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View Full Version : What are some good WH40K books to read?



Samus_aran115
10-02-2010, 04:34
I really want to start getting into Warhammer 40k "fluff-dom", but I really have no idea where to start. I'm a rather dedicated reader, so I doubt anything in particular would be uninteresting (except maybe witchhunters, which are very boring to me).

Anyway, I really want to learn about the Horus heresy, Tyranids and Marneus Calgar right now,if that narrows the search a bit.

I'm referencing this thread to a few friends, so try to keep it on topic. Thanks!:)

lazy.sarge
10-02-2010, 04:38
Well the Horus Heresy would be a good start, 'Horus Rising', 'Galaxy in Flames' etc. That will certainly give you a look at that aspect. For Tyranids and Ultramarines, look at the Uriel Ventris series, although there's not much about MC in there. Not sure where'd you find him

MetalGecko23
10-02-2010, 04:45
:shifty:.....Fire Warrior..........and BOOM!!!!.....I dropped the bomb.:evilgrin:

Also the obvious anything and everything Ciaphias Cain.

IcedAnimals
10-02-2010, 05:01
Anything Horus Heresy. I personally think the "Dark" series by Anthony Reynolds is some of the best BL work ever done. They are all about the word bearers and start with the word dark, such as "Dark Disciple"

Guard novels tend to be really enjoyable because you can actually relate to the characters and the authors can do some great character development with them since they are human.

Samus_aran115
10-02-2010, 05:02
I'm really interested in Marneus because of the amazing fluff they gave him in the SM codex (I swear, with a description like that, they could get me to buy anything...). To be honest, I could probably read like a page about him and get bored.

Yeah, I heard Horus Rising is really good. I'll probably start with that, or Dark Apostle (Just because my friend has the book)

Arjuna
10-02-2010, 05:57
The Horus Heresy series has many excellent 40k genre books, and pleasantly enough even some that rise to the level of decent science fiction by broad standards.

I would not go so far as to say all of them or great, and the one about chasing the giant chaos ship made for the word bearers was just godawful. Could have been an OK short story but as a novel it was just horrid.

The Eisonhorn and Ravenor trilogies printed as compilations are IMHO some of the best wh40k stories.

Some authors such as Abnett are nearly universally acclaimed in the 40K community and some such as Swallow are not so popular. Swallow is actually not so bad in the context of the 40k niche as a lot of people claim. He likes to write about really straight arrow heroic characters and a good example of this is the often panned Horus Heresy book "Flight of the Eisenstein". In my view this is a decent book though.

Some of the 40k black library authors really become tedious to read at times because they become lost in the prose about describing battles, I cant recall the name but some book about an inquisitor written by Wong? started off great but devolved into crap on account of this.

wazatdingder
10-02-2010, 06:12
Anything by Dan Abnett is a must!!

Start with the Eisenhorn Trilogy or Gaunt's Ghosts
Brothers of the Snake is a great marine novel.

The Heresy books are ok, but I prefer the book that take place in "game time"

The Ciaphus Cain books are good too.

By all means avoid the Inquisitor Wars, It is a steaming pile of poop.
It's kinda like a Michael Bay film, lots of flash, no real depth.
I had to read it twice just to make sure it sucked as much as I thought it did the first time. GW should have sent it the way of the squats.:evilgrin:

Ulrig
10-02-2010, 08:10
Dan Abnett Books are all a must

Eisenhorn Trilogy is pretty good for as early as it was published. Apparently BL had page number limits on their books at first. All three of the Eisenhorn books seem to end rather quickly.

Ravenor Trilogy is even better. (Ravenor is the first 40k Book I read, and a big reason why I got back into the 40k scene at all)

Gaunts Ghost Books are a must, seriously. I really think this is the cream of the crop. There are a lot of them too, it will keep you reading for a while.

Ben Coulter's Soul Drinkers is pretty good in my opinion, I have read the first 3 of the 5(?) I heard it starts to lose its flash in the 4th book.

Horus Heresy Books, I own the first 6 Books I think, have not touched them yet. I hear from my best friend they are really hit and miss because they switch authors from book to book.

Eisenhorn happens before Ravenor btw.

Lordsaradain
10-02-2010, 08:26
Dan Abnett Books are all a must


I couldn't agree more. Dan Abnett is one of my absolute (if not the) favorite authors.

CounterAttack
10-02-2010, 08:58
Graham McNeill, Dan Abnett and William King are my top three Black Library authors.

Much like the others, I liked the Ravenor trilogy in particular. Oh, and the first three Ragnar Blackmane novels; there are some brilliantly written battles in that series.

Prokrustes
10-02-2010, 10:06
"Storm of Iron" and "Lord of the Night" are the best I read so far. Oh and I can also recommend "Into the Maelstrom".

Rusty Initate
10-02-2010, 10:11
"Storm of Iron"

i 2nd that i haven't read much black library books but this is definitely my favorate so far

Doppleskanger
10-02-2010, 11:23
I think Ulrigs list is pretty spot on. Just add the Ciaphas Cain omnibus onto that (ok is a bit formulaic but great fun).

And the Galaxy in Flames short story omnibus is worth picking up if you can get it.

Personally the books aren't that great but those mentioned are all worth a read. I would only buy omnibus editions because they offer good value for money and really the price of buying the individual books doesn't really reflect the generally poor quality of the fiction. I'm not saying the books are rubbish, its just that they are what they are, a spin off from a war game, not sci fi that would get published on its own merits, if that makes sense?

Aurellis
10-02-2010, 12:19
I haven't read the Ultramarines series so I can't comment on that but these are some great 40k books:

The Horus Heresey Series - Various authors
Titanicus - Dan Abnett
Eisenhorn - Dan Abnett
Ravenor - Dan Abnett
Double Eagle - Dan Abnett
Storm of Iron - Graham McNeill
Ciaphas Cain series - Sandy Mitchell
The Grey Knights Omnibus - Ben Counter
The Soul Drinkers Omnibus - Ben Counter

Dogface
10-02-2010, 12:23
He likes to write about really straight arrow heroic characters and a good example of this is the often panned Horus Heresy book "Flight of the Eisenstein". In my view this is a decent book though.


I believe that the Flight of the Eisenstein is actually praised pretty much around the board, its his ridiculously terrible Blood Angels duology thats been panned.

Having just finished reading Cadian Blood I'd definitely recommend you giving it a go, it's fairly short but I had a good three hours reading it, as Black Library books go it's very good, even in terms of the science-fiction genre as a whole it's also not bad :)

Promethius
10-02-2010, 12:29
I have to recommend the eisenhorn, cain and UM books. If you want to get into something particularly awesome though, execution hour by gordon rennie is fantastic.

laudarkul
10-02-2010, 14:11
Horus Heresy - Collected Visions
Gaunt's Ghosts Series - Dan Abnett
Last Chancers - a story with Nids
Ultramarines Omnibus - Graham McNeill
Execution Hour & Shadow Point - Gordon Rennie

and those in Aurellis post

WinglessVT2
10-02-2010, 14:16
Horus Heresy is pretty decent at times, but it has huge parts where it's mostly boring and eventless.
Firewarrior is okay, but it's not exactly what you're looking for.

There's a series of books about the ultramarines, and some of them are fairly enjoyable, but most are barely decent.

I can't really recommend many black library books, because - let's face it - it's basically bland fanfiction written by people with editors.

moose
10-02-2010, 14:24
I've just started getting into the 40k books.

Emperors Mercy is great so far, enjoyable and action packed.


Moose

LonelyPath
10-02-2010, 14:51
The Grey Knights Omnibus - Ben Counter

Absolutely great series, I really wish they'd continue with more of tales concerning Alaric.

Sir_Turalyon
10-02-2010, 15:00
3rd edition rulebook, if you can find it. Most comprehensive description of game fluff and plenty of well-written fiction, mostly in form of in-world documents. Also the old Index Astrates series if you can find them.

As far as BL books go, best ones seem to touch Imperial Guard (Caiphas Cain, Last Chancers) rather than Tyranids of Ultramarines (both had Guard vs Nids action at some moments). Lord of the Night is easily THE best BL book. Angels of Darkness are very good, at least in my oppinion. There is Ultramarines series, never read it because as far as I heard they are not worth it. Anything with Horus Heresy on it's cover is passable at best moments and embarassingly bad at worst. A safe rule is to stay away from anything by C.S. Gotto, Dan Abnett and Bill King, I have yet to read book by any of them that wasn't waste of time.

orkz222
10-02-2010, 15:23
I really want to start getting into Warhammer 40k "fluff-dom", but I really have no idea where to start.

Anyway, I really want to learn about the Horus heresy, Tyranids and Marneus Calgar right now


Horus heresy
I would rec reading chaos space marine codex 2nd ed 1st (the fluff) and then horus heresy series books.

Tyranids
The new 5th ed tyranid codex would be a good read for the fluff.

Marneus Calgar
not sure lol

Lyinar
10-02-2010, 15:45
Most of the authors are hit and miss. Sandy Mitchell and Dan Abnett are the only ones I can think of who haven't really missed so far.

Ben Counter's Grey Knights books are utterly awesome, and his entry in the first Horus Heresy trilogy (Galaxy in Flames) is great, but he also has the distinction of having written the worst of the Horus Heresy books: Battle for the Abyss.

James Swallow's Flight of the Eisenstein is really good, but his Blood Angels stuff, not so much. Not read the Sisters of Battle book he wrote, so I can't really comment on it.

As far as a general introduction goes, you'll want to read Let the Galaxy Burn, a huge gorram book stuffed with 38 different short stories.

Also, stay away from CS Goto. Really, avoid him like a Great Unclean One. His books ARE that bad... And yet, he still manages to be better than Dan Brown (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/booknews/6194031/The-Lost-Symbol-and-The-Da-Vinci-Code-author-Dan-Browns-20-worst-sentences.html).

gamershell
10-02-2010, 18:57
Gunheads!!!!!!

adam-352
10-02-2010, 19:19
I love Storm of Iron as a complete book, Necropolis from the Gaunts Ghosts is incredibly well told, and i like the Ciaphas Cain books for humour

burlinghoff
10-02-2010, 19:23
http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Let_the_Galaxy_Burn_%28Novel%29

Excellent primer for themes, settings, and writing styles.

wazatdingder
10-02-2010, 21:07
A safe rule is to stay away from anything by C.S. Gotto, Dan Abnett and Bill King, I have yet to read book by any of them that wasn't waste of time.:wtf:

First of all, What have you read by Abnett? Did you start in the middle of a series? You really need to support a comment like that. Abnett is the best thing to happen to the 40k universe. If you hate guard or Inquisition, read Brotherhood of the Snake. Awesome marine book!

Second, while Bill King is not the best writer, HE IS ONE OF THE ORIGINAL GAME DEVELOPERS! He created the Space Wolves.... It's worth reading.

Bloodriver
10-02-2010, 21:10
Some authors such as Abnett are nearly universally acclaimed in the 40K community and some such as Swallow are not so popular. Swallow is actually not so bad in the context of the 40k niche as a lot of people claim. He likes to write about really straight arrow heroic characters and a good example of this is the often panned Horus Heresy book "Flight of the Eisenstein". In my view this is a decent book though.

I agree. I'm reading "Flight of the Eisenstein" right now, and I'm enjoying it much more than "False Gods" or "Galaxy in Flames."

I'm hoping Anthony Reynolds is brought into the HH fold sometime soon. His Word Bearers series would be my favourite BL novels to date.

MetalGecko23
10-02-2010, 21:16
read Brotherhood of the Snake. Awesome marine book!
No it is not. Worst marine book to date......well ok Legion and Battle for the Abyss are the worst marine books to date.
Nothing against Abnett though BotS was garbo.

I have found that the Soul Drinker series is fairly good early on, but gets kind of boring as the characters have stopped to develope and plot has stopped moving foward for like two books now. I mean Iktinos has had a super secret agenda for like two books (maybe 3) without any explaination at all.
An the Ultramarines books are fun, though lite reads.

Mr Zoat
10-02-2010, 22:07
Ciaphas Cain is good. Its nice to see a character with his own interests and not just those the local preacher beat into him.

Brotherhood of the Snake has ridiculously overpowered Space Marines. Some people like them to work like that. I don't.

Lyinar
10-02-2010, 22:17
Legion, bad? I thought it was awesome, myself.

Balragore
10-02-2010, 23:16
More votes for:

Angels of Darkness
Eisenhorn (all)
Ravanor (all)
Storm of Iron
Soul Drinkers (1st two)
Grey Knights
Ciaphas Cain (all)


Edit: Agreed to old rulebooks/codecies, bu I wouldn't actively try and buy them, see if someone has them lying about first

Frostmane
11-02-2010, 04:00
The Space Wolf series by William King, while not on your list of interests, is an amazing read. Start with Ragnar as a recruit, and watch him grow and change. I just bought the heresy series, except the first book >< when I get that, I start the long haul. I heard that they are quite good.

sigur
11-02-2010, 04:21
I really want to start getting into Warhammer 40k "fluff-dom", but I really have no idea where to start. I'm a rather dedicated reader, so I doubt anything in particular would be uninteresting (except maybe witchhunters, which are very boring to me).

Anyway, I really want to learn about the Horus heresy, Tyranids and Marneus Calgar right now,if that narrows the search a bit.

I'm referencing this thread to a few friends, so try to keep it on topic. Thanks!:)

Codex Imperialis --> Everything
Realms of Chaos --> Chaos and Horus Heresy
1st edition Ork books --> Orks stuff
Fluff section of your rulebook --> everything
Codex Ultramarines, Codex Space Marines 5th edition --> Marneus Calgar
Codex Tyranids (2nd edition, 5th edition) --> Tyranids

I'd be very cautious about treating BL novels as sources for serious fluff.

Void Reaper
11-02-2010, 04:38
Most BL fiction is fine as long as you don't ask too much of it. They are fun, easy reads. Abnett at his best, which in my opinion is the Eisenhorn series, is damn good stuff, though. Legitimately good, as far as I'm concerned.

I love the Heresy books. Battle of the Abyss (or for or whatever) was dull, but otherwise they're fun reads.

laudarkul
11-02-2010, 07:23
As for Tyranids you can try also the IA5 - The Anphelion Project which seems to contain some info's about bugs (but with money for it you can buy at least 5 BL books).

Zazoo
11-02-2010, 10:51
I have to agree with the people that commented that the books would not be published under thier own right but are actually more along the lines of fan fiction. even so there are a couple of gems in there.

Almost everyone who has read "storm of iron" has praised it.
The horus herasy books are fun reads and in my opinion the best of them has to be "Flight of the Eisenstein" now that I couldnt put down.
I dont understand why so many people praise "Eisenhorn' so much, I thought it was ok but certainly not a must read?

Overall dont expect too much but most of the books already mentioned are fun to read.

Poseidal
11-02-2010, 12:55
Codex Imperialis --> Everything
Realms of Chaos --> Chaos and Horus Heresy
1st edition Ork books --> Orks stuff
Fluff section of your rulebook --> everything
Codex Ultramarines, Codex Space Marines 5th edition --> Marneus Calgar
Codex Tyranids (2nd edition, 5th edition) --> Tyranids

I'd be very cautious about treating BL novels as sources for serious fluff.

I'd reiterate all of this, and add the following:

WD127 (or yellow compendium) and Eldar Codex: 2nd edition -> Eldar

Rogue Trader is also worth reading. Things have changed, but it's got a 'feel' that I like more than all the more recent rulebooks, and has things that aren't covered much nowadays, like psychic cats or man eating clams.

Draconis
11-02-2010, 13:06
Storm of Iron. Thats my fav one so far.

biginbelgium
11-02-2010, 13:11
Just recently read 'Cadian Blood', very nice novel. Fast action and the best part are of course the zombies. It was also nice to read a bit more about the cadians and how bad ass they really are. The description of the Stormtrooper sergeant made me laugh; a bear in a beetle suit.

Now I'm reading Soul Hunter from the same author, Aaron Dembski Bowden. And once again he is spot on, very cool to read more about the Night Lords legion.

cheerz
Tim

Duce
11-02-2010, 13:19
The crimson fists book is not too bad for me, enjoying it, but i found the imperial fists one just blegh..

Though the blood bowl series was great light reading fi you enjoy blood bowl game.

as mentioned the space wolves books, iron warriors books and the soul drinkers are good reads

Draconis
11-02-2010, 13:20
Anthony reynolds. Dark Apostle series. Very nice chaos series.

Helicon_One
11-02-2010, 13:25
Legion, bad? I thought it was awesome, myself.

Legion was great until it got to the ridiculous ending.

Void Reaper
11-02-2010, 16:23
Storm of Iron is epic (it is the one about the Iron Warriors laying siege to the Imperial outpost, right?) Great battles and a great plot twist.

chiggyman293
11-02-2010, 17:49
storm of iron and warriors of Ultramar are amongst the best BL books i have read !!!

Mr Zoat
11-02-2010, 18:42
Though the blood bowl series was great light reading fi you enjoy blood bowl game.

Blood Bowl series? Tell me more.

shin'keiro
13-02-2010, 23:01
Gaunts Ghosts and The Uriel Ventris Ultramarines books

scopedog91
13-02-2010, 23:20
As a University grad, it pains me to read some of the 40K books.
Just sad.
The Gaunts Ghosts series, and most of the Dan Abbnet stuff in general, is fantastic.
The Ben Counter Grey Knight stuff is good.
But most of the other hurts my eyes just viewing the cover...

ShogunRua
14-02-2010, 01:47
As everyone else has said; anything by Dan Abnett, definitely.

thelittlepurpleelf
14-02-2010, 03:46
Any good book recommendations for a younger 40k player? I want to get something for my little 10 year old brother but I would rather not hand him something too "grimdark."