Top 10+ warhammer 40k books where to start

Here are the top best warhammer 40k books where to start voted by users and compiled by us, invite you to learn together

Video Warhammer 40k books where to start

In the far future of the 41st millennium there is only war, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t time to enjoy a good tale or two. There’ve been lots of brilliant Warhammer 40k books over the decades, and many excellent sci-fi authors have lent their pens to this setting. In this guide we’ve gathered together a list of the best Warhammer 40k books in all of known space.

As you’d expect, Warhammer authors can take advantage of the detailed rosters of the tabletop game to deliver great action scenes, but the best Warhammer 40k books dive further, charting out new lore, and tackling the questions thrown up by its grimdark setting. Questions like: how does humanity react when pitted up against a terrifying hostile universe? Can you do the right thing in a flawed, often brutal system? When do the ends justify the means?

Sure, there can be great storytelling in tabletop wargames during play, but if you really want to get to grips with the Warhammer 40k universe, you’re going to have to step away from painting your latest batch of models, and do some reading. Diving into your first Warhammer 40k book is a time-honoured tradition for any Warhammer fan. The list of 40k books below should provide a great starting point. Most of these titles are available as audiobooks or eBooks over at Black Library, so however you like to read, you’re covered.

Oh, and if you want to get stuck into a really long series, we’d advise taking a look at out our guide to the Horus Heresy book order . But now for a list of greatest hits, let’s check out…

The best Warhammer 40k books and book series:

  • Eisenhorn Omnibus
  • Gaunt’s Ghosts series
  • Ciaphas Cain series
  • Horus Rising
  • Grey Knights #1

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Eisenhorn Omnibus

An often-recommended starting point for any fan looking for their first Warhammer 40k book, the Eisenhorn trilogy, by Dan Abnett, follows the career of an Imperial Inquisitor, Gregor Eisenhorn, as he tries to root out and curtail the influence of heretical forces.

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In the Eisenhorn trilogy, Abnett does a fantastic job of bringing a cast of likeable characters to life, while weaving in setting details that will excite Warhammer fans while not leaving newbies in the dark. It’s a must-read for fans of intrigue and adventure, and has interesting overarching themes, as Eisenhorn tackles threats that make him question his methods, and may force him to make unthinkable compromises.

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Gaunt’s Ghosts Series

Another Abnett series (and you’ll see his name again before we’re through). Where Eisenhorn follows the exploits of a man wielding immense power and authority, Gaunt’s Ghosts takes us to the other end of the spectrum, following the average soldier of the Imperial Guard, who has to face impossible odds and probably meet a messy end on the battlefield.

This series is often described as Band of Brothers meets 40k, and chances are you’ll be cursing the author a few times throughout the book series when your favourite characters bite the dust. Nothing drills in the horror of the Warhammer 40k setting quite like the perspective of the Astra Militarum.

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Ciaphas Cain Series

The Ciaphas Cain series, by Sandy Mitchell, is a more light-hearted set of Warhammer 40k books – quite the rare thing. It follows its titular main character, who’s basically 40k’s equivalent of Blackadder or Flashman, through all sorts of scrapes.

Ciaphas Cain is seen as a hero by the wider world, but in reality he’s something of a shirker, just trying to survive in a setting that seems pretty averse to the idea. Cain’s sardonic, sarcastic humour drives the series, and sets its slightly goofier tone, which can be refreshing when you’re tired of reading about people getting their legs chewed off by Orks or their eyeballs exploded by Chaos daemons. Plus, Cain is actually pretty cool at times, despite his self-proclaimed cowardice.

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Horus Rising

The Horus Heresy book series is something of a juggernaut among Warhammer 40k books, spanning 54 novels in total. That’s a lot of words for what is basically a prequel series, set 10,000 years before the world of Warhammer 40k as it exists today.

Where next: A guide to the best Horus Heresy book order

There’s much to recommend the series, though it has plenty of peaks and troughs along the way. If you want to dip your toe into these intimidating waters, there’s no better place to start than with book one. In Horus Rising, Abnett writes strong characterisation, and the expected solid action scenes, for godlike superhuman Space Marines.

Horus Rising will introduce you to the Warmaster Horus, and give you a who’s who of the other Primarchs and their legions, before any of them are corrupted and turn on the emperor. It sows the seeds for the long civil war that is to follow, and can’t be missed if you want to get the most out of this mahoosive series.

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Grey Knights #1

If you’ve enjoyed Chaos Gate: Daemonhunter and want to know more about the daemon-hunting, battle-prayer shouting, semi-medieval legion of the Grey Knights, then this Warhammer 40k book by Ben Counter, simply titled ‘Grey Knights’ is the place to look.

Packed with action, from hostage scenes in highrise offices, to large scale spaceship battles, Grey Knights is classic Warhammer 40k pulp. It’s the start of a three-book series, but the first one is the best of the bunch. It peels back the curtain on one of the more mysterious subfactions of the Imperium and provides a closer look at the forces of chaos. Read with eyes half-lidded if you don’t want to fall prey to the corruption of the warp.

Top 15 warhammer 40k books where to start edit by Top Q&A

Warhammer 40k Lore — Where to Start: Books

  • Author: wargameexplorer.com
  • Published Date: 04/30/2022
  • Review: 4.79 (460 vote)
  • Summary: Warhammer 40k Lore — Where to Start: Books · Eisenhorn · Gaunt’s Ghosts · Ultramarines Omnibus · Space Wolves · The Horus Heresy · Double Eagle.
  • Matching search results: For a completely different flavor of Warhammer 40k books, Hero of the Imperium brings a laughs and humor to the grim darkness of the 41st millennium. Following an Imperial Guard Commissar (not unlike Gaunt’s Ghosts) this series is hilarious and …

Beginner’s Guide to Warhammer 40000 – WH40K Book Club

  • Author: wh40kbookclub.com
  • Published Date: 10/04/2022
  • Review: 4.5 (322 vote)
  • Summary: First Steps: Understanding the World Pre-Rift · The Uriel Ventris Chronicles: Volume 1 – Graham McNeill · The Eisenhorn Trilogy – Dan Abnett · Ciaphas Cain: Hero …
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Introduction to Warhammer 40k Novels

  • Author: undertheradarsffbooks.com
  • Published Date: 10/05/2022
  • Review: 4.32 (587 vote)
  • Summary: Warhammer 40k collection includes hundreds of novels each written by dozens of different authors and the task of knowing where to start your …
  • Matching search results: My other favorite Space Marine chapter is the Space Wolf Omnibus written by William King. The howling fury of the Space Wolves is about to be unleashed! On the grim death world of Fenris, the sparse population faces a daily battle for survival …

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Black Library: New 40k Reading List

  • Author: trackofwords.com
  • Published Date: 11/05/2022
  • Review: 4.14 (515 vote)
  • Summary: Narratively speaking, the book starts before the Rift opens and then covers the immediate aftermath on Baal. From the perspective of the Blood …
  • Matching search results: The Swords of Calth by Graham McNeillGraham McNeill’s latest Ultramarines novel brings the ongoing saga of Uriel Ventris up to date with the current 40k timeline. As I understand it, for the full picture of how Ventris fits in with the Dark Imperium …

18 Best Warhammer 40k Books You Need to Read First

  • Author: tlbranson.com
  • Published Date: 02/16/2023
  • Review: 3.91 (434 vote)
  • Summary: 18 Best Warhammer 40k Books · 18. Enforcer: The Shira Calpurnia Omnibus by Matthew Farrer · 17. Soul Hunter by Aaron Dembski-Bowden · 16. The Talon …
  • Matching search results: So, we’ve taken a look at the ratings and popularity on Goodreads to create a list of the best Warhammer 40k books. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the books. However, it will be the perfect introduction to your Warhammer reading …

Best Warhammer 40k Books & Novels For Beginners

  • Author: ageofminiatures.com
  • Published Date: 11/01/2022
  • Review: 3.69 (347 vote)
  • Summary: Best Warhammer 40k Books & Novels For Beginners · Dawn of Fire: Avenging Son by Guy Haley · The Twice-Dead King: Ruin & The Twice-Dead King: Reign …
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Where to start reading Warhammer 40,000 books

Where to start reading Warhammer 40,000 books
  • Author: wegotthiscovered.com
  • Published Date: 02/21/2023
  • Review: 3.42 (359 vote)
  • Summary: The Horus Heresy book series is often pointed out as the best option to start since it delves into the franchise’s defining lore. This …
  • Matching search results: On Morod, there’s also another faction trying to transcend the human form, but through almost opposite means: One of the protagonists of the novel, Davien, lives in a desolate working-class neighborhood that’s being led by a council of elders who …

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Warhammer Fantasy Books: Where to Start?

  • Author: nsmirage.com
  • Published Date: 05/14/2022
  • Review: 3.27 (542 vote)
  • Summary: Warhammer Fantasy Books: Where to Start? · The first published Warhammer book: Draco by Jan Watson · The highest rated Warhammer book: The Chronicles of Malus …
  • Matching search results: The writing varies widely in this series, with countless authors contributing stories. And this is a perk because it means you can easily skip around if you want. However, the books are set in chronological order, so you may learn about different …

Getting Started – Black Library

  • Author: blacklibrary.com
  • Published Date: 06/11/2022
  • Review: 3.07 (205 vote)
  • Summary: Horus Rising: Book 1 … Space Marine, 40K, Warhammer, Warhammer Digital, Warhammer 40,000, the ‘Aquila’ Double-headed Eagle logo, Warhammer Age of Sigmar, …
  • Matching search results: The writing varies widely in this series, with countless authors contributing stories. And this is a perk because it means you can easily skip around if you want. However, the books are set in chronological order, so you may learn about different …

20 Best Warhammer 40K Books of All Time: Fulgrim, Legion, The Founding, The Space Wolf Omnibus

  • Author: pennbookcenter.com
  • Published Date: 02/16/2023
  • Review: 2.99 (76 vote)
  • Summary: Top Rated Best Warhammer 40K Books To Read · The Black Library: The Art Of Warhammer 40,000 · Horus Rising by Dan Abnett · Fulgrim – Graham McNeill.
  • Matching search results: A fantastic war looms, and loyalties are tested. Legion by Dan Abnett concentrated on the Space Marines of the Alpha Legion and an alien association known as the Cabal and told from the view of ordinary people, the novel’s details why and how the …

Where do I start learning about Warhammer 40,000?

  • Author: theindependentcharacters.com
  • Published Date: 06/21/2022
  • Review: 2.79 (155 vote)
  • Summary: Many times I see people recommend the Horus Heresy as a starting point. In my personal opinion they couldn’t be more wrong. The Horus Heresy …
  • Matching search results: First: Gaunt’s Ghosts Volume 1 This book, now released in Omnibus format contains books 1-3 of the Gaunt’s Ghosts series by Dan Abnett. This is a fantastic series which I put off reading for way too long because I had no interest in Imperial Guard …

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Where To Start With Black Library? – At Boundary’s Edge

  • Author: atboundarysedge.com
  • Published Date: 05/17/2022
  • Review: 2.69 (125 vote)
  • Summary: Black Library have been publishing Warhammer 40000 books for a little over twenty years now. As you can expect, there are several hundred …
  • Matching search results: Not everything has to (or should) be a long-running series, and there are some great standalones out there. Dead Men Walking by Steve Lyons and Honourbound by Rachel Harrison both provide military SF with a distinctly grimdark flavour, and neither …

Getting to Know Warhammer 40,000: Beginner’s Guide

  • Author: forbes.com
  • Published Date: 09/25/2022
  • Review: 2.69 (124 vote)
  • Summary: First Steps · uncaptioned Eisenhorn Omnibus – Dan Abnett · uncaptioned Ultramarines Omnibus – Graham McNeill · uncaptioned Double Eagle – Dan …
  • Matching search results: I am nothing if not an unabashed fan of the Warhammer 40,000 universe. It has a deep, complex lore that is well-seeded in more than twenty years of rulebooks and codexes, all of which is wonderfully explored in various novels from Black Library. The …

Warhammer 40,000 Fiction – Group Read: Which book to start with

  • Author: goodreads.com
  • Published Date: 01/31/2023
  • Review: 2.51 (67 vote)
  • Summary: I have recently started reading about the Warhammer 40K universe. I am interested in starting into all of the books, but I was wondering where everyone …
  • Matching search results: I am nothing if not an unabashed fan of the Warhammer 40,000 universe. It has a deep, complex lore that is well-seeded in more than twenty years of rulebooks and codexes, all of which is wonderfully explored in various novels from Black Library. The …

30 Best Warhammer 40k Books (2023) – A Must-Read! – Ereads.com!

  • Author: ereads.com
  • Published Date: 03/18/2022
  • Review: 2.38 (152 vote)
  • Summary: If you would like to read the series in a proper Warhammer 40k reading order, we recommend starting with this novel.
  • Matching search results: 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 …

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