This Advice was Last Updated 6 months ago.
Our top 5 recommendations for the Best Warhammer 40k Books
Originally, Warhammer 40K was a tabletop war game ☍ released in 1987 by Games Workshop ☍. It is a miniature model game that requires strategic and tactical thinking. The players had to enact fictional battles and fights based on a complex set of rules and instructions.
Produced when people were obsessed with the ideas of a dystopian future and alien invasions. Based on a fictional distant future of the 42nd millennium ☍, this game became popular.
The immense popularity roots from the plot and setting of this imaginary world. Moreover, the story revolves around the survival of the futuristic human civilization.
In 1997, Games Workshop started a division called the Black Library ☍ dedicated to creating novels based on the Warhammer universe. It involved the creation of original storylines for characters in the game. Authors dedicated to fantasy and science fiction write the stories for the best Warhammer 40K books.
From hostile aliens to supernatural creatures and demonic possessions, Warhammer 40K has it all. So naturally, therefore, the popularity of the game and the books have prevailed till today.
Are The Best Warhammer 40K Books Worth Reading?
Before getting into the list of books and their specialty, you should know the reasons why they are worthy of your time. Enthusiasts believe that these novels carry the very essence of the science fiction genre.
The book line has a deep and complex storyline that is worth reading. Here’s why:
The Warhammer 40K best books have an extra gore touch to the original story. However, the authors have made sure of describing the violence cleverly. This series is the go-to read for science fiction lovers, with unexpected twists and freshness in every book.
Looking for more great book reviews ☍ ? Check out all our articles on this topic.
What Are The Best Warhammer 40K Books To Start With?
The Black Library published over two hundred books on the Warhammer 40K series ☍. If you are a beginner, finding the best Warhammer 40K books to start with can be a challenge. For that, we have made a list of the initial books that you can read.
To understand it, you do not need any prior reading. You can classify the novel and a stand-alone one. The Eisenhorn Trilogy is, therefore, one of the best Warhammer 40K books to start with.
The author of Horus Rising is Dan Abnett ☍ and is the first book in the 54-book series called Horus Heresy ☍. It talks about the events that happened to lead to the current timeline in the Warhammer story. Moreover, it is a prequel set almost 10,000 years before the primary setting.
Horus Rising is one of the most excellent proses that talks about the aggressive nature of the universe. Further, you will get to see the richness in character development and the importance of brotherhood.
The answers to myths in this fictional universe will remain unanswered. Therefore, Horus Rising is an excellent book to start with if you want to get invested in the story.
It does not matter if you are a fan of the games or the books; this book is the perfect start. Furthermore, it is an introductory book.
Written by Aaron Dembski-Bowden ☍, The First Heretic is one of the Warhammer 40K best books. It is part of the Horus Heresy series ☍ and has a heart-wrenching storyline. Moreover, the storyline deals with the loss of grace for Lorgar and his Legion ☍.
The First Heretic has instances of betrayal and loss of belief. Further, it may make you hate the Emperor and blame him for the rise of Chaos ☍ and the first heretics. Moreover, he could have prevented the tragedies if only he were a better father.
Finally, they went down a path of devastation by venting their hate through battle and destruction. Moreover, the Warhammer 40K universe ☍ had many characters who struggled with faith. As a result, The First Heretic has a certain sense of persuasiveness that will compel you to read it to the end.
This sci-fi thriller is one of the best Warhammer 40K books to start with. It is for this reason that it shows you the true nature of the Warhammer universe. For example, Abnett makes you believe that nothing in this fictional world is black-and-white.
Often compared to the likes of James Bond novels, Legion is the perfect start for you!
The Emperor was angry with them for continuing their use of magic in secret. Therefore, he sent space dogs to attack their homeworld.
This book is thought-provoking and complex. However, the powerful characters and the philosophy of life will fascinate you.
A Thousand Sons is a tragic story that will make you feel sympathy for the sons. But, above all, a perfect book to start your journey into the world of Warhammer 40K.
Although foul Horus was eventually defeated, his legions of Traitor Marines continue to fight in his name, serving the Chaos Powers. Now a new Warmaster has arisen, with plans to bring all of the galaxies under the dominion of his undying masters, and the corrupted ranks of the Iron Warriors are readying for battle.
Storm of Iron is a novel written by Graham McNeill that is a stand-alone novel. However, it is one of the best Warhammer 40K books to start with.
The military characters in Storm of Iron are brutal and complex. You will dwell in the explosive world of big battles. In addition, the characters in the book are both emotionally and physically strong.
Storm of Iron is never becoming dull to read. Further, you will find the plot very exciting. However, the classic ending is something you will never have guessed.
This novel has a truly tragic story written by Graham McNeill. Fulgrim depicts the epic fall of the Emperor’s Children ☍. Indeed, it is a perfect story with vivid descriptions that will never satisfy you and keep you wanting more.
The depiction of the epic battles and morally grey themes might haunt you. Moreover, engrossed in this fast-paced world, you will become a fan of the Warhammer 40K series.
Fulgrim is one of the best novels in the series, and it is the fifth book in the Horus Heresy series.
Written by Dan Abnett, the Ravenor trilogy follows the story of Gideon Ravenor ☍. However, to truly understand the book, you need to read Eisenhorn ☍ first. With this novel, the Warhammer 40K universe entered new heights.
These novels follow the Inquisitor Gideon Ravenor on his dangerous mission to root out heresy from the galaxy. The character is a powerful psychic who is unable to use his body. His journey takes him through the Imperium of Man.
He travels through time, using his mind to hunt down Chaos. To clarify, it is a work of art in the science-fiction domain!
You will truly enjoy the book if you have already read the previous story of Gregor Eisenhorn ☍. While reading these books, you will feel as if it is your soul going on an adventure through time and space.
This novel written by Dan Abnett is perfect for introducing you to the Titans of Warhammer 40K. However, readers require knowledge of the universe to understand the plots and stories in the book.
Filled with twists and subplots that lure you into this world. From massive battles to exciting characters, Titanicus is one of the best Warhammer 40K books to start with.
It is a hefty book with a detailed plot that involves everything in the universe.
The legendary Dan Abnett writes the Gaunt’s Ghost series. The Founding ☍ is the omnibus edition of the first three Gaunt’s Ghosts novels. Moreover, widely considered to be a stand-alone story, it follows the story of Ibram Gaunt ☍.
You will require no prior knowledge of the best Warhammer 40K books while reading this novel. However, while reading the books in the Gaunt’s Ghost trilogy, you will start caring about all the characters. Further, Abnett made sure that the books are fast-paced.
You will see that there is both horror and beauty in this futuristic universe. As a result, you will fall in love with the Warhammer 40K world.
The Gaunt’s Ghost series will keep you engaged, from superhuman space marines to brutal and vicious war scenes. Moreover, you may even shed a tear or two. Why? To clarify, you will have to read the books and find out.
You can get most of the best Warhammer 40K audiobooks on digital platforms. Here is a complete list of all the best books that you can listen to.
The Horus Heresy series ☍ deals with places and characters that are always in conflict. However, the political strife is epic and unfolds a darker and grimmer reality. Moreover, you will enjoy listening to this intergalactic saga and understanding the reasons behind today’s dystopian Warhammer 40K universe.
The Horus Heresy depicts a civil war in the Warhammer 40K lore. Moreover, often referred to as the Warhammer 30K period, this series is a captivating one. Above all, the story revolves around superhumans who are genetically engineered to be space warriors.
Everything that happens in the novels involved in the series is full of tragic struggles. First, however, it depicts how the Chaos force plotted to overthrow the Emperor of Man. The Emperor was the Imperium’s leader.
The Beast Arises ☍ is the second most significant literary work of the Black Library. It consists of 12 novels that follow the Imperial War with a race of Powerful Ork. Moreover, this series requires the Warhammer 40K and 30K universe’s innate knowledge to understand.
The narrative starts 1500 years in the future after the end of the Horus Heresy. As a result, the storyline fits perfectly with the vast Warhammer timeline.
In this era, the Space Marines guarding the galaxy are at peace with the Imperium. However, there is internal strife in the Imperium. Further, this infighting is nothing compared to the Orks lurking in the dark universe.
These books perfectly explain how calm before the storm looks.
Written by Josh Reynolds, this novel revolves around the conquest of a Space Marine. Apocalypse ☍ involves the most significant battles in the Warhammer 40K universe. The fate of the entire world lies in the hands of the Space Marines in this book.
The story starts after the Great Rift. Moreover, the plot follows Lieutenant Heyd Calder as he is deployed to Almace to protect the world. He is a Primais Marine with excellent skills in warfare.
This story will fascinate you with the clashes of faith, strategy, and politics it has. Naturally, therefore, an unexpected alliance forms in the hope of victory.
This novel is a Deathwatch novel ☍ written by Steve Parker involving the return of action of the Talon Squad. Shadowbreaker ☍ is the sequel to Deathwatch. Furthermore, filled with high-powered action from alien-hunting adventures, it is a true masterpiece.
This novel follows the most elite team of the Space Marines called the Deathwatch ☍. Moreover, they will impress you with their courage and cunningness shown in special missions. Further, the narrative follows a recovered Codicier Karras ☍ as he leads the Talon Squad.
Astonished to see the sheer talent and seamless action shown by these elite warriors, you will fall in love with the novel. Moreover, they are searching for a missing Inquisitor ☍. Subsequently, it leads them to the hostile planet of T’au ☍.
Shadowbreaker is filled with action and excitement that will captivate you.
Chris Wraight ☍ writes about an age of disorder and anarchy. Further, in this book, you will find that the Cadian Gate ☍ breaks. Moreover, the release of the Traitor Legion. In addition, they are further unleashing darkness over the galaxy.
The story revolves around the vengeance of creatures having terror and infection. Moreover, there is war and death everywhere.
A true gore novel in the Warhammer 40K book series. Further, you will feel trapped in the legacy of the daemon-worlds of the Eye of Terror ☍.
You can witness the triumphant return of Inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn in this collection of short stories by Dan Abnett. It talks about the beloved anti-hero who was with his oldest foe.
The novel contains some unprinted short stories as well. Therefore, this compiled epic volume is the perfect sequel to the trilogy.
It may be intimidating to look at the broad universe of the Warhammer 40K lore. However, the Black Library releases new short stories and multi-novels every year.
You may find it tricky to look for the actual good books in the series. To clarify that, here is a list of all the new and good additions to the heart-wrenching franchise.
The Space Wolf Omnibus
Author: William King ☍
Reasons to read it:
- Origin story of Ragnar Blackmane ☍
- Slowly exposes the Space Marine Lore
- A unique story of how the character becomes all-powerful
- Best for space marine enthusiasts
Books in the trilogy:
Author: Aaron Dembski-Bowden ☍
Reasons to read it:
- Night Lord First Squad’s interaction and battle with allies and foes
- Story of the super-soldier Talos Valcoran ☍
- Emotional character development
- Independent trilogy
Books in the trilogy:
Hero Of The Imperium
Author: Sandy Mitchell ☍
Reasons to read it:
- Follows the struggle of the clever Commissar Ciaphias Cain
- Positively charming, unlike other Warhammer 40K books
- Enjoyable read due to the grimdark motif
- Light tone and easy understanding with humor and wit
Books in the series:
Author: Dan Abnett ☍
Reasons to read it:
- Written by the famous Dan Abnett
- Follows the unique adventures of Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt and his regiment
- Most successful series with a relatable tone
- Sympathize with the characters
Books in the series:
Author: Aaron Dembski-Bowden ☍
With stories of the story has graphic details on violence and action, this is not for the soft-hearted. Above all, it would help if you had a prior understanding of the Warhammer 40K and 30K universe in order to read Betrayer.
Reasons to read it:
- Continuation of the Word Bearers story
- Talks about the origins of the Angron ☍ and the World Eaters
- 24th novel of the Horus Heresy series
- Story of betrayal ☍
This collection comprises the best Warhammer 40K books in the market. Further, you may read these fantasy science fiction novels to immerse yourself in the world of Warhammer 40K. Moreover, it has the most significant battles and the bravest warriors in the universe.
The Horus Heresy series ☍ is the best if you are new to the universe. Horus Rising ☍ is an introductory book that requires no prior reading or knowledge. In addition, it takes place in the 31st century.
Horus Rising sets the foundation for all the tales in the universe. Further, some consider it as an epic tale of conquests.
The author of Horus Rising is Dan Abnett.
- You can read it even if you have not played the game
- Immensely captivating
- Vivid descriptions
- Lots of politics
- Many protagonists
- Sometimes hard to remember and confusing
This novel is the 3rd book in the Horus Heresy series. The story is about Horus and how he leads the Imperial troops against Istvaan III ☍. But, on the other hand, the ending of the book will surely amaze you.
The author of Galaxy in Flames is Ben Counter.
- Lots of battle scenes
- Socially relevant and relatable
- Surprising plot twists
- Seamless storytelling
- Very direct and linear
- A ruthless plot
Eisenhorn is a trilogy series that includes Xenos ☍, Malleus ☍, and Hereticus ☍. The narrative is in the first person and lasts over 300 earth years. In short, it is an excellent book to start with if you are a beginner.
The author of Eisenhorn is Dan Abnett.
- Full of compelling stories in every plot
- Fast-paced action that does not bore you
- Realistic description of characters
- Political conspiracy
- Well-structured plot
- No strong female lead
In False Gods, the Great Crusade ☍ is not going great for the Emperor’s army. Further, Horus gets after combating with the minions of Chaos. Consequently, he has to battle the jealousy of his brother.
The portrayal of the steady fall of Horus will make you sympathize with him. In addition, the story portrays how the whispers of false promises and corruption can affect someone.
False Gods is a worthy sequel to Horus Rising! Moreover, Graham McNeill writes it with deep passion.
- Graphic and illustrative
- Incredible epic battles
- Sudden change in the character’s viewpoint
The series in Hero of the Imperium books enlighten the exploits of Ciaphas Cain ☍ richly. Additionally, he is a respected man and a humble inspiration to many. However, he is not as he looks for easy ways out of situations.
Along the story, fate will take him on dangerous journeys and more. Moreover, the book has an unusual narrative.
It has a satirical tone and sarcasm. In addition, it is different from more of the best Warhammer 40K books. Moreover, it is an excellent novel to start with if you want to learn more about the Imperial Guards (Astra Militarum) ☍.
Sandy Mitchell ☍ writes the Hero of the Imperium.
- The humorous tone of writing
- Captivating due to the plot and jokes
- Character development
- Overall, it is a refreshing read
- Takes a long time to finish reading
These Knights protect the Imperium from the forces of Chaos and humanity. Moreover, the story revolves around two aspirants who join the Grey Knights in the 666th Chapter.
Hyperion ☍ narrates the story about the rigorous physical training and hardships they went through. Further, the books talk about the war between the Grey Knights and supernatural enemies.
Hyperion is a young Knight trying to find his place in a new world under new ranks. Consequently, you may even find his situation relatable.
- Intimate narration
- The story is lyrical
- Multiple twists in the plot
- Space Wolves characters are explained well
- An unexpected yet exciting ending
- It cannot be a separate reading
- Chaotic, vivid, and extended war descriptions
Watchers of the Throne is the second novel in the Vaults of Terra trilogy ☍. Most importantly, the story talks about the best warriors who protect the Master of Mankind. Further, Sisters of Silence ☍ allies accompany them in battle.
This book has strong women characters who embody immense sacrifice. Moreover, three perspectives tell the story. The characters are:
- Tieron, who is a human Chancellor
- Valerian, who is a Custodian and Shield-Captain
- A sister of the Silent Sisterhood named Aleya
Chris Wraight wrote watches of the Throne.
- An unusual yet fun storytelling
- Complex characters convincingly portrayed
- Insight in Terra
- Hope for the Imperium
- Very slow narration
- The story takes forever to play out
You will find exciting instances of how secrets can cause damnation and salvation for the characters. Further, the capture of Chaplain Elysius was unfortunate. Therefore, the Firedrakes go to save him.
Nick Kyme ☍ is the author of Firedrake.
- Mysteries and new characters
- Fluent and easy to understand
- Brilliant descriptions of battle
- Lots of plot twists
- Unpredictable ending
- Many find it less captivating than the first book
If you end up reading any of the best Warhammer 40K books, you will not stop at just one. The universe is captivating and somewhat like a vortex. Additionally, the best Warhammer 40K books to start with will keep you turning page after page until you finish it.
If you do not have the time to sit and read a book, the best Warhammer 40K audiobooks are available. Moreover, the Warhammer 40K best books will regulate your love for the universe.
There are books for beginners and enthusiasts listed above. Further, the best Warhammer 40K books cover various interesting topics with plot twists. Moreover, there are countless numbers of characters that you can fall in love with.
To sum up, select one or two from the books list given and pamper yourself with the charming Warhammer 40K universe.