Joe Dever

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Joe Dever
Joe Dever.jpg
Born February 1956 (age 58)
Chingford, United Kingdom
Occupation author, game designer
Genre fantasy, science fiction
Notable works Lone Wolf

Joe Dever (born February 12, 1956, Chingford, England) is an award-winning British fantasy author and game designer. Originally a musician, Dever became the first British winner of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Championship of America in 1982.

He created the fictional world of Magnamund as a setting for his Dungeons & Dragons campaigns. In 1984 he released the first book of the Lone Wolf series of young-adult gamebooks, and the series has since sold over 10.4 million copies worldwide. He experienced difficulty with his publishers as the game books market began to contract in 1995, until publication ceased in 1998 before the final four books (numbers 29–32) were released. Since 2003, however, the series has enjoyed a strong revival of interest in France, Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Poland following the re-release of the gamebook series in these countries.

From 1996 onwards, Dever has been involved in the production of several successful computer and console games. He also contributed to a Dungeons & Dragons-style roleplaying game for Lone Wolf published by Mongoose Publishing (UK) from 2004 to 2013 and Le Grimoire (France) in 2006–2013. Currently, he is authoring the story and text for the first game of the Joe Dever's Lone Wolf video game series for tablets by Forge Reply called Lone Wolf: Blood on the Snow,[1] co-authoring the next Lone Wolf roleplaying game by Cubicle 7,[2] and writing the final books in the core Lone Wolf series. The latter works are all scheduled for publication in 2013–15.


Dever was educated at Buckhurst Hill County High School. In 1976, he joined a studio-based record company orchestra known as Pye Records in London which provided accompaniment to solo singers and artists. After 18 months, it disbanded and Dever then freelanced for a year before joining Virgin Records as a Recording Engineer at Manor Studios in Oxfordshire for five years, working with a diverse mix of artists such as Frank Zappa, Peter Gabriel, and The Sex Pistols.[3] Dever has two children, Ben (b. 1981) and Sophie (b. 1987).[4]

During June–August 2005, Dever underwent extensive surgery for bi-lateral kidney cancer, involving a partial nephrectomy of the right kidney, and a full nephrectomy of the left kidney. Seventy percent of his remaining kidney was saved.[5] The surgical team was directed by J. L. Peters of Whipps Cross University Hospital in London. It proceeded without complications on August 10, 2005,[6] and subsequently Dever made a swift recovery, having retained sufficient kidney function to lead a normal life without any need for dialysis or renal drug treatments.[7]


Joe Dever was seven years old when he became a fan of the comic strip "The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire" which appeared in a magazine called Look and Learn. He also built armies of Airfix Roman soldiers and converted their spears to laser rifles long before he was introduced to fantasy.[8] Dever was introduced to "science fantasy" by his high school English tutor.[3] He was the first and perhaps only British person to compete in the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Championship of America, which he won in 1982.[4]

Dever originally developed the fantasy world of Magnamund from 1975 to 1983 as a setting for his Dungeons & Dragons campaigns. Originally called "Chinaraux", the world consisted of only northern Magnamund.[3] Dever stated that his earliest inspirations for Lone Wolf were English medieval classics such as Beowulf, Ivanhoe, King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table. In his teenage years J.R.R. Tolkien, Michael Moorcock and Mervyn Peake, along with a keen interest in military history and Norse mythology, all contributed to the creation of the Lone Wolf series.

The story is based around Lone Wolf, who is a cadet in a monastic order of warriors known as the Kai who defend their home of Sommerlund from the forces of evil, embodied by the Darklords of Helgedad. After a surprise invasion, all of the Kai are massacred and only Lone Wolf survives. The rest of the book series follows Lone Wolf and his successor in their attempts to take revenge on the Darklords and then to thwart the Dark God Naar in his attempts to control their world for evil.


Lone Wolf had originally been intended as a solo RPG system for Games Workshop, before Dever got a better deal from Beaver Books.[9]:46 Dever was originally contracted by London-based publisher Hutchinson for four books, but had planned for at least twenty for the series. The first two books in the gamebook series were published simultaneously in July 1984. They sold in excess of 100,000 copies in the first week of release. Subsequently, the Lone Wolf series has been published in over 30 countries, translated into 18 languages, and has sold in excess of 10 million copies to date. The series was awarded the Gamemaster International "All Time Great" award in 1991 and also won "Game Book of the Year" awards in 1985, 1986 and 1987.[10]

With the help of Joe Dever, Paul Barnett (pen name John Grant) wrote twelve novelizations of the Lone Wolf books known as the Legends of Lone Wolf, several of which were heavily edited before publication.[11] In 2004, the Italian publisher Gruppo Armenia (Milan) reprinted all 12 novels in 5 volumes of anthology. Random House ceased publishing the novelizations because "the books weren't selling".[12] Dever has stated that as the game books precede the novelizations chronologically, they are the "authoritative" versions.[3] He also developed the character Grey Star, and a mini-series of four gamebooks were written by Ian Page using this principal character (according to a 2008 interview with Joe Dever, Greystar was actually Ian Page's character in Joe Dever's D&D campaign, and Dever convinced Page to write game books using this detailed character and his background).[3]

Only the first four volumes of the Legends of Lone Wolf were made available in the United States (though Sword of the Sun was divided into two separate volumes, The Tides of Treachery and Sword of the Sun), and only the first 20 of the Lone Wolf gamebook series were printed in the United States. The American editions of books 13–20 were abridged versions and are shorter than the UK editions which have color maps. In The Magnamund Companion, all the countries of the Lone Wolf world are described in some detail, as are the Darklords of Helgedad, and the Giak language. There is also a Ragadorn Tavern Board Game, and a solo adventure where you play as Banedon the Magician.

The later 'New Order' Lone Wolf gamebooks (no.s 21–28) were printed in the UK in smaller volumes than the earlier editions, and have subsequently become highly sought after by readers eager to complete their Lone Wolf collections. Copies of these scarce titles regularly sell for over US$100 each on the internet auction site eBay.

Between 1990–1996, three scripts were developed of Lone Wolf for a potential film release, but did not proceed beyond the pre-production phase.[13] Publisher Red Fox ceased publishing the Lone Wolf series after book 28, The Hunger of Sejanoz, citing fading interest in the interactive gaming genre, despite hundreds of requests for the reprinting of several Lone Wolf books that had gone out of print.[3] Dever is currently writing the last four books of the New Order series which are scheduled for release during 2013–2015.

In 1999, Dever gave his permission for Lone Wolf books, numbers one through twenty, to be published for free on the internet by the non-profit organization Project Aon. Joe Dever later gave his permission to publish the New Order series and The Magnamund Companion.[14] As of October 2013, 27 of his Lone Wolf books, the World of Lone Wolf series, The Magnamund Companion and several other Lone Wolf related written works are available for download.[15] Dever spends much of his time writing and editing Lone Wolf for its re-publication.

Mongoose Publishing reprinted the original Lone Wolf gamebooks in hardcover volumes beginning in 2007; besides expanding some of the volumes, Mongoose also promised to publish Lone Wolf through its entire 32-book arc - as Dever originally intended - rather than just the 28 books of the original series.[9]:400 The first seventeen books in this series have been published by Mongoose Publishing before it was announced that Mongoose had lost the license to publish the Lone Wolf line on February 27, 2013.[16] Shortly after this, it was announced that a German publisher, Mantikore-Verlag, had picked up the rights to continue publishing the new version of the series in English from book 18 to 28. The 18th book in the series, Dawn of the Dragons, was released on June 1, 2013.[17] No publisher has been announced for book 29 to 32.

The first of the new Lone Wolf Collector Editions (Book 1: Flight from the Dark) was thoroughly revised and expanded by Dever with the addition of two hundred new sections. It was shortlisted for the 2008 Origins Fiction Award (Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design). In April 2010, the German language translation (Einsamer Wolf: Flucht aus dem Dunkel) won the Best Fantasy Gamebook Award at the RPC Event in Cologne, Germany.

Other creations[edit]

In addition to Lone Wolf, he has also created two other role-playing gamebook series (Freeway Warrior and Combat Heroes) and designed several best-selling computer and video games for PCs and consoles. The Freeway Warrior series of gamebooks are set in a post-apocalyptic, Mad Max-like world. The Combat Heroes gamebooks are illustrated adventures where each paragraph is a full-page picture representing what the player sees, with two modes. Alone, the aim is to escape from a maze. In one-on-one play, two players are dueling in a maze. Each player has a different book ; at a given page, the illustration shows an empty corridor; when the other character is in sight (i.e. the players read given page numbers), the player has to turn to another page showing the other opponent's position in the corridor. Combat is then resolved before the game continues.


Lone Wolf[edit]

Companion Book[edit]

Freeway Warrior[edit]

Main article: Freeway Warrior
  • Freeway Warrior 1: Highway Holocaust (1988)
  • Freeway Warrior 2: Slaughter Mountain Run (1989)
  • Freeway Warrior 3: The Omega Zone (1989)
  • Freeway Warrior 4: California Countdown (1989)

Combat Heroes[edit]

  • Combat Heroes 1: White Warlord (1986)
  • Combat Heroes 1: Black Baron (1986)
  • Combat Heroes 2: Scarlet Sorcerer (1987)
  • Combat Heroes 2: Emerald Enchanter (1987)

The World of Lone Wolf[edit]

  • World of Lone Wolf 1: Grey Star the Wizard (1985)
  • World of Lone Wolf 2: The Forbidden City (1985)
  • World of Lone Wolf 3: Beyond the Nightmare Gate (1986)
  • World of Lone Wolf 4: War of the Wizards (1986)

Legends of Lone Wolf[edit]

  • Legends of Lone Wolf 1: Eclipse of the Kai (1989)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 2: The Dark Door Opens (1989)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 3: The Sword of the Sun (1989)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 4: Hunting Wolf (1990)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 5: The Claws of Helgedad (1991)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 6: The Sacrifice of Ruanon (1991)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 7: The Birthplace (1992)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 8: The Book of the Magnakai (1992)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 9: The Tellings (1993)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 10: The Lorestone of Varetta (1993)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 11: The Secret of Kazan-Oud (1994)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 12: The Rotting Land (1994)

It should be noted that book 3, The Sword of the Sun, was split into two smaller volumes by Berkley in the US, The Tides of Treachery and The Sword of the Sun.

Chronicles of Magnamund[edit]

  • The Lencian Trilogy 1: The Dragons of Lencia (2008)
  • The Lencian Trilogy 2: The Shadow & the Skull (TBA)
  • The Lencian Trilogy 3 (TBA)
  • Rise of the Agarashi 1: Glory & Greed (2008)
  • Rise of the Agarashi 2: Sand & Sorrow (TBA)
  • Rise of the Agarashi 3: Triumph & Tragedy (TBA)

Lone Wolf Multi-player Gamebook System[edit]

First published by Mongoose Publishing:

  • Lone Wolf Multi-player Gamebook Rules (co-authored with Matthew Sprange; 2010)
  • Heroes of Magnamund (co-authored with Matthew Sprange; 2010)
  • Terror of the Darklords (co-authored with Pete Nash; 2010)
  • Sommerlund (co-authored with Darren Pearce; 2010)
  • The Magnamund Bestiary (co-authored with Darren Pearce; 2011)
  • Book of the Magnakai (co-authored with August Hahn; 2011)
  • Corruption of Ikaya (co-authored with Mark Gedak; 2011)
  • The Darklands (co-authored with Vincent Lazzari; 2011)
  • Stornlands 1 (co-authored with Vincent Lazzari, Florent Haro, Eric Dubourg, Emmanuel Luc, Gerald Degryse; 2012)

Planned by Mongoose Publishing before the cancellation of the line. Cubicle 7 announced that it was picking up the rights to make a Lone Wolf roleplaying game, although nothing has been said if it would be a continuation of the Multiplayer Gamebook series or if it was going to be a brand new system:

  • Stornlands 2 (co-authored with Vincent Lazzari, Florent Haro, Eric Dubourg, Emmanuel Luc, Gerald Degryse; 2013)
  • The Kai Monastery (co-authored with Vincent Lazzari, Florent Haro, Eric Dubourg, Emmanuel Luc, Gerald Degryse; 2013)
  • Vassagonia (co-authored with Vincent Lazzari, Florent Haro, Eric Dubourg, Emmanuel Luc, Gerald Degryse; 2014)
  • Drakkarim (co-authored with Vincent Lazzari, Florent Haro, Eric Dubourg, Emmanuel Luc, Gerald Degryse; 2014)

Graphic novels[edit]

"PhoneQuest" Interactive Telephone Adventures[edit]

  • Lone Wolf: The Forbidden Tower (1989)
  • Alien Intruder (1990)
  • Ninja (1990)
  • Tomb of the Sphinx (1990)
  • Vampire Hunter (1990)
  • Lone Wolf: The Fortress of Doom (1991)

Lone Wolf Audiobooks[edit]

  • Eclipse of the Kai (1992)
  • The Dark Door Opens (1993)

Lone Wolf Maps of Magnamund[edit]

  • The World of Magnamund (with Francesco Mattioli 2011)

The Maps of Magnamund Collection:

  • Set 1: Sommerlund, Durenor, Vassagonia, Dessi (with Francesco Mattioli, 2012)
  • Set 2: Kakush and Valerion, The Galdonlands, The Stornlands, Talestria (with Francesco Mattioli, 2013)
  • Set 3: Bor & the Hammerlands, Lencia, the Drakkarim Homelands & the Hellswamps and Ixia & the Hardlands (with Francesco Mattioli, 2014)

Computer and video game design[edit]

  • E-Scape (1996)
  • Corazon (1997)
  • In Cold Blood (1998)
  • Nightlong: Union City Conspiracy (1999)
  • Flåklypa Grand Prix (2000)
  • Flying Circus (2000)
  • Wheelie (2001)
  • Top Down (2001)
  • Desert Gunner (2001)
  • Speedboat Racer (2001)
  • RVO Mech (2002)
  • Ground Control II (2003)
  • Killzone (2004)
  • 2 Fast 2 Furious (mobile phone edition, 2005)
  • Lone Wolf: Blood on the Snow (tablet game, 2013)

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Joe Dever's Lone Wolf on Touch Arcade". Joe dever's Lone Wolf. April 26, 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  2. ^ "Joe Dever and Cubicle 7 announce major Lone Wolf deal". Cubicle 7. April 26, 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Blake, Jonathan (January 1, 1998). "Joe Dever". The Kai Monastery. Retrieved 2006-07-03. 
  4. ^ a b Baylis, Chris (January 1, 1993). "Interview with Joe Dever conducted by Chris Bayliss". Role-Player Independent Magazine. Retrieved 2006-07-03. 
  5. ^ Gordon, David (April 1, 2004). "Project Aon Forum". Project Aon. Retrieved 2006-07-15. 
  6. ^ Dever, Joe (September 8, 2005). "Update on Joe". Tower of the Sun. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 2006-07-15. 
  7. ^ Blake, Jonathan (May 1, 2005). "Kai Grand Sentinel" (PDF). Project Aon. Archived from the original on June 4, 2006. Retrieved 2006-07-15. 
  8. ^ "Dicing With Death". Warlock Magazine. July 1, 1986. Archived from the original on May 1, 2006. Retrieved 2006-07-03. 
  9. ^ a b Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7. 
  10. ^ "Lone Wolf: Celebrate a decade of award-winning excellence" (PDF). Project Aon. January 1, 1994. Retrieved 2006-07-15. 
  11. ^ Dannenfelser, Randy M. (January 1, 2006). "Under hot lights and a falling sky welcome to the life and times of paul barnett". John Grant Paul Archived from the original on May 5, 2006. Retrieved 2006-07-03. 
  12. ^ Egelstaff, Julian (September 1, 1997). "Paul Barnett". Kai Monastery. Retrieved 2006-07-03. 
  13. ^ Dever, Joe (July 1, 2004). "Joe Dever Interview". Retrieved 2006-07-03. 
  14. ^ "Project Aon will publish the New Order series!". Project Aon. May 18, 2006. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 2006-07-03. 
  15. ^ Dever, Joe (January 1, 1999). "Joe Dever Permission Grant". Project Aon. Retrieved 2006-07-03. 
  16. ^ Dever, Joe (March 1, 2013). "Cessation of the Lone Wolf Collector Editions by Mongoose Publishing Ltd.". Retrieved 2013-03-07. 
  17. ^ Blake, Jonathan (June 3, 2013). "Lone Wolf 18 Dawn of the Dragons Collector's Edition". Retrieved 2013-06-04.