Name some good Warhammer 40K novels.
June 9, 2009 12:28 PM   Subscribe

I've just finished reading Let The Galaxy Burn, a collection of Warhammer 40k short stories, and I really liked it. What are some other good Warhammer 40k books?

I'd be interested in suggestions for both other short story collections or novels.

Also, I've heard that the Horus Heresy line of books is good, but it appears that there are quite a few to choose from. Are they all good, or are some worth skipping?

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!
posted by thewittyname to Writing & Language (11 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I'd suggest the Eisenhorn trilogy/collection.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 1:03 PM on June 9, 2009

Seconding Eisenhorn also the Gaunt's Ghosts and Ravenor series. Hell, pretty much anything in the WH40K fiction line by Abnett is pretty good. Also the Ciaphas Cain series by Sandy Mitchell.
posted by MikeMc at 1:30 PM on June 9, 2009

Gaunt's Ghosts is by far the best 40K series, as far as I'm concerned. Memorable characters, exciting plots, realistic (read: everyone dies!) Imperial Guard combat, tons of fun background info, and writing which improves with every book. The latter means that the first book is a little creaky, but after that it really takes off, and the later books are fethin' great! Get The Founding and The Saint omnibi, you won't regret it!

Eisenhorn is by the same author, and is indeed a good choice.

For short stories, you can't beat Let The Galaxy Burn. It's something like 800(!) pages of 40K goodness for a cheap omnibus price.

Good Heresy books include Horus Rising, False Gods, Fulgrim, and Mechanicum -- to me, these four pretty much sum up the major events, so far. Most of the others are either horrible, boring, horribly boring, or "Blah Legion falls to Chaos" / "Blah Legion almost falls to Chaos, but not quite!", which is really only interesting if you're into Blah Legion.

Also: the sheer joy of the tabletop game kicks the crap out of all of the books, if you're into that sort of thing. If you get into the books, I'd suggest getting a few friends together and trying the Assault on Black Reach starter kit. It comes with everything you'll need to try the game for $70, and if worst comes to worst and you hate it, no big deal -- in the grim darkness of the far future there is only EBAY!
posted by vorfeed at 1:31 PM on June 9, 2009

Oops, I left out Galaxy In Flames on the Heresy side -- that one is definitely worth reading. In order, the good ones go Horus Rising, False Gods, Galaxy In Flames, Fulgrim, and Mechanicum.
posted by vorfeed at 1:43 PM on June 9, 2009

I just noticed you said you'd read Let The Galaxy Burn already. The problem with most of the older story collections is that they reprinted many of the stories in LTGB, which makes it kind of annoying to pay for them again. Don't get Words of Blood or Deathwing, since you already have most of those stories.

Try Planetkill (I think all the stories from that should be new to you) and the new Heroes Of The Space Marines book.
posted by vorfeed at 4:03 PM on June 9, 2009

Thirding Abnett's WH40k books; they're absolutely gold in their own right, not just as warhammer books.

With regard's gaunt's ghosts, the first couple of books are a collection of short stories that don't hang together as well as some of the later ones; necropolis is the first stand-alone novel, and I think one of the best in the series, so might be a good starting point for how good the series is, though the first three books including necropolis is available as an omnibus since you do like short stories. I'm on my third copy of necropolis, as it never comes back!

The single-book spin off, double eagle is also very good, as is brothers of the snake, which reads like a collection of short stories about the same legion. Titanicus is pretty good, but it didn't quite click for me.

Eisenhorn and Ravenor are both good series about the Inquisition, but I like the Gaunt series better - I guess I'm more invested in the characters.

The best horus heresy book is the first, Horus Rising - which unsurprisingly is also by Abnett.
posted by ArkhanJG at 4:22 PM on June 9, 2009

One of the things I like best about Abnett's writing by the way, is that he usually has a hefty cast of main characters, and follows their individual stories through the novel as a whole - often they get cut off or sent on a separate mission, so it's like following three or more stories at once in the backdrop of a larger war. As people die off or get seriously wounded, he gets to constantly introduce new characters and build more stories within the legion. Plus, the good guys don't always win, which is one of my favourite things in a novel.

Just fethin get all of em, you won't be disappointed!
posted by ArkhanJG at 4:30 PM on June 9, 2009

If you want to mix it up a bit yopu might want to try Gordon Rennies two Battlefleet Gothic books (1, 2)- those are pretty fun.
posted by Artw at 11:30 PM on June 9, 2009

As fate would have it, I'm visiting an office of my company which is directly across from the local Games Workshop, so I picked up 'Eisenhorn' (the chap in the shop said it was the best introduction to The Black Library he could think of). Cheers for the synchronicity, MeFi!
posted by Happy Dave at 6:47 AM on June 10, 2009

Ian Watson's novels are very good and his three Inquisitor novels were re-issued as a omnibus a couple of years ago.
posted by ninebelow at 8:46 AM on June 10, 2009

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