This is one of the better Fighting Fantasy gamebooks in that while it is still fantasy it is somewhat different to many of the others that I have encountered later on in the series. Okay, it still involves you, a great warrior, dealing with some nasty bad guy who has stolen an artifact that could cause serious problems to the world at large, but the way that this book was drafted, and one of the stats, made it stand out from many of the others that I have read.
The one thing that I liked about this book was a statistic called notoriety, Basically that stat measures how much of a scene that you have made within one of the cities in the book. If the score gets too high you are basically forced to leave the city, whether you have done everything there or not. Okay, while I am ignoring the basic states, which include luck and the fighting stats, I did measure my noteriety, and you can get everything you need in the city without it going over 8, which is the number that causes you to be ejected.
Another thing that I liked is that you start with basically nothing: no sword, shield, armour, gold, or food. That makes the first part of the adventure particularly hard because you are on a slave ship (as a means of smuggling you into the city) and you do take a fair swag of damage during that part. Once you are off the ship you have to get enough gold to equip yourself, but also not attract too much attention, as the notoriety stat indicates.
The other thing that I liked about this particular book was that it was not exactly linear. It worked a little like the Grailquest books (which I hope to get to some time in the near future, once I have gone through all the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks) in that you can go and explore various places, but you would always return to a central point where you can then go off and explore some place else. It actually made making your way through the book much easier than some of the more linear ones where making the right decision pretty much came down to guess work (or where if you made the wrong decision you could end up missing an important part of the adventure).