The Horus Heresy novels are the culmination of a story that Games Workshop has been developing for over 20 years. As part of the production of tabletop gaming models and associated products for “Warhammer 40k”, Games Workshop developed a storyline to underpin everything they created. When the game began, the rebellion, the “Horus Heresy” was a few paragraphs but since then the story has been developed into a universe that Tolkien, Star Wars and Star Trek fans would be jealous of.
The Current Warhammer 40k Universe
The Year 40,000
The Horus Heresy novels catalogue the events of a great rebellion set far in the future in the 31st century. This rebellion is then responsible for the universe the game is played in; ten thousand years afterwards in the 41st century. The year 40,000 is where the term “40k” is derived from.
The premise of the Warhammer 40k universe is that humanity is in a perpetual state of war against alien and demonic forces. Huge tracts of the population fight in the Imperial army who in turn are supported by the ultimate fighting force, the Space Marines who are also know as Astartes.
The Space Marines are the ultimate warrior. Genetically engineered they possess many additional organs including an extra lung, heart, special cells in their blood that could clot wounds that would kill a normal man. Enhanced growth makes them an average of 3 metres tall, increased bone density makes them tougher giving them skeletal enhancements like a rib cage that is a solid mass of bone. Because of these modifications and their superhuman metabolism they are, for all intents and purposes, immortal. Encased in armour they are futuristic knights who do not know fear.
Ten Thousand Years Before
The Year 30,000
It is the origins of the Space Marines that are the roots of this galactic story. Just before the events of the Horus Heresy, mankind is recovering from a dark age of technology brought about by a stagnation of new ideas. In the darkness a figure emerges, mysterious and powerful he is known only as the Emeperor and he is a supreme almost deific being. He begins to re-conquer the galaxy and create an Imperium of man and in order to do this he creates the Primarchs, his generals.
An accident scatters them across the galaxy before they can take control of the legions of Space Marines created from their genetic templates. The Emperor then spends decades gathering them back together. It is soon after this that novels are set. The Emperor has gathered his Primarchs and together they are conquering or reuniting the lost worlds of man but he has to return to Terra (Earth) for a great piece of work that is secret. While he is gone he appoints the first of his Primarchs, Horus, to lead his army as Warmaster.
Horus will eventually lead the rebellion against the Emperor who is in essence his father. It is after this figure in the Horus Heresy is named.
Get The Full Picture
The Horus Heresy series is twelve published novels with more on the way. It is a story and game that captured my imagination as a teenager and brought me back as an adult. If you have never read any of the novels and you are a fan of Sci-Fi then you should absolutely make a point of reading these. Or if you have a child or partner who loves the games then you should definitely check whether they own them already and read them yourself.
Books Released So Far
Horus Heresy (Book 1)
Horus Rising – Dan Abnett
Horus Heresy (Book 2)
False Gods – Graham McNeil
Horus Heresy (Book 3)
Galaxy In Flames – Ben Counter
Horus Heresy (Book 4)
The Flight of The Eisenstein – James Swallow
Horus Heresy (Book 5)
Fulgrim – Graham McNeil
Horus Heresy (Book 6)
Descent of Angels – Mitchell Scanlon
Horus Heresy (Book 7)
Legion – Dan Abnett
Horus Heresy (Book 8)
Battle for the Abyss – Ben Counter
Horus Heresy (Book 9)
Mechanicum – Graham McNeil
Horus Heresy (Book 10)
Tales of Heresy – edited by Nick Kyme and Lindsey Preistley
Horus Heresy (Book 11)
Fallen Angels – Mike Lee
Horus Heresy (Book 12)
A Thousand Sons – Graham McNeil
Horus Heresy (Book 13)
Nemesis – James Swallow – August 2010
Horus Heresy (Book 14)
The First Heretic - Aaron Dembski-Bowden – November 2010
Horus Heresy (Book 15)
Prospero Burns – Dan Abnett – January 2011
Horus Heresy (Book 16)
Age Of Darkness – Christian Dunn – May 2011
Horus Heresy (Book 17)
The Outcast Dead – Graham McNeill – November 2011
Horus Heresy (Book 18)
Deliverance Lost – Gav Thorpe – January 2012
Horus Heresy (Book 19)
Know No Fear – Dan Abnett – February 2012
Horus Heresy (Book 20)
The Primarchs – Christian Dunn(editor) – May 2012
Horus Heresy (Book 21)
Fear To Tread – James Swallow – August 2012
Horus Heresy (Book 22)
Shadows Of Treachery – Christian Dunn and Nick Kyme(editors) – September 2012
Horus Heresy (Book 23)
Angel Exterminatus – Graham McNeill – November 2012
Horus Heresy (Book 24)
Betrayer – Aaron Dembski-Bowden – April 2013
Horus Heresy (Book 25)
Mark Of Calth – Various – August 2013
Horus Heresy (Book 26)
Vulkan Lives – Nick Kyme – August 2013
Horus Heresy (Book 27)
The Unremembered Empire – Dan Abnett– October 2013
Books To Be Released
Horus Heresy (Book 24)
Scars – Chris Wraight – May 2014
I will keep the list of books above up to date. I am an avid fan of the series so you can check back here anytime for more information.
Kalisthenes on September 17, 2014:
It would be fantastic if you could update the list to include all of the Heresy story threads, like the audio only and novelettes too. (in sequence - the list is all there in the BL after all). Like Gorro and Butchers Nails for example.
Bundu (author) from Somewhere just outside Edinburgh that no-one has heard of... Mid Calder on January 25, 2013:
Personally I feel the repetition in the series plays a role as slightly different facts and layers are added to the story. I think all of us are impatient to have the whole story and the waiting we endure is increased and our frustration along with it.
However in this tale of 'Gods' it is interesting how many of the first novels repetition mirrors the style of the first few books of the new testament (Mathew Mark Luke and John) the same story from different persepctives
Tolu Abisola on June 08, 2012:
Would like to echo Barnsey's comment, the repetition is way too much.
The entire series needs a major reboot, like the Emperor waking up. This would allow for a much greater range of stories instead of the bolter porn we have to endure now
Davecapt on March 27, 2012:
Wow, that was the best brief I have ever read. I've already read them all. This series is amazing for anyone who likes series.
Barnsey from Happy Hunting Grounds on February 02, 2012:
Try taking an objective position regarding not just this series of novels but all of the 40k novels to date. While I am a big fan of the genre myself I am sick of the repetitive nature of these stories. Really, the formula for nearly every novel is exactly the same. I no longer believe any of the authors are skilled at all since they only have to rehash what was already provided. I bet you this my friend, I bet the Black Library requires their authors to read the other 40k novels so they continue the status quo. Its time for a new regime or a change of publishers, or perhaps a new flock of authors. Untie against this capitalistic disrespect of the creative sector of this world. Unite I say!!
ben on May 21, 2011:
I am up to the book nemesis but fail to see anything in regard to the actual stand off between the emp and horus. Is this actually in a series or am I reading the wrong stuff. The books are actually quite disappointing in regard to this. It goes from great to random books about chapters and things and never revisit horus again?
Spenser on February 21, 2011:
thanks for the summary, i was confused on reading the first book, then after i read this i finally understood the book oh and thanks for the llist this is the first complete one i found
fiachra on January 13, 2011:
Thanks so much you are the only person on the internet who has the whole list of the horus heresy books