Halo is home to one of the most vast science fiction universes in the genre. While the games highlight some of it, the majority of the universe is explored through novels. Here are 10 books that will magnificently introduce you to Halo's expanded lore.

Halo's collection of books is chock full of detailed, in-depth looks at every nook and cranny of the Halo universe. Whether you're interested in the birth of the Covenant, the structure of post-modern human politics, or the childhood of the Master Chief himself, there's an exciting Halo story, just for you, lying in the pages of a novel.

Halo: Broken Circle by John Shirley

Halo: Broken Circle by John Shirley covers the creation of the Covenant. Starting during the infamous War of Beginnings and ending eons later in the wake of the Great Schism, Broken Circle gives an extensive and detailed look into the cultures of both the Sangheili and the San'Shyuum and how the two species came together to form the Covenant empire — as well as how a rebellious faction of Sangheili managed to avoid being snuffed out by it for generations.

I can say with certainty that this is my favorite of all of the Halo novels. If you like the Covenant and think that they're an interesting faction, I can't recommend this book enough.

See at Amazon

Halo: The Fall of Reach by Eric Nylund

Halo: The Fall of Reach by Eric Nylund serves as the written prequel to the infamous Halo: Combat Evolved. In this tale, you will discover the history behind the Spartan program, the childhood of the Master Chief himself, John-117, and the catastrophic military defeat at the planet of Reach that left humanity on the brink of extinction. Above all, this story illustrates the bravery and grit of the UNSC — something almost as grandiose as the might of the Covenant.

The Fall of Reach was the first Halo novel, but it's also one of the greatest. Nylund's writing perfectly captures the atmosphere of the Human-Covenant War, and reading it will give you great clarification on the events that happened prior to Halo: Combat Evolved.

See at Amazon

Halo: First Strike by Eric Nylund

Halo: First Strike by Eric Nylund bridges the timeline gap between Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2. Between the tale of the Master Chief's return to UNSC-controlled space following the destruction of Installation 04, and a discovery under the glassed surface of Reach that could alter the course of the war, the conflict between humanity and the Covenant continues to escalate to the breaking point.

This novel is a great read if you want to understand the events of Halo between Combat Evolved and it's sequel. It also gives wonderful insight into the Covenant military and the character of Dr. Halsey.

See at Amazon

Halo: Ghosts of Onyx by Eric Nylund

Halo: Ghosts of Onyx by Eric Nylund delves deep into the controversial Office of Naval Intelligence to highlight the origins of the Spartan-III program. Being trained on the Forerunner world of Onyx, these soldiers will prove vital to humanity's war effort. But when the Master Chief destroys Installation 04, powerful Forerunner technology reveals itself deep within the planet, and both the UNSC and the Covenant race to attempt to control it.

Ghosts of Onyx conveys the birth of the Spartan-IIIs, whom we play as in Halo: Reach, as well as giving us our first real look at the shadowy Office of Naval Intelligence. It provides essential details about some of the most secretive conflicts in the Human-Covenant War, and as such, I implore any fan of detailed science fiction to pick it up. you won't regret it.

See at Amazon

Halo: Envoy by Tobias S. Buckell

Halo: Envoy by Tobias S. Buckell follows the events of a localized Sangheili civil war on the joint-occupacy colony of Carrow following the end of the Human-Covenant War. In addition, the humans discover that the Sangheili are actually in possession of three Spartans, who have been held in stasis since they were captured. In the midst of this, the Jiralhanae that have been employed by the rebellious Sangheili faction that sees their civil war as an opportunity, and make a move to try and stage a coup against both the Sangheili and the humans.

Envoy is a very well-written story that blends post-war interspecies politics with the chaos of three-way warfare. It strongly characterizes both the Sangheili and the Jirahanae, and for anyone who likes narratives on a grand scale, this is a must read.

See at Amazon

Halo: Hunters in the Dark by Peter David

Halo: Hunters in the Dark by Peter David is a post-war novel in which a coalition of Sangheili and UNSC soldiers must return to the Ark from Halo 3 and deactivate a Halo ring that ends up being set on a timer to activate. Fail, and the entire galaxy could suffer. Faced with this task, the coalition must steel themselves against the dangers of the Ark to complete their objective — and many dangers lie ahead.

Hunters in the Dark is a fantastic post-war narrative that gives us a strong perspective on how the Sangheili and humans are working together so soon after the war. On top of this, the Ark location is described in rich detail, expanding on the iconic location from Halo 3.

See at Amazon

Halo: Contact Harvest by Joseph Staten

Halo: Contact Harvest by Joseph Staten is a detailed look at the roots of the infamous Human-Covenant War. Following the perspective of Sergeant Avery Johnson, we get a first-hand account of first contact, peace negotiations, and the collapse of relations that ended up escalating into the devastating 30-year war that we know and don't love.

This novel is a very intense, well-written story that really puts the beginning of the war into perspective for the reader. Through the eyes of the regular foot soldier, we get a sense of what it would really be like to be present during the beginning of the conflict. This story covers an important part of the Halo canon, and I strongly recommend that any lore fan take part in experiencing it.

See at Amazon

Halo: Evolutions Vol. 1, 2, & Halo: Fractures by various authors

These three books are hugely extensive anthologies that tell short stories from across the entirety of the Halo universe. Ranging from the Forerunner-Flood War to the story of a Spartan program washout to the tense years following the conclusion of the Human-Covenant War, these anthologies are absolutely jam packed with lore.

A multitude of authors all came together in order to create these works. From popular Halo authors like Eric Nylund and Tobias S. Buckell to new writers to the series such as Christie Golden, this trio contain a diverse amount of writing styles that will keep readers entertained for hours on end. When I bought all of these books, I read all three of them in under two days because of how great they are. Any Halo fan, or science fiction fan in general, would be making a mistake to miss out on these masterpieces.

See Halo Evolutions Vol. 1 at Amazon See Halo Evolutions Vol. 2 at Amazon See Halo Fractures at Amazon

Your thoughts

Have you read any Halo books? Which is your favorite? If not, then which of these ten sounds the most interesting to you? Let us know in the comments below!