The Veiled Prophet is the third book of the Diablo: The Sin War trilogy by Richard A. Knaak. Pocket Books sent a review copy my way, and I was more than obligued to read this last book of the trilogy. The story is fast paced moving constantly from event after event, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. It simply means so many things are going on keeping the suspense of each well-planned series of events, with various points of climax, that keep you craving to know what will happen next once and again.
The Church of the Triune was destroyed and Lilith was defeated by Uldyssian in book two: The Scales of the Serpent. Lilith was thought dead, but it was Inarius who shielded Lilith to appear dead. Inarius had a more evil fate for Lilith than mere death. Inarius casted her into the void to live alone, so terribly alone ... in darkness and hollowness.
The Veiled Prophet continues Uldyssian's journey toward Kehjan City where his goal is to seek the Mage Clans as allies against Inarius and his Cathedral of Light. The book lays the ground for upcoming Diablo games and novels. Throughout the previous books we find out the origin of Sanctuary, the origin of Rathma and his Necromancers, Lilith revealed to be Mephisto's daughter, the origin and purpose of the Worldstone. If you haven't read other Diablo books look no further, you have to pick up Diablo: The Sin War trilogy. It is set 3,000 years in the past before the Darknening of Tristam ... before Diablo 1 the game.
Which things you will find out in book three: The Veiled Prophet that will make you crave read it and to get your paws on? The name of each member of the Angiris Council, their judgement over Sanctuary and a very unexpected pact between the Angiris Council and Mephisto. Why records of the far past have been forgotten. The reason the Three Evils planned their imprisonment in Sanctuary. Tyrael's motives to help humanity. Why the Necromancers are the secret guardians of Sanctuary maintaining balance.
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Do not read beyond if you don't wish to read spoilers in this brief summary of what happens in The Veiled Prophet. This spoiler is for those who do not mind finding out what happens in the book, and if it will encourage you to wish to read the book.
A brief summary from book one: Angel Inarius was the Commander of the Heavenly Hosts. Tired of the eternal conflict between angels and demons, Inarius sought to abandon the High Heavens luring angels who thought likewise to follow him. Rogue demons who were also tired of the eternal conflict allied with Angel Inarius, and together created Sanctuary. Inarius stole from the energies of creation to build the worldstone which kept Sanctuary cloaked and hidden from the view of the High Heavens and the Burning Hells. With this, Inarius and Lilith (Mephisto's daughter) procreated Rathma and other children, the firstborn ... known as the Nephalem.
Lilith betrayed Inarius and attempted to use their children against the High Heavens. Inarius, however, killed many of their children. The remaining ones became depowered when Inarius altered the Worldstone to not just keep Sanctuary hidden, but also to depower the Nephalem into mere mortals. The descendents of the firstborn became Humans as centuries passed. Lilith was not dead as Inarius thought, and returned to awaken the dormant powers of Humans by choosing a farmer with potential ... Uldyssian ul-Diomed. Through deception, Uldyssian was hunted and accussed of assassination of members of the Church of the Triune and the Cathedral of Light. Uldyssian in his quest awoke others unleashing a chain reaction of hundreds of human mortals with unbelievable powers who followed him unquestionably as a leader and teacher.
Uldyssian discovered his legacy and Lilith's deception backfired ending in her apparent demise and the destruction of the Church of the Triune. The Triune taught humans about the spirits of Mefis, Dialon and Bala (standing for Mephisto, Diablo and Baal). Its leader was the Primus ... no other than Mephisto's son Lucion. The Cathedral of Light was led by the Prophet ... secretly Angel Inarius in human form. Uldyssian was caught between both forces seeking to either destroy him or possess him. For whoever got such prize would set the balance between victory over the High Heavens or the Burning Hells.
Book three: The Veiled Prophet. Uldyssian plans to reach Kehjan City to convince the Mage Clans to ally against the Prophet (Angel Inarius) and his Cathedral of Light servants. However, things get complicated. Uldyssian renamed his followers as the edyrem, the descendents of the firstborn: the Nephalem. Serenthia and Uldyssian's brother: Meldeln helped him control the masses of nearly a thousand edyrem marching toward Kehjan City, still days ahead. Meldeln had learned from Rathma the ways of the Necromancer and communed with Ghosts who would tell him things as spies at his service. The edyrem found a few merchant wagons and decided to talk to the influential merchant to seek an audience with the Mage Clans. Only Uldyssian continue the journey to Kehjan City alonside the merchant. Otherwise, Kehjan City would see the approach of a thousand edyrem as a impending invasion.
On their way to the city, a mage and a servant attack the merchant wagons. Everyone is killed, but Uldyssian who fought in vain against a binding spell. Shortly, the mage brought Uldyssian to his sanctum beneath Kehjan City. The mage planned to frame Uldyssian to look like the murderer of the influential merchant so that the edyrem would be blamed. His monstruous servant kept watch over Uldyssian, while his master left to meet the Mage Clans. The servant was more than what he seemed to be ... it was possessed by Malic, the loyal servant of the Primus. Uldyssian had thought Malic had died at the Church of the Triune all this time, and painfully found out how he had survived. In his hand, the monster held a crystal ... a fragment of the Worldstone. He would use it to transfer his soul into a new host. Each host burning away within days or hours. All this time seeking the opportunity to find Uldyssian as his final host.
Malic had taken possession of a disfigured man to serve and fuel the powers of one of the Mage Clans members, to put in motion a plan to reach Uldyssian. The monster was nearly possessing Uldyssian. The mage was interrogated by the council of the Mage Clans concerning the dead of the merchant and his guards, as their magic probes made them suspect the mage had something to do with the massacre. When suddenly, the building shook after an explosion. The mage arrived to the scene. Uldyssian was gone. His servant dead. Or nearly dead, for it possessed the mage claiming him as a new host.
Uldyssian ran still disoriented through the streets of Kehjan city, and found the Prince Ehmad on his way. The Prince trusted Uldyssian's words and promised an audience with the Mage Clans and nobles. However, Angel Inarius, as the Prophet, had sent many to spread lies across the land. Blaming Uldyssian and the edyrem for the deads of innocents all the way from Toraja to Seram. Inarius invaded Uldyssian's mind using his power to weaken him. They fought, and Uldyssian stroke. To Uldyssian, he had failed to defeat Inarius and felt weak before such an opponent. However, the truth was that Inarius was deeply hurt. Uldyssian was much, much more than any mortal.
Inarius now feared Uldyssian. He would condemn all of Sanctuary just to destroy him. Even ... accept a pact with the Lord of Terror. More and more events are set in motion to pit and clash the Mage Clans against the edyrem portraying Uldyssian as a killer of innocent people. And amidst all this conspiracy, lurked the menace of Malic's spirit who could be anyone, within any new host.
Trag'Oul and Rathma assist Uldyssian and his brother Meldeln, guiding them. But this is no longer a fight between Inarius and the edyrem. The fate of Sanctuary and of many worlds is in peril. Trag'Oul the cosmic dragon can no longer keep Sanctuary cloaked from the High Heavens. The erydem march toward the Cathedral of Light, far to the north and are welcomed by the servants of the Prophet empowered by their master. The edyrem are a worthy enemy, but when Inarius himself confronts Uldyssian the whole world of Sanctuary literally trembles as both titans collide as equals.
Just as the battle is nearly over, a more dangerous threat looms over Sanctuary ... the Heavenly Hosts arrive by the thousands from a vortex in the sky. Edyrem fought Angels bravely, but if that was straining, things get spicy when the Burning Hells open its gate wide into Sanctuary .... clashing demon, erydem, nephalem and angels in utter carnage against each other. Only one may stop the madness. And it does end in a breathtaking and unexpected way.
When calm settles upon Sanctuary, the five members composing the Angiris Council arrive to Sanctuary to rule judgement over Inarius and his creation. IMPERIUS, AURIEL (female), MALTHAEL, ITHERAEL, and TYRAEL. As the five reach a veredict, Mephisto comes forth to settle a pact with the Angiris Council. Tyrael requests an act from the demon lord to proof he will fulfill the pact. Mephisto agrees, with the condition he and his brothers would be given a prize to take with them to the Burning Hells.
Hope everyone liked the spoilers. Many things were omited however, to make sure there will be lot of things you will read in the book, that didn't get mentioned here. Once you find them on your own, you will be caught in a labyrinth of awe. With the three evils defeated in Diablo II. One ancient prize remains unaccounted for ... lurking somewhere in the depths of the Burning Hell, with a maniacal laughter. Awaiting ...