Coming soon, in fact, coming out the same day as the Diablo III game, (May 15, 2012), is the very first novel that was written with a connection to the newest version of the game we all are waiting for. The book is called Diablo III: The Order and it was written by Nate Kenyon This is not the first time he has written for Blizzard. He is also the author of Starcraft Ghost: Specters. However, Diablo III: The Order is his first foray into the Diablo universe, and, in my opinion, he gets it exactly right.

The beta for Diablo III ended just a few days ago, (and I miss it so!) When I first heard that the title of this book was “The Order”, it immediately brought to mind the NPC follower called The Templar. Those of you were in the beta, or who jumped in on the open beta weekend, probably played far enough into the beta to find him. You quickly learn that his name is Kormac, and he has quite a bit to say about “The Order”. Initially, I though this new Diablo book would be about his background.

My guess was wrong, though, and I am actually quite happy about that. Instead, the book is about Deckard Cain, and “The Order” refers to the Horadrim, (which Cain is the last surviving member of). Readers get to view the world of Sanctuary through Cain’s eyes, and listen in on his thoughts about the past, the potential future, and the current situation he is in. What could possibly be better than a novel where the illustrious Deckard Cain is the main character?

Readers get a glimpse of Cain’s past that you cannot discover simply by playing the Diablo games. We first find Cain when he is a pensive eleven year old boy, who doubts what his mother is trying to tell him about demons, angels, and his destiny. Later, we learn more about his family, what happened to them, and how that has deeply affected him.

In addition to learning more about Cain, readers also get the full story about exactly how he ended up taking care of Leah. In the beta, she refers to Cain as “Uncle Deckard”. What happened to her parents? How come Cain raised her, and not some other relative? Why did he decide to raise Leah himself, instead of placing her in an orphanage, or something? The answers are revealed in The Order. Kenyon also touches on something many Diablo players suspected… there is something a bit “off” about Leah. Readers get a glimpse of some of the ways that Leah is different from everyone else.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Diablo book without a “Big Bad” to fight against. Kenyon gets this exactly right, too. Part of Cain’s quest in this book is to try and discover if there actually are more Horadrim out there, and if so, where they are hiding. Without giving away any spoilers, I will say that there is a very scary “Big Bad” in this book, who controls creatures that are incredibly nightmarish. There are battles fought, and it is like you are right there with the combatants.

Those of you who come to this book after having played Diablo and/or Diablo II will recognize some of the scenarios that Cain refers to, (and the characters that were involved). If you happen to be someone who has read many of the other Diablo books, then you just might find a few familiar faces within this story. Also, those of you who had the opportunity to play the Diablo III beta will definitely recognize a particular creature when it appears in this book. For me, these little “easter eggs” made the book that much more special.

What if you are brand new to the Diablo “universe”? Maybe you are someone who has never played the previous versions of the game, and only have a vague understanding of what this is all about. Perhaps you are someone who got the Blizzard Annual Pass and is considering maybe giving Diablo III a try, since you will get it for free. If this describes you, then I highly recommend that you pick up a copy of The Order. It is a great way to get introduced to some of the background storyline before you start playing Diablo III. It is also an excellent way to catch up on much of the lore that was established in the first two games that you missed out on.

Personally, I think this is an excellent book. I read it in one night because I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. Kenyon really captured Cain’s personality and did an excellent job of rounding out Cain’s past. It now makes perfect sense to me why an old, scholarly, man like Cain would end up becoming the surrogate parent to a strange little girl like Leah, and also why the two have bonded so strongly. The book has a definite ending that ties together all the loose ends, and it includes a great, big, battle, and nightmarish creatures that will haunt your dreams. You have to read this book!

The Order will be coming to Audible on May 15th, narrated by Scott Brick