Starcraft: The Dark Templar Trilogy: Book Two: Shadow Hunters - Christie Golden Interview

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

Christie Golden – a sci-fi and fantasy writer known for her works on Star Trek: Voyager, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Forgotten Realms, Ravenloft and more.  On the Blizzard Entertainment / Pocketbooks field she is known for Warcraft: Lord of the Clans and World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde novels.

In her latest Blizzard novel, she engages Starcraft fans and kicks-in with the novel trilogy that serves as introduction to the Starcraft II single-player storyline.


Few months ago, Blizzard Entertainment announced officially the development of Starcraft II.  The announcement was made at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals (Seoul, South Korea) where thousands of fans were awed, echoing a roar of excitement across the globe as the news hit every corner of the five continents, and those in orbit missions.

Starcraft: The Dark Templar book one, First Born hit the bookstores the next day after Starcraft II was announced giving us a glimpse into what we should expect for Starcraft II. I read the novel and I got jaw-dropped by the events that transpired, and the emotional surge at the end of the first book. You can read interview one with Christie Golden (May 2007) where we discussed the first book of the trilogy.

Today, Christie Golden tells us more about the second book titled: SHADOW HUNTERS. The recent interview with Chris Metzen, Blizzard Entertainment Creative Director, held by SCLegacy revealed the Starcraft N64 mission: Resurrection IV, and the Starcraft (PC) map campaign Enslavers were canon, and repercussions will be felt in Starcraft II. Chris Metzen mentioned Christie Golden’s novel would address some of that … and lo and behold, Ulrezaj the Dark Archon—ally of Allen Schezar in the ENSLAVERS campaign—appears in the Starcraft: The Dark Templar trilogy, book two: Shadow Hunters. Jake Ramsey and Rosemary Dahl will have a hard time with Ulrezaj in planet Aiur.

Let’s share with you what Christie Golden revealed in our current interview:

1. A couple of months ago, you were invited by Blizzard Entertainment and Pocketbooks to participate in the lore panel discussions at Blizzcon 2007.  Any impressions and experiences from Blizzcon you wish to share with fans?

Christie: It’s really hard to find the words to describe it.  “Epic” is one word.  The number of people, the size of the banners and videoscreens—wow!  I’ve done many a science fiction convention in my day, but the scale of this was off the charts.  People were almost always smiling, there was always something to do, and of course it was great to see the Blizzard folk—Evelyn, Andy and Chris—again.  I noticed that a lot of people skipped the concert on Saturday night—to me it was one of the highlights.  Of course Level 70 ETC was FANTASTIC—so much fun—especially to realize that Mike Morhaime, president and co-founder of Blizzard,  is player in that band.  To me, that is a perfect summary of Blizzard’s attitude.  They still passionately love this thing they have created and enjoy participating in it.

The music from Blizzard games has always been great, and to hear it performed live—by David Arkenstone, and the singer who voiced Sylvanas … fantastic.

Very exciting also, obviously, was the chance to be on a panel with Chris Metzen and Richard Knaak.  I actually know Richard from waaaay back when when we both worked for TSR, he on the Dragonlance books and I on the Ravenloft books.  It was fun to see him again, and we are both so happy to be working with Blizzard.  They really respect the writers.  My big highlight was the last few moments of the convention, when I introduced myself to Mike Morhaime as “Christie Golden, one of your writers.”  Recognition spread over his face and he said, “Oh yes!  I’ve read your work.  We love your books!”  That, my friends, is a truly great compliment.  All in all, it was a fantastic experience, to be both a participant and just a con attendee as well!

2. Did you get to play Wrath of the Lich King and
Starcraft II at Blizzcon?

Christie: Yes!  I was able to transfer my level 70 and play for a bit in Wrath of the Lich King.  I love the look and the feel of the place and am very excited for the expansion.  I did not play Starcraft II but I attended the panels and got to see the art.  Let me give you another example of how Blizzard really pays attention.  Valerian Mengsk is their creation, and they knew they wanted him to be young, blond and have gray eyes.  I got to flesh out much of the rest.  Readers of FIRSTBORN will recall our first look at him in a hologram—in full military uniform, but with longer than regulation hair.  Sure enough, the first picture I see of Valerian is him in military regalia with this one wild lock of hair.  Just loved it!

3. After reading Starcraft: The Dark Templar, First
Born a question came to my mind at the end of the
book. Will we see some type of new Terran unit with
augmented psionic abilities? Even Jake wondered what
the Khala could do to Terrans even if they are a young

Christie: I did drop a big ol’ hint at the end of FIRSTBORN about repercussions… but it would be too much of a spoiler to say what shape they will take.  Suffice to say I haven’t forgotten about that and there will be some followup!

4. Will Jake Ramsey eventually become a Khas to a
group of Terran telepaths?  That’s an intriguing
thought for the future of the Starcraft universe
beyond Starcraft 2. (future sequels and expansion packs)

Christie: What happens to Jake is, I hope, going to be quite the rollercoaster ride.  There are some twists coming….

5.  Is Zamara a dark templar or a high templar?

Christie: Zamara is an Aiur protoss, not a dark templar.  The ability to be a preserver requires linking to the Khala to fully integrate the memories of others as one’s own, so when the dark templar rejected the Khala, they rendered themselves unable to have preservers among their own people.

6. I recently read a description of book two: Shadow
Hunters.  Jake is going to Aiur to retrieve an ancient
crystal from a Xel’Naga temple.  He will find Ulrezaj
there. I have known that two templars or two dark
templars can merge to become either an archon or a
dark archon.  However, Ulrezaj dumbfounded me …
seven dark templars merged? And why are they a horror
nightmare for Jake/Zamara?

Christie: Heck, if you were on the hit list of a dark archon comprised of seven of the greatest assassins the dark templar had ever known, wouldn’t you think that was pretty nightmarish?  As for why he’s on Ulrezaj’s hitlist, that’s a key part of the story of SHADOW HUNTERS and I wouldn’t dream of ruining it for you.  Suffice to say that Ulrezaj is a pretty worthy adversary.

7. Jake Ramsey has gone to Aiur, which is infested by
the Zerg. I have to ask.  Will we see Kerrigan, and
Zeratul anywhere within the trilogy?

Christie: ….yes.  smile  And oh my, I’m certainly having a great time with them.  I hope the readers do too.

8. Will we see Tassadar’s memories within Zamara, the Preserver?

Christie: Yes.  I’ll continue using the motif of a friend of the great protoss figure to show readers these very important protoss in history.  I’m really enjoying it, moreso than actually doing the point of view of Khas or…others.

9. What should we expect in Starcraft: The Dark Templar, Shadow Hunters and the upcoming third book: Twilight?

Christie: Much more protoss culture.  More revelations about the Xel’Naga. Betrayals and twists.  Some characters won’t make it.  Hints at what you’ll see in the game.  Big battles and very quiet intimate moments.

10. How will the trilogy fit with the single player
storyline of Starcraft II?

Christie: It’s interesting—when I was first contracted for the trilogy, it was intended to be rather small scale.  While of course computer games take years to develop, nothing had been made public at that time about StarCraft 2.  I began work on the trilogy, then I shifted attention to RISE OF THE HORDE so it would be out in time for the WoW expansion of The Burning Crusade.

When I got back to the trilogy after that little delay, the decision had been made to announce StarCraft 2 along about when the first book was due out.  Suddenly my trilogy went from being a small scale storyline to something quite major, as a way to get readers excited for the game (like that would be hard—StarCraft players love their game with a passion!).

It was definitely a case of being in the right place at the right time.  There are challenges that go along with that, because as the game is constantly changing as it develops, we all of course want the books to reflect that as much as they can.  So I do a lot of rewriting, but hey—that’s part of the fun of being involved with something so cutting-edge!  Unfortunately books have to get “set in stone” at a certain point, so often changes are being made to the game after the books have been turned in.  But we all do everything we can to make it as close as possible within those constraints. So to answer your question, it’s my hope that it will be a very, very good fit indeed.

11. Any new Blizzard novels planned?

Christie: I have just been contracted for a Warcraft trilogy.  It’s very much still in the “bouncing ideas around” stages, but because it’s Warcraft, a world I enjoy so very much, whatever it ends up being about is going to be a total blast to write.  The next year and half is going to be a very pleasant one for me!

Thanks once more, Christie.  It’s exciting to read your books and hopefully you keep up bringing new World of Warcraft and Starcraft novels.  We appreciate your work and contribution to both universes.

Starcraft fans may read book one already since May.  Book two is due on November 27, 2007. Get your paws on this trilogy.

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