you can survive the multi-tiered journey into the center of Helgedad in The Masters of Darkness, then your tenacity and courage will be rewarded as you finally come face to face with Darklord Gnaag himself in an epic showdown that will decide the fate of Sommerlund forever. It's a battle that I, personally, have been waiting for most of my life.
Author Joe Dever stretches the imaginative use of vivid descriptive English to very near its maximum potential in this book, festooning paragraph after paragraph with eye-popping imagery and rich sensory activators, utilizing metaphor and simile with the master skill of a truly superior fantasy writer. The descriptions of your battles with all kinds of nightmarish creatures both living and undead are enough to make it almost feel as if you're actually seeing the black ichor gush forth when you slash at a monster with your sword, or as if your very life hangs in the balance when you close your eyes and fearfully pick a number from the random number table, hoping that your heightened Kai senses will be enough to carry the day in whatever dire situation is confronting you. Clearly Joe Dever is an extraordinary writer, and the high level of imaginative power that he puts into every page of this book never dips at all. His mental energy levels must be through the roof.
For those of us who have followed Lone Wolf's path all the way from book one, the end of The Masters of Darkness will be a particularly emotional one. To complete a quest of this magnitude, one that first requires the completion of eleven other books, is a major personal commitment, and requires an emotional investment that really pays off as you near the finish line in this book. The final battle with Darklord Gnaag has been anticipated for so long that it would be nearly impossible for the actual fight to live up to expectations, but just knowing that freedom for all Sommerlunders--and payback for the massacre of the entire population of your Kai kinsmen at the hands of the darklords prior to the beginning of book one--is now only a single battle away is incentive enough to finish this war once and for all, and wipe the evil darklords off the face of the land forever.
In some ways this book is the end, but it's also the beginning of the next great Lone Wolf adventure, as you encounter further challenges that will test your Magnakai skills to their utmost. Of the first twelve volumes, though, I have to say that The Masters of Darkness is one of the best, and brings a satisfying conclusion to a magnificent odyssey. I recommend The Masters of Darkness as strongly as pretty much any other gamebook from any other series that I've ever read.
|Special Thanks:||Thanks to Marcus Pearse for the Red Fox cover scan.|
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Lone Wolf # 9 / #10 / #11 / #12 Character Sheet (back)
Lone Wolf #12 Character Sheet (front)