The Ancestral Trail is a now out-of-print partwork magazine that was originally published by Marshall Cavendish in the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand in the early nineties. It was also translated into French, German, Italian, and Spanish and licensed for sale worldwide. There was also a computer game compiled in both DOS and Amiga formats.
The first partwork was issued on Wednesday 30 December 1992 and continued on a fortnightly basis for two years until December 1994. The Ancestral Trail came from an original mythological type work by South African raised author Frank Graves. Graves's manuscript was originally written as a complete trilogy (Past, Present and Future) with a large book format similar to The Lord of the Rings in mind. The "past" and "future" portions of this work were later readapted by Marshall Cavendish to better suit the Marshall Cavendish's Partwork fortnightly format style. Fergus Fleming reduced the first 26 issues, and Ian Probert wrote up the final 26 issues for the partwork series release.
The story tells the fantasy/sci-fi filled story of a boy called Richard, who is brought against his will to a strange land known as the Ancestral World. This original 26 part series was extended, and Richard's adventures continued into a futuristic world known as the Cyber Dimension. The television marketing advertising spend on launch in the UK alone was in the order of £1.6 million upon initial publication in 1993/94.
The Ancestral Trail was split into two halves of 26 issues each. The first half takes place in the Ancestral World and describes Richard's struggle to restore good to the world. After the initial international run, which sold over 30 million copies worldwide, Marshall Cavendish omitted the second part of the trilogy and used the third part (future) for the second series that followed. This part of the series, originated and written by Ian Probert and published in 1994, takes place in the Cyber Dimension. It deals with Richard's attempts to return home. Each issue centered on an adventure against a particular adversary, and each issue ended on a cliffhanger.
The Ancestral Trail was illustrated by Julek and Adam Heller. Computer-generated graphics were provided by Mehau Kulyk for issues #27 through #52.
Read more about The Ancestral Trail: Introduction To The Ancestral Trail, The Ancestral World (1993) - Part One of The Author's Trilogy, The Cyber Dimension (1994) - Part Three of The Author's Trilogy, Series Extras
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... After every issue had been collected, you would have 26 letter blocks ... If you then looked at each issue, you would see that the first word of the story in each issue is depicted in the style of a letter block ...