What Warhammer 40k books should I start with?

By on June 20, 2010 6:13:20 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Saint C

Join Date 12/2008
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I've recently started reading some books dealing with the lore of Warhammer 40k and am a little overwhelmed when shopping on Amazon.  I'm pretty new to the Black Library and am looking for a little direction since it's hard to ascertain where in the timeline each one is.  I've read Eisenhorn, Rynn's World, and am currently reading the Ultramarines Omnibus.  I think next, I'm gonna look into Ravenour and some of the Horus Heresy novels.  Any direction is appreciated.

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June 20, 2010 6:38:43 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

If it has been written by Dan Abnett, it's worth reading (or watching, in the case of the Ultramarines movie being made right now).  So Ravenor is totally worth it, as well as Brothers of the Snake (even if only for the battles at Ganahedarak where the Iron Snakes go all Ancient Spartan on a green tide of Orks with a shield-and-spear phalanx) and every single Gaunt's Ghosts novel, which fortunately should be in three omnibuses by now plus the newest novel of Blood Pact.  Titanicus is awesome too since it has lots of Titan-on-Titan warfare in it.

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June 21, 2010 1:07:30 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

If it has been written by Dan Abnett, it's worth reading (or watching, in the case of the Ultramarines movie being made right now).

Yeah.  Eisenhorn is easily the best I've read so far.  I'd planned on looking into other books by Abnett.  And yeah,  I've watched the trailer for the animated movie and it looks savage!

Have you read any of the Horus Heresy books?  I feel like that's where I should start since, I assume,  they precede the other novels. 

 

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June 21, 2010 1:29:30 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Saint C,

If it has been written by Dan Abnett, it's worth reading (or watching, in the case of the Ultramarines movie being made right now).
Yeah.  Eisenhorn is easily the best I've read so far.  I'd planned on looking into other books by Abnett.  And yeah,  I've watched the trailer for the animated movie and it looks savage!

Have you read any of the Horus Heresy books?  I feel like that's where I should start since, I assume,  they precede the other novels. 

 

 

Of course they precede the other novels... They come before everything else in Warhammer 40,000.
They occur in the 31st Millennium, rather than the 41st.

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June 21, 2010 1:30:31 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The front half of the tabletop game's rulebook is completely dedicated to fluff - and awesome art.  I would read that for a primer on the mythos and then read the books.

This is probably not the cheap option though - if you've got friends who play tabletop WH40K, you could probably bum the rulebook from them to read the fluff.

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June 21, 2010 1:32:22 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

The Horus Heresy novels are pretty good, especially since Abnett wrote a couple of them, Horus Rising (the first HH novel) and Legion, which is about those cunning bastards in the Alpha Legion.

You really should grab the Gaunt's Ghosts novels though, especially if you're a fan of the Imperial Guard since there aren't any Astartes involved in on-screen combat actions, so everything gets done by the Guard, one bloody meter at time, or in the case of the Tanith-First-and-Only, sneaking up behind the enemy with their camo cloaks then stabbing them to death with their Scottish dirks.  Compared to the rest of the 40k fluff, the Gaunt's Ghosts novels really give a sense of the Guard being competent soldiers rather than a bunch of red shirts who die so the tanks can live.

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June 21, 2010 4:28:25 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

You really should grab the Gaunt's Ghosts novels though, especially if you're a fan of the Imperial Guard since there aren't any Astartes involved in on-screen combat actions, so everything gets done by the Guard, one bloody meter at time, or in the case of the Tanith-First-and-Only, sneaking up behind the enemy with their camo cloaks then stabbing them to death with their Scottish dirks. Compared to the rest of the 40k fluff, the Gaunt's Ghosts novels really give a sense of the Guard being competent soldiers rather than a bunch of red shirts who die so the tanks can live.

I guess I'll check those out then.  I'd have to say I enjoy the idea of the space marines more, but of the two books I've got pertaining to them I find they're somewhat repetitious.  Has Abnett written any space marine novels?

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June 22, 2010 3:57:10 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Yes, Brothers of the Snake (which takes place sometime in the 41st Millennium), and in the Horus Heresy series Horus Rising and Legion.

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June 22, 2010 5:04:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

after seeing the 40k online trailer. I might get into it.

Also want to try Dawn of War 2 since i LOVEDDDDDDDD Company of Heroes online mode.

Just not a fan of the constant wars in lore.. Never understood how barbaric self genocidal barbarians (orcs/chaos) like in both warhammer series can actually have offspring, laws, education, technology, or even military discipline.

Did like some of the psychic references i heard of in 40k series.

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June 22, 2010 9:48:07 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Yes, Brothers of the Snake (which takes place sometime in the 41st Millennium), and in the Horus Heresy series Horus Rising and Legion.

Have to get that one next.  I ordered the Gaunts Ghosts Omni,  Heresy:  Horus RisingSpace Wolf Omni,  Ravenor Omni,  Blood Ravens Omni,  Heresy: Legion,  and False Gods:  Heresy Takes Root.  Again appreciate all the feedback.  I still feel like I'm only scratching the surface though.

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June 23, 2010 1:23:40 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Blood Ravens Omni

Cancel that immediately.  You're better off using the money you spent on that as toilet paper than reading anything by C.S. Multilaser Goto.

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June 23, 2010 10:20:33 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I'm gonna take my chances.  I kinda want to know why they allude to the chapter not having much of a recorded history unlike the other chapters.  Plus the Blood Ravens are the chapter that got me into the whole Warhammer 40k thing.  Call it misplaced loyalty.  I did notice that it got lukewarm reviews at best on amazon though so you're not alone in feeling that way.

Also a couple easter eggs in appreciation of the feedback.  The first is a trailer for the movie that's supposedly getting made and the second is just a badass music video featuring cinematics from the games.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFHKIFDjk9I

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sl3_ZOeL2Z4

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August 19, 2010 1:41:47 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

May I suggest Let the Galaxy Burn?  It is a collection of the best 40K short fiction and provides a good tour through the entire 40K universe.  There are a ton of great stories in this omnibus and I highly recommend it. 

 

EDIT:  Just saw how old the last post was.  Oops!  Anyway, I still stand by the recommendation.

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August 19, 2010 2:01:30 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

EDIT: Just saw how old the last post was. Oops! Anyway, I still stand by the recommendation.

I wouldn't worry too much....certainly not a necro-thread....it's still the same year at least...

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September 1, 2010 2:34:52 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Read the entire Horus Heresy series, it gives a look at what the Space Marine Legions were originally like, true legions, not the more modern chapters. Chapters is an old 40k term for a portion of each legion. Read any author who writes about 40k, even C.S. Goto, as all novels have to stick to the standards of the historic timelines, and are read/approved by the originators of the game, before being published.

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September 1, 2010 2:51:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Read the Ciaphas Cain books.  Each one is addictive.  If you like Black Adder, you'll love this series

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September 3, 2010 8:41:06 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Read the entire Horus Heresy series, it gives a look at what the Space Marine Legions were originally like, true legions, not the more modern chapters.

Yeah I'm tearing through the heresy series.  I'm on "Tales of Heresy", right now.  I'm hoping that when they write one about the Blood Ravens they have Abnett do it.  Since their chapters' history is so vague I think it would give him a lot of room to maneuver.  Especially since he seems to be the best at good plot twists.

Read the Ciaphas Cain books. Each one is addictive. If you like Black Adder, you'll love this series

I'll have to try this series next.  But is Black Adder a warhammer 40k book cause I'm not familiar with it.

 

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November 1, 2010 5:15:40 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the Blood Ravens are more recently added chapter, and weren't around during the heresy. Their gene seed is a combination of Blood Angels, and the Srorm Crows chapters. The Storm Crows no longer exist, because of an incident like the book Flight of the Eisentein, and some fell to warp creatures, while most just joined them. They have since been expunged from Imperial records.

Black Adder is an older British comedy program, look it up, you may find some episodes online, but it has nothing to do with anything Warhammer.

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November 1, 2010 7:18:56 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I recommend these two:

Double Eagle by Dan Abnett. Imperial Guard fighter pilots try to stem the massive tide of Chaos bombers and fighters in a Battle of Britain -like scenario. Plenty of tense dogfights in an increasingly desperate situation. The massive land-crawling aircraft carriers used by Chaos are a nice touch.

Fifteen Hours by Mitchel Scanlon. A brand new Imperial Guard infantry soldier is mistakenly delivered to an ork-infested planet where the average life expectancy of a new arrival is fifteen hours. This book really captures the bleak, bloody atmosphere of the Warhammer 40,000 setting.

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November 1, 2010 8:38:14 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'd be careful and not buy entire series or compilations to begin with.

The Gaunt's Ghosts, for instance, I found incredibly boring and repetitive and just stopped reading about 2/3 through the first book.
They are either being killed off in a battle or being transported to the next battle. Repeat ad infinitum. That's the entire "story".
That I don't finish a book happens an estimated 1/300 books so this is a rare exception.

The only W40k books that I found to have a story were the Ciaphas Cain series. Definitely not your stereotype heroic space marine(tm) in blood-spattered armor.
But again - the characters don't really develop at all and start getting a little repetitive after the first 3 books or so.
Still way above average for W40k books where in most even the story doesn't develop at all.

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November 1, 2010 8:43:14 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I liked the horus heresy books the best, but it gets a bit repetitive after a while since the story is basically the same for every one of the primarchs (noble intentions -> corrupted -> war). I think Fulgrim was by far the best in the series so far. Legion was alright as well, but it was harder to follow than your standard warhammer book I think.

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November 1, 2010 8:35:25 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the Blood Ravens are more recently added chapter, and weren't around during the heresy. Their gene seed is a combination of Blood Angels, and the Srorm Crows chapters. The Storm Crows no longer exist, because of an incident like the book Flight of the Eisentein, and some fell to warp creatures, while most just joined them. They have since been expunged from Imperial records.

Thanks for the clarification I have to admit my only references were the Blood Ravens Omnibus and the RTS games.

@Jarmox, I'll have to check those out.  I've gotten pretty aquainted with Abnett's 40k work (ie Eisenhorn, his contributions to the heresy series, Gaunts Ghosts, and partially through Ravenor.)  But I hadn't heard too much feedback on the Ciaphas series.

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November 2, 2010 4:50:25 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Saint C,
@Jarmox, I'll have to check those out.

Please tell us how you found them after you've had the chance! I'm always interested in how others react to stuff I feel to be good.

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May 12, 2012 3:46:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'd recommend "The Last Chancers" if you're interested in seeing the universe through a humans point of view.  In fact I have a video review on that series at choppyreviews.com, or you could find my blip channel.  I'm new at this so I'm open to suggestions on my reviews.

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