“Hero: The Calling!”, a collection of short gamebooks

In this post I am going to do something quite different. Borislav Traykov, a member of the Bulgarian gamebook community (and member of the Gamebooks group in Facebook as well), also looking forward to starting his own blog about gamebooks, has offered me to review three titles in a popular bulgarian series.

Take into account that this series has not been translated into english, and – unless some american or english publisher gets interested – it probably will never be. It is not very often when we have the opportunity to get a glimpse of what’s being done in a community as rich and interesting as the one in Bulgaria, so here it is, for the enjoyment of those like me who want to know more about all things interactive fiction!

This article will work as an introduction and an index of this series of articles, and during the next weeks I will be updating it with the links to the other three articles.


I would like to feature the 3rd “Hero: The Calling!” collection of short gamebooks.

Hero:_The_Calling!,_a_collection_of_short_gamebooksHero: The Calling!” (it’s pronounced as “Prizvanye: Gheroi!” – just use Google Translate’s English vocal to hear it) is an ongoing series of collected short gamebooks. Three collections have been published so far – each one being bigger, in terms of pages and thus content, than the previous!

As with the previous two collections, all stories are from Bulgarian authors.

The series is produced by the Bulgarian gamebook community. Their website is http://knigi-igri.bg (literally “books-games”). Unfortunately it’s available only in Bulgarian.

For this post I wish to translate the short introduction to each of the three gamebooks in the collection – the original text and front cover are taken from the book’s page on GoodReads.com.

  1. Sturmberg, by Sycamore BrightSturmberg is one of those remote place where life goes on completely uneventfully for years until some event shakes everything to its foundations. On that evening, death ran amok with wide sweeps of her scythe in the small mountain village, with the young doctor Thomas Eisenhoff following her tracks…
  2. The Enslaved Princess, by Peter Veil (or Vale) – 1236: the same year when the Bulgarian tsar Ivan Assen The 2nd frees Constantinople, on the Iberian peninsula, a state which has survived for five centuries is waning. The breathtakingly beautiful Arabian princess Sheila is taken prisoner by French crusaders. Can a young girl find the courage and ingenuity to break free from her captors?
  3. The Well, by Branimir Sabev – Sometimes Evil is closer to us than we expect. A thirteen-year-old boy will have to go through a literal Hell, which is filled with traps and nightmarish creatures, in order to free his little sister.

It’s worth noting that the last gamebook, The Well, got second place at the National Sci-Fi & Fantasy Awards in the category “Best gamebook” for 2014.

Finally, the book contains an interview with one of the authors from the “old school” of gamebooks in Bulgaria – Ted Gray.

Coming soon, I will share translations of the Goodreads reviews on each gamebook in the collection.


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