If you want to learn how to read the Halo books in order, you’ve come to the right place.
What’s the Halo book series about?
The Halo novels were written and published with the goal of expand the universe of Halo. The Halo novels were overseen by a group within Microsoft, more specifically Microsoft Games Studio Franchise Development Group.
Contrary to what was expected at the time, the novels are actually quite different from the stories written for the Halo games. In fact, it often reads as if the novels‘ and the games’ storylines aren’t in the same universe, especially in the first novels of the Halo book series.
As time went on, however, these two storylines started to grow together. In fact, at certain points, some elements belonging to the Halo novels began to be introduced in the Halo games as well. Currently, these novels and games are designed with a more symbiotic narrative in mind.
How many Halo books are there?
How to read the Halo books in order? (Chronological order)
As for the series in particular, as long as you read the books in each series following the order displayed below, you’re doing it correctly. This means that it doesn’t matter when you read any of the series, as long as you read the individual Halo books first. It doesn’t make any difference to read any particular book series before or after another book series.
Now, let’s learn how you should read the individual Halo books in order.
Individual Halo books in order
Halo: The Fall of Reach by Eric Nylund (Halo, #1)
Halo: The Flood by William C. Dietz (Halo, #2)
Halo: First Strike by Eric Nylund (Halo, #3)
Halo: Ghosts of Onyx by Eric Nylund (halo, #4)
Halo: Contact Harvest by Joseph Staten (Halo, #5)
Halo: The Cole Protocol by Tobias S. Buckell (Halo, #6)
Halo: Broken Circle by John Shirley (Halo, #7)
Halo: New Blood by Matt Forbeck (Halo, #8)
Halo: Hunters in the Dark by Peter David (Halo, #9)
Halo: Saint’s Testimony by Frank O’Connor (Halo, #10)
Halo: Last Light by Troy Denning (Halo, #11)
Halo: Shadow of Intent by Joseph Staten (Halo, #12)
Halo: Smoke and Shadow by Kelly Gay (Halo, #13)
Halo: Envoy by Tobias S. Buckell (Halo, #14)
Halo: Retribution by Troy Denning (Halo, #15)
Halo: Legacy of Onyx by Matt Forbeck (Halo, #16)
Halo: Bad Blood by Matt Forbeck (Halo, #17)
Halo: Renegades by Kelly Gay (Halo, #18)
Halo: Point of Light by Kelly Gay (Halo, #19)
In the twenty-sixth century, Humans have colonized hundreds of planets, beyond the ones in earth’s solar system.
The United Nations Space Command and the United Earth Government are trying to keep their grip on all this colonies, but it’s getting difficult. The different colonies keep fighting against themselves.
Dr. Catherine Halsey of the United Nations Space Command has a plan. And to execute that plan she has gathered seventy-five children, including John, a six-year-old child.
Little did Dr. Catherine Halsey knew that John will be humanity’s hope against a fight of allied alien races, the Covenant.
In 2552, the crew of the spaceship Pillar of Autumn, which includes Spartan John-117 (also known as the Master Chief) and his AI companion Cortana, escape into splipspace.
There, they find a ringworld. And soon they discover that this ringworld is worshipped by the Covenant, the very own military alliance of alien races that they’ve just managed to escape. This artifact is known as Halo.
Master Chief and Cortana dive into Halo to discover its hidden secrets and the true reason for its existence. And, while attempting to do so, they will unleash an enemy even more powerful than the Covenant. And this new enemy aims to destroy all life.
In 2552, the Covenant keeps going after humanity. But the Master Chief, accompanied by the AI Cortana, is determined on defending the humanity.
The Covenant and the defending forces are divided in two places: Reach, a human military stronghold; and Halo, the artificial ringworld.
Meanwhile, Dr. Catherine Halsey discovered a secret that can change the future of the war.
But things get even worse: the Covenant have found Earth and gathering a gigantic fleet of spaceships to destroy it.
The Spartan-II program has become publicly known. Master Chief keeps trying to defend earth, while the Covenant keep using all their forces to end humanity.
Meanwhile, Section Three, a cell of the Office of Naval Intelligence,is designing a play to provide the United Nations Space Command more time to react. But to execute this plan, they will not only need thousands of soldiers, but also one Spartan.
Planet Onyx seemed to be abandoned, peaceful, and inhabited. But when Master Chief destroys Halo, a technology within Onyx stirs awake.
United Nations Space Command and the Covenant try to get ahold of it first, for it will change the course of war.
As if the war between the Covenant and humanity wasn’t troubling enough, now there’s a civil war among humans, known as the Insurrection.
Harvest has always been a peaceful, undisputed farming colony, until now. As resources become scarce, the United Nations Space Command sends its marines to ensure the survival of the Harvest’s colony.
Among these marines, sergeant called Avery Johnson stands out.
As the war between humanity and the alien alliance the Covenant rages on, the United Nations Space Command has activated the Cole Protocol.
Many soldiers are tasked with deleting any navigation data that could lead the Covenant to realize where planet earth is located. Among those soldiers, there is Navy Lieutenant Jacob Keyes, who is carrying on a mission that will lead him to a place in the galaxy where everything is unknown.
Planet Hesiod, a gas giant planet, is surrounded by an asteroid belt. Many of the citizens of hesiod take refuge on the asteroids, leading them to be known as the Rubble.
Except that, in one of these asteroids, there was already a colony by the Covenant, called Kig-Yar.
Back to the past, centuries before the war between the humans and the Covenant, a conflict between the Prophets and the Elites started.
They’re two alien races, who are disputing the possession of powerful, artifacts that were left by the Forerunners.
Eventually, the Prophets and the Elites form a military alliance, which will become known as the Covenant. But elements of both sides of the aisle are skeptical of this alliance. Treachery and betrayal will dominate.
In the Covenant War, the Spartans get all the credit, for no soldier, not even Master Chief, wins a war.
But now many Spartans have fallen in the war, so the United Nations Space Command creates a new generation of Spartans, even though the Covenant War has ended.
But with this new incoming military blood, the old guard needs to decide whether they want to retire or adapt.
Two years ago, by the end of the war between humanity and the military alliance The Covenant, Master Chief went missing.
Now, as fragile peace exists between the Humans and the Elites, a partnership is formed to unravel a fateful scientific discovery.
The Elites and the humans will now travel to the Ark, an enigmatic place that defies logic and where deathly danger lies.
Iona, an artificial intelligence built of the military, will be terminated by the United Nations Space Command in just one week. This is to prevent a phenomenon called “rampancy,” which is when Iona’s data will become so corrupt that it will become a danger.
But Iona is determined to fight against her death. She launches a legal appeal, disputing her death sentence.
Despite the fact that the Covenant War has ended, tensions are still abound in space.
Under the planet Gao’s surface, there’s a vast cavern known for its medicinal effects. However, the citizens of Gao are ending up murdered in this cavern. Detective Veta Lopis is tasked with finding the serial killer responsible for all this deaths.
It’s soon discovered that there’s Forerunner technology there, which could grant military supremacy for the United Nations Space Command. Insurrection loyalist will do whatever it takes to ensure that doesn’t happen.
Sangheili warrior Rtas ‘Vadum, known as the Half-Jaw, has spent decades upon decades fighting against humans and the Covenant Prophets that allied with them.
However, one Prophet has promise that he’s going to exact revenge. And so he designs a plan to lure Half-Jaw into a trap. If successful, it will mean the end of the Sangheili race.
Because of the war between the humans and the Covenant, the galaxy has scrap everywhere. A dream come true for a salvager like Rion Forge.
But then she finds a destroyed United Nations Space Command ship. To her surprise, it is Spirit of Fire, her father’s ship.
Even though the Covenant War has come to an end six years ago, a battle on the planet Carrow is raging.
Humans and the Sangheili have been cohabiting Carrow, but now, with this civil war in the Sangheili settlements, the relationship between the two parties is growing unstable.
Tasked by the Office of Naval Intelligence, Melody searches for a way to free the Spartan-IIs, also known as the Gray Team.
But they discover a threat that is incredibly more dangerous than the conflict the two species are going through.
Months after the Covenant War has come. to an end, violent conflicts are still common. These conflicts hit their peak when a United Nations Space Command Fleet Admiral Graselyn Tuwa is killed and her family made hostages.
The Office of Naval Intelligence is adamant on avenging the death of the admiral and rescuing the hostages.
Detective Veta Lopis and her team of Spartan-IIIS soon discover that the truth is even more sinister than they could have thought.
The alien alliance The Covenant destroyed Molly’s home and murdered her family when she was only seven-years-old. Even though the United Nations Space Command won the war against the aliens, she will never forget what was done to her.
Molly’s adoptive parents are called. to live beside alien species that murdered her family. Naturally, she objects, but still they go accompanied by her.
Now habiting in this place called Onyx, Molly’s adoptive parents are realizing they made a deathly mistake in coming to live there.
On Genesis, a Forerunner planet, the Spartans of Blue Team and the Osiris of Fire Team are trying to escape alive from the artificial intelligence Cortana.
The Office of Naval Intelligence offer their help with a plan. But to agree to that plan, Spartan Bucker must deal with someone who betrayed his trust in the worst way possible.
Rion Forge, the salvager, has found spaceship of her father, among Forerunner debris.
Because of these debris, she now becomes the target of what remains of the military alliance The Covenant as well as of the Office of Naval Intelligence.
Both want to get their hands on these spoils no matter the cost, and Rion Forge is now in more danger than she could have anticipated.
Rion Forge spent years trying to find her family, as well as treasure, in the debris that resulted of The Covenant War. But now she and her crew found a powerful and ancient being.
This being was alive when the Forerunners ruled the galaxy and tells Rion Forge and her crew about that time.
Meanwhile, the Office of Naval Intelligence is still searching Rion and her crew. Still, Rion and her crew decide to dedicate themselves to this being’s mission: finding secrets and threats that were hidden centuries ago.
The Forerunner Saga books in order
The Forerunner Saga is a trilogy of Halo books that tell the story of the Forerunners, which happened thousands of years before the war between the humans and The Covenant. In this trilogy, you’ll be able to learn about the history of the Halo world.
You should read The Forerunner Saga in the following order:
Halo: Cryptum by Greg Bear (The Forerunner Saga, #1)
Halo: Primordium by Greg Bear (The Forerunner Saga, #2)
Halo: Silentium by Greg Bear (The Forerunner Saga, #3)
Thousands of years ago, the Forerunners dominated the galaxy. They achieved impressive amount of knowledge and powerful technology.
It seemed nothing wrong could happen, for they lived peacefully, but then they were met my brutal opposition.
And so the Forerunners vanished forever.
Thousands of years ago, the humans Chakas and Riser end up the shores of the Forerunners.
In this world, everything is frighteningly inverted, such as the horizons that rise into the sky. Here, humans have become research animals.
Chakas beings her search for a way to get home. Meanwhile, they encounter a powerful intelligence that will decide the fate of all life in the galaxy.
The Forerunner empire is having its last few days of existence.
Only two Forerunners have the knowledge to put a stop to The Flood, a parasite that will determine the end of the Forerunners species.
To succeed, however, they must commit the greatest cruelty of all time.
Kilo-Five Trilogy books in order
Written by Karen Traviss, this trilogy is about the times after the war between the humans and The Covenant, the alien military alliance.
You should read the Kilo-Five Trilogy in the order below.
Halo: Glasslands by Karen Traviss (Kilo-Five Trilogy, #1)
Halo: The Thursday War by Karen Traviss (Kilo-Five Trilogy, #2)
Halo: Mortal Dictata by Karen Traviss (Kilo-Five Trilogy, #3)
Now that the alien military alliance The Covenant has fallen apart, peace seems likely. But, in truth, the war keeps going, except that now it’s covert.
The Office of Naval Intelligence recruits Kilo-Five, a team of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers, a Spartan, and an evil Artificial Intelligence. The mission is to create and accelerate insurrection among the Covenant’s soldiers.
Meanwhile, Dr. Catherine Halsey managed to save the Spartan from being destroyed. She soon discovers that the planet Onyx is holding a Forerunner technology that could change everything forever.
Kilo-Five is tasked with the mission of preventing the Sangheili from rebuilding their forces and attack humans.
Meanwhile, terrorism is happening again on one of the human worlds. Behind that is Spartan Naomi-010.
Also, the Forerunner technology from Onyx is now being turned on. Destruction is imminent.
Kilo-Five will get its loyalties tested, as a father of Spartan searches for what happened to his daughter. He will go wherever and do whatever necessary to find the truth.
As the Kilo-Five are tasked by Office of Naval Intelligence to stop him, the Kilo-Five will need to decide who they are most loyal to, namely to the father whose daughter was once their comadre or to the Office.
A Master Chief Story books in order
A Master Chief Story is a series about the character Spartan Johhn-117, also known as the Master Chief. Other main characters of this series are Master Chief’s comrades of the Blue Team, namely Spartan Frederic-104, Spartan Kelly-087, and Spartan Linda-0.58.
Like in previous series and trilogies, it doesn’t matter if you read this series before or after the other series, as long as you read the individual Halo books first.
A Master Chief Story series is made of three novels and one comic book. You should read them by following the order below.
Halo: Silent Storm by Troy Denning (A Master Chief Story, #1)
Halo: Collateral Damage (A Master Chief Story, #1.5)
Halo: Oblivion by Troy Denning(A Master Chief Story, #2)
Halo: Shadows of Reach by Troy Denning (A Master Chief Story, #3)
A war is raging, between humans and the alien alliance The Covenant.
The enemy is unknown to the United Nations Space command. In fact, all they know for certain is that The Covenant are hell-bent on extincting humanity and they have the tools to do so. The United Nations Space Command’s hope is the Spartans, a group of super soldiers.
But not all humans agree that this is the best course of action. In fact, some humans believe that their best hope would be to become allies with the Covenant. These humans, these insurrectionists, will sabotage the Spartan’s attack from within.
The planet Alpha Corvi II is under overwhelming attack by the Covenant.
A team of the Covenant has managed to find its way to under the planet’s surface. The United Nations Space Command send the Blue Team, including Master Chief, to discover what the enemy forces are searching for.
The mission proves itself to be more difficult than the Spartans could have anticipated.
The United Nations Space Command has put the fate and trust of humanity on the Blue Team, which are led by the Master Chief, also called Spartan John-117.
Meanwhile, the Covenant have only grown more determined and brutal than ever before.
The United Nations Space Command tasks the Blue Team to recover a powerful technology left behind by the Covenant. But what if it’s a trap?
The future of humanity depends on it.
Planet Earth was once humanity’s home and training ground, but they lost it during the Covenant War.
However, in Dr. Catherine Halsey’s laboratory, secrets are abound. Secrets that could help humanity. So the United Nations Space Command tasks the Blue Team, which includes Masters Chief, to recover these secrets.
These secrets may be what will determine the result of the conflict between humanity and Cortana, an Artificial Intelligence system that has gone rogue.
Battle Born books in order
To further advance your goal of reading the Halo books in order, you need to learn about yet another book series.
The Battle Born series is about a group of teenagers that survive one of the battles in the Halo world, with the help of the super soldier Spartan Owen-B096. It was published by Scholastic and written by Cassandra Rose Clarke.
You can learn the Battle Born reading order below.
Halo: Battle Born by Cassandra Rose Clarke (Battle Born, #1)
Halo: Meridian Divide by Cassandra Rose Clarke (Battle Born, #2)
The alien alliance The Covenant is attacking the planet Meridian.
The four teenagers find themselves locked out of the shelter, away from the other survivors. So their only choice is clear: they must attack the enemies with whatever they got.
The four teenagers, accompanied by Spartan Owen-B096, turn their backs to safety to attack the enemy.
For three months now, the four teenagers have been working with the Office of Naval Intelligence. But now the Office has a mission for them: monitor the Covenant on their mission to obtain a Forerunner artifact.
The Covenant is being more successful in their mission than the Office of Naval Intelligence anticipated, so the teenagers are tasked to stop the artifact from getting in the wrong hands.
As they step into the places with the highest military tension, it’s an open question whether the teenagers will succeed or die. The future of humanity is at stake.
Who published the Halo books?
Now you know how to read the Halo books in order. Let’s learn which publishing houses were responsible for these publication.
First, Microsoft Games Studio Franchise Development Group first partnered with Del Rey Books to publish the first three novels, namely Halo: The Fall of Reach (2001), Halo: The Flood (2003), and Halo: First Strike (2003).
After a three-year-long hiatus, Microsoft went back to publish more Halo books, this time with Tor Books. In fact, Microsoft even allowed Tor Books to publish new editions of the first three novels originally published by Del Rey Books. The books originally published by Tor Books were Halo: Ghosts of Onyx (2006), Halo: Contact Harvest (2007), Halo: The Cole Protocol (2008), Halo: Cryptum (2011), Halo: Glasslands (2011), Halo: Primordium (2012), Halo: The Thursday War (2012), Halo: Silentium (2013), and Halo: Mortal Dictata (2014). Tor Books also published a collection of short stories, named Halo: Evolutions – Essential Tales of the Halo Universe (2009).
Once again, Microsoft shift gears to partner with another publisher, this time Gallery Books. They were responsible for publishing Halo: Broken Circle (2014) and Halo: New Blood (2015). They also published a collection of short stories, called Halo: Fractures: Extraordinary Tales from the Halo Canon (2016).
The partnership with the published Gallery Books was of short duration, for they shifted to another published yet again: Simon & Schuster, one of the biggest publishers of the United States.
Simon & Schuster was responsible for publishing Halo: Hunters in the Dark (2015), Halo: Saint’s Testimony (2015), Halo: Last Light (2015), Halo: Shadow of Intent (2015), Halo: Smoke and Shadow (2016), Halo: Envoy (2017), Halo: Retribution (2017), Halo: Legacy of Onyx (2017), Halo: Bad Blood (2018), Halo: Silent Storm (2018), Halo: Renegades (2019), Halo: Oblivion (2019), Halo: Shadows of Reach (2020), and Halo: Point of Light (2021).
Part of this tumultuous relationship with publishers, Microsoft also partnered with Scholastic for the publishing of Halo: Battle Born and Halo: Meridian Divide. There was a third Halo book to be published by Scholastic, but the published exercised its right to cancel this publication.
Simon & Schuster remain the official publisher of the Halo books to this day.
Who wrote the Halo book series?
Since the writing of the first book of the Halo book series, it has seen various writers come and go.
Eric Nylund wrote three books for the Halo book series, including the first one. These three books, specifically Halo: The Fall of Reach, Halo: First Strike, and Halo: Ghosts of Onyx were published between 2001 and 2006.
Back in 2003, William C. Dietz wrote a book to the Halo book series, specifically Halo: The Flood.
John Shirley also wrote a book to the Halo book series, called Halo: Broken Circle. This book was published in 2014.
Matt Forbeck was another considerable contributor, writing three books to the Halo series, namely Halo: New Blood, Halo: Legacy of Onyx, and Halo: Bad Blood. These were published between 2015 and 2018.
Peter David added one book to the Halo series, which was published in 2015, namely Halo: Hunters in the Dark.
Frank O’Connor wrote one book to this series, published in 2015, called Halo: Saint’s Testimony.
Troy Denning was a major contributor to the Halo series, by writing five books: Halo: Last Light, Halo: Retribution, Halo: Silent Storm, Halo: Oblivion, and Halo: Shadows of Reach. These were published between 2015 and 2020.
Greg Bear wrote three Halo books, more specifically the books for The Forerunners Saga. These books were called Halo: Cryptum, Halo: Primordium, Halo: Silentium, and were published between 2011 and 2013.
Likewise, Karen Traviss wrote another the three Halo books of the Kilo-Five Trilogy, named Halo: Glasslands, Halo: The Thursday War, and Halo: Mortal Dictata, all of which were published between 2011 and 2014.
Now you know all there is to be known about the Halo book series, including how to read the Halo books in order.