I have just finished going over my commentary on The Citadel of Chaos and I noted that I had made a complaint as to how hard it was because you could not actually map the citadel as you went and explored it, and that made me realise how different the books at this end of the spectrum are to the books around the beginning. I have noticed that around this end the adventures have ceased being simple dungeon hacks and have become much grander in scale. As for this particular Fighting Fantasy Gamebook, Paul Mason has once again outdone himself because he has again significantly raised the standard of the book (and when you have 46 previously books to compete against, doing so is very difficult).
In fact, as you discover later on in the adventure, this gamebook is technicality the sequel to another of his gamebooks (he has written four in total, as well as a number of other books), the [book:Black Vein Prophecy], and the scale of this book is very much similar to this former one. I also suspect that he may have been inspired by this movie:
(sorry, but I had to put a picture in here because, as they say, a picture tells a thousand words). The reason I say that is because the book opens with you living in a farming village amongst rice paddies that is attacked by a bunch of mercenaries. The the melee your father is killed and your mother is kidnapped. After the mercenaries leave you go off on a quest for vengeance. This quest ends up taking you years (the one true path is four years), and you start off as a child of thirteen, but I suspect that by the time you have completed the adventure you are probably more of an adult than the many others who are never thrust into such a situation.
This story also uses an oriental setting (which means that Black Vein Prophecy also used a similar setting, but it was not as evident when I originally read it, but it is pretty evident now that I know that this is technically a sequel, though I will not tell you where the connection lies). Also this is a much harder book because, well, there is only one true path in this adventure, and if you do not follow that path then, well, you end up dying. Fortunately I have managed to discover a website where somebody has kindly put up the solutions to all of the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks so I no longer have to stumble around looking for them (or even having to figure it out myself – though that sort of ends up defeating the purpose of the book – I might as well just go an read a novel written in the second person perspective).