Warhammer 40K Books – Where to Start

Warhammer 40K Books – Where to Start

Warhammer 40,000, commonly known as Warhammer 40K, is a tabletop miniature wargame developed by Games Workshop. Over the years, the game has expanded into a vast universe of lore, which has been explored through numerous novels. If you’re someone new to the Warhammer 40K universe, you might be wondering where to begin with the books. This article aims to guide you through the various starting points and provide answers to frequently asked questions.

Where to Start:

1. “Horus Rising” by Dan Abnett: This is the first book in the iconic “Horus Heresy” series. Set in the 31st millennium, it serves as a prequel to the Warhammer 40K universe, exploring the origins of the Imperium and the Horus Heresy, a civil war that nearly destroyed humanity. This series is an excellent starting point for understanding the foundations of the universe and its major characters.

2. “Gaunt’s Ghosts” by Dan Abnett: If you prefer stories focused on warfare and military campaigns, this series is perfect for you. Set in the grim future of the Imperium, it follows the Tanith First and Only regiment, led by Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt. The series delves into the brutal realities of war, showcasing the resilience and heroism of the Imperial Guard.

3. “Eisenhorn” by Dan Abnett: For those interested in the darker side of the Warhammer 40K universe, “Eisenhorn” is an excellent choice. This trilogy follows the story of Inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn, who battles heresy, corruption, and chaos. It provides a deep dive into the secretive world of the Inquisition and offers a thrilling blend of detective work and action.

4. “The Night Lords Omnibus” by Aaron Dembski-Bowden: This series provides a unique perspective by focusing on the Chaos Space Marines, specifically the Night Lords Legion. Known for their brutality and sadism, the Night Lords’ stories offer a different angle on the universe, exploring the darker aspects of Warhammer 40K.

5. “Ciaphas Cain” by Sandy Mitchell: If you prefer a lighter tone with a touch of humor, the “Ciaphas Cain” series is a great choice. It follows the adventures of Commissar Ciaphas Cain, who constantly finds himself in hilarious and dangerous situations. This series offers a refreshing take on the grimdark universe, balancing action with comedic relief.


1. Do I need to play the Warhammer 40K game to understand the books?
No, playing the game is not necessary to enjoy the books. While the game and the books are set in the same universe, the novels provide standalone stories that can be enjoyed independently.

2. Are the books suitable for beginners?
Yes, many Warhammer 40K books are beginner-friendly. The recommended starting points mentioned earlier are designed to introduce newcomers to the universe and its core concepts. However, it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the basic lore before diving into the novels.

3. Can I start with any book or series?
While most Warhammer 40K books can be read independently, some series are interconnected and follow a chronological order. Starting with the suggested books will provide a solid foundation, but after that, you can explore various series based on your interests.

4. Are there audiobook versions available?
Yes, there are audiobook versions of many Warhammer 40K books. They are a great option for those who prefer listening to the stories rather than reading them.

In conclusion, Warhammer 40K offers an expansive universe that has been brought to life through captivating novels. Whether you’re interested in the origins of the Imperium, tales of war and heroism, or exploring the darker side of chaos, there is a book or series for you. By starting with the suggested books and exploring the various series, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the gripping and thrilling world of Warhammer 40K.

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