Beyond the Dark Portal, by Aaron Rosenberg and Christie Golden
Beyond the Dark Portal takes place around two years after the end of the Second War and the destruction of the Dark Portal from Azeroth’s side.
The Alliance is slowly rebuilding what was razed or damaged as well as focused in maintaining their relationships in good shape with every kingdom and race within it. Alterac, one of its kingdoms, had betrayed the Alliance during the Second War and was now under martial law and the situation requires a diplomatic solution.
After the destruction of the Dark Portal, the Alliance decided to erect a fortress in the Blasted Lands to serve as a first barrier of protection if the Horde ever managed to return to Azeroth and thus, Nethergarde was founded. Although it was draining a lot of the kingdoms monetary power, it proved its reason for existing shortly after being finished.
In Draenor, the Horde now cutoff from Azeroth, began to fight among themselves for resources and to sate their bloodlust. But it was when Teron Gorefiend, a first generation Death Knight, approached Ner’zhul with promises of survival for his people and a way to reopen the portal to Azeroth, that the old shaman decided to unite the clans once more. Through diplomacy and aggression, Ner’zhul gathered the clans under one Warchief and reformed the Orcish Horde one more time.
After reopening the Dark Portal with the Skull of Gul’dan, Ner’Zhul sent many of his champions on a quest to retrieve three artifacts required for a spell that would lead his people onto many, many worlds, ripe for the taking. Having clans eager for bloodshed also made it easier for him to manipulate them into becoming distractions for the Alliance, so that the movements of his champions could remain slightly unnoticed.
On the other side, Khadgar noticed the sudden changes in what remained of the portal’s energy and sounded the alarm for an imminent invasion. Turalyon, commander of the Alliance, marshaled his forces towards Nethergarde Keep in the Blasted Lands, and upon discovering Ner’zhul’s plan he decided to march his forces through the Dark Portal itself to put an end to the old shaman’s scheme.
While struggling with his love for Alleria and the burden of leadership, Turalyon leads the forces of the Alliance throughout Draenor, ending up at the top of the Black Temple but ultimately failing to stop Ner’zhul’s plan who had escaped through a rift alongside very few of his servants.
The spell however, culminated in the shattering of Draenor itself, despite the efforts of Archmage Khadgar to halt the spell. And now what remains of the Alliance forces on that side was trapped there along side of what was left of the Horde and other denizens, destined to survive in what would later be called as Outland.
This book is simply awesome! I loved how the story is told from two different points of view. The places are roughly described so that you can have an idea of what is around the characters but the battles and the suspense are what are really good in this book. The thrill of battle and stealth fill a lot of what this book offers. There is quite the adventurous tone in this one in comparison to its predecessor, Tides of Darkness. In Beyond the Dark Portal, both the Horde and the Alliance venture onto mysterious places filled with danger and secrets, and both of their champions will stumble upon pretty scary stuff…
There is also romance! Alleria, the Elven Ranger, and Turalyon, Paladin and High Commander of the Alliance, love each other deeply. Although that love is also at risk because one has a deep hatred for the Orcs and the other has the burden of everyone’s lives on his shoulders. The two already had developed feelings for each other during the past war, but things were not good even after two years since the war ended.
I was surprised to see a lot of indications for future Alliance bases spread throughout Draenor (Future Outland). These will become essential twenty years later on when the Dark Portal becomes functional again. Since the markers are already in place for the Allerian and Wildhammer Strongholds, leaving only Honor Hold completed and already damaged in the months that the Alliance expedition spent in Draenor, guarding that side of the portal.
The action changes from place to place, never ceasing to amaze me from the characters that appear, to the locations that are described. There is also a good number of characters who appear just briefly, but enough to make you wish for more in later titles. Here’s a list of locations and characters (with long or short roles) that you will find in the book. Some of them were young, some older, some changed a lot later and some others not that much, when compared to their next appearance or even within the current World of Warcraft.
PS: I still don’t know which book I’ll read next, but I believe that Lord of the Clans is the next one after Beyond the Dark Portal. We’ll see how it goes from here on out!
Lord Aiden Perenolde.
Deathwing/ Lord Davor Prestor.
The Tomb of Sargeras.
The Dark Portal and Path of Glory.
The Black Temple.
Eye of Dalaran.
Scepter of Sargeras.
Book of Medivh.
Skul of Gul’dan.