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Day of the Dragon
2019 cover
Author(s) Richard A. Knaak
Artist(s) Samwise Didier
Pages 384
Publisher(s) Pocket Books (2001)
Blizzard Publishing (2019)
Publication date February 1, 2001
December, 2008 (audio)
February 28, 2019
Format(s) Paperback, Audiobook
Retail price US: $7.99
EU: €6.99
UK: £5.49
ISBN 10 0671041525 (2001)
1945683465 (2019)
ISBN 13 978-0671041526 (2001)
978-1945683466 (2019)

Original 2001 cover.

Day of the Dragon is a novel by Richard A. Knaak which takes place in the Warcraft universe after the Second War. It narrates about the freeing of the Dragonqueen Alexstrasza from the Dragonmaw clan carried out by the Dalaran mage Rhonin and his companions.

The novel was released on February 1, 2001. An audiobook version, read by Dick Hill, was released in December 2008.[1]


From the back of the book

In the mist-shrouded haze of the past, the world of Azeroth teemed with wondrous creatures of every kind. Mysterious Elves and hardy Dwarves walked among tribes of man in relative peace and harmony—until the arrival of the demonic army known as Burning Legion shattered the world's tranquillity forever. Now Orcs, Dragons, Goblins, and Trolls all vie for supremacy over the scattered, warring kingdoms—part of a grand, malevolent scheme that will determine the fate of the world of


A terrifying upheaval amongst the wizards of Dalaran sends the maverick mage Rhonin on a perilous journey into orc-controlled lands. Rhonin uncovers a dark, far-reaching conspiracy that will lead him into a dangerous alliance with ancient creatures of air and fire if the world of Azeroth is to see another dawn.[2]


"To free the Dragon Queen…

An impossible task to some, certain death to most. Dragonmaw clan would forever retain its hold on Khaz Modan unless Alexstrasza was freed, and so long as the orcs continued the work of the Horde, they remained a possible rallying point for those in the guarded enclaves.

A brief rumble of thunder disturbed Rhonin's contemplations. He looked up but saw only a few cottony clouds.

A second, more menacing rumble set every muscle taut as a massive shadow covered their surroundings.

An ear-shattering roar shook the vicinity and a force akin to a tornado ripped at the landscape. Rhonin twisted around so as to see the heavens--and saw instead a hellish sight.

A dragon the color of raging fire filled the sky above and in its forepaws it held what remained of his horse and his costly and carefully chosen supplies. The crimson leviathan consumed in one gulp the rest of the carcass, eyes already fixed on the tiny, pathetic figures below.

And seated atop the shoulders of the beast, a grotesque, greenish figure with tusks and a battle axe barked orders in some harsh tongue and pointed directly at Rhonin.

Maw gaping and talons bared, the dragon dove toward him."[3]


The novel opens at the waning days of the Second War, with Orgrim Doomhammer having already been captured, and most of the Orcish Horde having already surrendered. A few clans of orcs remain scattered about Azeroth, including the Dragonmaw orcs, who, holed up in Khaz Modan, maintain control over the Red Dragonflight. Nekros Skullcrusher still holds the Demon Soul, and wields it against the captive Alexstrasza forcing her to mate with her consorts to produce more dragons, although her ability to do so is deteriorating, along with her health and the health of her consorts.

The dragon mage Krasus, desperate to save his queen Alexstrasza, secretly enlists the help of Rhonin (then holding an ignominious reputation) in order to send him on a secret mission to Grim Batol to free her, while also soliciting the aid of the other Dragon Aspects. In doing so, Vereesa Windrunner is assigned to the task of seeing Rhonin to the seaport Hasic on his way to Khaz Modan, ostensibly so that he may undertake a mission of observation at Grim Batol. Vereesa suspects otherwise.

Meanwhile, Deathwing, posing as the noble Lord Prestor, works his way into the diplomatic negotiations involving Alterac, and uses his spellwork to influence King Terenas into declaring that he will succeed the deposed King Perenolde of Alterac. From this vantage point, Deathwing would use his new position of power to tear down the diplomatic foundations of the Alliance.

Early on in their journey, Vereesa and Rhonin are attacked by a Dragonmaw orc patrol and are rescued by a band of Wildhammer clan gryphon riders, led by Falstad Wildhammer. Vereesa initially thought the mage a burden, but quickly begins to change her mind when she sees his spellcasting skill in defending them from the dragons. After the ensuing battle, Rhonin and Vereesa are picked up by a few Knights of the Silver Hand, Duncan Senturus their leader, and are taken to the unnamed keep nearby where the Knights maintain watch. They are distrustful of Rhonin, as most are wary of wizards, but welcoming to Vereesa. During their stay, a mysterious explosion rocks the keep when Rhonin attempts to cast a spell, killing a few of the paladin guards, and resulting in the mysterious disappearance of Rhonin. Rhonin was saved by what we later find out was presumably Deathwing, or another dragon, since he claimed to have been picked up by a great set of claws or hands just at the moment a tower was to collapse on him. The paladins believe Rhonin caused the explosion, and they ride out to find him, only to find him right under their noses a short ways off. After questioning him, they decide that he did not cause the explosion, and escort him and Vereesa to Hasic.

When they arrive they find that Hasic has been ravaged by dragon riders, and that the Wildhammer dwarves had driven them off. Vereesa, deciding that her oath to defend Rhonin on his mission extended beyond Hasic, decides to accompany him further. Partially out of necessity, and partially out of Falstad's and Duncan's enamorment with Vereesa's elven beauty, the paladin and the dwarf agree to escort Rhonin and Vereesa by flight to Khaz Modan. Along the way, they are attacked by a pair of Dragonmaw dragon-riders. Duncan, in an act of brazen heroism, leaps from a gryphon onto a dragon mid air and kills it, sacrificing himself at the hands of the dragon's rider. During this time, Rhonin and his escort Molok, are knocked out of the sky, and fall to the earth. The other dragon is killed when, out of nowhere, Deathwing arrives and slays it, seemingly in defense of Vereesa and Falstad. In reality, Deathwing used the opportunity in order to capture Rhonin in order to use him as a pawn to acquire the dragon eggs held by the Dragonmaw.

Deathwing's plans and the quest to find and rescue Rhonin carried out by Vereesa and Falstad and Krasus's plea to the aspects for help would ultimately connect as the other aspects would attack Deathwing as the Alliance engaged the Dragonmaw in battle. With the aspects losing (even with Alexstrasza feed), Rhonin would turn the tide by destroying the demon soul using Deathwing's own black scale. With their powers freed Deathwing would be forced to retreat under their onslaught (which also caused his plans for the Alliance to crumble without him in place), and the Dragonmaw would be defeated. These events became later known as the Battle of Grim Batol.


Major Supporting Minor Mentioned
Dragonmaw clan
Forest trolls





  • An unofficial Warcraft III campaign has been made to cover the events in this book.[4]
  • While this book takes place after the Second War, accounts vary whether the events of this book happen before or after the events of Beyond the Dark Portal. The Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal mission "Dragons of Blackrock Spire" has the premise of the novel happen beforehand, while the Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual and the Beyond the Dark Portal novel have it take place after the portal is closed. This creates a few issues, such as Nekros Skullcrusher taking orders from Zuluhed the Whacked in Dun Algaz, when Zuluhed would later be trapped on Outland at the time. Various mentions of the events of the novel differ on which time-frame is being used.
    • There is also slight confusion over the timeline regarding Vereesa encountering trolls. In Day of the Dragon, the author states she has never seen a troll, however the book Tides of Darkness which is set before this novel had her facing off against trolls in Quel'Thalas.
  • As a novel, Day of the Dragon heavily references Warcraft II as a strategy game. Rhonin is a Mage, Vereesa is an Elven Ranger, Falstad is a Gryphon Rider, Duncan Senturus is a Paladin, Gree's companions are Troll Axethrowers when he himself is a direct reference to the Zul'jin unit, Nullyn and Voyd are flying a Goblin Zeppelin, Goblin Sappers are mentioned, and of course so are Dragons. The unnamed Silver Hand keep is a reference to the fact a Keep was required to unlock Knights and later Paladins. The late area explored by the protagonist matches the Wasteland tileset used in-game to represent Khaz Modan. Grim Batol is said to be a "fortress", which is the highest tier of orcish town hall, and the protagonists infiltrated the area through an old Gold Mine.[5]



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