This story has the honor of being the first novel in the Warfraft universe to be published, which was in eBook format in January 2001. It is only fitting, then, that the person who wrote this is master of story and lore at Blizzard Entertainment, Vice President of Creative Development Chris Metzen. For anyone interested in looking into the lore of the universe that over 10 million people play, this is a great place to start.
The story tells of a Paladin of the revered Knights of the Silver Hand, Tirion Fordring, Lord of Hearthglen in Lordaeron. While out riding one day, the Paladin encounters a member of the Orcish race, which tried to wipe out his own, by the name of Eitrigg, and neither’s life was never the same.
Honor and racism are squarely on the table in this book, as the reader sees the unwavering hatred that the human people of Lordaeron have towards the Orcs. Admittedly, the humans have good reason for feeling this hatred, considering the Orcish Horde tried to wipe out humanity on Azeroth. On their own home world, Draenor, the Orcs tried to wipe out the Draenei people that also lived there.
We watch as Tirion fights with his own instincts to crush a member of the race who he fought through so many battles. His decision leads to an even greater understanding of the history and background of the Horde. The next time readers see more of this background is in the book “Rise of the Horde“, (by Christie Golden), much later. When other members of his order find Eitrigg, Tirion’s honor puts him in a difficult spot, for no matter his choice, some will see him as being without honor.
As the events unfold further into the book, Tirion is given chance after chance to regain his honor in the eyes of his fellow Paladins. It is not until nearly the end does Tirion undertake the most honorable act of the entire book. That decision enables him to regain a truly divine gift that he thought he would never possess again.
This is my second time reading this book. My knowledge about the individual characters, the reasons behind why they act as they do, and the understanding of how the the events that take place in this book fit into the World of Warcraft “universe” makes this book a very intriguing read. Knowing all of that truly changes the book for me and makes me wonder if someone coming into this book without that knowledge would have a different experience. This book is a great lead up to the events in the game Warcraft 3, and includes characters seen often throughout the popular MMO World of Warcraft. It is a tale of keeping one’s honor no matter the price, and going against all you have fought for and believed in your life to keep your word.
This book has some overlap with Lord of the Clans, by Christie Golden, which would be a good follow up. For a good prequel to the story of the Orcs, I would recommend the Rise of the Horde novel, also by Christie Golden.