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StarCraft #2: Shadow of the Xel'Naga is the third StarCraft novel, written by author Gabriel Mesta, a pseudonym for Kevin J. Anderson and his wife, Rebecca Moesta Anderson.[1]

The action revolves around a colony planet called Bhekar Ro, where one of the frequent and very violent storms uncovers an ancient xel'naga artifact. This temple calls both, the zerg and the protoss, while the colonists call the Terran Dominion for help. All these events cause a great confrontation on the normally placid world.

The story acts as an interquel between StarCraft and Brood War. It became part of the StarCraft Archive.

An audiobook version was released March 10th, 2020, narrated by Neil Kaplan.[2]


Far in the future, 60,000 light-years from Earth, a loose confederacy of Terran exiles are locked in battle with the enigmatic Protoss and the ruthless Zerg Swarm. Each species struggles to ensure its own survival among the stars in a war that will herald the beginning of mankind's greatest chapter -- or foretell its violent, bloody end.

Bhekar Ro: a bleak, backwater world on the fringe of the Terran Dominion, where every day is a struggle to survive for its handful of human colonists. It is a veritable wasteland -- one speck of dust among many in the vast, dark sea of space. But when the most violent storm in recent memory unearths an unfathomable alien artifact, Bhekar Ro becomes the greatest prize in the Terran Sector -- the Holy Grail of the Zerg, the Protoss, and Humanity alike -- as forces from the three great powers converge to claim the lost secrets of the most powerful species the universe has ever known.
Shadow of the Xel'Naga
An original tale of space warfare novels set in the world of the bestselling computer game!


Octavia and Lars Bren, two orphaned siblings of the terran colony of Bhekar Ro, were bringing in the harvest when tectonic tremors uncovered a mysterious object inside a mountain. Unknown to them the object was a xel'naga artifact. Lars was absorbed by the artifact when he got too close and the artifact emitted a beam of light into space. Octavia returned to Free Haven, the sole human town on the planet, and informed them of what had happened. Many refused or failed to appreciate the implications, including Rastin, a vespene gas supplier.

In space a protoss expeditionary fleet led by the carrier Qel'Ha and commanded by Executor Koronis were on the verge of returning to Aiur. Over many decades the fleet had recovered no xel'naga artifacts and captured no Dark Templar. Judicator Amdor, Koronis' Conclave adviser, was not impressed by this lack of productiveness and urged the fleet to return to a now ruined Aiur. Before this could happen they detected the signal from the artifact on Bhekar Ro. Determining the signal to be xel'naga in origin the fleet set course to the planet and sent an observer to scout ahead.

The signal also reached Char where it briefly disrupted the cohesion of the zerg. Kerrigan dispatched the newly formed Kukulkan Brood to investigate the source on Bhekar Ro.

Finally, the signal attracted the attention of Xerana, a Dark Templar scholar of the xel'naga. Xerena analysed the signal with her extensive library and deciphered it. She then set course for Bhekar Ro as well.

The scouting observer was shot down by Free Haven's old missile turret. The destruction of the observer convinced Koronis to move more cautiously, despite Amdor's protests that the colonists were no threat. The colonists realized the craft was not terran in origin and that other powers might be on route. Mayor Jacob "Nik" Nikolai broke the colony's long standing isolation and sent a request for aid to the Terran Confederacy which they believed still existed. The message was answered by the Terran Dominion. Emperor Arcturus Mengsk sent Alpha Squadron, commanded by General Edmund Duke, to investigate. Politically Mengsk was motivated to keep Duke at arms length.

The Kukulkan Brood arrived first and began infesting the area around the artifact and on the outskirts of Free Haven. Many colonists, including Rastin and his dog Old Blue, were infested. The protoss fleet arrived next and were surprised to find the zerg. The Battle of Bhekar Ro began as the protoss deployed forces to secure the artifact and fought the zerg in orbit. Alpha Squadron arrived in the midst of the space battle. In the meanwhile Free Haven was attacked by the zerg. The town was saved by the timely arrival of Alpha Squadron ground troops who proceeded to fortify the town and impose military rule on the inhabitants.

After questioning Octavia Bren about the artifact and musing about its potential uses, General Duke sent Lieutenant Scott with a small marine, firebat and goliath force to scout the artifact. Scott and his troops were also absorbed once inside.

Octavia escaped Free Haven while following a psychic call from Xerena. The Dark Templar implored the Octavia to warn her fellow terrans' of the dangers of the artifact. Octavia agreed to try while Xerena attempted to do the same with the Khalai protoss. Duke refused to listen to Octavia and his forces took heavy losses during a push on the artifact against the zerg and protoss. Xerena was ignored and imprisoned by the protoss as a "heretic". She escaped by temporarily placing dams in the Khala, causing the protoss significant discomfort and confusion, and then turning invisible.

With few options left, Duke decided to destroy the artifact. He assigned the ghost, MacGregor Golding to paint the target (sending coordinates for a nuclear attack from a battlecruiser). Once the object was nuked, the creature inside emerged as a phoenix-like creature, absorbing all protoss and zerg in its wake. It even destroyed the remaining battlecruisers in space for their energy after they attacked it. By then, it had changed the climate of the planet (enhancing the life force of the vegetation) as well as rejecting the terrans it absorbed into physical form, as it has no use for them. Octavia Bren was reunited with her brother Lars. Xerana left unnoticed, looking forward to find more of the phoenix creatures. Duke and his surviving forces was stuck on Bhekar Ro for months without long-range communications until the Dominion picked him up.[3] The entire Protoss expeditionary force and all of Kukulkan Brood was wiped out as well.

Meanwhile, on Char, Kerrigan licked her wounds and prepared for the upcoming Brood War...


Major Characters[]

Supporting Characters[]

Minor Characters[]

Note: These characters were only mentioned or had little to no role during the story.


Shadow of the Xel'Naga generally adheres to canon and doesn't contradict it in any major way. However, there have been discrepancies:

  • When General Edmund Duke first saw the protoss and zerg fighting over Bhekar Ro, he assumed they had struck an alliance. This mistake is very out-of-character for Duke, as it was very unlikely that the protoss and zerg would make an alliance; the timing is also inappropriate given that the war at Aiur between the protoss and the zerg had only recently finished during the crisis at Bhekar Ro.
  • Duke reflected how the zerg and protoss invasions of Chau Sara and Mar Sara cost the lives of millions of colonists. However, Chau Sara only had a population of 400,000[4] and Mar Sara's population was no larger.[5]
  • Duke mentions that he first laid eyes on the zerg on Mar Sara. However, in StarCraft: Loomings, Duke participated in an operation to contain a zerg outbreak on Chau Sara months before the infestation of Mar Sara.[6]
  • Kerrigan reflected at the end of the novel that she has control over the Tiamat and Baelrog Broods. However, Daggoth, master of the Tiamat Brood was still alive (and an enemy of hers) with control of half of the zerg[7] while the Baelrog had lost its cerebrate in combat on Aiur to Zeratul.[8]
  • At the start of the novel, Octavia Bren reflects how Bhekar Ro's laser lightning looks akin to that of a Yamato Cannon. However, Bhekar Ro had been isolated for 35 years at this stage and circa 2499, the Yamato Cannon was a recent development.[9] How she could have known about such weapons, let alone their aesthetic effects is an apparent discrepancy.
  • The protoss in the novel are depicted as having three fingered hands. However, protoss have hands consisting of four fingers, varying on two thumbs and two fingers,[3] or three fingers and only one thumb.[10]
  • Throughout the novel, goliaths are portrayed as soldiers in powered armor rather than as mechanized walkers.
  • Additionally, reavers are portrayed as having hatches whereby protoss infantry can exit and join the battle.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Jeff Grubb, Gabriel Mesta, Tracy Hickman and Micky Neilson (November 13, 2007). StarCraft Archive. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 1-4165-4929-3.
  2. StarCraft. 2020-03-18. [ Shadow Hunters StarCraft: The Dark Templar Saga, Book 2]. Accessed 2020-03-18.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Golden, Christie (May 22, 2007). StarCraft: The Dark Templar Saga #1: Firstborn. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 0-7434-7125-3.
  4. Metzen, Chris & Samuel Moore (March 29, 1999). "StarCraft: Revelations." Amazing Stories 596 (Spring): 20-27.
  5. Grubb, Jeff (February 27, 2001). StarCraft: Liberty's Crusade. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 0-671-04148-7.
  6. StarCraft. Vivendi Games. Mission: Loomings bonus campaign, mission 4: "Force of Arms" (in English). 1998-09-03. Map Archives: Precursor Campaign.
  7. Kerrigan: Queen of Blades. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2007-10-13.
  8. StarCraft. Vivendi Games. Mission: Shadow Hunters (in English). 1998.
  9. Underwood, Peter, Bill Roper, Chris Metzen and Jeffrey Vaughn. StarCraft (Manual). Irvine, Calif.: Blizzard Entertainment, 1998.
  10. Barba, Rick. StarCraft Field Manual (hardcover). Insight Editions, November 17, 2015.
  • Mesta, Gabriel (July 1, 2001). StarCraft: Shadow of the Xel'Naga. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 978-0671-04149-6.

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at StarCraft: Shadow of the Xel'Naga

The list of authors can be seen in the page history of StarCraft: Shadow of the Xel'Naga.

Wikipedia content was licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License prior to June 15, 2009 is. Wikipedia content from June 15, 2009, and StarCraft Wiki content, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported).

External Links[]

Starcraft: Shadow of the Xel'Naga. Simon & Schuster. Accessed 2009-05-12 (excerpt).