The Sacrifice by Paul Struth
Warning! Review may contain spoilers!
Paul Struth is back after last year’s Windhammer entry – the brilliant Out of Time. This year, we have The Sacrifice, a wartime gamebook set amongst the upper classes. With zombies.
You play Peter Joyce, a young man tasked to see his old friend who has been acting a little erratically following his return from the Great War. And so begins a detective story of sorts, where you piece together the horrors of a war and the horrors that return.
There is a banging at the door as many fists hammer on the heavy oak timbers. Glass shatters somewhere down below and then we can hear the clatter of furniture being overturned. The dead are in the house.
Paul Struth is clever and this is really well written. I enjoyed the story and its characters, and the game part is woven into it nicely. There seems to be at least three good routes through the gamebook. You get to define your character’s motivation early on, which can go some way to driving you to certain choices. There are also a couple of love interests to have a go at along the way. Upon completion of the gamebook, you are able to score yourself depending on what you did and how you did it. This is nice because you can still see the end without being punished too much for not taking the author’s optimal path.
There are some clunky pieces. Combat is rare but happens – the rules for it are interesting but the dice rolling seems to intrude over the narrative. The zombie invasion doesn’t quite have the intensity or the impact on people you’d expect. But I am nitpicking. It deserves to be read because it’s very good.