Jump to content

Welcome to The Bolter and Chainsword
Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!
Photo

Where to begin with 40k books?


  • Please log in to reply
17 replies to this topic

#1
ImperialTuba

ImperialTuba

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 58 posts
  • Location:South Florida, United States
  • Faction: Raven Guard, Astra Militarum

Up to now, my only exposure to the lore has been through the Codex and YouTube videos. 

 

What's a good starting point? 

 

Is there a suggested order in which to read to avoid feeling completely lost, or do most of the books stand on their own well enough?



#2
Kelborn

Kelborn

    ++ LECTOR HOSPITIS ++

  • ++ MODERATI ++
  • 4,749 posts
  • Location:Germany
  • Faction: None - I'm a fluff nerd.
A very good question.

I'd start with the classics like Gaunts Ghosts by Dan Annett or Space Wolves by Bill King.

Those were the once showing me the universe of 40k.

Of the new Dark Imperium era, the name sharing Dark Imperium by Guy Haley is a good start along with Watchers of the Throne by Chris Wraight.

If you're into the Heresy era, start with the first three books, Horus Rising, etc.

But I'm sure there will be a more eloquent guide coming soon by one of our brothers in here. :)

That's just a very quick wrap up.
  • Tarvek Val and ImperialTuba like this

Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image




Brotherhood of the Lost - The Icarion Insurrection: http://www.bolterand...od-of-the-lost/


This is my mod voice. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My mod voice is a means to an end.

Let us avoid it, alright?


#3
Marshal Loss

Marshal Loss

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 3,339 posts
  • Location:New York
  • Faction: Sons of Horus

I think the best novel for you would be Spear of the Emperor by ADB. I don't think there is another novel that better encapsulates the setting of Warhammer 40,000, particularly in the current era.


  • Kelborn, Preliminary Bombardment and ImperialTuba like this

bl-logo.jpg

The Unblinking Eye
A (perpetually inactive) blog about 30k & the Sons of Horus 29th Company


#4
Roomsky

Roomsky

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 685 posts
  • Location:Canada, eh?

This is a toughie because it looks like you've already got some exposure to the lore. What I mention here won't necessarily be what I'd recommend to someone looking for an entry point into the whole shebang.

 

Imperial Guard (This category is secretly about commissars):

Necropolis - The first good Gaunt's Ghosts novel. Don't worry, it recaps everything you need to know about the main characters, and is a good introduction to the Sabbat Crusade, Abnett's little corner of the lore. And, of course, Abnett is the master of of writing humies, especially soldiers.

Honourbound - Not a series yet if you don't count the shorts, but one of the best Guard novels ever written. The regiment is interesting, but contrast Ciaphas Cain or Ibram Gaunt, Severina Raine is a more typical ruthless Commissar

 

Spehss Mehrines

Helsreach - A fairly straightforward series of events set during the Third War for Armageddon, ADB elevates the material by digging deep into what makes a Black Templar tick, and the cast is excellent

Spear of the Emperor - Especially if you'd like to get into the m42 material. The tone is pitch-perfect and it covers a lot of the detail of the new codices with finesse rather than hammering Primaris down your throat

 

The Inquisition

Eisenhorn - the best jumping off point for brand-new readers, and not a bad start for people familiar with the lore already. He plays a bit loose with the lore, but it all serves the story and is often quite interesting

The Carrion Throne - If you've ever been curious about what it's like on Terra, this is the book for you. Lots of intrigue, and some of the best atmosphere in Black Library

 

Traitors

Lord of the Night - The Night Lords book. Outlines the conflicts many traitor marines feel, offers glimpses into the Heresy, and has very little in the way of bolter porn

The Talon of Horus - Ever wonder how Abaddon rose to power? Start here, and stay for all the tidbits about life in the Eye of Terror. ADB is to marines what Abnett is to Guardsmen

 

The Horus Heresy

Just start at the beginning, honestly. If you've read the codices the dramatic irony shouldn't go over your head. That said, if you know how things generally play out, you can also start with something like Scars, or The First Heretic, and follow those plotlines. It would certainly be a more consistent experience.

 

Things like more xenos-centric books, or works about the other arms of the Imperium, are better to start on once you get a feel for Black Library.

 

Don't read Storm of Iron, it is bad, don't believe the memes.


Edited by Roomsky, 24 August 2019 - 08:59 PM.

  • aa.logan, Gongsun Zan, Tarvek Val and 1 other like this

Hey I've started a web comic! You can read it here.

 


#5
Knockagh

Knockagh

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 790 posts
If your a keen reader of the codex books you will have a sound knowledge of the background and could start pretty much anywhere. Personally I would recommend an inquisition book as it will shine a light on areas you probably haven’t really delved into in the codex books. (Ravenor trilogy) Or if your a marine nut helsreach, emperors spears, Dante or the excellent dark angels trilogy by Gav Thorpe are wonderful. For guard books I would try Justin D Hills Cadia bdooks, the Gaunts Ghosts are excellent too but the Hill books are bang up to date with the current events and are brilliant, I’m half way through the second one and loving it just as much as the first.
Or if you hate your current life, have more free time and money than you know what to do with and don’t mind plowing through endless books of which at least half are pretty poor buy the entire Horus Heresy
  • ImperialTuba likes this

#6
DarkChaplain

DarkChaplain

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 1,867 posts
  • Location:Germany

I'd still recommend Eisenhorn as the main starting point, because it is compelling both for being 40k and for being a very approachable scifi action adventure trilogy that gets you into areas of the setting that you don't usually see in Codex lore. They're just fantastic books no matter what direction you come from.

 

Other than that, I'd recommend Ciaphas Cain's omnibus(es), so long as you're aware that the writing is deliberately tongue in cheek and more comedic/cynical than the setting usually is depicted as; it doesn't necessarily reflect the tone of other books, as a result, but it does get you places and introduces various factions, planets, and military institutions while being rather entertaining to begin with.

 

For Space Marines, I'd also throw in my lot with the folks recommending Helsreach. It's a very strong novel that's approachable, shows the scale in a neat way, and has a solid human element in there, contrasting nicely with the Space Marines themselves. Helsreach also presents a branching point for the wider war for Armageddon, with it set during the 3rd War, with the 2nd and even 1st being handled in other books and shorts. In any case, I'd recommend picking up the Armageddon omnibus including Helsreach and a whole host of different authors' works tying into the 3rd War. Best bang for your buck and you even get the sequel novella in one thick paperback.

 

Generally, though, if you're Codex-savvy, you can start in a lot of ways. It mostly depends on what you're interested in most, especially when it comes to special characters.

I'd still caution against jumping straight into the Heresy, simply because it gets so much more impactful when you have a solid grasp on how screwed the setting is or have seen the present-day existences of certain characters, and thus can pick up on the foreshadowing and easter eggs. It's also a massive commitment in terms of sheer volume, let alone the often convoluted reading order.


  • JH79 and ImperialTuba like this

#7
Nineswords

Nineswords

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 626 posts
  • Faction: Storm Sons

 

The Inquisition

Eisenhorn - the best jumping off point for brand-new readers, and not a bad start for people familiar with the lore already. He plays a bit loose with the lore, but it all serves the story and is often quite interesting

 

 

Curious, in what way?

 

Personally, I think it's the perfect introduction to 40k.


  • ImperialTuba likes this

+++

'We are the sword of Jaghatai. Had you not created great sins, the Emperor would not have sent a punishment like us upon you.'

 Index Astartes: Storm Sons
+++

‘We estrange our fathers and forsake false brotherhoods. The War God cares not from whence we came, only that we fight.’
The Unbroken: A Renegade Cult of Obliteration

+++


#8
bluntblade

bluntblade

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 8,729 posts
  • Location:Herts
  • Faction: Inkspillers
I personally found Battle of the Fang to be a superb introduction to 40K.

#9
b1soul

b1soul

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 4,306 posts
I would suggest:
1. the opening trilogy of the Horus Heresy series
2. Carrion Throne, Emperor's Legion, Spears of the Emperor, Devastation of Baal, Dark Imperium, and Dark Imperium Plague War

GW's Gathering Storm campaign books are not very well-written, but reading them will help you understand the origins of the current Indomitus/post-Indomitus setting, so I would recommend quickly reading through those (especially the third book Rise of the Primarch) just to understand the critical events behind the Great Rift and Guilliman's return. By reading these first, I think you will appreciate more the BL entries set around or well after the Gathering Storm period.
  • JH79 likes this

#10
Kelborn

Kelborn

    ++ LECTOR HOSPITIS ++

  • ++ MODERATI ++
  • 4,749 posts
  • Location:Germany
  • Faction: None - I'm a fluff nerd.

Oh shame on me, how could I forget some of my most beloved novels.

 

Dude, grab yourself Helsreach, Battle of the Fang AND Wrath of Iron. If you ever wanted to have a grimdark ending, Wrath of Iron is the right choice for you.
It also is by far the best depiction of the Iron Hands, imho. Although it's one of Chris Wraights earliest stories, it is still upper class.

 

Furthermore, Aaron Dembski-Bowden wrote some of the absolute best novels out there, which are also a great way to dive into 40K:

 

Spear of the Emperor for the Dark Imperium / Imperium Nihilum setting

Black Legion & Night Lord series for traitors

Helsreach & The Emperor's Gift for loyalists

 

But as you can see, others do have a more eloquent recommondation list posted. msn-wink.gif


Edited by Kelborn, 25 August 2019 - 06:58 AM.

Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image




Brotherhood of the Lost - The Icarion Insurrection: http://www.bolterand...od-of-the-lost/


This is my mod voice. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My mod voice is a means to an end.

Let us avoid it, alright?


#11
Roomsky

Roomsky

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 685 posts
  • Location:Canada, eh?

 

 

The Inquisition

Eisenhorn - the best jumping off point for brand-new readers, and not a bad start for people familiar with the lore already. He plays a bit loose with the lore, but it all serves the story and is often quite interesting

 

 

Curious, in what way?

 

Personally, I think it's the perfect introduction to 40k.

 

 

And I would agree. 

 

I'm just saying some of the things that make it the perfect introduction are also what make it a bit of an oddity lore-wise. Factions, technologies, and the general tone within can sometimes function in a bit of a 40k-adjacent manner, occasionally veering into a more general sci-fi adventure feel. Which, I'd like to point out, I don't think is a bad thing; I think there's rarely a case where being rigidly codex adherent (which also would have been completely impossible at the time of its writing) benefits the story rather than hindering it's potential. But it might rub some people the wrong way, so I like to point it out. Eisenhorn is ace. 


  • cheywood likes this

Hey I've started a web comic! You can read it here.

 


#12
Preliminary Bombardment

Preliminary Bombardment

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 133 posts
I'd chuck in Titanicus as well. One of Dan Abnets best, reading it feels like watching a suitably epic action movie. Up there with Necropolis in my opinion
  • Knockagh likes this

#13
Tarvek Val

Tarvek Val

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 248 posts
  • Location:Nostramo
  • Faction: Night Lords

I would recommend starting with the first three Horus Heresy books. Horus Rising gets better every time I read it, and they serve as an excellent introduction to the 30k-era Imperium.

 

If you want to bypass the Heresy entirely, I second the folks who have nominated the Guant's Ghosts series, Helsreach, Wrath of Iron, and Battle of the Fang. The Eisenhorn and Ravenor series are excellent reads, and provide a look into the 40k universe beyond that of a typical 'battle-centric' novel - you will get much more of a feel for the life of the average Imperial citizen and day-to-day affairs than in many other pieces of Black Library fiction. 

 

As a longtime follower of the powers of Chaos, ADB's Night Lords trilogy is an absolute must-read. He creates some of the most compelling antiheroes in the entire Black Library canon, and this trilogy of books is something I highly recommend picking up. As others have noted, the Black Legion series is another great pick-up if you're at all interested in how Abandon formed his merry band of misfits. 

 

Finally, Dark Imperium offers a solid introduction to the modern-day state of the galaxy, if you're interested primarily in the most current levels of Black Library releases.


  • Kelborn likes this

"Our holy hatred will make us free!" ~Nameless Dark Apostle

 

"Though my guards may sleep and ships may rest at anchor, our foes know full well that big guns never tire." ~Huron Blackheart

 

"You shall stand in midnight clad, your claws forever red with the lifeblood of my father's failed empire, warring through the centuries as the talons of a murdered god. Rise, my sons, and take your wrath across the stars, in my name. In my memory. Rise, my Night Lords." ~Konrad Curze, the Night Haunter

 

"So... How are you?" ~Cyrion, First Claw

 

 


#14
Red_Shift

Red_Shift

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 957 posts
I would go more simple. Inferno, volume one, start to get a feel for the setting. 6.99 I believe. Then you go from there.

I would say that Eisenhorn is 100% the best 40k series though. I like Cain also.
  • DarkChaplain likes this

#15
b1soul

b1soul

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 4,306 posts
To get into the pre-Rift setting (so the old setting frozen before the fall of Cadia), I would suggest anything by Abnett, Wraight, ADB, or French. These authors consistently product high-quality work with Abnett and French being a bit less consistent but generally still very good. Hard to go wrong with these authours.

#16
ImperialTuba

ImperialTuba

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 58 posts
  • Location:South Florida, United States
  • Faction: Raven Guard, Astra Militarum

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I went ahead and ordered Helsreach since it got a good deal of praise. I also thought it'd be a good idea to start with aspects of the lore I was most likely to be familiar with as a Space Marines player. Can't say I'll be finished with it soon since I'm such a sluggish reader, but I'm looking forward to diving into it when it arrives!  


  • Kelborn and Roomsky like this

#17
Rob P

Rob P

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 223 posts

Just a random one to throw out there, but I thought Imperial Glory was a cracking standalone Astra Militarum read.



#18
Apothecary Vaddon

Apothecary Vaddon

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 1,240 posts
  • Location:Washington State, US
  • Faction: n/a, don't do TT

Imperial Glory was pretty decent. Oldie but goodie - plus there was a lil wholesome afterlife bit at the end which was nice






1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users