Apart from the realm of Man, there are High Heavens and Burning Hells. Seeing how humanity progressed, the Lords of Hell entered the human world to spread chaos and deception. The Horadrim were a group of mages that trapped the hell-spawn in Soulstones, including the mighty Diablo. He escaped and thus his terror begins anew.
Now that you know about the setting of the game, we can go into more detail about Richard Knaak’s contribution to the Diablo series. I’ll try to keep spoilers to a minimum but make no promises.
The Sin War Trilogy
If we go by the order of publishing, this trilogy came to the light only after Knaak wrote three other books about the series. However, the events here precede the game and give much more information about the world close to three millennia before Diablo started running amok.
The story gives an interesting take on the origin of humanity in this world. It follows a young farmer, Uldyssian ul-Diomed, whom we learn more about in general from the first book in the trilogy, Birthright. The other books in the series are Scales of the Serpent and The Veiled Prophet. They are awesome if you want to learn more about the Sanctuary and the nephalem.
Legacy of Blood
This is the first book by Richard Knaak in the Diablo series and is a stand-alone novel. We follow the exploits of Norrec Vizharan, a soldier that finds the armor of Batuc the Warlord. While this artifact is powerful, it also holds a secret that will prove both a challenge and a living nightmare for the book’s protag.
The Kingdom of Shadow
The third book in the series and the second one written by Knaak. Quov Tsin, a sorcerer, hires a group of mercenaries to find the secrets of the lost city of Ureh. We also see the character Zayl the Necromancer, who has plans of his own for the city. However, the main character of the story is the captain of the mercenaries hired to find the place, Kentril Dumon.
The interesting thing is that the book may have a deeper connection to Diablo III, as the cinematic intro for the game featured locations that could be said originated in Knaak’s book. Hardly surprising, considering the writer’s stories are canon.
Moon of the Spider
Remember Zayl? He has a tendency to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or, the right place at the right time. Anyway, he makes a return in this book and accidentally runs into Lord Aldric Jitan’s plot to release an evil entity. Fans of Astrogha are going to thoroughly enjoy this book.
While some fans of the series are not also fans of Richard Knaak’s writing style, there is no denying the information the Sin War trilogy provides in terms of lore. A lot of info fills in the cracks that the games have left behind and offer better insight into the world and its races, as well as the conflict between Heavens and Hell.
Many fans were also excited to learn more about the aforementioned Zayl the Necromancer in the books. Those of us who legitimately enjoyed Diablo games have found great joy in reading the books about it. Far from it that Knaak was the only writer working on the series. However, if you want to start from the very beginning, we recommend picking up the Sin War.