Another sneak peek, this time from "The Fact of Fiction" article on The Warlock of Firetop Mountain.
3At the river the hero negotiates the cost of passage to the other bank.• Is the Ferryman seen here a nod to the Greek mythological character Charon, whose job it was to ferry the souls of the dead from the lands of the living to the world of the dead? One could attempt to build a case for the two parts of the book perhaps mirroring this division between the lands of the living (before the river) and the dead (after the river). This is because despite meeting none before the river crossing, the player encounters four different forms of the undead after crossing the river in the form of Zombies (see 122), a Vampire (see 17), a Wight (see 41), and a Ghoul (see 64)! Meanwhile, traditionally a coin would be placed in or on the mouth of the body of dead person to allow them to pay Charon for the crossing of the River Styx (see “The Fact of Fiction” in issue #4). That would make the Ferryman’s comment about inflation raising the price to 3 Gold Pieces even more amusing, rather than perhaps simply being perhaps a riff on the inflation the UK had suffered through in the late 1970s where prices rose by 25% per annum.• The river was also the point at which Livingstone handed the story over to Jackson, who wrote everything north of the river as well as doing a polish of the whole book after it was pointed out by Puffin editor Philippa Dickinson that there was a noticeable change in writing style at that point.