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WoW Insider's chronological guide to Warcraft novels, manga, comics, and short stories

Lore can be tricky; timelines are even trickier. One of the most frequently asked questions we get here at WoW Insider pertains to Warcraft in print. With dozens of novels, manga, comics, and other print material out there, how exactly do you know what order to read it in? Where exactly do you start, if you want to begin at the beginning?

If you're looking to read everything in order, we've got you covered. This guide presents all novels, manga, comics, and short stories that are considered canon in Warcraft lore, in chronological order. For reference purposes, I've included the game releases and expansions in the list, so you know which novels cover which games.

The Warcraft: Legends manga series does not appear in this list. There are five volumes in the series, which is an anthology that includes several short stories from all over the Warcraft timeline. Rather than try to pinpoint every short story in each volume, I would simply suggest that you read the Legends series at your leisure, as none of the stories contained in the series are of earth-shattering importance to the current events in Azeroth today.

Some stories appear twice in the timeline. This is because some stories take place partially in flashbacks to earlier events. The timelines of these stories have been noted in their descriptions.

Pre-game timeline novels, stories, and comics
  • Dawn of the Aspects, parts 1-5 by Richard A. Knaak. Kalecgos, former Aspect of the Blue Dragonflight, has yet to fully come to terms with his loss of power, and the purpose of the dragonflights now that Deathwing has fallen. But the discovery of a mysterious artifact and the visions contained within may shed some light on his problem ... if the visions don't kill him in the process. Visions in this five-part story take place prior to the War of the Ancients trilogy, but present-day events take place during Mists of Pandaria.
  • Death From Above, by Robert Brooks. Long before the pandaren rebellion, mantid and mogu clashed along the Serpent's Spine. Mantid swarms are predictable, after all ... but the actions of Paragons are anything but. Featuring the story of Kil'ruk the Wind-Reaver, the epilogue for this piece takes place during Mists of Pandaria.
  • The War of the Ancients Trilogy by Richard A. Knaak. There are three books in this trilogy: The Well of Eternity, The Demon Soul, and The Sundering. These novels cover information pertaining to the Sundering of Azeroth and the Well of Eternity -- sort of. 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 back in time by Nozdormu.
  • World of Warcraft: Curse of the Worgen Issues 1-5 by Micky Neilson and James Waugh. This comic miniseries takes place at two points on the Warcraft timeline. Flashback sequences detailing the origins of the worgen curse take place just after the War of the Ancients.
  • 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.
  • Rise of the Horde by Christie Golden. On Draenor, the native orcs of the world are going through some staggering changes. This book involves the story of Ner'zhul, Gul'dan, and the draenei, ending just before the events of the First War.
  • Unbroken by Micky Neilson. This short story tells the tale of Nobundo, former 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 after Beyond the Dark Portal.
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: Tides of Darkness and Beyond the Dark Portal (The Second War)
  • Tides of Darkness by Aaron Rosenberg. This novel tells the story of the events of Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, largely from the Alliance perspective.
  • Beyond the Dark Portal by Aaron Rosenberg and Christie Golden. This novel tells the story of Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal, largely from the Horde perspective.
  • Day of the Dragon by Richard A. Knaak. This book takes places just after the Second War and largely concerns Alexstraza, who has been captured by the Dragonmaw clan of orcs through the use of the Demon Soul.
  • Lord of the Clans by Christie Golden. This novel focuses on the story of Thrall, his origins, and his eventual escape and rise to glory as the Warchief of the Horde. Players who have done the Caverns of Time: Durnholde Keep instance will recognize a lot of the characters and events in the novel.
  • Genn Greymane: Lord of His Pack by James Waugh. This short story takes place at two points in the timeline. Flashback sequences detail Genn Greymane's struggles as leader of Gilneas and the withdrawal from the original Alliance of Lordaeron.
  • Of Blood and Honor by Chris Metzen. This novel takes place sometime between Warcraft II and Warcraft III and recounts the tale of a paladin named Tirion Fordring and Eitrigg, an orc warrior. Fans of Tirion will 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 the Lich King.
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and The Frozen Throne (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: The Frozen Throne. I've put it 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 after The Burning Crusade.
  • Ashbringer, Issues 1-4 by Micky Neilson. This four-part comic series takes place as the plague of undeath sweeps across Lordaeon during the Third War. It tells the story of the legendary blade Ashbringer and the sorrowful tale of the Mograine family.
  • World of Warcraft: Death Knight by Dan Jolley. This manga begins during the events of Warcraft III. It tells the tale of Thassarian, a Lordaeron soldier who eventually becomes the first death knight to rejoin the Alliance. This book covers the span of time between Warcraft III and Wrath of the Lich King.
  • Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy by Richard A. Knaak. This manga trilogy concerns the events directly after the destruction of the Sunwell in Warcraft III. It tells the tale of blue dragon Kalecgos and Anveena Teague, a mysterious young woman who is much more than she seems. After the manga's end, Anveena and Kalecgos both make an appearance in the Sunwell raid at the end of The Burning Crusade expansion.
  • Vol'jin: The Judgment by Brian Kindregan. This short story takes place at the same time that Thrall arrives on the tiny island of the Darkspear and meets with Sen'jin, swearing to lead the Darkspear to their destiny as depicted in Reign of Chaos. It tells the story of Vol'jin's coming of age ritual deep in the forests of First Home.
  • The War of the Ancients Trilogy by Richard A. Knaak. There are three books in this trilogy: The Well of Eternity, The Demon Soul, and The Sundering. 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 back in time by Nozdormu. The opening and closing of the trilogy takes place just after the Third War.
  • Cycle of Hatred by Keith R.A. DeCandido. This novel takes place one year before the beginning of World of Warcraft and involves Thrall and Jaina Proudmoore and their attempts to keep the tentative peace between the orcs and humans of Kalimdor alive after the end of the Third War.
World of Warcraft
  • The War of the Shifting Sands by Micky Neilson. This short story takes place at two points in the timeline. The reopening of the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj during World of Warcraft is highlighted with a flashback to the original War of the Shifting Sands.
  • World of Warcraft: Shadow Wing Vol. 1, The Dragons of Outland, and Vol. 2, Nexus Point, by Richard A. Knaak. A manga that takes place just prior to the events of The Burning Crusade, the Shadow Wing series tells the story of Tyrygosa and Jorad Mace, last seen in The Sunwell Trilogy. Tyrygosa and Jorad have made their way through the newly opened Dark Portal and witness the first meeting between human and draenei on Outland. But it's the mysterious Netherwing that capture Tyrygosa's attention. The story ends with Malygos at last regaining his sanity -- something that has disastrous effects that are highlighted in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion.
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade
  • Night of the Dragon by Richard A. Knaak. This novel is a sequel to Day of the Dragon and a sequel of sorts to the Shadow Wing series. It involves the Netherwing dragons that were introduced in The Burning Crusade -- including one introduced in Shadow Wing. This story also introduces the Twilight Dragonflight that threatens Azeroth in Cataclysm.
  • World of Warcraft: The Comic series, Vol.1 and Vol. 2 (Issues 1-14), by Walter and Louise Simonson. This section of the Warcraft comic series takes place during The Burning Crusade. It tells the tale of Varian Wrynn, flashing back to his disappearance just prior to World of Warcraft's launch and culminating with the eventual defeat of Onyxia.
  • World of Warcraft: The Comic series, Vol. 3 and Vol. 4 (Issues 15-25), by Walter and Louise Simonson. This section of the Warcraft comics series begins just prior to Wrath of the Lich King's launch and ends at some point during Wrath of the Lich King. It begins just after the first series leaves off, with Varian Wrynn scheduling a peace summit with Warchief Thrall, and it involves the story behind Garona, Cho'gall, and the Twilight Cult that make a full return in Cataclysm.
  • World of Warcraft: Mage by Richard A. Knaak. This manga tells the story of Aodhan, an apprentice mage studying in Dalaran. It takes place just before Wrath of the Lich King -- at some point right after Dalaran moved to Northrend -- and concerns the Nexus War between the Kirin Tor of Dalaran and Malygos, Aspect of the Blue Dragonflight.
  • Garrosh Hellscream: Heart of War by Sarah Pine. This short story takes place during the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, after the scene shown in the trailer for Ulduar. It flashes back to Garrosh's arrival on Azeroth after he left Nagrand in The Burning Crusade.
  • Lor'themar Theron: In the Shadow of the Sun by Sarah Pine. The Sunwell has been restored, but the blood elves are still reeling from the betrayal of their former Prince and the devastation wrought by the events of The Burning Crusade. With their people weakened and trying to hold on to what they've regained, and Sylvanas demanding support in Northrend, can Lor'themar Theron look beyond appeasing everyone and step into the role of leader?
  • Li Li's Travel Journal This 11 part novella takes place at two points in the time line. The introduction takes place at some unknown point prior to Pearl of Pandaria, while later entries detail Li Li's journey in Mists of Pandaria. It tells the tale of Li Li Stormstout, the niece of infamous explorer Chen Stormstout, and her travels through the Wandering Isle and beyond.
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
  • Pearl of Pandaria by Micky Neilson. This graphic novel takes place somewhere during the Wrath of the Lich King expansion and tells the tale of Chen Stormstout's niece, Li Li, as she leaves her home on the Wandering Isle and sets out in search of her beloved uncle.
  • Glory, by Evelyn Fredericksen. This brief short is no longer available on the official site, but it has been archived on Wowpedia. It tells the tale of an orc caught in the events of the Wrathgate cinematic during Wrath of the Lich King.
  • World of Warcraft Special Issue 1: Beginnings and Ends by Mike Costa. This comic takes place some time after Algalon's defeat in Ulduar. It tells the continuing story of the inhabitants of Azeroth through the eyes of Algalon the Observer. This comic currently appears to be out of print, however you can find it in Vol. 4 of the graphic novel collections of comics. If you can't get your hands on it, don't worry -- it's not a big story, more of an introduction to characters we will see in the eventual Alliance and Horde graphic novels yet to be released.
  • Sylvanas Windrunner: Edge of Night by Dave Kosak. Sylvanas Windrunner visits the Frozen Throne to confirm the Lich King's death with her own eyes. While there, she comes to some startling conclusions, and makes a deal that will change her world forever.
  • Stormrage by Richard A. Knaak. This novel covers the conclusion of the corruption of the Emerald Dream first introduced in World of Warcraft. It covers the Nightmare War and the return of Malfurion Stormrage.
  • The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm by Christie Golden. This book takes place just prior to World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Azeroth is in turmoil; the elements themselves are striking back against the mortals of the world. In between the chaos, political struggles in both the Alliance and the Horde erupt into devastation, and new leaders arise.
  • World of Warcraft: Shaman by Paul Benjamin. This manga takes place just before the release of Cataclysm. The Earthen Ring has been working hard to try and pacify the unsettled elements of the world, to no avail. A mysterious stranger arrives, offering to lead the Earthen Ring into a new era of shamanism. Is he a hero? Or a heretic?
  • The Council of Three Hammers: Fire and Iron by Matt Burns. This short story takes place after the events in The Shattering but before the launch of the Cataclysm expansion.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
  • World of Warcraft: Dark Riders, by Mike Costas and Neil Googe. Alliance mage Karlain is sent on a journey to retrieve a powerful artifact being sought out by the mysterious Dark Riders of Deadwind Pass. Yet the journey results in a wild chase through the haunted forests of Duskwood, and the location of a mysterious artifact -- the Scythe of Elune. This story takes place at some point prior to the Scythe's arrival in Gilneas in Curse of the Worgen.
  • Gelbin Mekkatorque: Cut Short by Cameron Dayton. While the events in this short story don't really make it clear whether it takes place just before or just after the Cataclysm expansion, the story itself is set after the attempted reclamation of Gnomregan that took place just prior to the Shattering. Gelbin Mekkatorque revisits his old quarters, deep within Gnomeregan -- and he's in for a surprise when he gets there.
  • Tyrande & Malfurion: Seeds of Faith This short story takes place immediatly after the Cataclysm. As the night elves find themselves quickly overwhelmed with death and loss, Tyrande Whisperwind makes a trip to Feathermoon Stronghold to save her daughter of the heart, Shandris Feathermoon.
  • Baine Bloodhoof: As Our Fathers Before Us by Steven Nix. This short story takes place after the Shattering and the goblins' induction into the Horde. Tainted water supplies in Durotar force the tauren to export water from Mulgore to Orgrimmar. Meanwhile, tension still exists between the new leader of the tauren and the new leader of the Horde. Self-doubt riddles Baine Bloodhoof as he wonders: Is he competent enough to lead his people in his father's footsteps?
  • Gallywix: Trade Secrets of a Trade Prince by Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie. This short story takes place in a nebulous portion of the Warcraft timeline. It details Gallywix's rise to power on the island of Kezan; however, we've got no reference as to when that actually occurred. The end of the story has Gallywix currently living it up in Azshara as depicted in Cataclysm.
  • World of Warcraft: Curse of the Worgen Issues 1-5 by Micky Neilson and James Waugh. This miniseries takes place at two points on the Warcraft timeline. The flashback sequences take place just after the War of the Ancients; however, the main story involves King Genn Greymane and the beleaguered people of Gilneas as they struggle to come to terms with the worgen curse. The comic's timeline ends somewhere in the middle of the worgen starting zone.
  • Genn Greymane: Lord of His Pack by James Waugh. This short story takes place at two points in the timeline. The non-flashback points of the story take place after the end of the events in the worgen starting zone in Cataclysm.
  • Wolfheart by Richard A. Knaak. The Worgen of Gilneas seek to join the Alliance, but one imposing figure stands in their way: King Varian Wrynn. In the meantime, the Night Elves struggle to try and reintroduce the Highborne of Eldre'Thalas back into Night Elf society. All the while, Ashenvale is threatened by a fierce new foe -- the united forces of Garrosh Hellscream, who seek to claim Ashenvale for the Horde.
  • Velen: Prophet's Lesson by Marc Hutcheson. Anduin has left to study the Light with the Prophet Velen. But the Prophet has shut out everyone but the young prince, including his own people, and the refugees that have taken up camp outside the Exodar. Can Anduin wake Velen from his visions before things become too dire to control?
  • Varian Wrynn: Blood of Our Fathers by E. Daniel Arey. This short story takes place after the Shattering, and the events presented in Wolfheart. Stormwind is in pieces due to Deathwing's attack -- and just in time for Remembrance Day. King Varian Wrynn struggles to rebuild his kingdom, inspire his people, and reconcile with his son.
  • Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects by Christie Golden. Former Warchief Thrall is still trying to mend the world after Deathwing's explosive return to Azeroth. But self-doubt plagues the shaman, and a seemingly random errand from Ysera, Aspect of the Green Dragonflight, leads the former Warchief on a journey of self-discovery and healing -- both for himself and for the tormented dragonflights.
  • Charge of the Aspects by Matt Burns. This short story takes place after the events in Twilight of the Aspects and just prior to the launch of the Dragon Soul raid in game. The dragon Aspects have reunited and a new blue Aspect has been named thanks to Thrall, but the Aspects work is far from done. Can they put an end to the Hour of Twilight and find a way to defeat Deathwing before it's too late for Azeroth?
WoW Insider's chronological guide to Warcraft novels, manga, comics, and short stories
World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria
  • Quest for Pandaria by Sarah Pine. Chen Stormstout has returned to the Wandering Isle, thanks to the efforts of his niece Li Li. But Li Li's wanderlust won't be quelled until she seeks out and finds the one place her uncle has never been -- the lost continent of Pandaria.
  • Li Li's Travel Journal This 11 part novella takes place at two points in the time line. The introduction takes place at some unknown point prior to Pearl of Pandaria, while later entries detail Li Li's journey in Mists of Pandaria. It tells the tale of Li Li Stormstout, the niece of infamous explorer Chen Stormstout, and her travels through the Wandering Isle and beyond.
  • Trial of the Red Blossoms by Cameron Dayton. Young thief Ten makes the accidental mistake of crossing the Shado-Pan -- with results that will change his life forever.
  • Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War by Christie Golden. Jaina Proudmoore has long been a supporter of peace and diplomacy between the Alliance and Horde. But as tensions between the factions rage, Garrosh Hellscream and the armies of the Horde storm her beloved Theramore and force her to choose what path she will ultimately follow.
  • Strength of Steel by Raphael Ahad. Dragonmaw orc Koak finds himself in the midst of a shipwreck on Pandaria, and the recipient of an unlikely new companion: a cloud serpent hatchling. Can he learn what it means to be a serpent rider -- and a member of the Horde? This story starts at the beginning of Mists of Pandaria and continues throughout the expansion's timeline.
  • Dawn of the Aspects, parts 1-5 by Richard A. Knaak. Kalecgos, former Aspect of the Blue Dragonflight, has yet to fully come to terms with his loss of power, and the purpose of the dragonflights now that Deathwing has fallen. But the discovery of a mysterious artifact and the visions contained within may shed some light on his problem ... if the visions don't kill him in the process. Visions in this five-part story take place prior to the War of the Ancients trilogy, but present-day events take place during Mists of Pandaria.
  • Death From Above, by Robert Brooks. Long before the pandaren rebellion, mantid and mogu clashed along the Serpent's Spine. Mantid swarms are predictable, after all ... but the actions of Paragons are anything but. Featuring the story of Kil'ruk the Wind-Reaver, the epilogue for this piece takes place during Mists of Pandaria.
  • Bleeding Sun by Matt Burns. Sunwalker Dezco has discovered the mysterious Vale of Eternal Blossoms, but at what cost? Struggling to come to terms with his place in the Vale, Dezco encounters the Golden Lotus, and faces the most difficult decision of his life.
  • The Blank Scroll by Gavin Jugens-Fyhrie. Charged with discovering powerful artifacts for the Horde, the goblin Ziya discovers a curious and dangerous relic, as well as a curious and potentially dangerous Lorewalker. Lorewalker Shuchun may look as innocent as the relic she attempts to protect, but both pandaren and scroll are full of shocking surprises.
  • Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde by Michael Stackpole. Struck down by the Horde he has sworn his allegiance to, Darkspear leader Vol'jin is taken to Shado-Pan Monastery to recuperate by his long time friend, Chen Stormstout. Yet both the Monastery and Pandaria are threatened by the encroaching forces of the Zandalari, and the rise of the Thunder King. Can Vol'jin recover in time to prevent disaster -- and will his allegiance still remain with the Horde?
  • Over Water by Ryan Quinn. Alliance soldier Tarlo Mondan has plenty of stories about military life, and he's lived through the Pandaren campaign from beginning to end. Swept overboard on his journey home, Tarlo finds himself the unlikely fourth member of a very different kind of fishing crew, with their own whopper of a story to tell.
  • The Untamed Valley by Robert Brooks. In the wake of Hellscream's defeat, not all are happy with the outcome. Those that still hold loyalty to the former Warchief are wreaking havoc on Pandaria, and it's up to Vindicator Maraad, Sentinel Commander Lyalia, and a group of Tiller allies to put a stop to their plans.


World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has destroyed Azeroth as we know it; nothing is the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion, from leveling up a new goblin or worgen to breaking news and strategies on endgame play.

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