Story guide

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Interested in reading some of the Warcraft publications, but unsure where to start? Here's the answer! Your very own story guide. This guide presents all novels and short stories that are considered canon in Warcraft lore.

For Reference, the books are listed under the titles of game releases and expansions of Warcraft, so you know which stories occur in which general time period. Some stories appear twice in the timeline. This is because these stories take place partially as flashbacks to earlier events. The timelines of these stories have been noted in their descriptions.

Pre-Game Timeline Events

The War of the Ancients Trilogy

These novels cover the ancient history of Azeroth, and depict the War of the Ancients, the first invasion by the Burning Legion, the fall of the Highborne, and the destruction of the Well of Eternity. The Sundering was the first great cataclysm, and was responsible for the sinking of Vashj'ir, the creation of the Maelstrom, and the very shape of the world today. The majority of the novels take place during the War of the Ancients. However, it's the War of the Ancients as viewed by travelers sent by Nozdormu 10,000 years into the past.

The War of the Shifting Sands

  • by Micky Neilson.

This short story takes place at two points in the timeline. The flashback sequence tells the story of the original War of the Shifting Sands, 1,000 years before the orcs first arrived on Azeroth. It depicts the original struggle to contain the swarms of Ahn'Qiraj by the Dragon Aspects, aided by the Night Elves.

Rise of the Horde

This story depicts the native orcs of Draenor and their fall from spiritual warrior traditions into demonic depravity. This book features the rise of Ner'zhul and Gul'dan, as well as the fall of the draenei. It ends just before the First War.


  • by Micky Neilson.

This short story tells the tale of Nobundo, former Vindicator (paladin) of the Light, and his transformation into a shaman. It takes place just after the corruption of the orcs in Rise of the Horde and follows Nobundo's journey through the shattering of Draenor.

Warcraft: Orcs and Humans (The First War)

The Last Guardian

  • by Jeff Grubb.

This book takes place during the beginning of the First War and tells the story of Medivh's origins, his apprentice Khadgar, and the mysterious half-orc Garona.

Warcraft II: The Tides of Darkness and Beyond the Dark Portal (The Second War)

Tides of Darkness

This story depicts the events of Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, mainly from the Alliance perspective. Historical events include the destruction of Stormwind, and the siege of Lordaeron.

Beyond the Dark Portal

This novel tells the story of Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal, largely from the Horde perspective.

Post-Warcraft II, Pre-Warcraft III

Day of the Dragon

Taking place just after the Second War in the cursed dwarf city of Grim Batol, where the Dragonmaw Clan, a leftover from the Horde of Blackhand, hides a terrible secret. There, a young Rhonin aids the Dalaran Arch-Mage Krasus in finding out the source of the orcs' true power, but run into complications in the form of Lord Daval Prestor.

Lord of the Clans

This novel focuses on the story of Thrall, from his humble beginnings as a slave and gladiator in the Alliance prison camps, to his eventual escape and rise to glory as the Warchief of the Horde. The Caverns of Time: Durnholde Keep instance depict many of the characters and events in the novel. Also featured, Drek'thar, the last orc Shaman, Grom Hellscream, leader of the rebellious Warsong Clan, and Teretha Foxton, Thrall's adoptive older sister and friend.

Of Blood and Honor

  • by Chris Metzen.

This mini-novel takes place sometime between Warcraft II and Warcraft III and recounts the tale of the paladin Tirion Fordring and Eitrigg, a self-exiled orc warrior of the Blackrock Clan. Fans of Tirion will definitely want to check this one out.

Road to Damnation

  • by Evelyn Fredericksen.

This short story takes place just before Warcraft III and tells the story of the mage Kel'Thuzad, his fallout with the Kirin Tor, and his alliance with Ner'zhul, the first Lich King.

Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos (The Third War)

Arthas: Rise of the Lich King

  • by Christie Golden.

While the events of this novel end just before Wrath of the Lich King, the majority of the novel itself takes place just before and during the events of Warcraft III, up to and including The Frozen Throne. It appears here chronologically because so much of it involves Warcraft III; however, readers may want to keep in mind that the prologue and epilogue to the book take place just before Wrath of the Lich King.

Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne (Aftermath of the Third War)

The War of the Ancients Trilogy

While the majority of the novels take place during the War of the Ancients, it is the experience of three heroes of the modern age; the dragon mage Krasus, the young wizard Rhonin, and the grizzled orc veteran, Broxigar Saurfang. The travelers are sent by Nozdormu 10,000 years into the past through a mysterious and potentially dangerous rift that has opened up in the mountains of Kalimdor just after the Third War.

World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred

This novel takes place three years after the Third War, and depicts the events of the bonus campaign of Warcraft 3: the Frozen Throne. It involves the struggles of Thrall and Jaina Proudmoore as they attempt to keep alive the tentative peace between the orcs and humans of Kalimdor, a peace hard won with blood and victory over the Burning Legion during the three years prior.

World of Warcraft

The War of the Shifting Sands

  • by Micky Neilson.

This short story takes place at two points in the timeline, with the modern setting depicting the in game event: The Scepter of Celebras and reopening of the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj.

World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade

Night of the Dragon

  • by Richard A. Knaak.

Krasus, Rhonin, and Vereesa Windrunner return in this sequel to Day of the Dragon. The Netherwing dragonflight that were introduced in The Burning Crusade, become involved in an insidious plot by Lady Sinestra. Once the prime consort of Deathwing, she uses all her power to bring about the birth of a threat that will plague Azeroth for years to come: the Twilight Dragonflight.

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King


  • by Richard A. Knaak.

The corrupton of the Emerald Dream, first introduced in World of Warcraft, has reached cataclysmic proportions, and threatens to consume the world's sentient races within an eternal nightmare. Only the return of Malfurion Stormrage, with the help of heroes from both the Horde and the Alliance, stand a chance of turning the tide of the Nightmare War.

The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm

  • by Christie Golden.

This book takes place just prior to World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. The War in Northrend is over, but Azeroth is in turmoil. The elements themselves tremble in terror, and lash out against the mortals of the world. Amid the chaos, political struggles within both the Alliance and the Horde erupt into devastation, and threaten to leave the proud defenders of Azeroth divided and weakened against the coming storm.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm


  • by Richard A. Knaak.

The Worgen of Gilneas seek to join the Alliance, but one imposing figure stands in their way: King Varian Wrynn. Meanwhile, the Night Elves struggle for acceptance, as the Highborne of Eldre'Thalas return to Night Elf society after more than 10,000 years in exile. Elsewhere, Ashenvale comes under attack by a ferocious new enemy; Garrosh Hellscream. The new leader of the Horde seeks the bountiful resources of the elven woodlands to fuel his war machine, and will stop at nothing to attain them.

Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects

  • by Christie Golden.

Former Warchief Thrall continues his efforts to mend the world after Deathwing's explosive return to Azeroth. But the task seems insurmountable, and the faith of the world's most powerful shaman wanes. Yet, a random task requested by Ysera, Aspect of the Green Dragonflight, sends Thrall on a sojourn across the face of the world. What he discovers along the way will affect not only his own future, but the future of the Dragon Aspects and of Azeroth as a whole.

Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War

  • by Christie Golden.

Jaina Proudmoore, protector of a beseiged Theramore, the last major outpost of the Alliance on mainland Kalimdor. She faces perhaps her greatest challenge as a leader when the Horde targets her small realm for destruction. How will she react? Can she maintain or stance as a promoter of peace between the Alliance and Horde in the face of such a catastrophe?


  • Both the Horde and the Alliance play a major role in all novels, though sometimes one faction more so than the other.
  • The Faction Leader short stories take place at various points in the chronology.

See also

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