Halo is about the popular Halo video game franchise. It first hit the shelves in 2001, and since then, it’s become one of the biggest media franchises in the world.
But Halo isn’t just for gamers; it’s also had a big impact on the literary scene.
More than 30 accompanying books add fascinating extra context to the games. And even if you’ve never played Halo before, don’t worry. You can still dive straight into these nail-biting novels and short stories.
So, you may be a die-hard Halo fan searching for secrets the games didn’t reveal. Or you’re simply looking for a new and exciting sci-fi series to dive into. Either way, you’re bound to love these epic intergalactic adventures.
What is Halo all About?
The first Halo game, Halo: Combat Evolved, was launched on the XBOX in 2001. It marked the beginning of an unforgettable journey to rescue humanity from a deadly alien enemy, an extraterrestrial alliance known as the Covenant.
The star of this adventure is John 117, also known as the Master Chief. John is a Spartan, a genetically enhanced mercenary designed to fight the Covenant and defend Earth.
The first video game was released alongside a companion novel, The Fall of Reach. Written by science fiction author Eric Nylund, the book acts as a prelude to the video game, giving fans an insight into the events before the Master Chief entered into battle.
Fast forward more than two decades and the Halo franchise is still captivating gamers and readers around the globe. There are currently six main games with several spin-offs and more than thirty books by various authors.
But in this post, we’ll leave the games to one side as we delve into the literary side of the Halo franchise.
So, buckle up and get ready for an interstellar reading adventure.
The Halo Books in Series and Publication Order
|Sr. No||Title||Publication Date||Print Length||Publisher||Where to Buy|
|1||Halo: The Fall of Reach (2001) by Eric Nylund||January 1, 2001||340 pages||DelRey||Amazon|
|2||Halo: The Cole Protocol (2008) by Tobias S. Buckell||April 16, 2019||416 pages||Gallery Books||Amazon|
|3||Halo: Cryptum (2011) by Greg Bear||January 4, 2011||352 pages||Tor Books||Amazon|
|4||Halo: Glasslands (2011) by Karen Traviss||October 25, 2011||464 pages||Tor Books||Amazon|
|5||Halo: New Blood (2015) by Matt Forbeck||March 15, 2016||208 pages||Gallery Books||Amazon|
|6||Halo: Last Light (2015) by Troy Denning||September 15, 2015||400 pages||Gallery Books||Amazon|
|7||Halo: Smoke and Shadow (2015) by Kelly Gay||January 16, 2018||176 pages||Gallery Books||Amazon|
|8||Halo: Silent Storm (2018) by Troy Denning||July 30, 2019||400 pages||Gallery Books||Amazon|
|9||Halo: Battle Born (2019) by Cassandra Rose Clarke||January 1, 2019||304 pages||Scholastic Inc.||Amazon|
|10||Halo: Contact Harvest (2007) by Joseph Staten||April 9, 2019||416 pages|| Gallery Books||Amazon|
There are two ways to approach the Halo books. You can either read them in their respective series in the order they were originally published, or, you can enjoy them in chronological order.
Below, I’ll list both options, so you can choose the one that’s right for you.
The novels, novellas, and anthologies below are grouped into series by various authors.
If you want to follow along with the Halo books in the order they were originally released, this is the list for you.
The Original Halo Novels
Together, these four books from the original Halo novel series. All but one of them is written by the long-standing and award-winning Halo writer Eric Nylund. The other, Halo: The Flood, is a novelization of the original game written by William C. Dietz.
Halo: The Fall of Reach (2001) by Eric Nylund
Dr. Catherine Halsey has been working tirelessly inside the confines of the Office of Naval Intelligence, formulating a top-secret plan to avoid a catastrophic interplanetary civil war. And everything hinges on one person; a six-year-old boy destined to decide the entire galaxy’s fate.
That young boy will go on to become the legendary Master Chief- Spartan John-117 and lead the fight against evil forces that want to wipe out humanity for good.
- Halo: The Flood (2003) by William C. Deitz
- Halo: First Strike (2003) by Eric Nylund
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx (2006) by Eric Nylund
The Gray Team Books
These books are written by the award-winning American author Tobias S. Buckell.
His first novel, The Cole Protocol, introduces readers to the Spartan-II Gray Team and delves into the fascinating back stories of Jacob Keyes and Thel Vadam. It was met with international acclaim and immediately shot into The New York Times Best Seller list when published in 2008.
Book two, Envoy, was published almost a decade later. It tells the tale of Melody Azikiwe, a UEG Diplomatic Corps envoy sent on a dangerous mission to Carrow to rescue the Gray Team from captivity.
Halo: The Cole Protocol (2008) by Tobias S. Buckell
The year is 2535, and war with the Covenant is officially underway. To protect the earth from its alien enemies, the United Nations Space Command has enacted what it calls “the Cole Protocol,” an organized, all-hands-on-deck attempt to destroy navigation data that could reveal the earth’s location and put the lives of every human in the galaxy at risk.
But this dangerous mission will take those involved to a dark, dangerous corner of the galaxy.
- Halo: Envoy (2017) by Tobias S. Buckell
The Forerunner Saga
The Forerunner Saga is a suspense-filled trilogy by author Greg Bear. The novels are set in an ancient time, 100,000 years before the war between the humans and the Covenant, when the Forerunners were the guardians of the galaxy.
Halo: Cryptum (2011) by Greg Bear
The Forerunners are an ancient species of technologically advanced beings. They rule the galaxy with wisdom, knowledge, and peace. But one day, something makes this race of dutiful warriors vanish into thin air.
Bestselling author Karen Traviss has written the Kilo-Five Trilogy. The books are set in a post-war era after the events of the Halo 3 video game.
The series introduces some brand new characters and focuses on the escapades of the Office of Naval Intelligence black ops unit, Kilo-Five.
Halo: Glasslands (2011) by Karen Traviss
The year is 2553, and the evil extraterrestrial alliance known as the Covenant has finally been defeated. Millions have died in battle, but now, after over thirty years of bloodshed, there is hope for peace.
But while the war is no longer raging on the battlefields, it’s still playing out in the shadows.
The Alpha-Nine Books
The Alpha-Nine books, written by Matt Forebeck, follow the adventures of a former small team of UNSC Marine Orbital Drop Shock Troopers. After the Human-Covenant War, the remaining troopers joined forces to form a fireteam of Spartan-IV supersoldiers led by skilled marine Spartan Edward Buck.
Halo: New Blood (2015) by Matt Forbeck
The United Nations Space Command needs a new generation of Spartans to defend the human race. And so, they seek out Gunnery Sergeant Edward Buck and his Orbital Drop Shock Troopers team. They already proved their loyalty and bravery in their brave battle against the Covenant, and there’s no doubt they’re fit for the job.
But with Buck’s dreams of a well-earned retirement in his sights, will he take up the challenge?
- Halo: Bad Blood (2018) by Matt Forbeck
The Ferrets Trilogy
This series explores the adventures of the covert special ops department, The Ferrets.
In small satellite teams, Ferrets intercept their extraterrestrial enemies and rescue their allies across the galaxy.
Halo: Last Light (2015) by Troy Denning
After more than three decades of bloodshed, the Human-Covenant War is over. At least, that’s how it appears on the surface. But far away in a remote corner of the universe, tensions are rising again. Natives of the remote planet Gao are being brutally murdered, but their killers aren’t the alien enemies everyone suspects.
Rion Forge & Ace of Spades Books
Kelly Gay’s Rion Forge & Ace Of Spades series follows the adventures of Lucy Orion “Rion” Forge.
Rion is the captain of a modified Mariner-class transport ship known as the Ace of Spades. Together with her crew, she embarks on a quest to find her father, who has been missing for decades.
Halo: Smoke and Shadow (2015) by Kelly Gay
With scrap littering the galaxy as far as the eye can see, Rion Forge has made a name for herself in the salvaging world. But even after all these years, the mystery of what happened to her father and his UNSC cruiser still haunts her.
In the decades after the wreckage was found, she’s longed for answers. And now, she’s finally ready to salvage her family’s secrets, once and for all.
A Master Chief Story
Also known as The Master Chief & Blue Team, Troy Denning’s three-part series focuses on the ultimate Halo hero, John-117: the Master Chief.
In these nail-biting stories, John works alongside his Blue Team comrades Frederic-104, Kelly-087, and Linda-058. And together, they embark on a dangerous and deadly mission to protect humankind.
Halo: Silent Storm (2018) by Troy Denning
The year is 2526, and the human race has entered an all-out war with an intergalactic alien alliance known as the Covenant.
Thankfully, the United Nations Space Command was set up to protect its people from potential attacks. But there’s one problem; they know nothing about their powerful enemies.
And so, the UNSC’s only hope lies in a group of specially trained black ops super soldiers known as the Spartans. But can these living weapons, led by commander John-117, form a counterattack strong enough to save humanity from otherwise certain destruction?
This two-part series by author Cassandra Rose Clarke is aimed at a young adult audience.
Book one follows the death-defying adventures of Saskia Nazari, Victor Gallardo, Evelyn Rousseau, and Dorian Nguyen. Against all odds, and with a little help from a Spartan, these four teens survive a Covenant attack on their hometown.
In book two, the teens must return to the invasion scene and stop a powerful artifact from falling into the wrong hands.
Halo: Battle Born (2019) by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Saskia, Evie, Dorian, and Victor might go to the same small school but are hardly friends. At least, they weren’t before a deadly extraterrestrial alliance invaded their hometown on the remote colony of Meridian.
But now, as a fire rages across the village, the teens find themselves locked out of the town shelter. And so, they must work together and face their mysterious, otherworldly enemies head-on.
- Halo: Meridian Divide (2019) by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Standalone Halo Novels
Alongside the series listed above, there are several standalone novels and novellas to explore in the Halo universe. Here they are in the order they were published.
Halo: Contact Harvest (2007) by Joseph Staten
The year is 2524, and in the once-tranquil farming colony of Harvest, humanity has come one step too close to its intergalactic enemies.
Now, war is on the horizon. But with the human race distracted in another battle with its own kind, unity against a bigger enemy will have to wait.
- Halo: Broken Circle (2014) by John Shirley
- Halo: Hunters in the Dark (2015) by Peter David
- Halo: Saint’s Testimony (2015) By Frank O’Connor (novella)
- Halo: Shadow of Intent (2015) By Joseph Staten (novella)
- Halo: Legacy of Onyx (2017) by Matt Forbeck
- Halo: The Rubicon Protocol (2022) by Kelly Gay
- Halo: Outcasts (2023) by Troy Denning
- Halo: Epitaph (expected to be published in January 2024) by Kelly Gay
Most of the works in the Halo universe are full-length novels or novellas. But there are also multiple short stories by various authors to explore, and they’re all arranged in the anthologies listed below.
Halo: Evolutions – Essential Tales of the Halo Universe (2009)
This heart-pounding short story collection features gripping tales by authors Jeff VanderMeer, Karen Traviss, and Eric Nylund. There are eleven stories to explore, each offering a new perspective on some of the most iconic events ever seen in the Halo universe.
The Halo Books In Chronological Order
If you prefer to follow the Halo stories in chronological order, this is the list for you.
This reading method allows you to experience a true timeline of events unfolding in the Halo universe. That being said, some books are published later but appearing earlier in the timeline may reference characters and events you’ve yet to come across. So it can be confusing.
The chronological order is a great way to explore the series if you’re already a fan. But if this is your first exploration into the Halo universe, it’s best to stick with the publication order above.
- Halo: Cryptum
- Halo: Primordium
- Halo: Silentium
- Halo: Broken Circle
- Halo: Contact Harvest
- Halo: The Cole Protocol
- Halo: Battle Born
- Halo: Meridian Divide
- Halo: The Fall of Reach
- Halo: Silent Storm
- Halo: Oblivion
- Halo: The Flood
- Halo: First Strike
- Halo: Broken Circle
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx
- Halo: Glasslands
- Halo: The Thursday War
- Halo: Mortal Dictata
- Halo: Last Light
- Halo: Retribution
- Halo: Shadow of Intent
- Halo: New Blood
- Halo: Hunters in the Dark
- Halo: Smoke and Shadow
- Halo: Renegades
- Halo: Saint’s Testimony
- Halo: Point of Light
- Halo: Envoy
- Halo: Legacy of Onyx
- Halo: Bad Blood
- Halo: Shadows of Reach
- Halo: Divine Wind
- Halo: The Rubicon Protocol
- Halo: Outcasts
The Halo universe is more than just an epic video game saga. It’s also a nail-biting collection of novels, novellas, and short stories written by various authors.
You will adore these accompanying literary works if you’ve spent hours playing Halo on the XBOX. But even if you’ve never played a video game before, if you enjoy interstellar science fiction stories, you’re bound to love these books.
Have you already read the Halo series? If so, I’d love to hear your reviews and recommendations. Please drop me a comment in the box below!