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The Horus Heresy series is a collection of novels written by some of the Black Library's best-known authors. It chronicles the history of the Horus Heresy which serves as the foundation and starting-point for most Warhammer 40,000 canon. The series began in 2006 with the publication of Dan Abnett's Horus Rising and as of April 2012 consists of nineteen novels written by sixteen different authors. There are at least four more books in the series already being prepared for publication in 2012. While the novels do deal with a continuous stream of events it is possible to approach them in any order one likes.


The following is a list of current titles in the Horus Heresy novels series:

# Title Author
1 Horus Rising Dan Abnett
2 False Gods Graham McNeill
3 Galaxy in Flames Ben Counter
4 Flight of the Eisenstein James Swallow
5 Fulgrim Graham McNeill
6 Descent of Angels Mitchel Scanlon
7 Legion Dan Abnett
8 Battle for the Abyss Ben Counter
9 Mechanicum Graham McNeill
10 Tales of Heresy (Anthology) Nick Kyme & Lindsey Priestly (Editors)
11 Fallen Angels Mike Lee
12 A Thousand Sons Graham McNeill
13 Nemesis James Swallow
14 The First Heretic Aaron Dembski-Boden

Prospero Burns

Dan Abnett
16 Age of Darkness (Anthology) Christian Dunn (Editor)
17 The Outcast Dead Graham McNeill
18 Deliverance Lost Gav Thorpe
19 Know No Fear Dan Abnett
20 The Primarchs (Anthology) Christian Dunn (Editor)
21 Fear To Tread James Swallow

Shadows of Treachery (Anthology)

Christian Dunn (Editor)
23 Betrayer Aaron Dembski-Boden


The novelisation of the Horus Heresy is not strictly sequential and the story of the Heresy may be presented in a non-linear chronology from book to book; novels may concern events in the Heresy that happen earlier than their position in the series would suggest, or may include time periods already covered in other books of the series.

1. Horusrising
1. Horus Rising - The seeds of heresy are sown

Horus Rising details the rise to power of the Warmaster Horus, Primarch of the Luna Wolves Legion, after the Emperor of Mankind appoints him commander of the Imperial military and places him in charge of the Great Crusade. Much of the focus is on the Captain of the Luna Wolves' 10th Company, Garviel Loken, as he becomes a member of the Mournival (an advisory body to Horus), and his involvement in campaigns against Traitors and aliens at the close of the Great Crusade.

2. False Gods
2. False Gods - The heresy takes root

False Gods describes Horus' fall to Chaos. In a complicated conspiracy implemented by the servants of Chaos within the Word Bearers Legion, Horus is wounded on the moon of the planet Davin by an alien, Chaos-tainted weapon. In a desperate effort by his lieutenants to see him healed, Horus is taken to a temple on Davin. However the temple is secretly in service to Chaos and both Horus' wound and its supposed healing makes him susceptible to Chaos' influence. He ultimately turns against his "father", the Emperor. The events of False Gods describe the point at which Horus sets in motion the entire Heresy, an event that will change the galaxy forever.

3. Galaxy in Flames
3. Galaxy in Flames - The heresy revealed

Galaxy in Flames concerns the virus-bombing of Istvaan III and the Warmaster Horus' ultimate fall into madness, which resulted in a galactic civil war where brother would fight brother. In the virus-choked wasteland of death and destruction that was once Istvaan III's Choral City, Loyalist elements of the Luna Wolves, World Eaters, Emperor's Children and Death Guard Legions fight against the Traitors of those Legions in a desperate show of defiance, as the first move of the Heresy is played out.

4. Flight-eisenstein
4. Flight of the Eisenstein - The heresy unfolds

Flight of the Eisenstein follows the Eisenstein, a frigate of the Death Guard Legion commanded by Battle-Captain Nathaniel Garro of the 7th Company, one of the few commanders in the Traitor Legions who remained Loyal to the Emperor. The novel follows the Eisenstein's escape from Istvaan III (see Galaxy in Flames above) and its voyage across the galaxy in an attempt to reach and warn the Emperor of Mankind on Terra.

5. Fulgrim
5. Fulgrim - Visions of treachery

Fulgrim centres around the Primarch of the Emperor's Children Legion, Fulgrim, as he and his Legion fell into corruption and eventually became the Chosen of Slaanesh, one of the Chaos Gods. Primarch Ferrus Manus and his Iron Hands Legion also play a prominent role in the novel, and the pivotal Battle of Istvaan V (the so-called Drop Site Massacre) is described in passing.

6. Descent of Angels - Loyalty and honour
6. Descentofangelscover

Descent of Angels is told from the point of view of planet Caliban native Zahariel El'Zurias, who begins the novel as an Aspirant of The Order (a monastic order of techno-barbarian Calibanite knights). The first half of the novel is set on Caliban and covers the final battles of The Order under the future Primarch of the Dark Angels Space Marine Legion, Lion El'Jonson. The book's second half describes Caliban's re-unification with the Imperium of Man as well as the actions of the Dark Angels Legion during the early years of the Great Crusade. Zahariel, selected as an Aspirant Space Marine, is ultimately accepted as a Neophyte of the Dark Angels Legion. A future schism within the Legion is intimated in this section of the book.

7. Legion - Secrets and lies
7. Legion

Legion features the Alpha Legion, the XX Astartes Legion (and last to be formed), which was known as the most secretive and inscrutable of all the Space Marine Legions. It also features the Imperial Army, and a mysterious interspecies organization called The Cabal. The book describes the events that eventually lead to the decision of Alpharius Omegon, the Legion's Primarch, to support Horus.

8. Battle for the Abyss - My brother, my enemy
8. Battle-Abyss

Battle for the Abyss describes the lead-up to the Battle of Calth fought between Primarch Roboute Guilliman 's Ultramarines and the Word Bearers Traitor Legion. The Word Bearers plan to use an immense warship, the Furious Abyss, to spearhead their attack. The protagonists must pursue the ship and prevent it from reaching Macragge, the Realm of Ultramar's capital world. If the Ultramarines break and give way to the traitorous Word Bearers, Guilliman's Legion will suffer a blow they may never recover from.

9. Mechanicum - War comes to Mars
9. Mechanicum

Mechanicum is about the civil war or Schism of Mars as Traitor and Loyalist forces fight to determine which side in the struggle will receive the support of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Horus obtains the secret allegiance of highly placed Mechanicus Adepts who plot and eventually carry out a coup d'etat in order to eliminate those on Mars who remain Loyal to the Emperor.

10. Tales of Heresy
10. Tales-of-heresy

Tales of Heresy is a collection of short stories set mostly during the Horus Heresy, but also including stories from other periods in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. The collection provides a wider background to the Heresy, the Great Crusade, and the Imperium of Man. Compiled and edited by Nick Kyme and Lindsey Priestley.

11. Fallen Angels - Deceit and betrayal
11. Fallen-angels

Fallen Angels continues the Dark Angels story begun in Descent of Angels. The book tells two stories: one of Primarch Lion'El Johnson and a small group of Dark Angels as they try to deny a Forge World to Horus' forces on Isstvan; the other of Luther (Lion'El Johnson's second-in-command within the Legion), Zahariel (by now a full Space Marine), and a Dark Angels contingent sent back to Caliban as they fight against a growing insurgency that seeks to free the planet from under the Imperium's thumb.

12. A Thousand Sons - All is dust...
12. A-thousand-Sons

A Thousand Sons is the story of Magnus the Red and the Thousand Sons Legion of Space Marines, and for the most part takes place before the Heresy begins. Following a reprimand by the Emperor of Mankind for dabbling in sorcery, Magnus and his Legion secretly continue to study sorcery despite being forbidden to do so. Magnus learns through sorcery of his brother Horus' impending betrayal, and tries, again through sorcery, to warn the Emperor hoping the news would justify his disobedience. However, Magnus overreaches with his powers and causes damage to a vital and secret project the Emperor was undertaking, endangering the safety of Terra itself in the process. The Emperor is enraged and orders Leman Russ and his Space Wolves Legion, accompanied by other Imperial forces, to bring Magnus and his Legion to Terra to account for themselves.

13. Nemesis - War within the shadows
13. Nemesis

Nemesis is set about two years after the events on Istvaan V described in Book 5, Fulgrim. It deals with a plan by a secret Imperial organization, the Officio Assassinorum, to eliminate Horus using an Execution Force drawn from all the "clades" (specialist assassin schools) that make up the Officio. There have been several previous unsuccessful attempts against Horus' life, and this gives a high-ranking officer of the Word Bearers Traitor Legion the idea to field a nemesis weapon of his own (a highly specialized assassin) in an audacious scheme to kill the Emperor.

14. The First Heretic - Fall to Chaos
14. The First Heretic--

The First Heretic details the fall to Chaos of Primarch Lorgar and his Word Bearers, the XVII Astartes Legion. The story is told largely from the point of view of Argel Tal, a Captain of the Word Bearers, and spans about 50 Terran years, starting 47 years before the events on Istvaan V and leading up to the time when the Word Bearers are on their way to assault Calth as related in Book 8. Following the humiliating censure of Lorgar and the XVII Legion by the Emperor himself for introducing religious worship of the Emperor as the God of Mankind on the world of Khur, Lorgar is swayed by two of his most trusted lieutenants Kor Phaeron and the the Chaplain Erebus, who were already in secret allegiance with Chaos. Eventually both Primarch and his Legion abandon the Imperium following the Pilgrimage of Lorgar into the Eye of Terror, and in full accord with Horus take part in the Istvaan V Drop Site Massacre.

15. Prospero Burns - The wolves unleashed
15. Prospero-burns

Prospero Burns is part of the story arc of Book 12, A Thousand Sons. However it begins more than a century before the Space Wolves-led assault on Prospero. It is told from the point of view of Kasper Hawser, formerly a noted Terran academic, who becomes the Oral Historian (Skjald) of the 3rd Company of the Space Wolves Legion. On the surface it is his story; however the important subplot concerns the long-term machinations of Chaos to destroy both the Space Wolves and the Thousand Sons by pitting one against the other. The book also gives some important background on the Warmaster Horus's fall to Chaos, thus providing a more coherent view of the Heresy and of its planning by the Chaotic forces.

16. Age of Darkness - The age of knowledge and enlightenment has ended. The age of darkness has begun
16. Age-of-darkness

Age of Darkness is a compilation of short stories providing background information on the Horus Heresy. These stories cover the seven-year period between the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V (Book 5) and the start of the final campaign against Terra by the Traitor forces.

17. The Outcast Dead - The truth lies within
17. The-Outcast-Dead

The Outcast Dead is the first novel in the series to take place entirely on Terra. It covers a relatively short period, from shortly before the Drop Site Massacre at Istvaan V (Book 5), to shortly after Primarch Magnus's catastrophic psychic visit to the Imperial Palace (Book 12), an event that is central to the tale. The main character is Kai Zulane, previously a gifted Astropath attached to the Ultramarines Voidship Argo. He unwittingly becomes the keeper of a secret -- how the Horus Heresy will end -- that could decide the victor in the developing galactic civil war. The Outcast Dead are a small, disparate group of Space Marines drawn from several different Legions who are suspected to be Traitors, with whom Zulane falls in during the second half of the story. In the end, the secret kept by Zulane is revealed to the one person it is actually intended for, which provides one explanation for the post-Heresy scientific and cultural stagnation of the Imperium of Man.

18. Deliverance Lost - War within the shadows
18. Deliverence lost

Deliverance Lost concerns the actions of the Primarch Corvus Corax and the XIX Space Marine Legion, the Raven Guard, during the year following the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V (Book 5). However, covert operatives and the Primarchs Alpharius Omegon of the Alpha Legion (Book 7) play prominent roles. The novel also provides some information about the developing strategies and subterfuge practiced by the different sides of the conflict, including reasons for the timetable of the conflict as prosecuted by Warmaster Horus, and for the actions of the Emperor as the Horus Heresy was initially unfolding. The story begins approximately 3 months after the Drop Site Massacre, with the unexpected rescue of Corax and the remnants of his Legion (at less than 5% strength) from Istvaan V. Apparently arriving at Terra a few months after the events described in The Outcast Dead (Book 17) had taken place, Corax convinces the Emperor to impart to him the necessary knowledge and material to accelerate the rebuilding of his Legion, including the top-secret remnants of gene-stock left over from the original Primarch Project. The second part of the novel describes the effort to reconstitute the Raven Guard, and the opposition to this by the hidden operatives of the Alpha Legion. The novel also features a reappearance of the Cabal (Book 7), and of other well-known characters from previous books in the series.

19. Know No Fear - The Battle of Calth
19. Know no fear

Know No Fear documents the Word Bearers' surprise assault on Calth, a world belonging to the Ultramarines and the subsequent course of the infamous Battle of Calth. The story starts close to where the timelines of Battle For The Abyss (Book 8) and The First Heretic (Book 14) converge. The invasion is planned and lead by the Traitor Primarch Lorgar, now fully and openly committed to the spread of the worship of Chaos. The story starts with the invasion force en route to Calth. The objective is to completely destroy the Ultramarines Legion, the largest of all the Space Marine Legions, and by doing so, cause the creation of Warp Storms due to the destructive energies unleashed by the war. The Warp Storms would isolate and confuse the Ultramarines forces and effectively neutralise them for the remainder of the Horus Heresy. The Word Bearers are also offering this slaughter of Loyalists as a tribute to their new Gods of Chaos. The story tracks the campaign from its opening phases and the actions of several characters. It is a bloody war with dark ritualistic undertones, scorched earth tactics, decisive use of technology, and the considerable involvement of Chaos.

20. The Primarchs
20. The Primarchs

The Primarchs is an upcoming anthology composed of four novellas which focus on some of the mightiest warriors and leaders that Mankind has ever known -- the Primarchs Fulgrim, Lion El'Jonson, Ferrus Manus and Alpharius Omegon -- and the roles that they may have yet to play in a galaxy-wide civil war which threatens to change the face of the Imperium forever. (To be published June 2012. Anthology)

21. Fear to Tread - The angel falls
21. Fear-to-Tread

It is known that Fear to Tread takes place upon the war-torn world of Signus Prime. Warmaster Horus sends the Blood Angels Legion to the Signus system on a fool's errand, where a large host of Chaos Daemons awaits them. The Warmaster's plan is to exploit the flaw in the Blood Angels' gene-seed (which will later be known as the Red Thirst) in order to turn them to the worship of the Blood God Khorne. The Blood Angels are forced to fight for their very survival of both their minds and bodies. At the height of the battle, Primarch Sanguinius is confronted by the mighty Bloodthirster Ka'Bandha. (To be published in September 2012.)

22. Shadows of Treachery
22. shadows-of-treachery

Shadows of Treachery is an upcoming anthology that features short stories by Dan Abnett, Graham McNeill, and Gav Thorpe, along with two novella-length stories. From the battlefields of Phall and Istvaan, to the haunted shadows of Terra itself – the greatest war in the history of Mankind rages on. While the Traitor Legions continue their campaign of terror across the galaxy, preparations are made for the defence of the Imperial Palace and the final, inevitable reckoning that must yet come between Horus and the Emperor of Mankind. In the first novella, Crimson Fist by John French, we learn of the fate of Primarch Rogal Dorn and his Imperial Fists fleet originally sent to Istvaan III. In the second novella, Prince of Crows by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, the story descends deeper into the darkness of the Night Lords Legion. (To be published in October 2012. Anthology)

23. Betrayer

It is known that Betrayer will follow the Primarchs Lorgar and Angron as they fight against Ultramarines that were not present with the rest of their Legion during the Battle of Calth. (To be published in late 2012.)

Novellas and Short Stories

1. Promethean Sun - Into the fires of war
16a. Promethean-Sun

Promethean Sun is set during the Great Crusade upon the newly discovered Feral World designated as One-Five-Four-Four. The forces of the Imperium arrive to deliver the primitive natives from enslavement at the hands of the alien Eldar. The Iron Hands of Primarchs Ferrus Manus and Mortarion’s Death Guard Legions fight in theatres of war across the planet, but the most vicious combat takes place in the deep jungles, where Primarch Vulkan and his Salamanders bring the Emperor’s wrath to the heathen xenos. Vulkan and his sons must brave the deadly jungles, battle monstrous reptilian beasts and contend with the vile sorcery of the Eldar if they are to liberate this world and bring the Emperor’s light to its backwards inhabitants.

2. Aurelian - The eye stares back
17b. Aurelian

Aurelian begins following the infamous Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V. The Traitor Primarchs have assembled to deliberate their next move. Primarch Lorgar of the Word Bearers, however, disrupts the meeting with his accusations that Fulgrim of the Emperor's Children is not who he appears to be. His uncharacteristically confident and aggressive demeanour prove no less surprising and disruptive than his claims. The meeting is swiftly adjourned by the Warmaster Horus. In the aftermath, Magnus the Red of the Thousand Sons confronts his brother Lorgar not only about his new attitude, but also his blossoming psychic powers and knowledge of the events that have led them all to their current straits. Lorgar chooses to reveal to his brother a tale of a pivotal moment in his life; what happened when he entered the Eye of Terror some forty-three years earlier during the Pilgrimage of Lorgar. Guided by the Daemon Ingethel, he undertook a spiritual journey into the heart of Chaos itself and saw that the entire destiny of Mankind and the Imperium rested upon a few choices made by the Primarchs.

3. Army of One - A Horus Heresy short story

Army of One takes place during the Horus Heresy, the civil war that blazes across the galaxy. The Hive World of Proxima Apocryphis turns Traitor and Malcador the Sigillite despatches punishment in the form of a living weapon -- an Eversor Assassin - the ultimate weapon in the living arsenal of the Officio Assassinorum. The responsibility has fallen to the Imperial Assassin to decimate Proxima Apocryphis' heretical command structure and rip the traitorous heart from the defecting forces.

4. The Weakness of Others
Weakness of others

The Weakness of Others is a novella that sheds some light on the psychopathic murderer Khârn the Betrayer, the former 8th Assault Captain of the bloody World Eaters Traitor Legion and the Equerry of Angron. This story perfectly captures the bloody core of Khârn the Betrayer, while simultaneously teasing the reader with the hints of monstrous violence and providing a tellingly nuanced look into the mind of a character infamous for his singularity of purpose. Khârn, trapped in a cycle of murderous honour, is the epitome of what it means to be one of Khorne’s Chosen, with all of the grim horror which that entails.

5. Crimson Fist

Crimson Fist is one of the novellas from the upcoming Shadows of Treachery anthology, and tells the story of the genesis of the centuries-long hatred between the Imperial Fists and the Iron Warriors and also explores the background of Sigismund, the first Emperor's Champion.

6. Black Library Games Day Anthology 2011/2012 - "Death of a Silversmith"
17a. Death of a Silversmith

Death of a Silversmith is a short story written by Graham McNeill, which appeared in the limited release Black Library Games Day Anthology 2011/212, a collection of short stories that tie in to several Black Library series, both old and new. The plot itself spans the Great Crusade. The main story is about a silversmith who has been left to die in his own forge, which itself is located aboard the Vengeful Spirit, the flagship of Horus. The story also deals in part with Hastur Sejanus, Captain of the 4th Company of the Luna Wolves Legion. The reader is given a very tantalizing glimpse of this warrior, a man who once moved in the highest echelons of his Legion before his untimely death in Horus Rising.

Audio Dramas

There are several audio-only Horus Heresy stories including:

1. The Dark King & The Lightning Tower
7. Darkkingaudiobook

The Dark King is a novella about Konrad Curze, the Primarch of the Night Lords Legion and his dark visions of a galaxy in flames where brother is set against brother, and the Emperor of Mankind sits dead upon a throne of gold. As Curze becomes increasingly consumed by these visions and the apparent rejection of the brutal tactics he employed during the Great Crusade by his peers, he must decide if he should remain loyal to his father the Emperor or once more take up the mantle of the monster known as the Night Haunter. In The Lightning Tower, word of Warmaster Horus's treachery has reached Terra, and one man is placed in charge of organising the defences of the Emperor's Imperial Palace. For Rogal Dorn, Primarch of the Imperial Fists Legion, it is a difficult and demanding task. He discovers that an even greater one remains: facing his greatest fear.

2. Raven's Flight
17c. Ravens-flight

Raven's Flight follows the desperate Raven Guard Legion after their betrayal during the Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V. The Raven Guard find themselves with only 3,000 Astartes remaining out of the 80,000 that once comprised the Legion. Meanwhile, on the Raven Guard's homeworld Deliverance, Praefector Marcus Valerius is haunted by a dream of dying ravens. Believing these nightmares to be significant, he attempts to convince his superior, Commander Branne, to send support to Istvaan V, fearing for the rest of the Legion and their Primarch Corax. Ordered by his Primiarch to remain on Deliverance, Branne is skeptical of Valerius' dreams, at first dismissing them outright. But after much deliberation he makes due course for Istvaan V to determine the fate of his Battle-Brothers.

3. Garro: Oath of Moment
4a. Garro-Oath-of-Moment

Upon returning to Terra the acting Regent of Terra, Malcador the Sigillite despatches former Battle-Captain Nathaniel Garro upon a mission of great importance and singular purpose. Garro undertakes a holy quest to find other Space Marines like himself, who have remained loyal to the Emperor despite the chaos of the civil war that has engulfed the galaxy -- whether they be of the Loyalist or Traitor Legions. His quest will first take Garro to the war-torn world of Calth, where the Ultramarines Legion is fighting a desperate battle for their very survival against the treacherous Word Bearers Traitor Legion.

4. Garro: Legion of One
4b. Garro-Legion-of-one

Garro: Legion of One finds Battle-Captain Nathaniel Garro continuing his sacred quest across the war-torn galaxy in pursuit of those worthy of serving the Emperor in a new, secret undertaking. Garro and his companions Tylos Rubio, a former Ultramarines Librarian and Mesa Varren, a former Captain of the savage World Eaters, soon find themselves amongst the ruins and mass graves of the ravaged world of Istvaan III. They have been ordered by the Sigillite to seek out the last of the seven warriors of their new fellowship in order to fulfill his quest. Upon their arrival they encounter what appears to be a handful of human survivors. They speak of a savage beast that hunts them. Taking matters into his own hands, Garro seeks out the lair of this so-called beast, to discover who, or what, this creature truly is.

5. Butcher's Nails

Butcher's Nails follows the Primarchs Angron of the World Eaters and Lorgar of the Word Bearers as they begin a clandestine mission together, but soon the World Eaters’ berserk fury attracts the attention of xenos raiders who will not allow Angron to pursue his bloody path.

6. Sister of Silence - Silence is golden
Sisters of Silence

Sister of Silence

Sister of Silence is an exclusive short audio drama, revolving around the Sisters of Silence. Released by the Black Library on April 1, 2012 this download was limited to those readers who subscribed to the Black Library's newsletter. Released as an April Fool's gag, after a brief introduction there is nothing but silence that follows for thirteen full minutes.

7. Garro: Sword of Truth

Upon his return from the war-torn world of Calth, Battle-Captain Nathaniel Garro finds himself undertaking a new mission on behalf of the Sigillite. A ragged fleet of supposedly lost legionaries from several different Legions linger at the edge of the Segmentum Solar requesting sanctuary. With the presence of Space Marines from the traitorous Emperor's Children and World Eaters a cause for concern, it is up to Garro to determine who is friend and who is foe.


Several of the most popular Horus Heresy Novels have been made into Audiobooks, including:

  • Horus Rising by Dan Abnett (Abridged CD and MP3 Audio)*
  • False Gods by Graham McNeill (Abridged CD and MP3 Audio)*
  • Galaxy In Flames by Ben Counter (Abridged CD and MP3 Audio)*
  • Age of Darkness Edited by Christian Dunn (Unabridged CD and MP3 Audio)
  • A Thousand Sons by Graham McNeill (Unabridged CD and MP3 Audio)
  • Prospero Burns by Dan Abnett (Unabridged CD and MP3 Audio)
  • The Outcast Dead by Graham McNeill (Unabridged CD and MP3 Audio)
  • The audio releases of the books Horus Rising, False Gods, and Galaxy In Flames have also been released as a limited-edition audio box-set that contains all three audiobooks and an extra bonus disc.

Special Editions

  • Horus Rising (Anniversary Edition) – Dan Abnett – April 2011. "5th Anniversary Edition" to mark the 5-year publishing history of the Horus Heresy Series. "With titanium-blue foiling and a specially commissioned introduction from author Dan Abnett."


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