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Richard Knaak is an author of fantasy novels and has added works to the Dragonlance and Diablo series. He has also written his own fantasy series called Dragonrealm. He has authored 44 novels and dozens of short stories. His works have landed him on both the New York Times and USA Today best seller lists.
Knaak was born on May 28th, 1961 in Chicago, Illinois, to Richard and Anna. Knaak initially enrolled in college to study chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Later he changed directions and began to study rhetoric earning his bachelor’s degree in 1984. After college and before devoting himself to writing full time, he worked various odd jobs including as a resume writer, warehouse worker, and office clerk.
Richard Knaak sold and published his first short story in 1987. This story was inspired by Andrew Norton’s Storm Over Warlock. After experience an amount of success with his first short story, Knaak began work on his contribution to the Dragonlance series. While working on Dragonlance, he continued to produce various short-story works. He has self-proclaimed various authors as influences to his art. These include Roger Zelazny, Edgar rice Burroughs, and Egar Allan Poe.
Of himself, Knaak says he began writing at a young age after realizing he lacked the patience for drawing but could craft a simple plot. He commends himself for having a vivid imagination. In interviews, he says he was first interested in mysteries, but once he got his hands on fantasy novels he knew that was the path for his writing career.
Knaak is a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America. His books are translated into a number of different languages including Czech, Finnish, Japanese, Russian and Spanish.
In his writing, Richard Knaak delves into both science fiction and fantasy and has authored various Warcraft novels adapted from the popular mass multiplayer online role playing game World of Warcraft.
In interviews, Knaak says that a recurring theme in his books is that we should never give up. One must always believe that there is hope and we must understand that we determine our own destinies. Your only limits are those which you place on yourself. Knaak has said he enjoys creating characters who struggle against great odds.
The main storyline of the original Dragonlance series was established by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Future novels were written by other authors including Richard Knaak. Dragonlance is one of the most popular series in which writers other than the original author creates adventures. Over 190 novels have used the Dragonlance world which is known as Krynn. Within Krynn is the High God and his children. The maleficent force in the Dragonlance series is Chaos who is determined to destroy Krynn. Within Krynn are several beings including dragons, humans, elves, dwarves, kender, gnomes and minotaur. Dragonlances are weapons that were created to destroy evil dragons. Destroying dragons is a feat that is otherwise impossible to accomplish for mortals.
Richard Knaak wrote The Legend of Huma, Kaz the Minotaur, Land of the Minotaurs, Reavers of the Blood Sea, and the Citadel in the Dragonlance series. The main character is Huma Dragonbane who is a knight. One day he is separated from his comrades. While attempting to find his way back, he discovers a group of goblins who captured the minotaur Kaz. He saves the minotaur and they become good friends. Huma and Kaz go on to meet many battles and challenges.
It is noted that with the Dragonlance novels Knaak writes according to the rules of the Dungeon & Dragon games. The Legend of Huma is actually a prequel to the rest of the original Dragonlance trilogy. The central theme in his Dragonlance books is about never giving up. The Legend of Huma reached the New York Times Bestseller list on May 22, 1988.
Another bestselling series by Knaak is the Diablo series which s set in the fictional world of Santuary. The Sin War is the title of the series and it tells the story of Uldyssian who discovers he has strange powers. The first book takes place before the Diablo video games. Uldyssian’s family perishes during a plague and he is left with only a brother. As he discovers his strange powers other bizarre things start to happen. More people die due to strange occurrences. He and his powers are eventually blamed for the terrible tragedies and he must slip away and hide. He meets a stranger named Lylia who helps him harness his new powers and explains that they are gifts he must accept.
Knaak’s Diablo books feature morally ambiguous characters who do not see the world in black and white, but instead walk along a gray path.
Richard Knaak has achieved almost everything a fantasy writer could wish for in his career. His career has extended over a quarter of century and he is renowned for his worlds in Conan and Dragonlance and his own epic fantasies series, the world of Dragonrealm.
Dragonrealm consists of thirteen kingdoms that area ruled by a shape-shifting Dragon King. The Dragonrealm is a place of fantastic creatures both good and evil. The dragons in this series are the epitome of fantasy and magic. They are magnificent creatures who always take command.
Knaak’s Warcraft novels deal with the origins of the five Aspects, dragons who have protected Azeroth for a thousand years. The novel is designed to give readers the essential knowledge of the early age of Azeroth and how events lead to the world’s present state. Of the Warcraft novels, Knaak has said in interviews that he thoroughly enjoys immersing himself in world’s others have created and can transition his writing for such worlds with ease. He says it does not feel like limitations are being placed on his imagination. If he has an idea that does not fit with the world he’s writing for, he simply saves it for one of his own novels. The Warcraft novels were initially intended for online publication only, but due to reader demand, Knaak’s Warcraft tales were collected into a standard book and published by Blizzard.
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