Archaeologist Jake Ramsey is called away from a dig at the behest of Valerian Mengsk, Crown Prince of the Terran Dominion, who wants him to investigate the ruins of a Xel'Naga temple of the same type the Dominion previously encountered in Star Craft Shadow Of The Xel Naga. Paired up with hardened mercenary Rosemary Dahl as his bodyguard, Jake and his team set to work. Deep inside the ruin, though, Jake discovers the body of a protoss archivist named Zamara, stuck in suspended animation at the edge of death for decades. In her desperation to live, she transfers herself into his body. Wanting the information Zamara possesses, the Dominion turns on Jake, forcing him and Rosemary into flight for their lives, while Zamara begins to show to Jake the stories of how the protoss came to be what they are now. Worse yet, they attract the attention of Sarah Kerrigan, the Zerg Queen of Blades, and the insane dark archon Ulrezaj.
The story of the trilogy was written alongside that of StarCraft II.
Books in the trilogy:
- Firstborn (2007)
- Shadow Hunters (2007)
- Twilight (2009)
- Adventurer Archaeologist: Jake, the Action Survivor, becomes one by necessity due to the threats on his life from carrying Zamara around.
- Big-Bad Ensemble: All motivated in one way or another by pursuit of Zamara's knowledge, but none want any of the others to get it.
- Ulrezaj, the insane dark templar extremist from Enslavers II, wants to kill Zamara as a way to attack the mainstream protoss. His cultists were responsible for the original attack on her.
- Sarah Kerrigan and Arcturus Mengsk both want to learn what Zamara knows so they can use that knowledge against the protoss state.
- Bittersweet Ending: The Dominion stops pursuing Jake and Rosemary, who have become an Official Couple, but only because Devon Starke sacrifices himself to Mengsk's torturers to save their lives. Ulrezaj is defeated by Zamara sealing herself into a khaydarin crystal with him, rendering her knowledge of protoss history largely lost for good.
- Call-Back: Ulrezaj from the first game's optional Enslavers II campaign is one of the Big-Bad Ensemble, and Zamara is found in a Xel'Naga construct like the one in Star Craft Shadow Of The Xel Naga. We're also introduced through Zamara's memories to such protoss luminaries as Khas (founder of the Khala), Adun (savior of the dark templar), and a young Matriarch Raszagal, who (aside from Raszagal, who appears in Brood War's protoss and zerg campaigns) had previously only been alluded to.
- Deadly Upgrade: Zamara's presence gives Jake access to both her expansive memories of protoss history and to some low-level psionic powers. But the human brain isn't built to take on a second consciousness, and Zamara's presence leads to Jake developing a life-threatening brain tumor by the second book.
- Eldritch Abomination: Ulrezaj, an insane dark archon created from merging six powerful dark templar psionicists.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: How Valerian somewhat optimistically explains his father Arcturus's insistence on torturing Jake to find out what Jake knows about the protoss, despite Jake offering the knowledge freely. Arcturus is so used to fighting tooth and nail for everything he wants that he simply can't believe Jake would talk for free.
- I Owe You My Life: Valerian's retainer Devon Starke is a Terran Ghost whom Valerian saved from execution and had his memory restored. At the end of the trilogy, he performs a Heroic Sacrifice, tricking Arcturus Mengsk into believing he's taken all of Zamara's knowledge from Jake to spare him, Rosemary and Valerian from retribution.
- Just Following Orders: Subverted to tragic effect when Adun fakes his Conclave-ordered extermination of the dark templar and starts teaching them psionic tricks to stay hidden. This leads to the inexperienced dark templar accidentally unleashing a psionic storm that causes destruction across Aiur.
- Messianic Archetype:
- Khas as portrayed in Firstborn is a sort of Crystal Dragon Buddha for the mainstream protoss, as the founder of the Khala after traveling on a journey to discover lost knowledge of the Xel'Naga.
- Adun in Shadow Hunters is one for the dark templar (and to a lesser extent the mainstream protoss) for sacrificing his life to protect them from the Conclave.
- Previous Player-Character Cameo: Both protoss player characters in StarCraft I appear in Twilight's supporting cast: Praetor Artanis, the PC of the original campaign, and Executor Selendis, believed but not confirmed to be the PC from Brood War.
- Series Continuity Error:
- The StarCraft I manual states the Ara Tribe was founded by Khas and his students after his rediscovery of the Khala. Firstborn depicts Khas as a member of the Shelak Tribe, which is attacked by the Ara Tribe at one point.
- Ladranix claims protoss had not killed each other since the Aeon of Strife, apparently forgetting the civil war that happens during StarCraft I's protoss campaign between Tassadar and the Conclave (less than a decade before this novel).