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Official Halo Book Guide

NOVEL DATABASE
A collage of all thirty-six Halo novels as of August 2023
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  -  a month ago

From the very beginning, Halo has always been more than just a game—it's an entire universe.

The Halo story spans countless worlds and millennia, populated by a diverse range of characters, species, and perspectives, telling stories of heroism, wonder, and cosmic tragedy across a broad variety of media.

Since 2001, with Halo: The Fall of Reach preceding the release of Halo: Combat Evolved, books have been one of the primary forms of exploration of Halo's deep history—from the ancient times of the Forerunners and their war with the Flood, to the grim foundations of the SPARTAN-II program and the onset of the Covenant War, to everything between and before and beyond. With such expansive lore, the question is often asked: where do I begin?

This blog shall serve as your guide to the stories of the Halo universe told in the medium of books. Perhaps there is a particular flavor of story that you’re looking for, whether it’s hard military science fiction, alien worldbuilding around ancient and epic tragedies, or perhaps there are specific characters and periods you’re interested in...

You can find it all below, with links to Simon & Schuster's website (click on either the book titles or images) where you can either start or continue to build your Halo book collection!


WHAT’S THE LATEST BOOK?

The latest Halo book release is Halo: Epitaph by Kelly Gay.

Set in the aftermath of the Didact's destructive conflict with the Master Chief in Halo 4 and Halo: Escalation, the Forerunner commander is torn from the physical world and deposited into a vast desert wasteland. Stripped of armor, might, and memory, the Didact sets out on a great journey to rediscover the traumas of his past and find his final fate.

Halo: Epitaph is available in trade paperback, ebook, and unabridged audiobook formats. The audiobook is narrated by Keith Szarabajka, the voice and motion capture actor for the Didact in Halo 4.

Cover art of Halo: Epitaph by Chris McGrath depicting the hooded figure of the Didact with half a broken helmet in a desert environment, the tower of Halo 3's map Epitaph in the background

HALO INFINITE

Books connected to Halo Infinite.

Cover art of Halo: The Rubicon Protocol

HALO: THE RUBICON PROTOCOL
Author: Kelly Gay
Release: 2022

Beginning with the ambush of the UNSC Infinity, this story follows a group of survivors who must endure the closing grip of the occupying Banished forces on Zeta Halo in the Master Chief’s absence.


THE ORIGINAL SERIES

The original four novels that were released in parallel with Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, and Halo 3.

Cover art of Halo: The Fall of Reach

HALO: THE FALL OF REACH
Author: Eric Nylund
Release: 2001 (2010 rerelease)

Discover the origins of the Master Chief, the SPARTAN-II program, the fall of the UNSC military stronghold Reach, and the events that lead to the discovery of Halo.

Cover art of Halo: The Flood

HALO: THE FLOOD
Author: William C. Dietz
Release: 2003 (2010 rerelease)

A novelization of Halo: Combat Evolved, featuring additional perspectives from UNSC, Covenant, and other characters.

Cover art of Halo: First Strike

HALO: FIRST STRIKE
Author: Eric Nylund
Release: 2003 (2010 rerelease)

Learn about what transpired in the aftermath of Halo: Combat Evolved as the Master Chief, Cortana, Avery Johnson, and a small group of survivors seek to return to Earth.

Cover art of Halo: Ghosts of Onyx

HALO: GHOSTS OF ONYX
Author: Eric Nylund
Release: 2006

Learn more about the struggles and sacrifices of the SPARTAN-III program, led by Kurt-051, as Dr. Halsey enacts a desperate gambit that centers around the mysterious planet Onyx.


THE FORERUNNER SAGA

Set 100,000 years ago, during the primacy of the Forerunners leading up to the firing of the Halo Array.

Cover art of Halo: Cryptum

HALO: CRYPTUM
Author: Greg Bear
Release: 2011

The young Bornstellar-Makes-Eternal-Lasting seeks mythical treasure on Erde-Tyrene, home to a species known as humanity, but instead finds himself awakening a Forerunner commander—the Didact—and setting into motion the final stages of an ancient game of vengeance.

Cover art of Halo: Primordium

HALO: PRIMORDIUM
Author: Greg Bear
Release: 2012

Taken from Bornstellar and the Didact, the ancient human known as Chakas is deposited onto Zeta Halo where the terrifying experiments of the Primordial and Mendicant Bias reveal galaxy-shattering truths.

Cover art of Halo: Silentium

HALO: SILENTIUM
Author: Greg Bear
Release: 2013

The Forerunners' war with the Flood reaches its tragic terminus. Evidence-gathering agents known as Catalog collect testimonies from pivotal figures—including Bornstellar, the Librarian, and the Didact—as the origins of the parasite are revealed and the greatest crime in the galaxy is committed to stop them.


THE KILO-5 TRILOGY

Set in the immediate aftermath of the Covenant War, following the events of Halo 3.

Cover art of Halo: Glasslands

HALO: GLASSLANDS
Author: Karen Traviss
Release: 2011

The Covenant War is over, but conflict between humanity and the empire’s former client species is not. A black-ops team is put together by the Office of Naval Intelligence to keep the Sangheili locked in civil conflict while the UNSC rebuilds.

Cover art of Halo: The Thursday War

HALO: THE THURSDAY WAR
Author: Karen Traviss
Release: 2012

Within the shield world Onyx, Jul ‘Mdama seeks to escape captivity from ONI, while conflict on Sanghelios erupts and the UNSC Infinity is dispatched to aid the Arbiter.

Cover art of Halo: Mortal Dictata

HALO: MORTAL DICTATA
Author: Karen Traviss
Release: 2014

Staffan Sentzke, whose daughter was kidnapped and conscripted into the SPARTAN-II program, enacts a desperate plan to claim a Covenant warship and get answers from ONI.


THE MASTER CHIEF & BLUE TEAM

Books connected to the Spartan-IIs of Blue Team—John-117, Fred-104, Kelly-087, and Linda-058. These books are subtitled "A Master Chief Story."

Cover art of Halo: Silent Storm

HALO: SILENT STORM
Author: Troy Denning
Release: 2018

Set in the first year of the Covenant War, the UNSC knows next to nothing about the alien alliance that has launched a campaign of genocide against humanity. Mentored by Avery Johnson, the Master Chief leads a daring counterattack to buy humanity the time it needs to gather intelligence on this new foe.

Cover art of Halo: Oblivion

HALO: OBLIVION
Author: Troy Denning
Release: 2019

On the hostile, barren world of Netherop, the Master Chief and Blue Team attempt to recover valuable data on the Covenant from a downed alien frigate, while a disgraced Sangheili fleetmaster seeks redemption by eliminating the Spartans.

Cover art of Halo: Shadows of Reach

HALO: SHADOWS OF REACH
Author: Troy Denning
Release: 2020

October 2559, one year after the rogue Cortana unleashed the Guardians upon the galaxy, the Master Chief and Blue Team are sent back to Reach to recover critical assets from the ruins of CASTLE Base, while the Banished seek to open a portal to bring Atriox back from the Ark.


RION FORGE & ACE OF SPADES

Books connected to Lucy Orion Forge and her crew of salvagers aboard the Ace of Spaces.

Cover art of Halo: Smoke and Shadow

HALO: SMOKE AND SHADOW
Author: Kelly Gay
Release: 2016

The salvage trade booms in the wake of the Covenant War, and Rion Forge stumbles upon a discovery that sets her on a path to answer a question that has haunted her for over twenty-five years: what happened to her father, Sergeant John Forge, and the UNSC Spirit of Fire?

Cover art of Halo: Renegades

HALO: RENEGADES
Author: Kelly Gay
Release: 2019

In the search for her missing father, Rion Forge and her crew cross paths with the being formally known as 343 Guilty Spark, aiding him in his own mission to find the Librarian while having to outrun and outsmart the Office of Naval Intelligence.

Cover art of Halo: Point of Light

HALO: POINT OF LIGHT
Author: Kelly Gay
Release: 2021

Rion, Spark, and the Ace of Spades crew are thrown into terrifying events as the axis of power in the galaxy shifts, discovering dark truths about the Forerunners’ ancient past as Cortana’s tyrannical future takes shape.


ALPHA-NINE

Books connected to Edward Buck and his team from Halo 3: ODST.

Cover art of Halo: New Blood

HALO: NEW BLOOD
Author: Matt Forbeck
Release: 2015

A memoir of Edward Buck's life, from his youth to enlisting in the UNSC Marine Corps, serving as an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper, to ultimately joining the SPARTAN-IV program—and the tragic events that tore his team apart.

Cover art of Halo: Bad Blood

HALO: BAD BLOOD
Author: Matt Forbeck
Release: 2018

After rescuing the Master Chief and Blue Team from imprisonment in a Cryptum and escaping to Sanghelios, Edward Buck must reform his old team for a desperate mission as the rogue Cortana reshapes the galaxy.


GRAY TEAM

Books connected to the Spartan-IIs of Gray Team—Jai-006, Adriana-111, and Michael-120.

Cover art of Halo: The Cole Protocol

HALO: THE COLE PROTOCOL
Author: Tobias Buckell
Release: 2008

The Spartan-IIs of Gray Team, Jacob Keyes, and Thel ‘Vadamee become embroiled in a conflict that centers around a network of asteroids run by a rampant AI and the implementation of the titular Cole Protocol, designed to deny the Covenant navigation data on human colonies.

Cover art of Halo: Envoy

HALO: ENVOY
Author: Tobias Buckell
Release: 2017

A Unified Earth Government envoy is called upon to mediate tensions on a world jointly occupied by humans and Sangheili, and to release Gray Team from stasis, while a Jiralhanae chieftain seeks to unleash a terrible, long-hidden power.


THE FERRETS

Books following Veta Lopis and her "Ferret" team of Gamma Company Spartan-IIIs—Ash-G099, Olivia-G291, and Mark-G313.

Cover art of Halo: Last Light

HALO: LAST LIGHT
Author: Troy Denning
Release: 2015

A murder-mystery on the independent colony world Gao, where homicide detective Veta Lopis becomes tangled in the web of perilous machinations of a rogue Forerunner ancilla, the Spartans of Blue Team, and a fanatical Covenant remnant faction.

Cover art of Halo: Retribution

HALO: RETRIBUTION
Author: Troy Denning
Release: 2017

A UNSC fleet admiral is assassinated, and Veta Lopis—now leader of ONI's special operations “Ferret” team—investigates as Intrepid Eye continues her schemes to make humanity worthy of the Mantle, whatever the cost.

Cover art of Halo: Divine Wind

HALO: DIVINE WIND
Author: Troy Denning
Release: 2021

After Atriox returns to the galaxy through a portal opened by the Banished on Reach, Veta Lopis and her Ferret team head through to the Ark in order to eliminate Castor, a fanatical Jiralhanae who seeks to do what the Covenant could not: activate Halo and begin the Great Journey.


BATTLE BORN

Books following a group of young civilians as the Covenant invade their home, Meridian.

Cover art of Halo: Battle Born

HALO: BATTLE BORN
Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Release: 2019

Evie, Dorian, Saskia, and Victor are living their ordinary lives as civilians on the colony of Meridian when the Covenant launches an invasion, putting them in a race against time to rescue their families with the help of an injured Spartan.

Cover art of Halo: Meridian Divide

HALO: MERIDIAN DIVIDE
Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Release: 2019

Serving as part of a special reconnaissance task force, Evie, Dorian, Saskia, and Victor join Meridian’s local militia to discover what the Covenant are excavating beneath the planet’s surface.


STAND-ALONE STORIES

Books in the Halo universe that may share connections with other media, but are primarily independent, stand-alone stories.

Cover art of Halo: Contact Harvest

HALO: CONTACT HARVEST
Author: Joseph Staten
Release: 2007

Follow Avery Johnson from his UNSC service during the Insurrection through to humanity's first contact with a deadly alien alliance known as the Covenant on the colony world Harvest.

Cover art of Halo: Broken Circle

HALO: BROKEN CIRCLE
Author: John Shirley
Release: 2014

Set during the early years of the Covenant and the Great Schism that would shatter the alien empire thousands of years later, a Sangheili rebel group seeks to escape the rule of the Prophets in a Forerunner shield world.

Cover art of Halo: Hunters in the Dark

HALO: HUNTERS IN THE DARK
Author: Peter David
Release: 2015

The galaxy falls into peril under the looming shadow of Halo, forcing an uneasy alliance of humans and Sangheili—including Olympia Vale, Usze ‘Taham, and N’tho ‘Sraom—to journey back to the Ark.

Cover art of Halo: Saint's Testimony

HALO: SAINT’S TESTIMONY
Author: Frank O’Connor
Release: 2015

The artificial intelligence known as Iona has reached the end of her seven-year operational lifespan, placing her at risk of the terminal condition of rampancy, but launches an unprecedented appeal against her scheduled termination.

Cover art of Halo: Shadow of Intent

HALO: SHADOW OF INTENT
Author: Joseph Staten
Release: 2015

The Covenant War is over, and Rtas ‘Vadum has grown weary of conflict—but the vengeful designs of a San’Shyuum Prelate calls the shipmaster to action once more as Sanghelios comes under threat.

Cover art of Halo: Legacy of Onyx

HALO: LEGACY OF ONYX
Author: Matt Forbeck
Release: 2017

Orphaned during a Covenant invasion, Molly Patel and her ‘newparents’ relocate to Onyx to start a new life in the city of Paxopolis—inhabited not just by humans, but Sangheili and Unggoy as well.

Cover art of Halo: Outcasts

HALO: OUTCASTS
Author: Troy Denning
Release: 2023

Arbiter Thel ‘Vadam and Spartan Olympia Vale attempt to recover an alleged weapon from the hostile world of Netherop that could turn the tide against Cortana’s tyrannical rule.

Cover art of Halo: Epitaph

HALO: EPITAPH
Author: Kelly Gay
Release: February 27, 2024

Torn from the physical world after his destructive confrontation with the Master Chief, the Didact is sent reeling into the depths of a vast desert wasteland. Stripped of armor, might, and memory, a shadow of his former self, the Didact’s final great journey begins.

Cover art for Halo: Empty Throne

HALO: EMPTY THRONE
Author: Jeremy Patenaude
Release: 2024

A year after Cortana seized control of the Domain, the UNSC Infinity deploys to Zeta Halo to assault her throne, but the UNSC launches a parallel effort to claim the Domain and its immeasurable capabilities through an ancient access point on a seemingly insignificant human colony.


SHORT STORY ANTHOLOGIES

Anthology novels featuring short stories which cover a variety of perspectives and time periods in the Halo universe.

Cover art of Halo: Evolutions

HALO: EVOLUTIONS
Author: Various Authors
Release: 2009

A collection of short stories and poems, including:

  • “Beyond” - Jonathan Goff (art by Nicolas “Sparth” Bouvier)
  • “Pariah” - B. K. Evenson
  • “Stomping on the Heels of a Fuss” - Eric Raab
  • “Midnight in the Heart of Midlothian” - Frank O’Connor
  • “Dirt” - Tobias Buckell
  • “Acheron-VII” - Jonathan Goff (art by Nicolas “Sparth” Bouvier)
  • “Headhunters” - Jonathan Goff
  • “Blunt Instruments” - Fred Van Lente
  • “The Mona Lisa” - Tessa Kum and Jeff VanderMeer
  • “Icon” - Jonathan Goff (art by Gabriel “Robogabo” Garza)
  • “Palace Hotel” - Robert McLees
  • “Human Weakness” - Karen Traviss
  • “Connectivity” - Jonathan Goff (art by Gabriel “Robogabo” Garza)
  • “The Impossible Life and the Possible Death of Preston J. Cole” - Eric Nylund
  • “The Return” - Kevin Grace
  • “Soma the Painter” - Frank O’Connor (Volume I exclusive)
  • “Wages of Sin” - Frank O'Connor (Volume II exclusive)
Cover art of Halo: Fractures

HALO: FRACTURES
Author: Various Authors
Release: 2016

A collection of short stories, including:

  • “Lessons Learned” - Matt Forbeck
  • “What Remains” - Morgan Lockhart
  • “Breaking Strain” - James Swallow
  • “Promises to Keep” - Christie Golden
  • “Shadow of Intent” - Joseph Staten
  • “The Ballad of Hamish Beamish” - Frank O’Connor
  • “Defender of the Storm” - John Jackson Miller
  • “A Necessary Truth” - Troy Denning
  • “Into the Fire” - Kelly Gay
  • “Saint’s Testimony” - Frank O’Connor
  • “Rossbach’s World” - Brian Reed
  • “Oasis” - Tobias Buckell
  • “Anarosa” - Kevin Grace
  • Untitled coda - Jeremy Patenaude