In a time such as ours, we are surely all in need of some kind of reprieve, respite, or even a lull from time to time. These periods that we find and use so as to take a step back or a step away from everyday mundanities, the copious troubles and issues we have, and the like, are most often spent doing something that invigorates or animates us.
Conquer the Universe
Watching movies, playing games, binge-watching TV shows, doing sports, and our personal favorite – reading books. Some of the best books that we’ve found to soothe us are the Warhammer 40k books, so we would like to spread the joy we feel by taking a look at the best Warhammer 40k books.
Best Warhammer 40k Books
|Brothers of the Snake||9.22/10||320 Pages||Check Price On Amazon|
|Horus Rising||9.62/10||412 Pages||Check Price On Amazon|
|False Gods||9.38/10||416 Pages||Check Price On Amazon|
|Galaxy in Flames||9.36/10||416 Pages||Check Price On Amazon|
|The Flight of the Eisenstein||9.22/10||416 Pages||Check Price On Amazon|
|Fulgrim||9.14/10||512 Pages||Check Price On Amazon|
In the Warhammer 40,000 world, there is scarcely any author as prolific as Dan Abnett. With this 2007, three-hundred-page book, Abnett cements the might that he has in terms of the greater series. If you would like to read the series in a proper Warhammer 40k reading order, we recommend starting with this novel.
As the Brothers of the Snake begin following the Space Marines of the Iron Snakes, as the future of mankind is imperiled by the terror and dreadful nature of wartime events.
As the Iron Snakes’ Space Marines are now sent into a vicious, intense, and suspenseful battle against the enemies of their people, the heretics and the enemy-extraterrestrial races, we take a jump into a world that is much more animated than ours and made majestic by the great Dan Abnett.
We suggest picking this novel up as soon as possible. And not only this one, learn more about his other work in our review of The Beast Arises series!
Expert comic book writer and science fiction author Dan Abnett has been a frequent contributor to the best Warhammer 40k books, so it’s only right to start it all off with Dan. Horus Rising was published in the year of 2006 and it spans a hair over four-hundred-pages.
The novel’s story takes a look at the Imperium as it has been on top for some time now. Millennia was spent focused on the broadening of boarders and on the conquering of new land, so that the dream of the Imperium is seemingly a reality.
Horus, the Warmaster
As the emperor grants the power he had to Horus, the Warmaster, it is a moment or two of bewilderment and anxiety regarding whether or not Horus is an apt leader. One of the most worthwhile books we’ve read, without a doubt. This is the second book of the series, if you would like to follow recommended Warhammer 40k book reading order.
Scottish novelist Graham McNeill is a fine writer to pick up and one we love very much. One of the best books Graham has written, coincidentally also one of the best Warhammer 40k books, is the 2006 novel False Gods.
Knowing that the Imperium of humans is at the loftiest position it’s ever been at, it is logical to suppose that there are corrupting, manipulating things that linger and are waiting for the high-time when to strike.
As Warmaster Horus is now the leader and has been bestowed with complete power, it stands to reason to question whether or not Horus will fall prey to temptations set up for him. This novel is the third one of the series, if you wish to read the books in a suggested Warhammer 40k book reading order.
Ancient History graduate Ben Counter has worked on very many series, but we think in our best Warhammer 40k books review, that one of his best is definitely the 2006 book Galaxy in Flames.
We see Warmaster Horus as he has sustained a number of painful and debilitating injuries, though he is slowly recuperating from them. Horus stands as the leader of the Imperial forces as they are set to do battle against Isstvan III’s rebellious army.
It does not take much for the Imperial forces to conquer the rebellious ones, but then a terrible truth is revealed – Horus has committed treachery. The Space Marines enter the fray as casualties abound. In our opinion, this is one of the most heartfelt books in the series and an indispensable read in the Warhammer 40k book order.
James Swallow is a New York Times bestselling author whose accolades are many. Swallow’s work on the one of the Warhammer 40k novels titled The Flight of the Eisenstein has led us to loving it so dearly as to feel a need to discuss it.
Upon the terrible events that occurred on Istvan III, there are certainly many things left in limbo and in absolute dread of the future. As the Deathguard’s captain named Garro comes by a ship and takes it to Terra, he is dead-set on revealing the treacherous and perfidious Horus.
The ship, Eisenstein, however, is battle-damaged, so that Garro’s flight is postponed for the time being. The forces around Garro and his men, though, plan on postponing the event forever.
Graham is a writer that’s worked on the Warhammer 40k books quite a lot, so we will be seeing much of him, indeed. We always say that the Warhammer 40k reading order cannot be complete without the novel Fulgrim, released in 2007.
While the story of Horus was going on, the Primarch named Fulgrim was taking step towards the terrible battle against the horrible extraterrestrial nemesis he had.
Casting a Shadow
The blood that was shed by the order of Fulgrim, however, cast a tainting shadow over Fulgrim’s men as the Primarch was slowly, yet very surely, heading towards not only disgrace, but also towards his very downfall. Portrayed are some of the most powerful battles we’ve read.
Dan Abnett’s work on Legion showcases the novelist’s true might in an impeccable manner. Legion came out in the year of 2008 and its pages number a tad over the four-hundred mark. We covered this book in our selection of the top Horus Heresy books as well, make sure to check it out!
It is the case that a war, one that will be very much remembered for eons to follow, is knocking on the Imperium’s door. The Alpha Legion’s Space Marines – of the Astartes brotherhood – have found themselves in support of the Imperial Army on a vile world against a curious, though mighty race.
Trust is for the Fools
However, when the war actually does come, it becomes clear as day that trust is not something that the factions share and this will cost them. Of all the Warhammer 40k novels, Legion might be the most subtle and intriguing to the subconscious of the reader.
Dan Abnett’s 2004 book titled Eisenhorn is an indispensable read in the Warhammer 40k novels and we think of it as one of our favorites.
Eisenhorn, an Inquisitor, is in the ranks of the Imperial Inquisition’s senior members. Eisenhorn’s main duty is to cross the stars of the galaxy in an effort to find out any heretic proclivities that some might have. However, Eisenhorn finds himself alone in the search for the true culprit when the darkness of heresy reaches the Imperium.
Face to Face
Eisenhorn’s actions in this novel paint him as the character we would, going further, expect him to be. However, Eisenhorn isn’t a set and stone character, but one that grows. As the treachery is revealed to Eisenhorn, he seems to have no choice, but to come face to face with this malignant force.
The first book of the Eisenhorn trilogy is none other than the 2001 published Xenos. In Xenos, a book spanning less than three-hundred-and-fifty pages, we see the Inquisition for what it actually is. This is, without a doubt, one of the best Warhammer fantasy novels.
Those that stand against humanity, even if they are of humanity, will meet the swift judgment and punishment of the Inquisition. Mankind has been kept intact and has prospered by the helping hand of the Inquisition, especially one of its mightiest members, Eisenhorn.
As Eisenhorn finds himself in the middle of a war between daemons and the good side, the Necroteuch tome their end goal, he is not in the slightest in over his head. If anything, those messing with mankind and the Inquisition are in over their head with Eisenhorn. If we made you interested in the work of Dan Abnett, you must check out our article about The Beast Arises books!
The ubiquitous, ferocious, and infinitely vile enemies of humanity have not stopped their threatening ways one bit and in the 2001 book Malleus, this show goes on. For what it’s worth, Malleus is one of the books that we think belongs to the primary Warhammer 40k book order if one wants to get a grasp on the broader story.
As the Inquisition is still doing battle with the keenest, most foul enemies of mankind, the likes of Xenos, Daemons, and Rogue Psykers, there is in the backdrop of things a force that dwarves the ones previously mentioned.
Ordo Malleus and his might is the subject of much fear throughout the galaxy, but it has come the time when he must either be faced and completely destroyed or the blueprint for his destruction must be made. Who better to do this than the brightest of the Inquisition’s agents, Eisenhorn?
In Hereticus, we see the final tale of Eisenhorn as Dan Abnett paints us a picture made up out of emotion that is both forlorn and dynamic.
From the olden days of the mighty Inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn, comes back into the limelight a shrouded, tenebrous character whose intent is tinged with the ferocity of vengeance-seeking and the hardheadedness of determination.
Ways of Today
Dan Abnett really did bring his A-game here and this might just be the most emotional book in the series. While such things often go unnoticed, one can genuinely feel how much these characters really do mean to one, and what losing them actually brings forward.
A tale that has much to say about our ways today, about the ways of the world that Dan Abnett has helped shape, and about the beauty and dismal sadness of it all. Truly, one of the best Warhammer fantasy books. If you love Dan’s books as much as we do, you have to take a look at our The Beast Arises series review.
Spanning nearly six-hundred pages, A Thousand Sons was published in 2010 and received rave reviews. Graham McNeill is the author of A Thousand Sons and its magnificence is owed to him only.
Magnus the Red and the Legion of a thousand sons that he led were forced to find shelter or reprieve in Prospero, their planet of origin.
Magnus the Red was censured at Nikea’s Council because of his wanton and gratuitous usage of sorcerous means. As the tale of Warmaster Horus is envisioned by the Primarch, Leman Russ is sent with his men so as to devastate Prospero in turn.
However, Magnus the Red’s visions don’t stop with Horus’ Heresy, but go much further and reveal darker, viler secrets. One of the most complete books in the whole series and one without which no Warhammer 40k book reading order can be established.
The trademark vigor and touching penmanship of Dan Abnett are exquisitely blended in one of the best Warhammer fantasy novels Prospero Burns.
Magnus the Red and his Thousand Sons Legion are held in a regard that foretells a despicable nature. They are thought of as being enemies of the state, as Leman Russ, the Space Wolves’ Primarch, makes his way towards Magnus’ planet Prospero.
Whirlwind of Devastation
Prospero is known as being the home-world of mighty and powerful sorcerers, but Leman and his men are scarcely dissuaded by this prospect.
Leman’s heart, brimming with the fury of The Beast Arises or which he is known, is what leads him and his men to Prospero as he is dead-set and resolute about throwing Prospero into a whirlwind of devastation and about defeating Magnus and his seemingly treacherous ways.
Londoner Aaron Dembski-Bowden is one of the brightest of minds that has worked on the some of the best Warhammer 40k books. His 2010 tale titled The First Heretic is a wonderful piece of writing that we can’t quite marvel enough at.
As the Great Crusade is still underway, the World Bearers find themselves chastised due to their worshipping ways. As a result, Lorgar and his army go on sewing destruction on planet after planet, bringing warriors to their knees.
Seized by Chaos
In their conquest, though, they come upon a force that is old as they can conceive of it. In their troubled path, they find themselves seized by Chaos, by heresy and treachery, as they start upon their new road – the road of a damnable people. One of the best Warhammer 40k books if our word means anything.
Dan Abnett’s work on the Horus Heresy series and the greater Warhammer 40k series brings us to the 2012 tale Know No Fear. If you really want to get into the series, make sure to read it in recommended Warhammer 40k book order. Know No Fear is the twelfth book of the series.
Roboute Guilliman was not aware of the treacherous and heretic betrayal that was going on when he followed Horus’ words and came back to Ultramar. His intention was to gear up for a battle with the orks, but then he and his men are attacked by the same ones he and they counted as their brethren.
As Guilliman and his Ultramarines are now aware of the ongoing events, he is dead-set on taking revenge, but what when revenge and a years-long grudge come knocking on Roboute’s own doors?
Lorgar has come to Calth, the planet that is soon set ablaze by the terror and vigorous nature of war, so as to exact his revenge against Roboute and to claim victory in the rivalry that the two have had for so long. This is truly one of the best Warhammer fantasy books.
Without a doubt, the Ravenor trilogy is a number of books that we genuinely and honestly love and revere. Dan Abnett’s work is deserving of veneration and we think that Ravenor: The Omnibus, containing all three tales of Ravenor, is a worthy entry on the list at hand.
Two shorter stories are also present in the omnibus that will expand the knowledge and the insight one has concerning Ravenor and his group.
Brilliance of the Series
In our opinion, Ravenor’s story displays the peak of the best Warhammer 40k books as it is a tale containing the highlights, the brilliance, and the quirky intricacies that the series espouses.
If one wants to get a comprehensible grasp on Ravenor and his men’s story, then look no further than Ravenor: The Omnibus. We really could not recommend it quite enough. Abnett’s writing game is at its top in this trilogy, as well.
In Ravenor, the first novel in a trilogy of Abnett, we jump into a world that is not unfamiliar to us. Gideon Ravenor, an Inquisitor, is in the league of the best Inquisition agents.
Gregor Eisenhorn, for one, was the one to whom Ravenor looked up, though the former is missing in action. This book is an essential for anyone searching for the correct Warhammer 40k reading order.
Ravenor, himself, was injured on Thracian Primaris, so that he is bound to a chair that grants him the support for life that he desperately needs. The abilities and dormant powers of Ravenor, though, have not lost a single iota. The newest of circumstances has led Ravenor, together with his group, to Eustis Majoris.
Eustis Majoris is the main world of Angelus, a subsector. They are investigating a drug named Flects, one that they suppose will bring many to downfall. When Ravenor sees that the drug bears sentiment to his current condition, though, his intentions might be askew or at least taken as askew.
The second novel in the Ravenor Trilogy, Ravenor Returned, was published in the year of 2005 and spans four-hundred or so pages. In Ravenor Returned, we take a closer look at Ravenor and his group. It is a crucial read for those of us searching for the proper Warhammer 40k reading order.
It is widely known that Ravenor’s group is not averse to counting casualties and they aren’t the victor always in the battles that they partake in, but this is what makes them special. They are not infallible, but very much rooted in the reality of it all.
Gideon Ravenor, having successfully eluded a terrible trap, find themselves on Eustis Majoris. Ravenor knows of the ongoing situation and what it can lead to, so he is forced to adduce the Special Condition status.
Ravenor takes the guise of an undercover agent so that he can find out the truth and stop the forces of evil from gaining the upper hand in this ghastly war. In our eyes, this one of the best Warhammer 40k books that is very much deserving of the attention of the reader and one that we recommend wholeheartedly.
Dan Abnett is, as one can surely come to the conclusion based on the many books that he authored in the Warhammer 40k series – to be frank, Abnett’s work is a crucial one to anyone trying to come by a proper Warhammer 40k book reading order –, a name synonymous with the series.
In the final novel in his terrific Ravenor trilogy, Ravenor Rogue, we see pretty much the best that the series has to offer. Inquisitor Gideon Ravenor’s investigation and case-study has led him to Molotch, a truly terrible enemy.
As Ravenor and his team gear up for the chasing of and defeat of their nemesis, they are forced to go to very many places that reek of foul darkness. Then, an awful truth is revealed as Ravenor must come to terms with a heresy in the ranks of his own brethren.
Dan Abnett’s lifework is a large, grand one. It would be incomplete, though, if he had not penned the brilliant Gaunt’s Ghosts series, especially the first three novels. These first three books were incorporated in the wonderful omnibus edition of The Founding.
Tanith First and Only led by the expert mind of Ibram Gaunt are forced to enter a war at the heart of the Sabbat System and its dangerous, Chaos-infested worlds.
Ripples Through Galaxy
In the endeavors before Gaunt and the First and Only there is no security, there is no protection save the one they can offer themselves.
As the Imperial Guard’s deadly politicizing of events begins causing ripples throughout the galaxy, it is Gaunt’s Ghosts that are in the first lines. In our eyes, there is no way around it: The Founding with its three books is one of the best Warhammer 40k books that money can buy.
In 1999, one of Dan Abnett’s absolute best works was published. That book was First and Only and it is still to this day one of our favorites reads.
The Sabbat system is one of much chaotic dwellings. Imperial Commissar Gaunt is set to walk forward with his group, though his road is paved not just with battles against the Chaos’ warriors, but against those he considers kindred to his cause.
While a millennia passed, the Sabbat system slowly fell into disarray and was taken by Chaos. Gaunt’s Ghosts, Tanith First and Only and Ibram Gaunt, are the ones at the first lines of battle. However, when heresy becomes a manifest occurrence, the two investigate and find out the truth, the truth that does not set them free. One of the best Warhammer 40k books.
Dan Abnett first began the Gaunt’s Ghosts trilogy with the First and Only book. The sequel to First and Only is none other than the novel from 2000 titled Ghostmaker. Ghostmaker is a book that we can’t not mention when we’re discussing the best Warhammer 40k books, so here it is.
With the many foes of mankind came many battles and wars with these same foes. These same battles and wars necessitated mankind’s own response to the unflinching enemies they had. And, thus, we come to the battle-worn bodies of the Imperial Guard, the first responders and first defenders of humanity.
Not only are their bodies weary, though, but also their spirit. In Ghostmaker, the story of Gaunt and First and Only is continued, but it is tinged with a melancholic quality not of this Earth.
The prowess of Abnett was lent to Necropolis, the ending of the first Gaunt’s Ghosts trilogy, and made the tale receive a higher, more nuanced dimension. Verghast, a devastated world, is where Gaunt’s Ghosts are located after being dragged into a Civil War that has been roaring for a long time now.
A city that is supposedly faithful to the Imperium does battle with another whose devotion lies with the forces of darkness. As the situation turns dire, Gaunt and his men see that if they do not take control and decide what is best for all of them, then all of them will fall prey to the Dark Gods’ emissaries.
The time after which no decision can be hoped to be made will soon be upon them. Necropolis, in our eyes, highlights the magic and the majesty that the Gaunt’s Ghosts trilogy espouses while delivering a climax that satisfies very much. This novel is highly recommended from us in our best Warhammer 40k books review.
Following the same paradigm as The Founding, The Saint is a collection of the second group of four novels in the Gaunt’s Ghosts series, namely books four through seven. The novels at hand are Honor Guard, The Guns of Tanith, Straight Silver, and Sabbat Martyr.
As the battles that Ibram Gaunt and the Tanith First and Only are not yet over, we see the group fighting the many enemies that are waiting for them in the Chaos-riddled Sabbat System worlds. These enemies can appear in many shapes, forms, and cloaked appearances, so that wariness is a must if any kind of progress or success is intended to be achieved.
Warrior of Legend
Ibram Gaunt’s character grows as the novels go by and we see him develop into the mighty warrior of legend. Definitely a worthwhile read and worthy of our recommendation. A completed Warhammer 40k book reading order can’t be made without this amazing novel.
It only makes sense that since we began with Dan Abnett that we end with the deft prowess of Dan Abnett and what book better to cap it all off than Honour Guard, published in 2001? Honour Guard is the fourth novel in the Gaunt’s Ghosts series and it finds Gaunt along with his trusty Ghosts as they enter the tumult of war so as to preserve a world of shrines.
Chaos Never Sleeps
Chaos never rests, however, and armies are sent so as to cause trouble to Gaunt and his men soon after. Having no other recourse, Gaunt is dispatched in order to keep a relic that very much symbolizes the world being defended: an ancient saint’s remains, ones that first brought humanity to the stars where Gaunt now treads.
Nothing short of scary and insane are the efforts to which Gaunt is prepared to go, but this might just be what he needs so as to win the war at hand.Honour Guardis a novel that one cannot not place on their Warhammer 40k book order list.
In the year of 2014, Dan Abnett released one of his finest works in recent years titled Traitor General, one of the Gaunt’s Ghosts books. Warhammer 40k book order would not be completed without this amazing novel.
In Traitor General, we see Magister Sek and the armies that he commands as they are forced to go towards the Sabbat Worlds’ Khan group.
Archon Urlock Gaur
By the command of Archon Urlock Gaur was this venture of theirs and the intention was to capture an Imperial Lord General. It is Ibram Gaunt, however, along with his team of elite of the Tanith First and Only that are granted the duty of first catching and then eliminating of the officer at hand.
However, in the endeavor that is before Gaunt, there is a road riddled with travesty and bloodshed that would petrify the common men, but Ibram Gaunt is by no means a normal man. This is, in our opinion, one of the best Warhammer fantasy novels and we recommend it with our hearts full to the attentive readers.
In 2008, Dan Abnett published the marvelous work titled Titanicus. The novel is but a single page short of four-hundred and it tells a mighty story, indeed. The planet of Orestes is a world whose forge is a crucial and essential part of many others.
However, when they find themselves under incursion and unceasing attack by the Chaos Titans’ might, aid is what Orestes needs immediately.
Legio Invicta’s Titans are the only ones that can arrive at a timely fashion and help the forge-based world, though they are battle-tired as it stands. Nonetheless, they pack up and arrive on Orestes in spite of the weariness of their bodies and souls. There is scarcely any might in the galaxy like that of the Legio Invicta’s, but in one of the best Warhammer fantasy books – this one – the tables might have turned.
Alex Stewart is a terrific author that utilizes the Sandy Mitchell pseudonym. Earls Colne, of North Essex, is the home of Sandy and his brilliantly inventive mind. For the Emperor, a 2003 book by Mitchell, is one of our favorites and a book worthy of its place on our list of the best Warhammer 40k books.
Ciaphas Cain, a Commissar, is regarded as an Imperium hero and has been granted much glory for the might that he shows even in the scariest of times. At the present, Cain has been sent to aid with the order-setting of a world in Tau Space.
The killing of an extraterrestrial ambassador, however, spells trouble for everyone involved, especially Cain as everything begins taking an uncontrolled aura. The Valhallans and Cain thus are embroiled in a grim war, but Cain is much more interested in finding out who the true culprit for the war’s start actually is.
What is revealed, however, will shake to the core the very buttresses of the Warhammer 40k series and all that the reader thought he or she knew.
Sandy Mitchell or Alex Stewart’s terrific way of writing is what makes Ciaphas Cain: Hero of the Imperium such a worthwhile read, in our opinion. There can be no Warhammer 40k book order without this marvelous treat here.
Ciaphas Cain: Hero of the Imperium is a collection of the three tales that Ciaphas Cain faced in his terrific story. Commissar Ciaphas Cain, having been the infinitely venerated and well-regarded hero of the Imperium, was a man of great deeds.
However, when the shroud of public image is snuffed out by the light, the truth is much grimmer. Cain’s intention seems to be just a leisurely life, one far away from dangers, in spite of his proclivity to enter perilous journeys. In front of him, though, is a road more dangerous, more insecure, and more hazardous than any before.
Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s helping hand in the broader Warhammer 40k series is always a welcomed attraction. Soul Hunter, published in 2010, is the first book in the Night Lords shorter series as well.
The Night Lords are taken and regarded as being one of, if not the fiercest force that the Imperium boasted. They were Space Marines whose main line of attack involved dread and fear.
However, at the present moment, they are regarded as being heretics by the Imperium, they are systematically hunted for their transgressions. In light of this occurrence, the Night Lords bear the cloaks of deathly men and take part in the Long War.
When Warmaster Abaddon calls upon them, they are sent into a confrontation with the Blood Angels, one of the most feared warriors that the Emperor has in his disposal. Soul Hunter is, in our opinion, one of the very best Warhammer 40k books out there.
What Warhammer 40k Books Should I Start With?
In our opinion, there is no right or wrong Warhammer 40k reading order to start this wonderful series, but if we had to pick three for our readers to start with, they would be Brothers of the Snake, Horus Rising, and False Gods.
How Many Warhammer 40k Books Are There?
As far as it is known, there are an astonishing one-thousand-two-hundred-and-twelve books in the Warhammer 40,000 series.
In What Order Should I Read the Warhammer 40k Books?
Just like there’s no clear-cut way to enter the series, there is no universal order that you can read the books in. The one that we laid out above can be a helping hand, though, as it is the one we adhere to. Nonetheless, the Horus Heresy series of books are crucial to getting an understanding.
Are There Any Good Warhammer 40k Book Without Humans?
Path of the Eldar, Evil Sun Rising, and Valedor are three books where humans aren’t the main protagonists that we think the reader ought to pick up!
The Warhammer 40K reading order of books we’ve reviewed and recommend goes as follows:
- Brothers of the Snake
- Horus Rising
- False Gods
- Galaxy in Flames
- The Flight of the Eisenstein
- Eisenhorn, made up of Xenos, Malleus, and Hereticus
- A Thousand Sons
- Prospero Burns
- The First Heretic
- Know no Fear
- Ravenor: The Omnibus, made up of Ravenor, Ravenor Returned, and Ravenor Rogue
- The Founding, made up of First and Only, Ghostmaker, and Necropolis
- The Saint, made up of books four through seven of the Gaunt’s Ghosts series, including Honor Guard
- Honor Guard
- Traitor General
- For the Emperor
- Ciaphas Cain: Hero of the Imperium, containing books one – For the Emperor – though three of the Ciaphas Cain series
- Soul Hunter
Robert is a science fiction and fantasy geek. (He is also the best looking Ereads writer!) Besides reading and writing, he enjoys sports, cosplay, and good food (don't we all?). Currently works as an accountant (would you believe that?)