If you’re an avid reader of science fiction, you’ll know that there’s a handful of current franchises that are doing exceptionally well. These include, but are not limited to, Mass Effect, Star Wars, The Expanse, and Star Trek. Of course, there are others who are doing quite well as well, namely Warhammer, which is making a comeback after nearly thirty years since its last outing. Warhammer 40,000 (commonly shortened to “40K” for short) is a game setting originally created by Games Workshop that takes place in the grim dark future of the 40th millennium. It was originally created by Games Workshop as a tabletop game to rival their other successful game, Warhammer Fantasy Battle, but it has since turned into a video
The Warhammer 40k franchise is one of the most popular fantasy series of all time, and it has spawned countless novels, short stories, games, and more besides. So, what are some great Warhammer 40k books to read? Here are our top choices, in no particular order:
In the past few years, the Warhammer 40k franchise has been in a bit of a slump. It was a time when people started to get sick of the constant war and the over-used tropes of the 40k series. However, the long running series has bounced back and even become more popular than ever.
Warhammer 40k, often known as WH40K, is a series of science fiction novels set in the far future. It all started with a tiny wargame created by Games Workshop. Warhammer 40K is the most popular miniature wargame right now. The storyline and setting of this imaginary world are what make it so appealing. In addition, the storyline revolves on the survival of a future human society.
From hostile aliens to otherworldly creatures and demonic plagues, Warhammer 40K has it all. As a consequence, both the game and the books have remained popular to this day. As a result, let us go on a journey to this realm—a world that blends fantasy, science fiction, and horror components. Let’s start with a list of the top 30 Warhammer 40K novels of all time.
Sandy Mitchell’s For The Emperor
For the Emperor is the first installment of the Ciaphas Cain trilogy. Commissar Ciaphas Cain, Imperium’s hero, admired by his peers, and a source of inspiration for his troops – or so history’s warped lens would have you believe!
Ciaphas simply wants to finish his time as Commissar without being murdered, but the reality is very different. Ciaphas Cain is sent to help preserve order on a planet on the outside of Tau space.
Cain and his Valhallan army, however, get involved in a battle after the extraterrestrial ambassador is murdered and the situation quickly spirals out of control. Can the clever Commisar Cain discover the real culprit before the planet is irrevocably lost to the Imperium, as the Imperial Guard tries to deal with growing civil unrest?
Dan Abnett’s Horus Rising
Horus Rising is the perfect blend of military 40k food and character development, and Horus Growing is only the start. After thousands of years of expansion and conquest, man’s Imperium has reached its pinnacle.
On the brink of victory, the Emperor withdraws from the front lines. The emperor relinquishes power to his Warmaster, Horus, and returns to Terra with his goal for humanity almost fulfilled. Horus tries to carry out the Emperor’s great plan as his siblings sow seeds of heresy and rebellion.
Is Horus, on the other hand, strong enough to keep control of his fellow commanders and carry out the emperor’s grand plan?
3. Ben Counter’s Galaxy In Flames
The third installment of Ben Counter’s Horus Heresy trilogy is Galaxy in Flames. After recovering from his terrible injuries, Warmaster Horus leads the victorious Imperial forces on the rebel planet of Isstvan III.
An unprecedented alliance of the Sons of Horus, Death Guard, World Eaters, and Emperor’s Children Legions seems capable of defeating mortal defenses – but does such a show of power seem necessary? Horus’ treachery is exposed when the planet is burnt by virus bombs and Space Marines turn on their battle brothers in the most brutal war imaginable, despite the fact that the rebels are swiftly defeated.
The renowned Horus Heresy begins with the most heinous act of treachery imaginable, as Garviel Loken and his loyal kinsmen lead their soldiers to the surface, only to learn the whole, awful truth, and the famous Horus Heresy begins with the most heinous act of treachery imaginable.
Graham McNeill – Fulgrim
The fourth chapter of the Horus Heresy Series, in which the Warmaster Horus begins his Good Crusade, is this 40k book. Fulgrim, the Emperor’s Children’s Primarch, however, leads his troops into battle. And he does so blind to the reality that the Imperium of Man has become a target for malevolent powers.
Because loyalties are judged. As the Emperor’s Children begin their descent into real depravity and into the streets, which will ultimately lead them to the killing grounds known as Isstvan V, friendships will be challenged, and each violent and insatiable craving will reveal itself. A warrior with the ability to pull the reader along with them.
Dan Abnett’s Legion is number five on the list.
Dan Abnett’s Horus Heresy series continues with Legion, the eighth installment. On the horizon looms a Great War that will devour the Imperium of Man. The Space Marines of the Alpha Legion, the last and most secretive of the Astartes brotherhoods, come on a heathen planet to aid the Imperial Army in pacifying the world against strange and spooky forces.
What drives the Alpha Legion, on the other hand? Are they reliable, and whose side will they support when the Great War breaks out? As humanity’s destiny hangs in the balance, devotion is put to the test, and alien intelligence’s devious manipulations are revealed.
Aaron Dembski-Bowden, The First Heretic
This is the fourteenth installment of the Horus Heresy, and it continues Lorgar and the Word Bearers’ narrative. They make no effort to hide the fact that they worship the Emperor as a god. Unfortunately, the Emperor is dissatisfied and punishes them. Disappointed, Lorgar and the Word Bearers resolve to seek for the real god.
The Emperor chastises the Word Bearers for their dedication during the Great Crusade’s galaxy-wide war. Disturbed by this verdict, Lorgar and his Legion seek an alternative, destroying world after world and unleashing their anger and ardour on the battlefield. The book follows their trail of destruction as they seek to expose the Imperium. Unbeknownst to them, higher force is at work, and this is the first heretic in the WH40K Universe.
Sandy Mitchell, Hero of the Imperium
Hero of the Imperium collects the first three novels – For the Emperor, Caves of Ice, and The Traitor’s Hand – as well as three bonus short stories.
In the war-torn future of the 41st Millennium, Imperium hero Commissar Ciaphas Cain is revered by his colleagues and an inspiration to his troops – or so the propaganda would have you believe. The reality, on the other hand, is very different, since Ciaphas is simply looking for a simple existence and a way to escape danger. However, destiny has a tendency of putting him in the most dangerous circumstances, and fate always manages to save him and raise him to the highest of echelons. Commissar Cain must avoid danger by dodging, bluffing, and cheating, even if it boosts his reputation in ways he can’t control!
Dan Abnett’s Xenos
The first book in Dan Abnett’s trilogy on Inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn is Xenos. On Hubris, Gregor Eisenhorn has finally brought Murdin Eyclone to a stop within the vast cryonic vaults where the planet’s nobility spend the nine-month winter season.
The Inquisition pursues mankind like a vengeful shadow, mercilessly destroying humanity’s foes. When Inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn apprehends an old foe, he becomes entangled in a sinister plot.
As events unfold and Eisenhorn gathers friends – and enemies – he finds himself up against a massive cosmic conspiracy and the demonic force of daemons, all of whom are vying for possession of the Necroteuch, an arcane book of terrible power.
Graham Mcneill’s A Thousand Sons
The Horus Heresy Series continues with Graham McNeill’s book A Thousand Sons, the twelfth volume. After being chastised by the Council of Nikea for their flagrant use of magic, Magnus the Red and his Thousand Sons Legion escape to their homeworld of Prospero.
When the unlucky primarch foresees Warmaster Horus’ treachery and tells the Emperor using abilities he is forbidden to wield, the Master of Mankind sends fellow primarch Leman Russ to attack Prospero. Magnus, on the other hand, has seen more than Horus’ betrayal, and the revelations he has witnessed will forever change the destiny of his fallen Legion and its primarch.
Dan Abnett’s The Founding (Gaunt’s Ghosts)
The Founding (Gaunt’s Ghosts) is a compilation of the first three books of the Tanith First-And-Only regiment’s commissar Ibram Gaunt’s series. The first three Gaunt’s Ghosts novels are included in one omnibus version.
It follows Ibram Gaunt, the colorful commissar of the Tanith First-and-Only unit (nicknamed the Ghosts). The Ghosts must not only carry out the most dangerous missions but also survive the Imperial Guard’s deadly politics while traveling between warzones in the Chaos-infested Sabbat Worlds system.
In the afternoon of the regiment’s inheritance, chaos devastates their whole world. Gaunt and his army now travel the globe, fighting political and physical conflicts.
11. James Swallow’s The Flight Of The Eisenstein
Captain Nathaniel Garro’s escape from Istvaan III’s Betrayal is the fourth episode of the Horus Heresy. He and his crew are about to embark on a perilous journey on the Eisenstein. Deathguard Captain Garro commandeers a ship and travels to Terra to inform the Emperor of Horus’ treachery after witnessing the events on Istvaan III. Garro’s goal is to reach out to the Emperor and tell him about Horus’ treachery and the ensuing uprising.
Garro, on the other hand, is one of the few loyal commanders, and as a result, he is suspect. Some of Eisenstein’s staff thinks the Emperor is divine, and Eisenstein is crumbling. Will Garro and his troops be able to escape Chaos’s depravity in time to deliver their message to Terra? The book tells the story of his struggle to stay alive in such a harsh setting.
Graham McNeill’s Storm of Iron
In 2002, Graham McNeill released Storm of Iron, his second Black Library book, which introduced readers to Honsou, a villain who would feature frequently in future volumes.
On the barren planet of Hydra Cordatus, the 383rd Jouran Dragoons guard an Adeptus Mechanicus fortress. Nobody seems to know what they’re protecting, but a large invading army of Iron Warriors suggests it’s important. Hydra Cordatus is now in the grasp of hell, as Chaos’ merciless assault troops, the Iron Warriors, have invaded the planet and laid siege to its beautiful imperial stronghold.
The Imperial defenders believe they are safe inside their fortified castle walls, but the Iron Warriors bring 10,000 years of cunning and brutality to the table, in addition to their siegecraft expertise. What reward, however, could be worth such brutality and devastation, and how long can the defenders possible hold out?
Dan Abnett’s Ravenor is number thirteen.
We enter a planet that is identical to ours in Ravenor, Abnett’s first book of a trilogy. An Inquisitor named Gideon Ravenor is a former protégé of the infamous (and now-missing) Gregor Eisenhorn. Ravnor is badly wounded in the Thracian Primaris catastrophe, but his incredible psi-powers persist, and his colleagues and operatives are among the best in their fields.
Ravenor’s next case leads him and his team to Eustis Majoris, the capital planet of subsector Angelus, where they’re looking for ‘flects,’ an unique narcotic that allows the patient to experience a state of psychological bliss.
Ravenor joins up with the planet’s law enforcement agencies to put a stop to the harmful drug trade, believing it is controlled by Chaos, but quickly finds that the case includes a plethora of competing interests.
Dan Abnett’s Ravenor has returned.
The Imperial Inquisitor Ravenor and his Warband continue their adventures in a dark and gothic future in this second installment of the ‘Ravenor’ trilogy. Gideon Ravenor and his men escaped a deadly trap and returned to Eustis Majoris undetected. Ravenor activates Special Condition status, allowing him to go deep underground and deal with the issue as he sees appropriate.
As years-long preparations come to a head, the plot thickens significantly. Secrets are both revealed and kept hidden. Decisions must also be made, and the consequences must be accepted. His speech was insufficient. He wanted to impress, and like many wealthy, empty men, he could only think of one way to do so: by abusing his showy wealth.
Chris Wraight’s Watchers of the Throne: The Emperor’s Legion
The Emperor’s praetorian guard, the Adeptus Custodes, protects Terra and keeps a watch on the Golden Throne. However, if a danger materializes, they and their Sisters of Silence companions may be pushed to the limit…
The Emperor’s Palace on Terra has been guarded by the Custodian Guard since the Imperium’s founding. Charged with protecting the Master of Mankind from all threats, both internal and external, their tenacity is renowned across the galaxy, and their golden armor is the last thing an assassin or saboteur would see.
There has been no danger to the Golden Throne that the Sisters of Silence’s Null-maidens, who are anathema to psykers and sorcerers alike, could not defeat alone… until now.
Mike Lee’s Fallen Angels
The Horus Heresy is now in its eleventh episode. The Great Crusade grinds to a halt as news of Horus’ treachery spreads across the galaxy, forcing the primarchs and their Legions to choose between remaining loyal to the Emperor or the renegade Warmaster.
Both in space and on their homeworld of Caliban, the Dark Angels are undergoing a time of testing. Luther, Lion El’Jonson’s trusted second-in-command, now lives in virtual exile while his master fights the traitors on the forge planet Diamat. However, under Caliban’s surface, an old evil is gaining strength, and the First Legion will soon be thrust into a horrific conflict that will put all they know into question.
Dan Abnett’s Ravenor Rogue is number seventeen.
In the third volume in the series, Inquisitor Ravenor’s pursuit of his arch-nemesis Molotch takes him and his crew to dark and dangerous places. Ravenor has no idea that one of his team members is harboring a deadly secret that may mean the death of them all.
Inquisitor Ravenor begins his hunt for Zygmunt Molotch, the arch-heretic who has become an obsession for him. Ravenor and his team disobey the Inquisition’s orders and aggressively pursue their victim.
How much will Ravenor and his team be ready to give up to save the day when they’re thrown across time and space and up against enemies of unfathomable strength and cunning?
Graham McNeill’s False Gods is number 18 on the list.
The second installment of Graham McNeill’s Horus Heresy trilogy is False Gods. Horus Rising is followed by False Gods, which tells the story of Horus’ fall into chaos.
The Great Crusade that sent mankind into space is still going on. The Emperor of mankind has given his chosen son, the Warmaster Horus, command. The Imperium’s army, on the other hand, is in disarray.
Horus is still dealing with his brother primarchs’ jealousy and hate, as well as his own inner demons after being wounded in battle on the planet Davin. Can Horus, who is fading, resist Chaos’s temptations?
Mitchel Scanlon’s Descent of Angels (1999)
This is the sixth book in the Horus Heresy series, but it seems to diverge from the main narrative to explore some quite distinct fantasy ideas. Caliban’s knightly orders have protected the people from creatures lurking in the planet’s dark woods.
Zahariel and Nemiel want to join Lion El’Jonson’s order, but the coming Imperium causes fresh concerns, and the Caliban sons must decide for themselves whether or not to join the Lion in the Great Crusade.
Aaron Dembski-Bowden, 20. Betrayer
Betrayer is the third book in the acclaimed Horus Heresy series, which delves into the Warhammer 40,000 universe’s past. Betrayer continues the story of the Word Bearers and delves into the origins of Angron and the World Eaters, picking up directly after the events in Dan Abnett’s Know No Fear. The Horus Heresy series continues with Betrayer, the twenty-fourth installment. It’s a story of betrayal, anger, and loss.
The Shadow Crusade’s first phase has started. Lorgar and the rest of the Word Bearers march deep into Ultramar’s realm as the Ultramarines recuperate from Kor Phaeron’s surprise attack on Calth. Angron and the World Eaters, their strange companions, continue to wreck devastation on each new system they come across – and on the garrison world of Armatura, this relentless cruelty may be their undoing. There will be world destruction, Legion clashes, and the assassination of a primarch.
Dan Abnett’s Anarchy is number twenty-one.
Gaunt’s Ghosts: Anarch is the sixteenth and final episode, after the First and Only and Blood Pact.
Ibram Gaunt is forced to continue his duties as commander of the Imperial lines at Urdesh, where he left off after the death of Warmaster. The world has been turned into a crucial battlefield, yet as the Ghosts advance, Chaos tries to destroy them from within, and past mistakes resurface.
The battle for Urdesh has started, and the outcome will determine the destiny of the Sabbat Worlds Crusade. The key to victory lies with Ibram Gaunt, the Warmaster’s new right hand, and his Ghosts – but will they be able to defeat the wicked Anarch and his Sons of Sek?
Dan Abnett’s Pariah is number 22.
Pariah is the first book in the Bequin Trilogy. It is the third installment of the Inquisitor and Ravenor trilogy.
In Queen Mab’s city, nothing is as it seems. Alizebeth Bequin is a pariah, a spy, and a member of the Inquisition. She is all of these things and none of them at the same time. Even to herself, she is a mystery, trapped between Inquisitors Gregor Eisenhorn and Gideon Ravenor, former allies who are now rivals in a shadow game against a mysterious and deadly adversary.
Bequin gets involved in a nefarious plot for which she has no clue what her role or purpose is, while the Archenemy wants her and the Inquisition is looking for her. She must unravel the secrets of her life and past with the help of an unusual group of allies if she is to avoid an approaching conflict in which the boundary between friends and enemies is dangerously blurred.
Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Night Lords, #23
The Lords trilogy by Aaron Dembski-Night Bowden is a compilation of three Black Library novels by Aaron Dembski-Night Bowden. Talos, a member of the Night Lords Legion’s First Claw, 10th Company, is the protagonist of the tale.
This fascinating science fiction series’ ultimate compilation. The Night Lords prowl the galaxy’s darkness, seeking revenge for their primarch’s death, driven by their hatred for the False Emperor. Following the prophet Talos’ predictions, a warband from this wicked Legion seeks to wage a never-ending war against the Imperium’s troops.
The Night Lords, however, are lured back to the site of their greatest defeat and forced into a battle they cannot win as they clash with other renegades and are chased by the Eldar of Craftworld Ulthwe.
William King’s Space Wolf is number 24.
Space Wolf, Ragnar’s Claw, Grey Hunter, and other titles from William King and Lee Lightner’s Space Wolf series. THE ACTUAL STORY
The fury of the Space Wolves is about to be unleashed! The tiny inhabitants of Fenris’ bleak dead planet must battle for survival against deadly monsters and other tribes on a daily basis.
In a planet filled with aliens, heretics, and mutants, Fenris is also home to the Space Marines’ powerful Space Wolves Chapter, the Emperor’s finest warriors. Ragnar’s adventures begin when he is revived after a horrific battle death and enlisted in the Space Wolves. But will Ragnar be able to defeat the beast inside and achieve his destiny on the battlefields of the 41st millennium?
Gav Thorpe’s Deliverance Lost (#25)
Gav Thorpe’s Horus Heresy Series continues in Deliverance Lost, his 18th book. As the Horus Heresy divides the Imperium, Corax and his few surviving Raven Guard escape the devastation at Isstvan V.
The bloodied Space Marines try to replenish their ranks and resume the fight while caring to their wounds, preparing to face the renegade Warmaster. Corax travels to Terra, devastated by the devastating blow dealt to his Legion, in order to seek the help of his father, the Emperor of Mankind.
After obtaining access to ancient wisdom, Corax starts recreating the Raven Guard, planning his vengeance on his treacherous brother primarchs. However, not all of his surviving troops are who they seem to be… The mysterious Alpha Legion has infiltrated the survivors and plans to eliminate the Raven Guard before they reunite and endanger Horus’ goals.
Dan Abnett’s Ghostmaker is number 26.
Ghostmaker is the second book in Dan Abnett’s Gaunt’s Ghosts series, as well as the second chapter in the Founding trilogy. On Monthax, the Tanith First and Just must contend with not just Chaos fanatics, but also the environment and their perspectives.
Throughout the story, there are many stories of their previous operations, some going back to the unit’s inception, showing both individual members of the regiment and how it has developed over time.
Dan Abnett’s Titanicus is number 27.
Dan Abnett’s book Titanicus is about the Legio Invicta Titan Legion. When the planet of Orestes is attacked by a Chaos Titan army, the Imperial Titans of Legio Invicta race to protect the vital forge world.
The Legio Invicta, one of the Imperium’s most famous Titan Legions, is preparing to deploy to the Sabbat Worlds’ warzones after a brutal military battle. The Legio Invicta, however, is forced back into combat by a force of Chaos Titans while recharging and mending at the forge planet of Orestes.
As the Adeptus Titanicus’ god-machines march into combat, an unforeseen ideological schism threatens to divide the Adeptus Mechanicus and destroy the very Earth they have pledged to protect, putting the Imperial defenders’ commitment to the test.
Dan Abnett, the 28th Traitor General
In a world controlled by the evil Chaos forces, Commissar Gaunt and a small unit from his regiment, the Tanith First-and-Only, are sent on a clandestine mission behind enemy lines.
On Archon Urlock Gaur’s orders, Magister Sek’s troops marched into the Khan group of the Sabbat Worlds and captured a high-ranking Imperial Lord General. Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt and a hand-picked team of his Tanith elite have been tasked with arresting or assassinating this key person.
Aaron Dembski-Bowden, 29. Soul Hunter
Aaron Dembski-Bowden wrote and published Soul Hunter, a Night Lords book, in March 2010.
They are the 41st Millenium’s rebels, betrayed, expelled from the Emperor’s light, and punished as heretics. The Night Lords are merciless hunters and assassins who wear death symbols on their bodies. They’ll never be forgiven for the blasphemy that led to their banishment.
They profit on the Imperium’s downfall, bringing death from the interplanetary vacuum. Their sinister mission will lead them to Crythe Primus, where they will fight Imperial troops for the planet’s recapture.
30. Dan Abnett’s First And Only
First and Only, Dan Abnett’s first book, is a military science fiction novel set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. In the Chaos-infested Sabbat system, Imperial Commissar Gaunt must lead his troops through as much infighting among rival regiments as he does against Chaos forces.
The Imperium has been denied access to the Sabbat Worlds, which have been taken by the dreadful forces of Chaos, for a thousand years. A major campaign is now underway to reclaim Imperial sovereignty of the region. Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt and the Tanith First and Only, often known as Gaunt’s Ghosts, are in the forefront of the crusade.
The Ghosts are pulled into a plan to assassinate the crusade’s leader, Warmaster Macaroth, while trapped in Fortis Binary’s brutal trench warfare. Gaunt and his troops must find a way to rescue the Warmaster and prevent the Sabbat Worlds Crusade from crumbling, even if it means fighting their apparent allies.
I’m sure many Warhammer 40k fans are already familiar with the first edition of Warhammer 40k, the first official rulebook of the game. This book sets the standard for which all other Warhammer 40k books are measured against, and it is to this day the best Warhammer 40k anthology of all time. Yet it is to this day the only 40k book that I have yet to read. This is the book that I have been waiting for, the book that I have been dreaming of, the book that will finally give me the answers to the questions that have plagued me for years. Answers to questions that I have longed to know, answers that have tried to drive me mad, answers that have tried to drive me to despair. Until. Read more about best 40k books 2020 and let us know what you think.
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