The Temple of Flame, my second-ever gamebook, published all the way back in 1984.
Oliver Johnson is co-credited but actually he had nothing to do with writing the book. I think the original plan was that he and I were to work together on both The Temple of Flame (for Golden Dragon) and The Lord of Shadow Keep (for the Fighting Fantasy series). Then, following a drunken evening in a Soho bar between Oliver and Angela Sheehan of Grafton Books, the Golden Dragon contract was extended from two to six titles. So I volunteered to write Golden Dragon 1 and 2 while Oliver delivered The Lord of Shadow Keep, then he and I would split writing duties on the other four.
Yeah, plans... What actually happened was that Shadow Keep got moved to being Golden Dragon book 3. I didn't know, and more importantly neither did Philippa Dickinson, the editor at Puffin in charge of Fighting Fantasy. The first I heard about it was an irate phone call. Luckily Philippa and I smoothed it over and went on, of course, to work together on Dragon Warriors, Heroquest, Knightmare, Captain Scarlet and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
I prefer the Danish logo. The dragon actually looks dangerous and reptilian, in contrast to the cute li'l puppy look on the British version. But Bruno Elletori's cover painting captures the spirit of the text better than Peder Bundgaard's more comic-booky depiction of Damontir the wizard.
People say Temple is a tough adventure. I have tweaked a couple of the combats to make them less punishing, but the biggest bone of contention has always been the fight with the hero's mirror-self. Surely a fifty-fifty duel? Not if you're smart - and that's all I'm saying.
The Temple of Flame is being re-released by Fabled Lands Publishing as part of our big republishing program. This time we've kept all of Leo Hartas's original illustrations, which means extra pages and so a slightly higher cover price than The Castle of Lost Souls and Curse of the Pharaoh. But well worth it if you want a classic example of a "dungeon adventure" gamebook from the heyday of the genre. Of course, I would say that.