Joe Dever (born 1956, Chingford, England, died 2016), the creator of the bestselling Lone Wolf Gamebooks and novels, has achieved world-wide recognition in three creative fields - as an award-winning author of international renown, as an acclaimed musician and composer, and as a games designer specialising in role-playing games.
On graduating from college in 1974, Joe Dever became a professional musician, and for several years, he worked in the music industry in Europe and the United States.
While working in Los Angeles in 1977 he discovered a then little-known game called Dungeons & Dragons. Although the game was in its infancy, Joe at once realised its huge potential and began designing his own role-playing games along similar conceptual lines. These first games were to form the basis of a fantasy world called Magnamund, which later became the setting for the Lone Wolf books.
Five years later, in 1982 at the Origins Game Fair, Joe won the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st Edition) World Championships in Baltimore, an event held before 16,000 people. Inspired and encouraged by his success at Origins, Joe decided to quit the music business and devote his time to writing and games design.
In 1983, after a brief spell at Games Workshop in London, he wrote Book 01: Flight from the Dark - the first Lone Wolf interactive gamebook. His manuscript immediately attracted a frenzy of interest from three major London publishing companies, all of whom bid for world rights. Joe accepted an offer of publication from Hutchinson's (later to become Century Hutchinson Ltd; now Random House UK) and Flight from the Dark was first published in 1984.
This first book sold more than 100,000 copies within its first month of publication, and overseas rights were snapped up by twelve countries (including the United States, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, and Sweden). The success of Joe's first book laid the foundations for the future of the Lone Wolf series, which has sold millions of copies around the world.
The Lone Wolf series ended prematurely, after 28 books (or 32 intended) and 14 years. Joe has continued to work in the games industry as script writer and games design consultant.
A reprint of the Lone Wolf book series, from the publisher Mongoose started in 2007 and continued until 2013. It was said that the series would continue to all 32 books, as originally intended. Mongoose lost the licence in 2013, at which point the printing was taken over by Mantikore Verlag, who continued until book 22. At that point, Joe Dever decided to take over the publication on his own (Holmgard press). In may 2016, book 29 was published, eighteen years after the original publication of book 28.
Joe Dever passed away on November 29th, 2016, leaving three books unwritten, but scripted. His family said to complete the legacy and his sone Ben is to finish the final steps of the epic.