Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks
Location: Fire Island, Titan
References: 400
Publication Details
Author(s): Ian Livingstone

Illustrator(s): Alan Langford
Cover illustrator: Iain McCaig
First published: March 29 1984
Number 7
ISBN: ISBN 0-14-031743-0
Previous Book: Deathtrap Dungeon
Next Book: Scorpion Swamp
Wizard (Series 1)
FF17 Wizard SE
Cover illustrator: Martin McKenna
First published: November 6 2003
Number 17
ISBN: ISBN 1-84046-491-7
Previous Book: Return to Firetop Mountain
Next Book: Appointment with F.E.A.R.
Wizard (Series 2)
Cover illustrator: TBC
First published: April 5 2018
Number 10
ISBN: ISBN 1-40718-620-5
Previous Book: Appointment with F.E.A.R.
Next Book: The Shamutanti Hills

For other uses of Island of the Lizard King, see Island of the Lizard King

Island of the Lizard King is a single-player role-playing gamebook written by Ian Livingstone, illustrated by Alan Langford and originally published in 1984 by Puffin Books. It was later republished by Wizard Books in 2003, and again in 2018 by Scholastic Books. It forms part of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy series. It is the 7th in the series in the original Puffin series (ISBN 0-14-031743-0), 17th in the Wizard "Series 1" (ISBN 1-84046-491-7), and 10th in the Scholastic series (ISBN 1-40718-620-5).



Can you save the young men of Oyster Bay from the evil Lizard Men?

Kidnapped by a vicious race of Lizard Men from Fire Island, the young men of Oyster Bay face a grim future of slavery, starvation and a lingering death. Their new master is the mad and dangerous Lizard King, who holds sway over his land of mutants by the eerie powers of black magic and voodoo. YOU are the only one who can hope to rescue the suffering prisoners, but do you have the courage to risk this dangerous mission?

Two dice, a pencil and an eraser are all you need for this adventure. YOU decide which route to follow, which dangers to risk and which monsters to fight.

Like much of the Fighting Fantasy series, Island of the Lizard King is set in the fictional world of Titan; this particular adventure takes place on the continent of Allansia. The player's character begins the story by travelling from the populous city of Fang to the quiet coastal village of Oyster Bay, only to discover that the village is regularly being attacked by the Lizard Men of Fire Island, and that young men are being carried off to serve as slaves in their gold mines. The game proper beings with the player setting sail for Fire Island, intent on righting the situation.

Like many other Ian Livingstone Fighting Fantasy books, such as Deathtrap Dungeon, Caverns of the Snow Witch and Temple of Terror, Island of the Lizard King has multiple paths which lead to the final confrontation, although the overall journey is fairly linear. This linear design, combined with the fact that there are a bare minimum of essential items to collect, means that any path can lead to a successful quest. However, some paths and items can make the adventure much more easy or difficult. Despite a distinct lack of "sudden death" sections in the book, several bruising encounters can make this a difficult quest to complete, even with a skill of 11 or more. This book is notable for the massive battle between the freed slaves and Lizard Men which takes place, one of the few large scale battles depicted in a Fighting Fantasy gamebook.

How to Fight the Creatures of Fire Island/Equipment and Potions/Hints on PlayEdit

The book in general follows the original rules set down in The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (see Game System).

Equipment List[2]Edit

Cover and IllustrationsEdit


The never-released cover

Main article: Island of the Lizard King (illustrations)


The original cover of the book was designed and illustrated by Iain McCaig.

When the book was republished by Wizard a new cover was designed and illustrated by Martin McKenna that in many ways reflects the original cover of the Puffin Books publication. For McKenna "this again was a case of replacing and/or updating another wonderful Iain McCaig original. Ian Livingstone wanted some kind of jungle background, and decided against the inclusion of the Lizard King's black lion. I suggested the addition of sinister-looking statues in the undergrowth."

Island of the Lizard King was the final Fighting Fantasy book to be produced using the Coloured Number Format layout when originally published by Puffin.

The "Special Limited Edition" of the Wizard version used gold embossing as opposed to the usual silver.

Island of the Lizard King through the years
1984 1984 1987 1989
Figfan07o Figfan07 Figfan07n
Colour Star Zig-Zag Banner Dragon Format Dragon No No.
£1.5012 £1.503 £1.954 £3.505
1990 1993 2002 2002 2018
Figfan07n FF17 Wizard SE
No. Spine Only No Bronze-Foil Wizard "Special
Limited Edition"
Wizard Circle
£3.506 £? £4.99 £4.99 TBA


  1. Price of 1st~3rd Impressions
  2. In Warlock Issue 2 there is an image of a cover of Island of the Lizard King that was never released. The back cover of this issue of Warlock was an advert for the gamebooks. It showed the cover of Island of the Lizard King with an altered version of the font used for the title of the adventure and a different coloured star. Therefore the advert has a cover that was never released.
  3. Price of 6th Impression
  4. Price of 10th Impression
  5. Price of 12th Impression
  6. Price of 13th Impression


The interior illustrations, including the black and white map accompanying paragraph 149, were by Alan Langford. There were 32 full page illustrations and 5 minor repeated illustrations scattered throughout the text. There is also an exclusive illustration on the title page. The paragraphs with a full page illustration were: 1, 14, 30, 39, 48, 59, 71, 82, 101, 116, 128, 139, 149, 158, 168, 195, 211, 223, 235, 249, 254, 268, 279, 291, 305, 317, 325, 337, 350, 360, 379 and 390.

Intertextual ReferencesEdit

The Hero starts his journey in Fang, the setting of the previous gamebook, Deathtrap Dungeon.[3] The Dungeon itself is mentioned by Mungo as the place where his father met his end.[4] While some have suggested it is possible that the Hero of this book is the same individual as that of Deathtrap Dungeon (and by extension, also that of City of Thieves), it is nowhere explicitly stated that he is.

Other MediaEdit

Main article: Island of the Lizard King (mobile game)

An iOS/Android conversion of the book was produced by Tin Man Games and released in 2013.

Main CharactersEdit

YOU: Hero of Island of the Lizard King



Other Creatures of NoteEdit

Further NotesEdit

  • 10 instant failures, 1 victory, plus death by stamina loss or bad luck.
  • During the adventure it is possible to recover the magic helmet (over one hundred years old) of the fabled warrior-sorcerer named Sog.[5]



Puffin EditionEdit

For Roy Coleman

Wizard EditionEdit

For Dave Holt, the unsung hero
of Fighting Fantasy

See AlsoEdit


  • Reviewed by Marcus L. Rowland in White Dwarf 53 (May 1984) "Open Box" (pp.16-17):

This book seemed to contain more monsters and less traps than others in the series, and most of the traps seemed to be fair. However it is probably the toughest adventure of this series, since few options allow the adventurer to avoid a fight.

External LinksEdit


  1. Island of the Lizard King - Back Cover ("Golden Dragon" Edition)
  2. Island of the Lizard King - p.16
  3. Island of the Lizard King - p.20
  4. Island of the Lizard King - 1
  5. Island of the Lizard King - 292