Book of Cain

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The Book of Cain is the shorter, alternate title of Diablo: the Eternal Conflict: The Illustrated Guide, an item of Diablo III Merchandise, which was released in mid-December 2011.

The 148-page book is an "in-world" piece of literature, formatted as though it was written and illustrated by Deckard Cain. It recounts the events of Diablo II, includes additional stories of the Angels and Demons and their battles, and summarizes the history of events during the twenty years between the conclusion of events in Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, and the start of Diablo III.

  • The Book of Tyrael is a sort of sequel, released in October 2013 to cover the plot and story events leading up to the Diablo 3 expansion, Reaper of Souls.

Product Description[edit | edit source]

Book of Cain new cover art.

From the initial product listing.

In Blizzard Entertainment's Diablo I and Diablo II, the recurring character of Deckard Cain delivered quests, accompanied the brave adventurer, and, as the last of the Horadrim, provided a link to the greater history of the world of Sanctuary. Ever mysterious during these appearances, Cain hinted at a larger story, providing snippets of it in his notebook. Diablo III: Book of Cain is Cain is a formal record of this greater tale -- a dissertation on the lore of the Diablo universe, told by one who has witnessed and participated in some of the epic events that make up the eternal conflict between the High Heavens and the Burning Hells.

Designed as an "in-world" artifact from the Diablo universe, Diablo III: Book of Cain includes Cain's revealing meditations, as well as dozens of sketches and color artworks depicting the angelic and demonic beings who wage constant war with one another.

For players of the eagerly anticipated Diablo III, this mysterious tome will provide a deeper understanding of the franchise and its storyline.

Contributing Artists[edit | edit source]

The work of numerous artists, both Blizzard employees and many others, is featured in the book. No official list is yet available, but one of the contributors, Jean-Baptiste Monge, posted some news on his blog in early October, 2011. [1]

I have worked some months ago for Blizzard Entertainment on the great and so expected artbook Diablo III : Book of Cain - published by Insight Editions.
I have been so happy first when they wrote me. In fact I have been a Diablo player addict for years so it's like a complete circle : in front of the computer to play like a fool and in front of my table to draw their creatures like a fool. YEAH ! And after I have been completely excited when I knew who would draw with me on the artbook. I feel very honored and privileged.
A few names to catch your attention : James Gurney, Adrian Smith, Iain McCaig, <John Howe, Brom, ... and sooo many great artists.
I have got 23 sketch pictures (with soft watercolor for a few) inside, this is crazy and I hope that you will apreciate them all. I have tried to keep the mood and thanks to the Blizzard Team, it was impossible to do mistakes about the story and elements, that I was tended to add ;-) (professional deformation certainly !)

Book publisher Insight Editions provided additional artist credits in October 2011.[2] They include:

  • Brom, Mark Gibbons, Jim Gurney, John Howe, Alan Lee, Iain McCaig, Jean-Baptiste Monge, Adrian Smith, and Petar Meseldzija.

Artist Commentaries[edit | edit source]

After the book's release, numerous contributing artists posted some of the artwork they contributed to the book, and sometimes included additional information about their creative process. The following links point to news coverage of their various updates.

Media Coverage[edit | edit source]

Blizzard made a concerted publicity push for the Book of Cain, and made numerous of the artists and creators availble for interviews to promote the product. Links to many of those interviews and previews can be seen below. correpondent Nizaris attended a Book of Cain signing in Los Angeles in early January 2012, and reported back with info and pictures from the event.[3]

Video of the Q&A session from the book signing can be seen below, courtesy of The Worldstone Keep.

Deckard Cain's Journal[edit | edit source]

Original cover art from June 2011.

Fans immediately noted the similarities between this product and Deckard Cain's Journal, a 34-page, illustration-packed diary-like creation that Blizzard posted on the Diablo 3 site shortly after the game's reveal.

That journal is a first person account, by Deckard Cain, of the plot events of Diablo I and Diablo II. There’s no new plot info in it, or anything from Diablo III or any plot/lore events that weren’t covered in D1/D2/D2X, but it’s a nice presentation. There’s plenty of artwork in it too, mostly illustrations of Diablo III things that aren’t necessarily related to what the words are describing.

It's possible that the Book of Cain is just an expanded version of Deckard Cain's Journal, but that's not yet known. The Book of Cain would almost certainly contain much additional information and game world lore, while Cain's Journal was just the familiar events of D1 and D2 retold from Cain's perspective, with artwork that seemed to have come from Diablo III rather than being related to the actual D1/D2 history.

Book Production and Delays[edit | edit source]

The Book of Cain had a long and tortured progress from announcement to release. The product was first revealed, apparently by accident, when a listing went live on in June 2011.[4] Blizzard had made no comment on the book to that point, and they remained silent a week later, when the initial listing vanished from Amazon.[5]

The item was listed again in September 2011, with modified cover art and more product details. At that point the projected release date was November 25, 2011. Other retailers listed the product with varying dates which changed several times before the book finally hit the shelves in mid-December 2011. Even then the confusion continued as many retailers had sold more pre-orders than they received stock to fill, and thus numerous fans did not receive their copy of the book in a timely fashion.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Various sample images can be seen below; many of them large enough to read, though the artwork and quality of the text is not as nice as it looks in the actual product.