Diablo III: Book of Cain by Deckard Cain

8/10 The artwork is simply astonishing.

For those of you who haven’t been around FBR long enough to know, I’m a big fan of Blizzard Entertainment’s games; Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo (also The Lost Vikings, but most of you are going to be too young to remember that). I also really like good franchise work, and that’s what Diablo III: Book of Cain is; really good franchise work.

Anyone who has played the Diablo games will have met Deckard Cain, the elderly wizened guide who sees us through the dangerous world of Sanctuary.

Over the past two years we have been watching trailers released teasingly slowly by Blizzard displaying Deckard and his niece Leah, preparing for the next great battle between Hell and Heaven that will invade Sanctuary.

We’ve seen him working in the big cathedral at a desk full of papers, and this book is the result of Deckard’s work in those trailers.

The front cover is a beautifully embossed, thick hard cover, designed with stunning artwork. The edges of the pages within are torn and frayed, and a deep old yellowy-brown. It is the epitome of its craft; as close to ‘an old relic’ as is possible to make for mass production these days.

Within the pages is the history of Sanctuary, the war between Hell and Heaven, and Deckard’s warnings for young Leah as she steps into this dangerous world. At times the words are block-print, and others are ‘handwritten’ by Deckard, notations for his niece to pay special attention to. The whole history of the world which we have played in is here, as well as summaries of the extra material that has been published (for example, the Sin War trilogy of novels – which I’ll be reviewing soon – are summarised herein).

The artwork is simply astonishing. Very much in the style of game-design concept art; heavy dark lines, heroic fantastical angels, men and demons, and amazing full page drawings. In fact, according to Wikipedia, artists who provided work for this book include Brom, Mark Gibbons, Jim Gurney, John Howe, Alan Lee, Iain McCaig, Jean-Baptiste Monge, Petar Meseldzija, and Adrian Smith.

In the back of the book is a nice little surprise for all those of you who enjoy maps, and I can’t wait to frame mine.

All in all, this prelude work to the release of Diablo 3 in May is worth everyone’s attention. Yes, this book is primarily for gamers – fans of the franchise – but if you are just starting out in the world, or just want to take home something beautiful, then you can’t go past Diablo III: Book of Cain.

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