World of Warcraft and Starcraft novels
Cycle of Hatred and Nova covers

World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred
StarCraft: Ghost: Nova
StarCraft: Ghost: Spectres (coming in 2009)

novels by Keith R.A. DeCandido

on sale from Pocket Books

StarCraft: Ghost Academy

a manga series written by Keith R.A. DeCandido

on sale starting in 2009 from TokyoPop

Probably the most popular videogames right now are being produced by Blizzard Games. They've given us a fantasy game (Warcraft), a science fiction game (StarCraft), and a horror game (Diablo). In particular, the most recent iteration of the fantasy game, World of Warcraft has been taking the MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) world by storm.

For the last several years, Pocket Books has been publishing novels based on all three games, and in 2006, I added my name to the author list, with books in the Warcraft and StarCraft universes. Both of them are prequels, actually: the former to World of Warcraft, the latter to the since-cancelled StarCraft: Ghost (I'll explain below).

At the end of Warcraft 3 and Warcraft 3X, humans and orcs were allies on the continent of Kalimdor. But in World of Warcraft, the two sides are enemies again. My task with the novel Cycle of Hatred was to help explain that change. It takes place during the four-year gap between the two games, and involves the humans on Kalimdor lead by Lady Jaina Proudmoore and the orcs on the same continent lead by Thrall. Of all the characters in the Warcraft universe, I found Jaina and Thrall to be two of the three most compelling characters. Jaina is a powerful female wizard, who is put in a position of leading a small group of humans in a hostile land in the wake of a brutal war against a demon horde. Thrall is an orc raised by humans as a slave, who leads a rebellion of orcs against human bondage, and inspires the orcs to return to their old ways before they were cursed by demons. Both leaders are trying to forge a new future, moving past the old hatreds. Unfortunately, the old hatreds don't die easily. (If you're wondering who the third character is, you'll have to read the book to find out -- the character is also in the book, but who it is is a surprise. *big grin*)

As for Ghost, that was supposed to be Blizzard's first first-person shooter. When one plays the (theoretical) game, one is a character named Nova, a highly trained telepathic assassin. My novel, Nova, provides that character's full backstory: how she discovered she was telepathic, her trials and tribulations after the death of her family, and her eventual recruitment into the Ghost Program. All of this is amidst the backdrop of the ongoing StarCraft game story of humans of the future dealing with two different alien invaders. Sadly, the game isn't going to happen due to a variety of circumstances, but Blizzard is still committed to the storyline, and considers the Ghosts in general and Nova's story in particular to be of importance to that storyline, so they're continuing to develop her in the fiction.

Following 2006's Nova, we'll see more of the title character in a manga series called Ghost Academy, which will follow Nova and several others during their Ghost training, and in a sequel novel called Spectres. The manga and novels will share several characters in common, and we'll also be seeing earlier versions of a character or two who'll be part of the forthcoming StarCraft II game. The manga is planned as a series, with three 160-page manga volumes under contract to start.

I had a great deal of fun with these books, and I hope that the fans of the games will feel likewise. You can order Cycle of Hatred and Nova from the fine folks at Amazon.com. In addition, you can read excerpts from Cycle of Hatred and Nova.

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