20 Best Warhammer 40k Books You Need to Read in 2023

In this article, I share the twenty best Warhammer 40k novels that I really recommend reading this year, including a very well-known Warhammer Inquisitor!

Some suggested reading for new fans of 40k who want some suggestions on where to start, or for those who want to feel that they have a good foundation of the lore.

20 best Warhammer 40k books that I would really recommend reading if you have the time over the coming weeks and months. 

These aren't ranked in any way, they're simply books that I've really enjoyed.

let's take a closer look at what I  consider to be 20 highly recommended  Warhammer 40k books.

best-warhammer-40k-books

WARHAMMER 40k NOVELS - Where to start?

One of the consistent things people have asked in the comments is where to start with all the black library novels like where do you start reading about Warhammer 40k? 

and this is a valid point there are hundreds of novels at this point and like many tie-in series they were originally written for people who were already fans of the tabletop games and I guess were expected to have some knowledge of the universe. 

unlike other fantasy series that were novels first in Warhammer the novels aren't really expected to be your first step into these worlds or at least weren't when they started coming out. 

so this can all be really confusing if you're new another thing with black library novels particularly 40k black library novels is that there's no linear timeline 140k is a setting that spans thousands of years. 

so instead of there being an official reading order with a  starting novel black library novels are split up into loads and loads of mini-series and trilogies that could take place at any point in those thousands of years and may or may not be affected by the events in other trilogies. 

so in this article, I'm going to go through a few good starting points for people new to the setting or who just want to see what it's all about I'm also going to try and stick to some of the more well-known and more well-regarded authors just because I want these to be enjoyable reads for people who are used to reading sci-fi in general. 

finally, before we start if you are new to the 40k setting it's worth mentioning that while the setting has remained pretty static for the last 30  years there's been a big leap forward in the great universe-wide narrative of the setting since about 2017. 

previously Warhammer 40000 novels were set at some point in the 41st millennium that's the year starting 40 000 and something and they still are but also there's now an advancing timeline right at the very end of that time period and that timeline affects the setting as a whole you don't have to start with those recent timeline novels and the black library is still publishing books set in the entire 41st  millennium. 

but I'll just make clear which ones are which as we go through them right where to start well black library actually has a page for that. 

I think this list is okay it seems very focused on getting you up to speed with the most recent events and most recent novels but there are some really good ones here and in fact, there are a few classics so let's start with those.

Wanna read some Warhammer 40k novels but don't know where to start? Here is a List of Warhammer 40,000 novels suggestions, from classic series to new releases!

 

20 Best Warhammer 40k Books of all Time

Hey everyone today I'm gonna recommend 20 different novels or omnibus for someone who is just hopping into the lore of Warhammer 40k or for those who just want to feel like they have a  decent foundation of the Lord to further build upon through other books. 

it's really easy just to kind of recommend a  bunch of different space marine theme novels but it's kind of my goal to recommend a variety of different stories that will give the kind of like buried insight into different parts of the lore as well as different factions. 

I really recommend it to anyone who asks me I  personally would not recommend starting with the Horus heresy books since they take place 10,000 years before the  Warhammer 40k setting. 

also reading the  Horus heresy novels after just reading a  few of the 40k novels will allow you to appreciate the Horus heresy in the entire mythos so much more. 

also, let it be known that these novels that I'm gonna recommend do not need to be read in any particular order and they're not ranked in any sort of way. 

and there are all sorts of different ways you can go about this this is just the way I  recommend personally. 

so don't feel obligated that you need to read one or all of these omnibus Azure books there are all kinds of different ways to go about it.

My top 20 Warhammer 40k books of all time that you need to read to understand the new 40k lore of the Dark Imperium and the universe in general. Includes places to start for new people. 

1. For the Emperor by Sandy Mitchell

A curated collection of novels celebrating the very best science fiction and fantasy set in the worlds of Warhammer.

On an Imperial outpost world on the fringes of tau space, the renowned Commissar Ciaphas Cain and his fractious regiment of Valhallan Guard, newly created from the remnants of two devastated units, find themselves in the middle of a war. 

As the Astra Militarum struggles to contain worldwide civil insurrection, can the wily Commissar Cain identify the real villain before the planet is lost to the Imperium forever?

2. Horus Rising by Dan Abnett

This is the 31st millennium. Under the benevolent guidance of the Immortal Emperor, the Imperium of Man was able to expand across the galaxy. 

This is a golden age full of new discoveries and glorious conquests. However, on the eve of the triumphant return, the Emperor withdrew from the forefront of the great expedition and entrusted the task of commanding the entire army to his beloved son Horus. 

The idealistic Horus was promoted to Warmaster. Can he realize the emperor's grand blueprint? Will this promotion sow the seeds of rebellion among the brothers?

"The Rise of Horus" is the opening chapter in the legendary epic of the Horus Heresy, a horrific civil war that will push the human race to the brink of extinction.

3. Galaxy in Flames by Ben Counter

The great rebellion is just beginning to appear, and many stars of the Age of Emperors have all appeared on the stage. 

The four primarchs with luxurious plastic surgery: Warmaster Horus, Elder Angron of the Ax Gang, handsome Fulgrim, and Mortarion, who appeared in two appearances with no more than two lines, gathered in Istvaan III.

And the stars of other warbands also appeared: Loken, Tarvitz, Garro, Torgaddon, and the future stars of Chaos Abaddon, Kharn, Lucius, Fabius, and Erebus also performed wonderfully. The 40K stars and big names basically came. They are the current Horus Heresy One of the most worth reading.

Of course, the story is tragic, even tragic, and it happened in about two days. First, Istvaan was killed by a car, then virus bombs, orbital bombing, Warband brothers against cars, and Emperor Titan bombing. 

Finally, He Shuai ordered the whole world to be bombed. up. Except for listening to the old magic stick Sinderman yelling at the beginning, there is no cold scene in the whole book. 

Although the scene of saving the "saint" Euphrates is a bit boring, the essence of the magic stick is clearly seen. The fate of the warriors of Astatu was sealed the moment they dropped from orbit to Istvaan. 

Tarvitz is desperate to expose the Warmaster's plot, Loken and Torgaddon fight to the last moment, and we are all invested in it.

And with the end of the Istvaan incident, the golden age of mankind is gone forever.

The rest of the story can only be handed over to Eisenstein, allowing Garro to continue his lonely odyssey in the vast space.

To those Warriors, May Emperor Be With You ALL!

4. Fulgrim by Graham McNeill

It is the 31st millennium, and humanity is at the peak of its powers. As the Great Crusade, led by Warmaster Horus, continues to conquer the galaxy, Fulgrim, Primarch of the Emperor's Children, leads his warriors into battle against a vile alien foe. 

From the blood of this campaign are sown the seeds that will lead this proud Legion to treachery, taking them down the darkest of paths of corruption. Leading up to the carnage of the Drop Site Massacre on Isstvan V, this is the tale of Fulgrim's tragic fall from grace.

5. Legion by Dan Abnett

A Great War is coming, and it will engulf the Imperium of Man. The Space Marines of the Alpha Legion, the last and most secretive of all the Astartes brotherhoods, arrive on a heathen world to support the Imperial Army in a pacification campaign against strange and uncanny forces. 

But what drives the Alpha Legion? Can they be trusted, and what side will they choose when the Great War begins? 

Loyalties are put to the test, and the cunning schemes of alien intelligence are revealed in this latest installment of the groundbreaking SF series, as the fate of mankind hangs in the balance.

The first 40k series of novels I read is hard and full of pictures, which can really make up for movies. The huge world and extraordinary time span create an epic background, and the small perspective brings that crushing sense of fate. 

The war scenes and the universe are spectacular and charming, but the conspiracy and conspiracy are not perfect. The colonel and the characters at the beginning are basically useless. 

From the point of view of the future, all this will look like a "harlequin", Horus will rebel, be killed by the emperor, and chaos will mix into the hearts of the people...

6. The First Heretic by Aaron Dembski-Bowden

Amidst the galaxy-wide war of the Great Crusade, the Emperor castigates the Word Bearers for their worship. 

Distraught at this judgment, Lorgar and his Legion seek another path while devastating world after world, venting their fury and fervor on the battlefield. 

for a new purpose leads them to the edge of the material universe, where they meet ancient forces far more powerful than they could have imagined. 

Having set out to illuminate the Imperium, the corruption of Chaos takes hold and their path to damnation begins. to the Word Bearers, their quest for truth contains the very roots of heresy…

Lorgar, as the instigator, is also the most humble and pitiful Primarch. From Old Faith to the Emperor, he was spurned by the Emperor and then turned to Chaos. 

Lorgar's attachment to the meaning of faith itself has surpassed the attachment to the believer, as revealed in his firmness Cowardly, persistent, and betrayal, ADB's writing, and plot handling techniques are really superb. 

I look forward to reading novels about the Forbidden Army in the future.

7. Hero of the Imperium by Sandy Mitchell

The Flashmanesque adventures of wily Commissar Cain, his malodorous aide Jurgen, and the 296th Valhallans have proved great favorites among Black Library fans. This omnibus edition is an attractive introduction to a very popular series.

8. Xenos by Dan Abnett

The story characters and all kinds of knowledge involved are very extensive. The plots are interlocking and turbulent. 

If you are a fan of suspense and detective novels or are particularly interested in the characters of the Inquisition, there is almost no better choice than the entire series related to Eisenhorn!

The whole process uses first-person memoirs to tell about Eisenhorn's detective, hunt, and adventure experiences. 

The sense of substitution is particularly strong, and some details also attach great importance to humanistic care. 

While Dan Ab occasionally writes brisk, hilarious memes, this story is destined to be tragic.

Part mystery, part thriller, slammed together in the war-torn Warhammer universe. Nicely paced with lots of action, but it has more of a detective vibe overall. 

9. A Thousand Sons by Graham McNeill

A long-lost masterpiece, a sad epic. Arrogant and advocating knowledge, Cthulhu, and Egyptian-like cultural background. 

The whole galaxy is involved in the flames of war. No matter whether loyalists or rebels, they are all facing a common enemy. He can only struggle to escape, and beg for mercy—this enemy is fate.

Pride is an original sin. Ahriman also made this mistake in the end... The whole book seems to be a very good person... Alas, it turns out that the emperor really had a big game of chess when he returned to Earth, but unfortunately the rhythm was destroyed. 

This story is written a bit like a running account. The foreshadowing and suspense are a bit lacking, but the scene description is still very beautiful, and the concept is also written...

10. The Founding (Gaunt’s Ghosts) by Dan Abnett

In the Chaos-infested Sabbat System, the massed ranks of the Astra Militarum - more commonly known as the Imperial Guard - stand shoulder to shoulder as they counter an invasion by heretical forces. 

Amongst the defenders of the Imperium are the troops of the Tanith First -and-Only, a displaced regime forced to flee their home planet before it succumbed to the unrelenting assault of Chaos. 

Nicknamed 'the Ghosts', their specialist scouting role sees them thrown into the thickest of the fighting. 

Led by Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt, they must evade the treacherous scheme of rival regimes and the lethal firepower of the enemy if they are to have any hope of achieving victory over the forces of Chaos.

11. The Flight of The Eisenstein by James Swallow

Having witnessed the terrible massacre of Imperial forces on Isstvan III, Death Guard Captain Garro seizes a ship and sets a course for Terra to warn the Emperor of Horus's treachery. 

But when the fleeing Eisenstein is damaged by enemy fire, it becomes stranded in the warp – the realm of the Dark Powers. 

Can Garro and his men survive the depredations of Chaos and get his warning to the Emperor before Horus's plans reach fruition?

The series has somewhat exposed some problems in this work: 

  • First, Garro's journey is too much like Loken, will all loyalists fall into this routine? 
  • Secondly, the appearance of the Primarch of the Emperor Fist, the Sister of Silence, and even the Custodian are really exciting, but Dorn always feels that it lacks convincingness from anger to calmness to painful acceptance. 

The magnificent battlefield and the gentle dialogue description are interspersed together. Apart from potential loopholes, the writing technique can be said to be the best among the black library novels I have read so far. 

12. Storm of Iron by Graham McNeill

In a dark and gothic future, humanity fights a constant battle for survival in a hostile universe. 

Now hell has come to Hydra Cordatus, for a massive force of terrifying Iron Warriors, brutal assault troops of Chaos, have invaded the planet and lain siege to its mighty Imperial citadel. 

But what prize could be worth so much savage bloodshed and destruction?

13. Ravenor by Dan Abnett

In the war-torn future of the 41st millennium, the Inquisition fights a secret war against the darkest enemies of mankind - the alien, the heretic, and the daemon. 

The three stories in this omnibus tell the tale of Inquisitor Gideon Ravenor and his lethal band of operatives, whose investigations take them from the heart of the Scarus Sector to the wildest regions of space beyond, and even through time itself. 

Wherever they go, and whatever dangers they face, they will never give up until their mission succeeds. Contains the novels Ravenor, Ravenor Returned, and Ravenor Rogue, plus two short stories and an introduction by the author.

14. Fallen Angels by Mike Lee

The Horus Heresy is the Black Library's premium SF series, telling the story of the civil war that nearly tore the human Imperium apart, ten thousand years ago. 

This latest title sees the triumphant return of the Dark Angels, by Darkblade co-author Mike Lee.

The two main lines of Caliban and Diamant straighten out the cause and effect of the Dark Angel's split; no matter whether it is true loyalty or not, the Lion's use of arms to win over Perturabo is not very popular.

I personally think that even if Horus does not rebel, Lion will still be the original body One of the most disturbing factors in Caliban's storyline is a bit more exciting.

15. False Gods by Graham McNeill

The great expedition to let the human race gallop across the stars has not stopped. The Emperor of Humanity has entrusted the command of the army to his beloved son, Horus the Warmaster. 

However, there is a crisis hidden in the imperial army. Horus still had to deal with the jealousy and resentment of his brothers, and when he was wounded on the battlefield of Planet Devon, he had to fight his own inner demons. 

Facing all kinds of temptations created by chaos, can Horus, who is physically and mentally exhausted, resist?

The book continues the saga of Horus Heresy. The fate of the entire galaxy now rests on the simple choice of a single person: loyalty or rebellion.

16. Soul Hunter by Aaron Dembski-Bowden

The Night Lords are one of the most feared legions of Chaos Space Marines. Remorseless hunters and killers, they relentlessly battle the Imperium of Man to avenge the death of their Primarch Konrad Curze. 

Their dark crusade takes them to the valuable world of Crythe Primus, where they will fight Imperial forces to claim the planet. 

But will the allegiance with their cohorts in the Black Legion last long enough for them to be victorious?

It is very long but reads extremely smoothly, even better than ADB's later Talon of Horus series, with excellent rhythm and atmosphere; 

The Exalted is a contradictory and complex individual, twisted, cruel, selfish, and cowardly, but at the critical moment it is a general who is very good at warp war; 

the protagonist Talos takes into account the multiple identities of apothecary, company commander, and prophet--First Claw's full personality is enough to support the emotional elements required by the entire series.

17. Titanicus: Warhammer 40,000 by Dan Abnett

Black Library’s best-selling SF author Dan Abnett takes his talents to a whole new level by recounting an epic tale of Titans, the massive war machines of Warhammer 40,000.

18. First and Only by Dan Abnett

In the nightmare future of Warhammer 40,000, the galaxy-spanning Imperium is riven with dangers. 

In the Chaos-infested Sabbat system, Imperial Commissar Gaunt must lead his men through as much in-fighting amongst rival regiments as against the forces of Chaos. 

First and Only is an epic saga of planetary conquest, grand ambition, treachery, and honor.

First and Only was one of the first books published by Black Library and is the most-read Warhammer 40,000 novel ever, an absolute classic. 

This story begins the saga of Colonel Commissar Gaunt and the Tanith First and Only which has since grown into a multi-novel epic. It all starts here.

19. Descent of Angels by Mitchel Scanlon

This is the next novel in the ground-breaking, bestselling series that tells the story of the Horus Heresy - the civil war that nearly tore the human Imperium apart, ten thousand years ago. 

This novel explores the early history of the Dark Angels Legion and their Primarch Lion El'Johnson. 

When news of Horus' treachery reaches Caliban, the loyalties of this proud and mysterious Legion are tested to the limit, with tragic consequences.

The storyline jumps back to Caliban in the early stage of the Great Crusade. 

It was not until DA built an army and attacked Sarosh in P4 that the long-hidden Chaos forces appeared before they got on the sidelines with HH. 

The writing and story description are average, especially compared with the previous Fulgrim.

20. Betrayer by Aaron Dembski-Bowden

Led by their primarchs, the Word Bearers and World Eaters Legions ravage the realm of Ultramar

The Shadow Crusade has begun. While the Ultramarines reel from Kor Phaeron’s surprise attack on Calth, Lorgar and the rest of the Word Bearers strike deep into Ultramar. 

Their unlikely allies, Angron and the World Eaters continue to ravage each new system they come across – upon the garrison planet of Armatura, this relentless savagery may finally prove to be their undoing. Worlds will burn, Legions will clash and a primarch will fall.

Behind every vicious image, there is an unknown side. 

The experience of returning to Desh'ea, the bloodbath of Nuceria, and the accusation of Guilliman's life experience are enough to show that Angron is the least likely to get back on the "right track". 

Under the "redemption" of Lorgar, it may indeed be the best to become a demon way out. 

Argel Tal and Khârn's friendship is unexpectedly sincere, but it has to be constrained by Erebus' so-called fate, and the whole novel is shrouded in the atmosphere of this Greek tragedy. 

You May Also LikeBest Warhammer 40k Books

  • Anarch- Dan Abnett
  • Pariah- Dan Abnett
  • Night Lords- Aaron Dembski-Bowden
  • Space Wolf- William King
  • Deliverance Lost- Gav Thorpe
  • Ghostmaker- Dan Abnett
  • Traitor General- Dan Abnett
  • Watchers of the Throne: The Emperor’s Legion- Chris Wraight
  • Enforcer: The Shira Calpurnia Omnibus by Matthew Farrer
  • Prospero Burns by Dan Abnett
  • The Talon of Horus by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
  • The Uriel Ventris Chronicles: Volume One by Graham McNeill


FAQ: Best Warhammer 40k Books

What are some of the best Warhammer 40k books out there?

According to our research, "The Founding", "Legion" and "Fulgrim" are the best Warhammer 40k books. If you are looking for a good book, we recommend that you start there! However, if you're a die-hard and love a good sci-fi adventure, we recommend ordering the complete Horus Heresy series (which is 93 books in all!).

Where can I find the complete Horus Heresy series?

You can start with Amazon, but they only added about 50 books to the series. However, if you scroll down to our header, click on the "series" tab, and search for "Horus Heresy"... You'll find exactly what you're looking for :)

Which Warhammer 40k book should I read first?

We recommend the same order as this list, so our answer is "The Foundation." It got the most votes and top ratings and contains the opening arc of this great sci-fi series.


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