Joe Dever (born 1956, Chingford, England) is an award-winning British fantasist and game designer. Originally a musician, Dever became the first British winner of the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Championship of America in 1982.

He created the fictional world of Magnamund as a setting for his Dungeons and Dragons campaigns. In 1984 he released the first book of the Lone Wolf series of young-adult gamebooks, and the series has since sold over 9 million copies worldwide. He experienced difficulty with his publishers as the game books market shrank, until publication ceased in 1998 before the final four books were released. Since 2003, the series has enjoyed a strong revival of interest in France, Italy and Spain following the re-release of the gamebook series in these countries.

From 1996 onwards, Dever has been involved in the production of several successful computer and console games. He has also contributed to a Dungeons & Dragons-style role playing game for Lone Wolf, and he is currently Lead Designer of a Lone Wolf computer game scheduled for release early in 2008.


In 1976, Joe Dever joined a studio-based record company orchestra known as Pye Records in London which provided accompaniment to solo singers and artists. After 18 months, it disbanded and Dever then freelanced for a year before joining Virgin Records as a Recording Engineer at Manor Studios in Oxfordshire for five years, working with a diverse mix of artists such as Frank Zappa, Peter Gabriel, and The Sex Pistols.[1] Dever has two children, Ben (b.1981) and Sophie (b.1987).[2]

During June-August 2005, Dever underwent extensive surgery for bi-lateral kidney cancer, involving a partial nephrectomy of the right kidney, and a full nephrectomy (removal) of the left kidney. Seventy percent of his remaining kidney was saved.[3] The surgical team was directed by J. L. Peters of Whipps Cross University Hospital in London. It proceeded without complications on August 10, 2005,[4] and subsequently Dever made a swift recovery, having retained sufficient kidney function to lead a normal life without any need for dialysis or renal drug treatments.[5]



Joe Dever, 1986

Joe Dever was seven years old when he became a fan of the comic strip "The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire" which appeared in a magazine called Look and Learn. He also built armies of Airfix Roman soldiers and converted their spears to laser rifles long before he was introduced to fantasy.[6] Dever was introduced to "science fantasy" by his high school English tutor.[1] He was the first and perhaps only British person to compete in the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Championship of America, which he won in 1982.[2]

Dever originally developed the fantasy world of Magnamund from 1975 to 1983 as a setting for his Advanced Dungeons and Dragons campaigns. Originally called "Chinaraux", the world consisted of only northern Magnamund.[1] Dever stated that his earliest inspirations for Lone Wolf were English medieval classics such as Beowulf, Ivanhoe, King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table. In his teenage years Tolkien, Moorcock and Mervyn Peake, along with a keen interest in military history and Norse mythology, all contributed to the creation of the Lone Wolf series.

The story is based around Lone Wolf, who is a cadet in a monastic order of warriors known as the Kai who defend their home of Sommerlund from the forces of evil, embodied by the Darklords of Helgedad. After a surprise invasion, all of the Kai are massacred, and only Lone Wolf remains. The rest of the book series follows Lone Wolf and his successor in their attempts to seek revenge on the Darklords and then to thwart the Dark God Naar in his attempts to take over their world for evil.


Dever was originally contracted by London-based publisher Hutchinson for four books, but had planned for at least twenty for the series. The first book in the gamebook series was published in 1984; the last in 1998. It was published in over 30 countries, translated into 18 languages, and sold in excess of 9 million copies. The series was awarded the Gamemaster International "All Time Great" award in 1991 and also won "Game Book of the Year" awards in 1985, 1986 and 1987.[7]

With the help of Joe Dever, Paul Barnett, whose pen name is John Grant, wrote twelve novelizations of the Lone Wolf books known as the Legends of Lone Wolf, several of which were heavily edited before publication.[8] In 2004, the Italian publisher Gruppo Armenia (Milan) reprinted all 12 novels in 5 volumes of anthology. Random House ceased publishing the novelizations because "the books weren't selling".[9] Dever has stated that as the game books precede the novelizations chronologically, they are the "authoritative" versions.[1] He also developed the character Grey Star, and a mini-series of four gamebooks were written by Ian Page using this principal character.[1]

Only the first four volumes of the Legends of Lone Wolf were made available in the United States (though Sword of the Sun was divided into two separate volumes, The Tides of Treachery and Sword of the Sun), and only the first 20 of the Lone Wolf gamebook series were printed in the United States. The American editions of books 13-20 were abridged versions and are shorter than the UK editions which also have color maps. In The Magnamund Companion, all countries of the Lone Wolf world are described in some detail, including the Darklords, the Giak language. Also a Ragadorn Tavern Board game, and a solo adventure where you play as Banedon the magician are included.

The later ‘New Order’ Lone Wolf gamebooks (no.s 21-28) were printed in the UK in smaller volumes than the earlier editions, and have subsequently become highly sought after by readers eager to complete their Lone Wolf collections. Copies of these scarce titles regularly sell for over US$100 each on the internet auction site Ebay.

Between 1990-1996, three scripts were developed of Lone Wolf for a potential film release, but did not proceed beyond the pre-production phase.[10] Publisher Red Fox ceased publishing the Lone Wolf series after book 28, The Hunger of Sejanoz, citing lack of interest in the interactive gaming genre, despite hundreds of requests for the reprinting of several Lone Wolf books that had gone out of print.[1] Dever plans on releasing the last four books of the New Order series in some form after completing his collaboration on the new Lone Wolf RPG.[11]

In 1999, Dever gave permission for Lone Wolf books one through twenty to be published for free on the internet by the non-profit organization Project Aon. Joe Dever later gave his permission to publish the New Order series.[12] As of July 2006, 17 of his Lone Wolf books, the World of Lone Wolf series, the Magnamund Companion and several other Lone Wolf related written works are available for download.[13]

Other creationsEdit

In addition to Lone Wolf, he has also created two other role-playing gamebook series (Freeway Warrior and Combat Heroes) and designed several best-selling video games for PCs and consoles. The Freeway Warrior series of gamebooks are set in a post-apocalyptic, Mad Max-like world. The Combat Heroes gamebooks are illustrated adventures where each paragraph is a full-page picture representing what the player sees, with two modes. Alone, the aim is to escape from a maze. In one-on-one play, two players are duelling in a maze. Each player has a different book ; at a given page, the illustration shows an empty corridor; when the other character is in sight (i.e. the player read given page numbers), the player has to turn to another page showing the other opponent's position in the corridor. Combat is then resolved before the game continues.

Lone Wolf creationsEdit

Lone WolfEdit

Companion BookEdit

The World of Lone WolfEdit

Legends of Lone WolfEdit

  • Legends of Lone Wolf 1: Eclipse of the Kai (1989)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 2: The Dark Door Opens (1989)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 3: Sword of the Sun (1989)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 4: Hunting Wolf (1990)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 5: The Claws of Helgedad (1991)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 6: The Sacrifice of Ruanon (1991)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 7: The Birthplace (1992)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 8: The Book of the Magnakai (1992)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 9: The Tellings (1993)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 10: The Lorestone of Varetta (1993)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 11: The Secret of Kazan-Oud (1994)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 12: The Rotting Land (1994)

Graphic novelsEdit

"PhoneQuest" Interactive Telephone AdventuresEdit

  • Lone Wolf: The Forbidden Tower (1989)
  • Lone Wolf: The Fortress of Doom (1991)

Lone Wolf AudiobooksEdit

  • Eclipse of the Kai (1992)
  • The Dark Door Opens (1993)


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Blake, Jonathan (1998-01-01). Joe Dever. The Kai Monastery. Retrieved on 2006-07-03.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Baylis, Chris (1993-01-01). Interview with Joe Dever conducted by Chris Bayliss. Role-Player Independent Magazine. Retrieved on 2006-07-03.
  3. Error on call to Template:cite web: Parameters url and title must be specifiedGordon, David (2004-04-01). . Project Aon. Retrieved on 2006-07-15.
  4. Dever, Joe (2005-09-08). Update on Joe. Tower of the Sun. Retrieved on 2006-07-15.
  5. Blake, Jonathan (2005-05-01). Kai Grand Sentinel (PDF). Project Aon. Retrieved on 2006-07-15.
  6. Dicing With Death. Warlock Magazine (1986-07-01). Archived from the original on 2001-04-28. Retrieved on 2006-07-03.
  7. Lone Wolf: Celebrate a decade of award-winning excellence (PDF). Project Aon (1994-01-01). Retrieved on 2006-07-15.
  8. Dannenfelser, Randy M. (2006-01-01). [ UNDER HOT LIGHTS AND A FALLING SKY WELCOME TO THE LIFE AND TIMES OF PAUL BARNETT]. John Grant Paul Retrieved on 2006-07-03.
  9. Egelstaff, Julian (1997-09-01). Paul Barnett. Kai Monastery. Retrieved on 2006-07-03.
  10. Dever, Joe (2004-07-01). Joe Dever Interview. Retrieved on 2006-07-03.
  11. Dever, Joe (2005-12-21). Joe Dever letter. Heirloom Publishing. Retrieved on 2006-07-03.
  12. Project Aon will publish the New Order series!. Project Aon (2006-05-18). Retrieved on 2006-07-03.
  13. Dever, Joe (1999-01-01). Joe Dever Permission Grant. Project Aon. Retrieved on 2006-07-03.