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  3. 10 Best Warhammer 40k Books UK 2023 | Horus Rising, Eisenhorn and More
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10 Best Warhammer 40k Books UK 2023 | Horus Rising, Eisenhorn and More

There are hundreds of Warhammer 40k books that have been published since the tabletop game was released in 1987, so it can be quite intimidating for new readers to find an entry point into the universe. Even if you’re familiar with the Horus Heresy timeline, keeping track of where each new volume fits in is difficult as some long running series have over 50 titles.


We’re here to make that task a little less daunting by giving you our list of the 10 best Warhammer 40k books available in the UK. With titles from leading authors such as Dan Abnett and Aaron Dembski-Bowden available in paperback and on Amazon Kindle, hopefully you’ll be able to find something that piques your interest!

Last updated 14/07/2023
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Table of Contents

How to Choose a Warhammer 40k Book in the UK - Buying Guide

With this buying guide, we’re hoping to provide you with a point of entry into the vast number of Warhammer 40k books, or maybe point you towards something you hadn’t considered if you’re already a fan. We’ll be looking at the best stand-alone novels, as well as some long-running series by the most celebrated authors writing for the franchise, including what type of story you can expect from each title.

1

Some Titles Are Better Than Others: Look for Books by These Authors

Some Titles Are Better Than Others: Look for Books by These Authors

With over 400 Warhammer books on the market, it’s no surprise that some are less than stellar. To put it politely, they can range from the fantastic to the very bad. In the early days it would be a gamble on whether a new release would be worth your time, but over the decades a number of authors have proved reliable in weaving an intriguing narrative with terrific writing.


The best name to look for is Dan Abnett, who has a number of excellent titles under his belt. So if you come across a book by him, it’s probably worth a read. Others to look out for are Graham McNeill, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Sandy Mitchel, and William King, all of whom we highly recommend.

2

Stand Alone or Trilogy? Whether Part of a Series or Not, Good Titles Are Worth Your Time

Stand Alone or Trilogy? Whether Part of a Series or Not, Good Titles Are Worth Your Time

The main issue with Warhammer 40k novels is that it’s almost impossible to read them all in chronological order, and to start at the beginning of a long running series may not be worth the time and effort for the payoff. Due to this, most long running sagas are split into digestible arcs, with long-running series’ sharing the same worlds and characters, even if not directly based off previous entries.


Stories tend to be contained within stand alone adventures, or trilogies within the larger narrative. The authors do expect a certain level of knowledge of Warhammer 40k lore, but do a good job of explaining key events that they know the reader may not be aware of. There’s no need to panic if you see a recommendation on our list that’s no.23 of 54, we assure you that you won’t be lost!

3

For New Readers, Stick to Novels Centered Around Space Marines and the Imperial Guard

For New Readers, Stick to Novels Centered Around Space Marines and the Imperial Guard
Source:amazon.co.uk

The many fully realised and in-depth alien races are a huge part of why the tabletop games are so popular and long-lasting, with unique cultures and societies. When it comes to the novelisations, however, the protagonists tend to be The Imperium of Man, who are the humans of the Warhammer universe.


If you’re new to the universe, its best to stick to The Imperium of Man. It’s much easier to relate to a human commander fighting for survival than a single part of a ravenous hive mind, a robot skeleton older than time itself, or a daemon made of psychic energy.

4

"In the Grim Darkness of the Future There is Only War": Compare the Sub-Genres

"In the Grim Darkness of the Future There is Only War": Compare the Sub-Genres

It's worth noting that, in terms of genre, while Warhammer 40k books are very much in dark science-fiction territory, there is a surprising amount of difference in plot and tone from author to author. Some bring humour to their work, while others focus on action and gore, or intrigue and plot suspense instead of the usual horror and despair associated with the series.


As the Warhammer 40K tagline suggests, you won’t find much romance within the novels, and most inter-personal relationships are bittersweet due to the setting. What you will find is an incredibly well realised universe with a deep lore and unique inhabitants.

5

Paperback, eBook or Audiobook? Warhammer 40k Books Are Available in a Variety of Formats

Paperback, eBook or Audiobook? Warhammer 40k Books Are Available in a Variety of Formats

The official publisher of Warhammer 40k books is The Black Library, a publishing division of Games Workshop, and while a large selection of their titles are available in paperback, some can be difficult to track down. Luckily, everything is easily available in eBook format. There are also a number of audiobooks available, as well as some shorter works that are exclusively digital.


Keep in mind you’ll need the correct device for these options, and potentially a subscription service or app. With the sheer amount of books out there it may be a good idea to have them available on one handy device if you find yourself bitten by the Warhammer 40k bug.

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Top 10 Best Warhammer 40k Novels in the UK

Now that you're hopefully up to speed with the Warhammer 40k universe and what to expect from the many different authors involved, we're proud to present our ranking of the top 10 best! There is a surprising amount of diversity within the setting, so we hope you'll be able to find something that takes your fancy.
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Key features
1

Dan Abnett

Eisenhorn

Dan Abnett Eisenhorn 1枚目

An Incredible Trilogy of Action and Intrigue

2

Dan Abnett

Horus Rising

Dan Abnett Horus Rising 1枚目

The Beginning of an Epic Saga

3

Dan Abnett

The Founding (A Gaunt's Ghosts Omnibus)

Dan Abnett The Founding (A Gaunt's Ghosts Omnibus) 1枚目

A Very Human Story in an Alien Universe

4

Sandy Mitchell

Ciaphas Cain: Savior of the Imperium (Omnibus)

Sandy Mitchell Ciaphas Cain: Savior of the Imperium (Omnibus) 1枚目

A Warhammer 40k Comedy?

5

Aaron Dembski-Bowden

Night Lords (Trilogy)

Aaron Dembski-Bowden Night Lords (Trilogy) 1枚目

A Very Different Perspective

6

Dan Abnett

Ravenor

Dan Abnett Ravenor 1枚目

A Mind Bending Premise for Sci-Fi Fans

7

William King

The Space Wolf Omnibus

William King The Space Wolf Omnibus 1枚目

An Excellent Original Series

8

Aaron Dembski-Bowden

The First Heretic

Aaron Dembski-Bowden The First Heretic 1枚目

A Fall From Grace Tale

9

Dan Abnett

Legion

Dan Abnett Legion 1枚目

A Deep Political Thriller

10

Graham McNeill

Nightbringer

Graham McNeill Nightbringer 1枚目

One for Fans of Ultramarines

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No.1

Dan AbnettEisenhorn

Eisenhorn Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£9.99
Reference price
£9.99

An Incredible Trilogy of Action and Intrigue

The No.1 title on our list had to be another installment from Dan Abnett. The Eisenhorn trilogy is hands down the best entry point into the Warhammer 40k literary universe, largely due to the first person POV of the compelling titular Gregor Eisenhorn, who is a fan-favourite.


With a constantly shifting moral compass, it's a rollercoaster ride seeing how far Eisenhorn is willing to go to protect humanity while his own slips away. Do the ends justify the means, or is becoming what you fight against a greater evil? You'll have to make up your own mind while reading the best that 40k has to offer!

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No.2

Dan AbnettHorus Rising

Horus Rising Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
£7.19
Reference price
£7.19

The Beginning of an Epic Saga

Narrowly missing out on our number 1 spot is the first entry into the hugely popular Horus Heresy series that's currently sitting at 54 volumes. Horus Rising takes the reader back 10,000 years to how the Warhammer 40k universe began.


This is a great entry point as it requires little prior knowledge in comparison to other entries, but even those who are familiar will find a lot of extra joy in seeing the seeds being sown for how the 40k universe develops and evolves. Simply put, for new and old fans, it's a must read!

No.3

Dan AbnettThe Founding (A Gaunt's Ghosts Omnibus)

The Founding (A Gaunt's Ghosts Omnibus) Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£12.01
Reference price
£12.01

A Very Human Story in an Alien Universe

If you've ever seen Sharpe, Band of Brothers, or any other war drama focusing on a small unit led by a celebrated commanding office, you'll be right at home with the Gaunt's Ghosts series. Ibram Gaunt and his squad are some of the most human characters in a terrifyingly violent universe, making them extremely relatable to the reader.


As it keeps the action focused on a small group, there is little backstory needed. Although the series is ongoing, this self-contained trilogy is a great read if you're not too concerned with the extended universe.

No.4

Sandy MitchellCiaphas Cain: Savior of the Imperium (Omnibus)

Ciaphas Cain: Savior of the Imperium (Omnibus) Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£11.25
Reference price
£11.25

A Warhammer 40k Comedy?

This is a difficult one to place as comedy is an extremely subjective thing, but the fact that Sandy Mitchells pulls it off in an otherwise depressing and grim universe deserves serious credit. An omnibus of the first three novels, Ciaphas Cain: Saviour of the Imperium is easily the most unique title on our list.


If you're familiar with the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett, or television shows like Blackadder, you'll have an idea of the kind of humour Mitchell writes. Sarcastic and farcical, this really is a 40k series that anyone can enjoy.

No.5

Aaron Dembski-BowdenNight Lords (Trilogy)

Night Lords (Trilogy) Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£11.25
Reference price
£11.25

A Very Different Perspective

If you're looking at the list of 40k novels and are fed up with the overabundance of Imperial Guards and Space marines, this trilogy is the one for you. It's all about the the bad guys, traitors of humanity who've been warped by the daemonic forces of Chaos.


This isn't an example of good people on the wrong side, these characters are sadistic monsters, but it shows the twisted sense of honour and really dives into what drives the enemies of humankind. You may even find yourself empathising with the protagonist's powerful emotions.

No.6

Dan AbnettRavenor

Ravenor Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£12.00
Reference price
£12.00

A Mind Bending Premise for Sci-Fi Fans

Gideon Ravenor's body has all but been destroyed in an enemy attack, leaving him trapped in a life support system and cut off from the outside world. Thanks to his powerful psychic abilities, he is able to continue his intelligence work and hunt down the enemies who took away his physical form.


Although a stand-alone trilogy, this is somewhat of a follow-up to the Eisenhorn trilogy, so we'd recommend reading that first. You won't be completely lost, but there are details that you will pick up on that will add to your enjoyment.

No.7

William KingThe Space Wolf Omnibus

The Space Wolf Omnibus Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£9.99
Reference price
£9.99

An Excellent Original Series

Ragnar Blackmane is one of the most popular characters within the Warhammer 40k universe, and also one of the earliest. The Space Wolf series of novels follow Blackmane from his early years to legendary hero. 


Unlike other Space Marine chapters, the Space Wolves are inspired by Viking culture and Norse mythology, giving them a different feel. The only reason this isn't higher on the list is that it's only easily available as an eBook in the UK, so those without a suitable device are sadly out of luck.

No.8

Aaron Dembski-BowdenThe First Heretic

The First Heretic Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£16.71
Reference price
£16.71

A Fall From Grace Tale

Dembski-Bowden focuses on the darker side of the Warhammer 40k universe by turning his attention onto the enemies of the Imperium, showing how good men can lose their faith.


While it's a great take on the classic "fall" narrative, and can be read as a stand alone tale, new readers to the universe may be a little lost going into this as it's No. 14 of the Horus Heresy series. Like the previous entry, it's  a great book, but possibly not a great first read.

No.9

Dan AbnettLegion

Legion Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£9.16
Reference price
£9.16

A Deep Political Thriller

The first of many novels on our list by the great Dan Abnett, Legion carries many of Abnett's hallmarks, such as great action interspersed with intrigue, twists, turns, and espionage. His works almost read like political thrillers, which is a great feat when the setting involves immortal god-emperors and psychic daemons.


This is a difficult one to place as some consider it a good entry-point into the Horus Heresy series, but we don't quite share that viewpoint. This is one best read once you're familiar with the universe.

No.10

Graham McNeillNightbringer

Nightbringer Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£6.49
Reference price
£6.49

One for Fans of Ultramarines

When anyone thinks of Warhammer 40k, the image that pops into their head is an Ultramarine. If you've played the tabletop game, you either love them or hate them as they're essentially the Manchester United of the Warhammer world.


Personal biases aside, this series is well written and features an interesting lead character in Captain Uriel Ventris. However, it requires a lot of prior knowledge about the universe and the Ultramarines simply don't have as many interesting nuances when compared to other factions and chapters.

Make Sure You're Familiar With the Warhammer 40k Universe

Make Sure You're Familiar With the Warhammer 40k Universe
Source:amazon.co.uk

While authors do a good job getting the reader up to speed with current events, they simply cannot explain all the ins and outs of the 40k universe. This won't be an issue for anyone already familiar with the tabletop game, but those of you who don’t know your Orks from your Eldar will be seriously lost. Thankfully, you’ll only need an idea of the armies featured in the book you’re reading, and it’s surprisingly easy to pick up.


If you’re unfamiliar with the property, the best thing to do is browse a wiki or two, and look at models and figurines online to get a feel for an army's identity. Even at a quick glance of a few pictures, it will be obvious that the Orks are a barbaric rabble, the Eldar are an ancient and technologically advanced race, and the Tyranids are a hive of monstrous creatures.

More Exciting Page Turners You Won't Want to Put Down!

More Exciting Page Turners You Won't Want to Put Down!

If you've suddenly found yourself with more time on your hands, why not pick up a book? Whether it's a nail-biting thriller, gripping true crime, or a novel that let's you choose your own ending, we've found some more exciting reads to captivate and capture the imagination!

Summary

So concludes our ranking of the 10 best Warhammer 40k books. There's actually a good amount of variation in genres, themes, and ideas within the same setting, so we hope you found something that you'll be able to sink your teeth into, and maybe implore you to delve deeper into the Warhammer 40k universe. After all, there's plenty of it out there, and it only seems to be growing! 


Author: David Sexton

Top 5 Warhammer 40k Books

No. 1: Dan AbnettEisenhorn

No. 2: Dan AbnettHorus Rising

No. 3: Dan AbnettThe Founding (A Gaunt's Ghosts Omnibus)

No. 4: Sandy MitchellCiaphas Cain: Savior of the Imperium (Omnibus)

No. 5: Aaron Dembski-BowdenNight Lords (Trilogy)

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