Almost two years ago now I was contacted by a friend who was travelling up in the Shetlands, a text asking if I had a copy of Fighting Fantasy 14? I did not, and so I was posted a copy of Temple of Terror for your, and my reading pleasure. It’s only now that my trail through the Fighting Fantasy books has caught up to speed and I am happy to be back on familiar territory of Allansia. But first, a few details more about this copy of the book.
It’s not in the best condition, the plastic cover is doing a grand job at holding it together as an apparent history of water damage threatens to disintegrate it. Many people have surely enjoyed this one before me though as stamps inside it show it has been in two library holdings over its 16 year life; Sandwick Junior High School and Shetland Library.
Eventually the book fell into my hands via the Lerwick Youth Hostel where my friend stayed.
So, have any of you read this copy? Or do you represent one of these establishments and want it back? Would love to hear from you if so!
My own personal memories of this book as a kid aren’t quite as illustrated or Google Maps supported, but I do remember getting it at around the age of 9. I managed to get quite attached to the idea of swapping things with other kids, a primitive trader if you will. Sometimes this got me into trouble with parents as I managed to trick other kids into swapping their fancy toy for a rock or some such nonsense. But Temple of Terror came into my possession through a swap deal with one friend of mine in Mrs. Broadbents class, I cannot for the life of me remember what it was I gave up for the book, but it was a deal that stuck and was clearly a good one as I ended up with what I remember to be a great book.
As I mentioned earlier, Temple of Terror sets us firmly back in Allansia, a welcome return after deviating through Space Assassin and Freeway Fighter, and for the most part it sticks to the tried and tested Ian Livingstone structure. A minor deviation is the choice of spells, which don’t get discussed properly until you start reading, other than that and the omission of a potion choice it’s standard rules.
An inspired start to the story is revealed to the attentive reader who will realise that Temple of Terror is a sequel to Forest of Doom. You begin your story in the Dwarf village of Stonebridge after the ‘rigours of a recent quest’ and it isn’t long before Yaztromo shows up requesting the aid of a young warrior. Yaztromo responds to your offer of service with a ‘Haven’t I seen you somewhere before?’… it’s a nice little touch that makes you feel instantly at home. Regarding the nature of the aid required by ol’ Yaz, we have a problem of potential dragon chaos.
In this day and age, suspecting a baby to be evil is a fairly sketchy reason to leave it in the woods, but in the world of Titan it is a cracking solution to evil baby problems and it’s exactly the route taken by the mother of Malbordus, a kid born during a full moon and wolf howls. He was left in Darkwood Forest where he was brought into the care of the Darkside Elves who eventually came to teach him vile and powerful magics. As he passed into manhood he was sent on a trial by the Elves, to journey south into the Desert of Skulls where he would find the lost city of Vatos. Within the city there was said to be five ancient dragon artifacts, collecting all five could be combined with an incantation to bring the dragons back to life and serve the evil of Malbordus and the Elves. So in a Seven Serpents style move, Yaztromo has set up a race between Malbordus and the hero of our story to find the five dragon artifacts.
While we’re on Seven Serpents, it has a small role to play in this book in that it revealed the working title for Temple of Terror in the ‘coming soon’ section. Dragon Master sounds pretty cool to me if I’m honest…
It’s also worth pointing out that Temple of Terror was another book that got a computer game based upon it, so until part one of this read-through… feast your eyes!