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Item - The Demon's Claw

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(Original edition)
(Original edition)
(Original edition - with Australian price sticker)
(Original edition)
(Original edition)
(Fabled Lands Publishing reissue)
(Fabled Lands Publishing reissue)
(Fabled Lands Publishing reissue)
(Fabled Lands Publishing reissue)

Combined Summary

Series: Blood Sword — no. 3
Translated Into: Akuma no tsume o ore! [悪魔の爪を折れ!] (Japanese)
L'artiglio del demone (Italian)
Demonski nokat [Демонски нокът] (Bulgarian)
Le port des assassins (French)
Authors: Johnson, Oliver
Morris, Dave
Illustrators: Brunet, Sébastien (Fabled Lands Publishing reissue - cover)
Nicholson, Russ (interior)
Wingate, Geoff (Original edition - cartography)
Dates: 1987 (Original edition)
August 20, 2014 (Fabled Lands Publishing reissue)
ISBNs: 0340412062 / 9780340412060 (Original edition)
1909905186 / 9781909905184 (Fabled Lands Publishing reissue)
Length: 588 sections (Original edition)
590 sections (Fabled Lands Publishing reissue)
Aussiesmurf's Thoughts:

Without exaggeration, The Demon's Claw is the finest entry in the best 'ongoing story' gamebook series ever crafted, though I say this having not read the famed Fabled Lands series.

The scope of the world and adventure created in this book is breathtaking. In the one adventure, you must find and negotiate with a snaky traitor, traverse and explore a magical pirate ship, deal with a genie, steal from a wizard's fortress, overcome betrayal, perform a dungeon crawl, meet your arch-foe... and that's only a partial list!

This is the book that, for me, reads most like a Dungeons and Dragons adventure, with each character having a role to play, and skilful selection of options (and not just blind luck of the dice) being vital to success.

The difficulty of this book is, in a weird way, secondary. Given the richness of the world, playing through the book on multiple occasions is a pleasure rather than a chore (as compared to certain Ian Livingstone monstrosities). The depth of even minor characters created in the book is fascinating.

The end of the book, as mentioned in another review, is a wonderful lead-in to the next in the series.

Highest recommendation, but only after the lead-in of the first two books.

More reviews by Aussiesmurf

juski's Thoughts:

The following review was written in 1987 when I was a teenager and published in issue 1 of Orcs Breath, a gaming fanzine that I created and wrote.

Blood Sword 3: The Demon's Claw

Authors: Dave Morris and Oliver Johnson
Cover Illustration: Daniel Flynn
Inside illustrations: Russ Nicholson
Price: £2.95
Publisher: Knight

This is the third book in the Blood Sword saga and the sequel to book two (The Kingdom of Wyrd). It is also indirectly linked to book one (The Battlepits of Krarth) by an old adversary.

In this book you must recover the blade of the Sword of Life, also known as the Blood Sword. (You found the scabbard and hilt in book 2.) The adventure includes a jinni, a ship with an undead crew that sails across different planes of existence and a sword-fighting mannikin.

If you've not played Blood Sword before let me tell you that they can be played by up to 4 players! You only need one book though as in a multiplayer game you work as a team. It's just like a multi-choice roleplaying game but in book form. Occasionally, only one character type will be given information and the outcome depends whether you have a warrior, enchanter, sage or trickster in your party.

The cover includes a massive, bulbous head of some creature and it is illustrated (the book, not the creature) inside by Russ Nicholson again.

The ending is excellent as is the rest of the story. In fact, it's the best gamebook I've ever read. I know that's a bit of a cliche but I've completed over 100!

Plot originality: 76%
Adventure: 94%
Cover illustration: 88%
Inside illustrations: 74%

More reviews by juski

yermither's Thoughts:

The Demon's Claw is a great gamebook, and only a totally show-stopping oversight by the writers stops it being my best gamebook ever.

The setting for this almost obscenely thick gamebook is the occupied city of Crescentium - think of a magical Crusader-occupied Jerusalem circa 1150. A lot of Arabian Night favourites (with twists) make appearances over the course of the book: a particular favourite is the time your characters are stranded on a desert island and must bargain with the most singularly devious djinni to have ever graced the pages of a story to earn the wishes necessary to escape (and get rich to boot). Also, an old villain makes a welcome re-appearance: Icon the Ungodly! The text is crammed with flavour, and as a kid I was very much taken with it: flying from island to island in the clutches of a Roc, gambling with heathens in the Fabled City of the Faith, battling the dreaded Seven-in-One (a most puissant enemy), and stealing aboard a magical pirate ship are just some of the fabulous scenes in this adventure. Awesome!

However, there is one absolutely stone-cold game-killing flaw in the book. If you have played through the earlier books in the series you might come into this adventure equipped with some quite powerful magical items. For example, you may well have the Flying Carpet of the wicked August de Vantery from The Kingdom of Wyrd. If so that's quite unlucky, because you will be offered the chance to use it in the course of the adventure and if you do, you *cannot* get through the final section of the book. It's not just the Flying Carpet... basically, you need to refuse five or six opportunities to use items that you may have in order to be presented with the opportunity to get your mitts on an item that is absolutely crucial to finishing the book. This is one of the few gamebooks where I actually cheated to be able to carry on because I got so frustrated. What's worse is that even if you manage to get yourself to the section where you can acquire this critical item, you *have* to have the Trickster in your party, otherwise it's game over again.

That flaw aside, The Demon's Claw is a grand adventure, and ends on an absolutely awesome cliffhanger that leaves you just gasping to read the fourth book in the series: Doomwalk.

More reviews by yermither

Errata:Early printings of Fabled Lands Publishing reissue: Section 559: Option "666" > 191.
Special Thanks:Thanks to Ryan Lynch for the images of the stickered version of the original edition. Thanks to the Museum of Computer Adventure Game History for the original non-stickered back cover image.
Users Who Own This Item: aehalpin, Alarion, Aniline, Aussiesmurf, B0N0V0X, BarefootJimmy (reissue), Citanul, darkj, dArtagnan, dave2002a, devilsboy, Dronak (reissue), Eamonn McCusker, Ed, edwebb, egokun, Erikwinslow (Original, Reissue), firaya, firefoxpdm, Gamebook, Gartax, gnomeza, greyarea13, janh, jdreller (FL reissue), jr, juski (original), karalynn, katzcollection, kinderstef, le maudit, lek, Malthus Dire, mattender, mlvoss, nelsondesign, nerelax, Nich, Oberonbombadil (Original - new-old stock), outspaced, Pseudo_Intellectual, Radjabov, rolipo26 (V1, Fabled Lands), rpatel1976 (reissue (section 559 corrected)), Sabreman, Sheridan77, Sir Olli (original & reissue), sireeyore, Smidgeccfc76, spalkulus, spragmatic, Threepwud, Treguard, Vampireman (reissue), waktool (Original edition, 1st printing), Yalius, yermither
Users Who Want This Item: CSquared, Cyan, domj29, Ebichuman, Ffghtermedic, odo_ital, Seizure, skttrbrain, snakefire77, StagQuests, Treguard, twar
Users with Extra Copies: dave2002a

Known Editions

Original edition
Fabled Lands Publishing reissue

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Related Documents

Play Aid

Blood Sword #3 - Enchanter Character Sheet

Blood Sword #3 - Sage Character Sheet

Blood Sword #3 - Trickster Character Sheet

Blood Sword #3 - Warrior Character Sheet