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((Recommended Real-Life Media Reads))
[center]Following will be a list of recommended books and whatnot that are related to Warcraft. Reading them can help brush up on your lore and history!
You can click on any of the images if you wish to potentially buy one of the books.[/center]

[Image: LordOfTheClans.gif]
Lord of the Clans, a book by Christie Golden, is a great read to learn of our Warchief Thrall as he was growing up. It includes such characters as Drek'Thar, Orgrim Doomhammer and Grom Hellscream (in case any are interested as to how their personas are/were), in addition to a glimpse at the characters of Durotan and Draka, Thrall's parents. Definitely a must for any folks playing orcs!
The flavor text (back-of-the-book) is as follows:

"In the mist-shrouded haze of the past, the world of Azeroth teemed with wondrous creatures of every kind. Mysterious Elves and hardy Dwarves walked among tribes of Man in relative peace and harmony -- until the arrival of the demonic army known as the Burning Legion shattered the world's tranquility forever. Now Orcs, Dragons, Goblins, and Trolls all vie for supremacy over the scattered, warring kingdoms -- part of a grand, malevolent scheme that will determine the fate of the world of Warcraft.
Slave. Gladiator. Shaman. Warchief. The enigmatic Orc known as Thrall has been all of these. Raised from infancy by cruel human masters who sought to mold him into their perfect pawn, Thrall was driven by both the savagery in his heart and the cunning of his upbringing to pursue a destiny he was only beginning to understand -- to break his bondage and rediscover the ancient traditions of his people. Now the tumultuous tale of his life's journey -- a saga of honor, hatred, and hope -- can at last be told...."

[Image: RiseOfTheHorde.jpg]
Rise of the Horde is Christie Golden's second Warcraft-related book. This one encompasses Durotan, Thrall's father, as he grows up, and has introductions to each chapter by the Warchief himself. It also details the brotherly bond Durotan had with Orgrim Doomhammer (and how they met when they were still younglings), how he came to meet and later find a mate in Draka, and a good bit of insight as to Ner'zhul's and Gul'dan's characters. Yes, Ner'zhul had always wanted the best for his people...
The main story is the relation with the Draenei, and what happens that affects it.
The flavor text is:

"Though the young Warchief Thrall ended the demon curse that had plagued his people for generations, the orcs still wrestle with the sins of their bloody past. As the rampaging Horde, they waged a number of devastating wars against their perennial enemy -- the Alliance. Yet the rage and bloodlust that drove the orcs to destroy everything in their path nearly consumed them as well.
Long ago, on the idyllic world of Draenor, the noble orc clans lived in relative peace with their enigmatic neighbors, the draenei. But the nefarious agents of the Burning Legion had other plans for both of the unsuspecting races. The demon-lord Kil'jaeden set in motion a dark chain of events that would succeed not only in eradicating the draenei, but forging the orc clans into an single, unstoppable juggernaut of hatred and destruction."

[Image: LastGuardian.jpg]
The Last Guardian by Jeff Grubb. This book is centered around Khadgar, and his time while under the tutelage of Medivh in Karazhan, the Guardian's tower. If you have been in Karazhan in-game already and are more interested in some history of it, this is another good read!

"In the mist-shrouded haze of the past, long before the beginning of recorded time, there stood the world of Azeroth. Every kind of magical being strode the countryside among the tribes of man, and all was at peace -- until the arrival of the demons and horrors of the Burning Legion and their baneful Lord Sargeras, dark god of chaotic magic. Now Dragons, Dwarves, Elves, Goblins, Humans, and Orcs all vie for supremacy across the scattered kingdoms -- part of a grand, malevolent scheme that will determine the fate of the world of Warcraft.
The Guardians of Tirisfal: a line of champions imbued with godlike powers, each one through the ages charged with fighting a lonely secret war against the Burning Legion. Medivh was fated from birth to become the greatest and most powerful of this noble order. But from the beginning a darkness tainted his soul, corrupting his innocence and turning to evil the powers that should have fought for good. Torn by two destinies, Medivh's struggle against the malice within him became one with the fate of Azeroth itself...and changed the world forever."

[Image: WarcraftArchive.jpg]
The Warcraft Archive includes the previous two books Lord of the Clans and The Last Guardian, in addition to two more - Of Blood and Honor and Day of the Dragon. Currently, this is the only way I know of to acquire Blood and Honor. At any rate, it is a relatively shorter story by Chris Metzen that involves the paladin Tirion Fordring (most will likely remember him from the Eastern Plaguelands) and Eitrigg, who resides in Grommash Hold of Orgrimmar.

"The paladin Tirion Fordring had always believed the Orcs were vile and corrupt, but an unexpected act of honor and compassion sets in motion a chain of events that will challenge his most fundamental beliefs and force him to decide, once and for all, who are the men...and who are the monsters."

I haven't yet read Day of the Dragon, by Richard A. Knaak, but the description is as follows:

"In the mist-shrouded haze of the past, the world of Azeroth teemed with wondrous creatures of every kind. Mysterious Elves and hardy Dwarves walked among tribes of man in relative peace and harmony -- until the arrival of the demonic army known as Burning Legion shattered the world's tranquility forever. Now Orcs, Dragons, Goblins, and Trolls all vie for supremacy over the scattered, warring kingdoms -- part of a grand, malevolent scheme that will determine the fate of the world of WarCraft A terrifying upheaval among the highest ranks of the world's Wizards sends the maverick Mage, Rhonin, on a perilous journey into the Orc-controlled lands of Khaz Modan. What Rhonin uncovers is a vast, far-reaching conspiracy, darker than anything he ever imagined -- a threat that will force him into a dangerous alliance with ancient creatures of air and Þre if the world of Azeroth is to see another dawn."

[Image: CycleOfHatred.jpg]
Cycle of Hatred by Keith R.A. DeCandido. Short description coming soon.
Flavor text!:

"The Burning Legion has been defeated, and eastern regions of Kalimdor are now shared by two nations: the orcs of Durotar, led by their noble Warchief, Thrall; and the humans of Theramore, led by one of the most powerful mages alive -- Lady Jaina Proudmoore.
But the tentative peace between orcs and humans is suddenly crumbling. Random attacks against Durotar's holdings suggest that the humans have renewed their aggression toward the orcs. Now Jaina and Thrall must avert disaster before old hatreds are rekindled -- and Kalimdor is plunged into another devastating war.
Jaina's search to uncover the truth behind the attacks leads her to a shocking revelation. Her encounter with a legendary, long-lost wizard will challenge everything that she believes and illuminate the secret history of the world of Warcraft."

[center]War of the Ancients Trilogy - Richard A. Knaak[/center]
[Image: WellOfEternity.jpg]
The Well of Eternity
"Many months have passed since the cataclysmic Battle of Mount Hyjal, where the demonic Burning Legion was banished from Azeroth forever. But now, a mysterious energy rift within the mountains of Kalimdor propels three former warriors into the distant past -- a time long before orcs, humans or even high elves roamed the land. A time when the Dark Titan Sargeras, and his demon pawns persuaded Queen Azshara and her Highborne to cleanse Azeroth of its lesser races. A time when the Dragon Aspects were at the height of their power -- unaware that one of their own would soon usher in an age of darkness that would engulf the world of...WarCraft.

In the first chapter of this epic trilogy, the outcome of the historic War of the Ancients is forever altered by the arrival of three time-lost heroes: Krasus, the dragon mage whose great power and memories of the ancient conflict have inexplicably diminished; the human wizard Rhonin, whose thoughts are divided between his family and the seductive source of his now-growing power; and Broxigar, a weathered orc veteran who seeks a glorious death in combat. But unless these unlikely allies can convince the demigod, Cenarius, and the untrusting night elves of their queen's treachery, the burning Legion's gateway into Azeroth will open anew. And this time -- the struggles of the past may well spill over into the future..."

[Image: DemonSoul.jpg]
The Demon Soul
"Led by the mighty Archimonde, scores of demonic soldiers now march across the lands of Kalimdor, leaving a trail of death and devastation in their wake. At the heart of the fiery invasion stands the mystic Well of Eternity -- once the source of the night elves' arcane power. But now the Well's energies have been defiled and twisted, for Queen Azshara and her Highborne will stop at nothing to commune with their newfound god: the fiery Lord of the Burning Legion...Sargeras.
The night elf defenders, led by the young druid, Malfurion Stormrage, and the wizard, Krasus, fight a desperate battle to hold back the Legion's terrible onslaught. Though only embers of hope remain, an ancient power has risen to aid the world in its darkest hour. The dragons -- led by the powerful Aspect, Neltharion -- have forged a weapon of incalculable power: the Dragon Soul, an artifact capable of driving the Legion from the world forever. But its use may cost far more than any could have foreseen.
The second novel in an original trilogy of magic, warfare, and heroism based on the bestselling, award-winning electronic game series from Blizzard Entertainment."

[Image: Sundering.jpg]
The Sundering
"The hour of wrath draws near...
The valiant night elves have been shattered by the loss of their beloved general. The black dragon, Neltharion, has claimed the Demon Soul and scattered the mighty dragonflights to the winds. Above all, the demonlord, Archimonde, has led the Burning Legion to the very brink of victory over Kalimdor. As the land and its denizens reel from this unstoppable evil, a terror beyond all reckoning draws ever nearer from the Well of Eternity's depths...
In the final, apocalyptic chapter of this epic trilogy, the dragon-mage Krasus and the young druid Malfurion must risk everything to save Azeroth from utter destruction. Banding together the dwarves, tauren and furbolg races, the heroes hope to spark an alliance to stand against the might of the Burning Legion. For if the Demon Soul should fall into the Legion's hands, all hope for the world will be lost. This then, is the hour...where past and future collide!"

Looking to get World of Warcraft or Burning Crusade for a friend, relative or co-worker?
I would highly recommend the Warcraft Archive, lots of great stories!
Etsuko - Monk
Razzlixx Blingwell - Warlock
Cloudjumper Wildmane - Druid (Inactive)
I got through reading Rise of the Horde not too long ago, and I'm surprised that I didn't comment on it yet.

Christie Golden's writing somehow feels, surprisingly, unrefined; but this is countered by the fact that I freaking loved the story!

Actually, that's about it.
I need to add "Beyond the Dark Portal" to this list!

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