Fans of the Diablo universe will no doubt be awaiting the next entry in the series of popular hack and slash role-playing games. Since the debut of Lord of Destruction in 2001, there have been various novel releases including the Sin War trilogy. With the Diablo III beta in progress, it was the perfect opportunity to rekindle with the dark and intriguing lore of the series. Published and created by Insight in collaboration with Blizzard and an array of impressive artists, the Book of Cain is a 148 page collection detailing the history, people, lands, angels, and demons that together create the world of Sanctuary. The book’s title receives its name from the iconic character of Deckard Cain that fans of the Diablo universe will be quite familiar with as a quest giver and significant figure in the course of events for each game. The Book of Cain is quite literally written as Deckard’s journal and ultimately his life’s work to pass onto his niece Leah, who will be a primary character in the events of Diablo III.
The book begins with an introduction from Cain to Leah and then included is a wealth of extensive information concerning the origins of Sanctuary, Eternal Conflict between angels and demons, Mage Clan Wars, and detailed biographies of angels and prime and lesser evils. For newcomers to the series, an entire section covers the events of the first Diablo game up till the beginning of Diablo III. Even longtime fans of Diablo will find an assortment of content to study and further explore the dark fantasy universe. Near the end of the book are details concerning the geographical locations of Sanctuary discussing cities and more importantly, the homeland of each new playable character in Diablo III. However, this section would have benefited from further detail in relation to the Demon Hunter and other classes that are referenced.
The Book of Cain should be considered an essential companion to gamers looking to purchase Diablo III upon its release or even those looking to complete yet another playthrough of past Diablo games. With the knowledge of past wars and the hunt for the three prime evils, the experience is highly rewarding to understand references and importance in select characters and past events.
From the initial glance of the book, it would seem to have been taken directly from the world of Sanctuary and that it actually was written by Deckard Cain. From its embossed covers to the rough page edges, the Book of Cain is an impressive presentation of Diablo lore and should be a standard for future works of video game inspired media. Each piece of accompanying artwork adds even more immersion to the experience as characters such as Archangel Tyrael and Diablo himself come to live off the pages.
As an added bonus, readers will discover a pouch inside the back cover of the book that once opened will reveal an actual map of Sanctuary. The quality of the map is similar to the book’s high standards and even features rough edges as if they were burnt or ripped during adventures. The book simply by itself was a great read into the lore of the Diablo universe, however, the included map further enhances the experience of wonder and discovery.
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