Halo has become synonymous with modern gaming, and its success has inspired a lot of competition. But what makes Halo unique is that aside from being a great shooting and real-time strategy game, it also has a gamified narrative that is fleshed out in books.
In this article, all Halo books are listed in order of publication, and you will learn more about the novels in the Halo canon.
You will also find out about the brains behind the narrative of the franchise, along with the plot summaries of some of the books in the series.
Let’s get started by looking at the best Halo books.
Our Best Halo Books at a glance:
Eric Nylund: The Talent Behind Halo Books
When it comes to Halo, average viewers think of the game and the iconic suits associated with it. But very few people think of Eric S. Nylund, the writer who novelized the first installment of Halo and created the subsequent set of books to establish the canon.
The Halo universe would be hollow without the literary anchor created by the man who was a technical writer and novelist for Microsoft.
Nylund was born on November 12, 1964, and grew up with pretty technical career interests. When one thinks of novelists, one doesn’t think of chemistry graduates with masters in physics. But if you were to look at Eric Nylund’s educational background, you would find it pretty alien to that of a conventional novelist.
Before he started writing, he didn’t even dream of writing. But once he got his hands on an undisclosed popular book, he found the work to be pretty doable. After reading multiple how-to manuals, Nylund decided to type out his first novel.
According to his interviews and media profiles, his first attempt was just as bad as the popular book he had set out to outdo, so he rewrote the novel, which went on to become a medium-tier hit.
He had dropped his stable career and pursued a life as a full-time novelist. It was a few years after getting published that Nylund found himself unhappy with the unpredictable finances that come with being a mid-tier author. He quit his job as a fiction writer and became a technical writer for Microsoft.
Initially, Eric was working on Microsoft’s Encyclopedia, but eventually, he became a writer for its gaming studio. Nylund wrote manuals for Microsoft’s games until the writing began to inform actual developers.
As the role of writers at Microsoft began to expand, Eric’s background as a fiction writer became more relevant. It was when writers were actively working on developing franchises that this experience proved to be a hit. Eric Nylund helped Microsoft build its Halo franchise by writing the first novel that would expand the Halo universe and create the narrative onion for the developers to peel.
Today, Nylund is in demand in the world of gaming for repeatedly doing what he did at Microsoft with other companies. Nylund’s interest in science fiction is evident not just from the franchises that he has helped develop but also from the woman he chose to marry.
Syne Mitchell, the science fiction writer known for books like The Last Mortal Man (2006), is Eric Nylund’s wife.
Eric was most recently hired by Amazon for its gaming studio, where he is working in a similar capacity to that in which he has worked at Microsoft, BioWare, and Epic Games. After Nylund’s departure, a few short stories and multiple novels were added to the Halo universe. However, Eric Nylund continues to contribute the majority of the original Canon content.
Since the franchise is owned by Microsoft and XBOX Gaming Studios, Eric doesn’t have the authority to edit the canon, making the latest book entries just as canonically valid as the ones written by Eric Nylund. That’s why these books are also mentioned alongside his novels in the list below.
Halo Books In Order
The Original Novel Run In Order
Gray Team Books In Order Of Publication
The Forerunner Saga Books In Order Of Publication
Kilo-Five Trilogy Books in Order of Publication
Alpha-Nine Books In Order Of Publication
The Ferrets Books In Order Of Publication
Rion Forge & Ace Of Spades Books In Order Of Publication
A Master Chief Story Books In Order Of Publication
Battle Born: A Halo Young Adult Novel Books In Order Of Publication
A Halo Infinite Story Book(S) In Order Of Publication
Stand-Alone Novels In Order Of Publication
- Halo: Contact Harvest
- Halo: Broken Circle
- Halo: Hunters in the Dark
- Halo: Legacy of Onyx
- Halo: Outcasts
- Halo: Epitaph (Unreleased)
Individual Novellas In Order Of Publication
Anthologies In Order Of Publication
The Best Halo Books To Read
This is the book that started it all. It was penned by Eric Nylund to go with the first Halo game and tells the story of the game’s protagonist, John 117, who is abducted from a school playground and turned into a super soldier.
It has elements of “the chosen one” stories as well as the classic “call to adventure” stories, making it a very engaging and satisfying read.
The First Strike novel is the second one written by the original author of the Halo series. It follows the events of The Fall of The Reach, and the stakes are higher as humans are on the brink of extinction and the Spartan-IIs aren’t doing a good enough job to keep the armada away from the planet Reach.
It has advanced military strategy elements alongside futuristic fiction set in a space where interplanetary travel is routine.
The Thursday War was not written by the original author of Halo books because he left after finishing The Ghosts of Onyx, which couldn’t make it onto this list. After all, it focused entirely on the secondary characters. It is the second book in a trilogy written by Karen Travis. You would need to read the first book, Halo: Glasslands, to make sense of this one.
But it is worth the effort as it tells a story quite different from the primary ones in the first few Halo novels. Maintaining peace and combating an enemy who uses dirty tricks are two major themes in this story.
Halo Books FAQs
How Many Official Halo Books Are There?
There are 30 official Halo books, with more on the way. The original Halo series consists of three novels by Eric Nylund, followed by a few short stories by the original author published after he left Microsoft.
How Many Halo Master Chief Books?
All the Halo books have the Master Chief as the key character. That makes the total of the Master Chief Books north of 20 titles. He was created in 2001 for gaming media and was novelized in the same year for print.
Is Eric Nylund Still Making Halo?
Eric Nylund is not on good terms with 313 and has publicly expressed interest in writing more Halo books. However, he asserts that he hasn’t been contacted to write more in the Halo universe.
Is Master Chief Asexual Canon?
Master Chief wasn’t explicitly outed as an asexual character in the novel canon, but he did not show any sexual interest in the books. It drove home the point that Master Chief is programmed to be a killing machine.
The Halo TV series recently made the character sexually active, which made many fans protest the apparent erasure of the character’s asexuality.
Does Halo Tv Show Follow The Books?
The Halo TV show doesn’t follow the books and has its own canon that is separate from the books and the games. It is justified as a separate timeline that doesn’t interfere with the core Halo canon.
Wrapping It Up
Halo is a multi-billion-dollar franchise, with the Xbox game being the most popular medium in the franchise, followed by the book series.
Its recent adaptation has brought it a much larger audience, which is likely to engage with the game property or the books.
For those interested in the books, the resource above covers the entire chronology and the top books to read.